The Hardest Prison

I was chatting to a friend with mental health problems this morning. During our conversation, he used a unusual analogy to describe his current feelings, when he told me he felt like “an overflow car park.”

After being asked to elaborate, he explained that he felt that people only engaged with him as a last resort. As I’m not a qualified counsellor, I was surprised when he asked my opinion on what I thought he should do.

Unfortunately for me, though, “Well you can start by lowering your prices for a start. Charging £2.50 an hour for parking a car is a right bloody rip off!” wasn’t the right answer.

It’s not good to see him looking so down. I tried to cheer him up by advising him being an overflow car park wasn’t such a bad thing, and that some of my best friends were overflow car parks!

He disputed this, claiming that the Bill the multi story on Eastgate and Frank the Bibi’s car park were primary car parks not overflow. I felt he was being pedantic, but if that way inclined he can be high maintenance…….. He already needs re-tarmacking!

Image result for overflow car park

In all seriousness, though, mental health issues are a dreadful thing. Terrible tricks can be played by a mischievous mind, which can be unrelenting in it’s goal of incapacitating its victim.

I know some very capable people who have been rendered completely ineffectual by not being able to maintain control of a malevolent mind. People with lots to offer made incompetent b believing the belittling nonsense of a spiteful psyche.

From my own bitter experience, I know how disturbing it is when you constantly hear voices telling you to do things you don’t want to. Although in my case the voices were those of my wife and daughter giving me chores, not the words of invisible nemeses’.

Genuinely, though, I have regular jousts with my demons. There are battles I’m victorious in, however winning the war is a different matter. I have things in my armoury to help with the battles, but finding a strategy to beat my foes completely has thus far evaded me.

What is the trigger to bring the fulfilment that’s eluded me on this journey of life? I know possessions don’t provide the solution to a happy existential soul. And If you buy me an Aston Martin car, I’ll prove it to you by remaining a right miserable get!

My brother Ian rather unhelpfully suggests that if I became ‘King of the World’ all my troubles would vaporise like a camp Pantomime genie. I say unhelpfully as I don’t think there is an executive office of ‘King of the World’. Even If there was, it’s not possession or status gratification I seek……. Nor, indeed, being a camp Pantomime genie.

My redemption lays through other, as yet uncharted, channels. However, I’m sure the point of existence will become apparent one day.

Until then I’ll muddle on with my mates the overflow car park, Bill the multi story on Eastgate and Frank the primary Bibi’s parking lot.

I’ve titled this narrative ‘The Hardest Prison’ as a metaphor of the unyielding difficulty escaping from mental health cacodemons can be for its sufferers.

Like prison their sentence varies from person to person. Some lose full mental capacity for short periods of time, whereas others are ‘lifers’ with no proper escape.

Luckily, unlike prison, mental health incarceration doesn’t involve the sowing of mail bags……. Unless you have mental illness and sow mail bags as an occupation!

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