MAD...

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So . . . This is what’s happened! It was 1984, I was 21, I got a job. I expected it to last a year or so, like my last two jobs, but something else happened. I ended up being kept on…

I didn’t enjoy the job. It was truly a crap job if I’m honest. I was putting things in boxes, I was putting white powder in tubs. I got to drive a van around and before I knew it, I had been there 7 years and I had progressed to putting the white powder into bigger tubs. I was married with a mortgage, and then I wasn’t married but I still had a mortgage and a load of credit card debt. I’d also been told that I had a good chance of developing the human form of Mad Cow’s Disease due to some dodgy hospital treatment I had been given as a child.

Miserableness ensued. . .

Fast forward to Friday 13th November 2009 .

I was suddenly supposed to be a responsible adult aged 46, but in my head, I was a miserable 21-year-old.

I had a weird episode in a bar on Victoria Street. I watched my friend Siobhan morph into another person. She was now Viki. Someone I hadn’t seen for about 5 years. I knew this was impossible but I saw it happen and she was about to have a fight with a guy she was dancing with. She was upset she was crying, she slapped the guy and I think I was freaking out a bit. The next thing we knew we had to leave the bar, things were getting nasty. I got into a taxi with Viki and as we drove off she morphed back into Siobhan. I realised something was wrong. (Let me just point out that Siobhan isn’t a quick change artist and looks nothing like Viki. I was obviously having some sort of episode.)

When we got back to her flat it was Viki who put the key in the door and let me in then she turned back into Siobhan and made me a cup of coffee. My head was literally spinning. I hadn’t even had anything to drink all night except lemonade.

Siobhan went to bed and I sat on the sofa all night, looking at a photograph of Tony Benn . Well, to be honest, I think he was looking at me.

A few hours later I walked to the station in the pissing down rain and got the early morning train back to Warrington. I spent the rest of the weekend trying to figure out what happened.

I knew there was something very wrong. I knew I had to tell someone, but who do you tell and what do you say, without sounding like a lunatic?

I knew there was something very wrong. I knew I had to tell someone, but who do you tell and what do you say, without sounding like a lunatic?

I decided to tell Siobhan. I expected her to confirm that I was mental and I was right.

She told me to go and see the Occupational Health Nurse in work. I did and I was given a questionnaire to fill in. Ten minutes later I was told I was severely depressed and was advised to see my doctor. I made an appointment, and the doctor also gave me another written test to do. This resulted in me being told I was very very severely depressed and he prescribed a course of Prozac. I believed that Mad Cow’s Disease was kicking in.

The next few weeks were hell. I hardly slept I would continually wake in the early hours and just lie there, waiting for the alarm clock to ring. My work was suffering, I couldn’t concentrate on anything I was convinced I was going to die.

Nineteen years earlier I had been informed via a letter from the hospital, that there was a possibility that the injections I had received three times a week over the course of 6 years, could have been contaminated and there was a chance that I could develop CJD. The letter also informed me that it was incurable, always resulted in death and there was no way of testing for it until you got the symptoms. Oh, and it could take up to 25 years or more to incubate. You can imagine how I felt when I convinced myself that I had the symptoms. If I mislaid my keys or forgot someone’s name, it was due to Mad Cows Disease. So the whole morphing incident was now cast iron proof.

But slowly, the Prozac started to kick in.  I was referred to Lesley a psychotherapist during my first session I had a revelation I realised that the miserableness I was known for was actually depression,  actually a real mental illness, and It was an illness I had been suffering from since I was about 5 years old. I was so happy, I wanted to tell everyone I was depressed. . . I wasn’t just a miserable cunt.

To Be Continued…

Mikey GannonCJD, Mental Health