Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Following is an excerpt from Katy Sara Culling's new book: Dark Clouds Gather: The True Story About Surviving Mood Disorders, Eating Disorders, Attempted Suicide and Self-Harm.
Katy was working on a PhD at Oxford when her brain suddenly quit on her. Her story how she fought back from madness makes compelling reading. Katy now works for Equilibrium - the Bipolar Foundation, a charity based in Oxford. It was through my association with Equilibrium that I met Katy.
Without further ado ...
At 10 PM, clad in pyjamas, all the patients slowly gathered to collect their night meds from the clinic room. I joined the line wearing trainers, socks, purple and black cycling shorts, my bright, luminous yellow cycling jacket, cycling gloves, detachable bike lights, keys (hidden in my pocket) and my purple cycling helmet, strapped securely in place on my head. I had a plan: though not such a good one as to think less obvious clothing might have been sensible. I stood tapping my feet impatiently. I said, “Hi,” to Neil, the nurse handing out the meds, quickly downed the concoction, and then walked to the garden door to leave.
One of the night nurses asked me, “Princess, where are you going?” “Just for a quiet fag on the step, I can’t face the smoking room,” I replied, showing her my lighter and menthols. And she let me go… against Dr. Ogilvie’s orders! And that was how I found myself heading straight for my flat on Iffley Road at about 10: 30 PM on the 13th November 2002: the night I died.
When I arrived home I knew I had to get on with things immediately because at some point I would be missed. I locked and bolted my door, and was grateful that my home address was probably quite hard to find. I pushed my huge antique dressing table across the door – it was so heavy I could hardly move it. I looked for alcohol, but all I had was the bottle of Gordon’s gin I kept for my sister’s visits. I started to swig it neat from the bottle, expecting to hate it, but not actually tasting anything at all. I knelt in front of my tiny attic window, and began to prepare the entire £20 ball of heroin for injection.
Someone missed me: Tony. He called me on my mobile to ask were I was. I told him I was fine and to go away. He asked me if I was going to “do something stupid.” I replied that I was fine, but that I was busy and couldn’t talk. I hung up and ignored my phone. I filled a 5ml syringe with what I knew was a concentrated and lethal dose many times over, and, without pausing or hesitation, pushed the needle into a vein. There were no thoughts about upsetting people I left behind; I could not connect with the world or those I love. I just wanted all the thoughts in my head to stop. So, after checking I was in a vein, I started to push the murky brown heroin solution into my body. I thought I could hear the sound of horses galloping in the distance, quickly getting closer and closer.
I continued to force the lethal mixture into my vein, all of this taking less than 10 seconds. I felt a calm unlike ever before in my life, and pictured horses galloping in the English countryside through the pouring rain. At first they were far away, but their gambolling hooves became louder and louder. Perfectly serene, I waited for their smack against my skull, spilling my life force from within. Then everything went black…
…And I died.
Purchase Dark Clouds Gather From Barnes and Noble