Welcome to the cupboard of broken toys — Part 24


I am having a low self-esteem day. Normally I aim to schedule these at weekends, when I am off duty, or days when I can just hide somewhere away from it all. I really need to spend quality time hiding away from it all. The doctors, nurses and medics get it. Sadly, the Sergeant-Major doesn’t. I am in my office, sitting with my head in my hands and wishing there was a way for it all to stop. He comes in and finds me.

“What the fuck are you mithering about now?” he demands.

I shamble to attention and stare ahead of myself with the regulation ‘glazed-indifference’.


He inspects me. I can smell his bad breath. I can see his nostril hairs. He repulses me in ways I can’t begin to express.

“You haven’t shaved properly, this morning, Bombardier.” he tells me.

“And you are disgusting beyond any comprehension.” I say inside my head.

Actually I know I’m not well-turned-out. I am back in the crap-zone. If he were to ask me, I could report that I haven’t shaved, washed, cleaned my teeth, showered, done my laundry, eaten in the cookhouse or been on parade for the last five days. I know I am sub-par and disgusting. But I am poweless to do anything about it. I am depressed and upset. The stress vomiting is back. Hooray!


  1. That Sergeant-Major
  2. Myself
  3. Something that I don’t know the name for…
  4. Stress vomiting.
  5. My life.

When you meet people who have survived suicide attempts, and you are trying to be a better person, you learn two things: 1. Don’t challenge them on their motives. 2. Don’t give them advice on ways to succeed.

The medics are always challenging suicide-attempt survivors on their motives and offering more successful ways for them to achieve their alleged aims. Doubtless there is some kind of psychological thing going on here. But, for me, more than one of my friends on Ward 9 has taken that way out and I don’t like anyone trivialising it. In fact, it makes me so upset I can’t say.


  1. People pretending to be suicidal to get attention.
  2. People trivialising those who are genuinely suicidal.

They have decided to re-admit me to Ward 9. I no longer know how I feel about this. I have had a look at my records. My memory about all this is completely skewed. I was admitted here in August 1979 at the age of 22. I am now 24. WTF has happened?

For most young patients on Ward 9 there is the sheer novelty of: 1. Being away from the Regiment. 2. Being on a Mental ward. 3. People being kind and supportive, rather than nasty and horrible. 4. Having to deal with your problems, rather than pretend to ignore them.

I have been round the loop on this one so often that I no longer care. I arrive, occupy my bed-space and, then, occupy my own mind.

Some of the lads try to get me to come and watch TV or come and have tea. I don’t sneer or regard them with contempt, but, for me, those days are over. I know the routine and I do precisely as little as is necessary.

I attend the Ward Group on Wednesday. One of the patients is trying to say he is depressed, in a tortured way. He says he doesn’t quite know why he feels lacking in energy.

“You are fucking depressed!” I shout, unecessarily loudly. “That is the whole thing. Nothing else. Accept it and move on.”

Amazingly, the rest of the session is not that well developed.

Other Ward Group sessions go the same way. I can see there is some debate amongst the Doctors and Medics about whether I should continue to attend Ward Group on the grounds that I now know how to manipulate it. They are in a classic double-bind. If they include me I will continue to manipulate it. If they exclude me they will have to acknowledge that I have broken the power of ‘The Group’

Har har har har har har!


  1. Ward Group.
  2. Myself.