By Natasha Wilde
Key Themes: poetry, prose, bipolar disorder, manic depression, psychiatry
The mental health issue related to this book is bipolar disorder. This illness includes both ends of the spectrum, which is mania at the one end and clinical depression at the other. At its worst, it is debilitating, involving long stays in a psychiatric hospital in order for doctors to discover the appropriate medication thus balancing out the brain chemistry so that the patient can function in a reasonable manner in the outside world.
I sincerely think bipolar disorder must be the most serious of the mental illnesses because it is so violently distressing for the patient.,
LOVE’s MELODY, is a collection of poetry and pieces of prose taking us through the 1990’s on a roller coaster of extreme mental highs and lows. This writing depicts the power of the human spirit to conquer the most impossible of situations in life and, I trust, give other sufferers of this dreadful disease some kind of hope.
About the Author
Natasha Wilde was born in Chester in 1949. After moving down south she attended St. Albans Girls’ Grammar School where she obtained eight ‘O’ levels and two ‘A’ levels. She won a scholarship to St. Martin’s School of Art in London, studying Graphic Design, specialising in Film Animation.
When she was just half way through her Diploma course , she was offered a job with Halas and Bachelor animation company, the largest in the country. But alas, that never happened. She contracted bipolar disorder at the age of twenty always maintaining there was a strong possibility she had been “spiked” with the hallucinatory drug, L.S.D. She remembers experiencing a hellish and terrifying time, walking the streets of London, totally lost, hearing ‘voices’, hallucinating, all of her senses heightened.
This episode landed her in a scary hospital in Friern Barnet which had been an asylum in Victorian times. Natasha was disposed of in a newer building for less serious cases. The hospital has since been closed down under Margaret Thatcher’s orders, the poor occupants let loose, spilling out into the community to somehow make their way.
Throughout her twenties Natasha was in and out of the local hospital where doctors experimented with various drugs and twice she received E.C.T. ie Electro Convulsive Therapy. She was fortunate in that this worked well, bringing her down from her impossible fantasy world bang smack into reality which was a trifle depressing.
In between bouts of illness, the psychotic ‘highs’ and the clinical ‘lows’, she took on menial work and then decided to move up to Leeds with her current Yorkshire boyfriend.
Here, she joined an agency and became self employed as an Exotic Dancer which she loved. No stigma was attached regarding her illness, no forms to fill in, no questions asked. She had a good figure and could move. She danced in clubs, pubs, working mens’ clubs and sometimes, rather dicey, illegal drinking dens known as shabims.
While living in Leeds, she met her husband to be who was originally from Scotand and although her ‘demoms’ were determined to drive her crazy again, looking back, she guesses her husband rather saved her from a fate “worse than death”.
She moved back to Hertfordshire two years later in the mid seventies and after another spell in hospital, joined several agencies and began dancing again. She married in 1980 and gave birth to a daughter in 1981. Her pregnancy was hell, mentally, and a major depression set in. Immediately after giving birth she became ‘psychotic’ and this was treated
She was married for ten years, then divorced her husband on the grounds of ‘unreasonable behaviour. During her marriage she had kept fairly well but the stress from the divorce encouraged her illness to return in its ‘psychotic’ form landing her bang smack on Warren Ward for the umpteenth time.
Her book, Love’s Melody, takes off from here. Much of it was written in Creative Writing Therapy at her local hospital.
Natasha now has an adorable granddaughter and after many years, the doctors have found drugs, much more modern and effective drugs which suit her. This, combined with strenuous efforts to find a new home, has led her to build a much improved, more reasonable, and happier life.
IN THE YEAR OF 1990
Lesser beings would not have come through this eternal merry-go-round, an erratic life for years. Us poor little psycho victims banged up in a fairytale world of whisperings, of delusions, of auditory and visual hallucinations, of chirping blue and white checked nurses and mysterious white coats streaking around corners, the doctors who carry our pasts and our unwritten futures in thick, green files. We are like children in care. Our past lives, our unacceptable thoughts and actions have been carefully assessed, packaged, and now we are paying for it. We are not what the world tells us is ‘normal’, but right now we do not really care. Here, we are safe; we are protected from that cruel world. We queue up gratefully for our assorted pills and potions four times a day, the tablets round, oblong, large, or tiny in their fine array of bright, sickly colours, and we are told to take these because they will make us better. Some of us submit to a needle in our bottoms. It does not hurt, it will make us stay well and we want to be well don’t we because then we can go home and face that world out there again.
Right now, I am back again on Warren ward convinced I have lung cancer but they will not tell me the truth. It seems a strange place for a cancer ward. Lots of puff puffing going on in the smoking room. The bed I am lying on is obviously a hospital bed, high off the ground, hard, and with a grey metal headboard. It sports one thin blanket and a faded, peach bed cover. I can see ahead a glass window with a Venetian blind half open. Through there is the office. So, I am in the Observation Room but I cannot force myself to sit up. I have been doped, I guess.
This is my second home, the Madhouse. Doped and drugged like stuffed dummies, vegetating and just because I almost struck the chord of truth. But no one ever listens to my cries. I am mad. I am dangerous. A danger to myself and other people. I have wandered through the sparkling fields of corn and spotted the peacock’s dappled tail of rainbow glistening. I have trailed the dry and dusty paths searching for that beautiful truth. I have lain me down in lush fields of iridescent green and seen the infinite blue of our sky. I have lain me down with a million men and let them take my womanly gifts from me. I have loved these men and gained nothing. My craziness was the key to unlocking their lust and letting rip their male spunk up inside and all over my insatiable body. I trailed the land in flowing dresses, bra-less, topless and free as the wind. Those men passed right through me like ghosts. Needles blunted my very core. They deadened the very memory of the life that hurt so much. Needles and tablets deterred me from my quest for truth. The men, the needles, the pills all lowered my self-esteem. Voices whispering in my ears told me what I must do and sometimes I did it. Disc jockeys on radios played the music I loved and the singers wrote their lyrics for me. I was ‘a screaming flower of love dying slowly by the hour’ for a love I never found.
I am destined for a beautiful, pleasurable world, for a godlike man and a love unknown before to man. But why do they call me ‘Schizophrenic’? I know I am right. They are wrong. They will not believe my truth. They tell me I am ill. I know I am not. Life takes me up to its dizzy heights, to the real thing, and then I am kicked down, down into the gutter, into despair. This up and down kind of existence is no fun. It is a rare moment to be running on the flat. The world has written me off. Rejection. The ‘seventies’ took me through the maddening mill of madness. Is it a wonder I turned to the “Hey down ho down merry merry down down” of bubbling elixir? An arm reaching for a plump bottle of nectar to swirl, then gasp, and gulp the syrupy liquid in abandon. Dancing around a cauldron offering strange brews, scrumptious, bumptious, gurgling cider. Vintage full-bodied vino awaiting approval casually poured and joyfully thrust into the hand to savour and intensify that warmth, that ‘off the rails’ fiasco.
This product was added to our catalog on Friday 23 March, 2012.