I was misdiagnosed with a tumour on my spine and overdosed with steroids in February 2016 by Kevin Martin, a doctor in Marondera, Zimbabwe. I had stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the time. The result was steroid induced psychosis. Since then I have been sectioned twice in the UK and once in Zimbabwe whereby according to the mental health act in the UK and possibly Zimbabwe, if you are deemed a danger to yourself, the state has a right to detain you for up to twenty one days.
I have published the story of the first time on kimonamission.wordpress.com under Psst. The second was in October 2017 – when I was arrested reading Luke 9:24 in London. Granted I was marching down the middle line of a street but you don’t do pavements when you are on a mission with Jesus and besides the cars could go around me. I landed up in hell – Lakeside Mental Hospital, Twickenham being sectioned for twenty one days but transferred to St Annes Hosptial in Poole ten days later and released just after.
The third time was in December 2017 in the auditorium at the Celebration church in Harare, Zimbabwe, where I dived onto a pile of mielie meal bags they were giving away to the poor. It was the most freeing feeling – in front of crowds and yet with total abandonment. I highly recommend it. It was as fun as a two year old would experience it. I landed up in hell again – Pariyenyatwa Hospital in Harare.
I’m in Victoria Falls now – supposed to be on an assignment for a travel magazine. My mother is here from the UK since my time in the Harare hospital. My teenage daughter and son have come for Christmas. Somehow they came to the conclusion that I’m not taking my medication prescribed by the Harare doctors. I’ve been too energetic for someone who is supposed to be drugged. They won’t let me out the room until I do – my daughter blocks the door. It’s confusing since I was all prepared to go into town and write my story for a travel magazine on my train trip I took a few days prior from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo.
I don’t want to take the medication because I will get the side effects – I always do. And I don’t want to be a zombie – I want to be FREE and creative. So we sit for hours in the room I’m renting. With attempts of forcing my jaw open and stuffing the tablets down. Eventually I manage to get to the gate – I’m not sure how – maybe I became invisible for a split second – where I was restrained for another hour by which time my back was aching with my backpack and my son hung over me with his arms gripped around me. And I feel like the only sane one out of all four of us. Naturally, I am anxious by this point although I’m quiet. But I’m still determined to get out into the open where I will be free.
The doctor in Harare had referred a doctor in Victoria Falls should I need one. Wisdom is his name – whom I meet for the first time. He doesn’t look like a doctor. He returns with his brother to inject me. In an attempt to postpone the sedation – I threaten them all to back off while I have a cigar which I have in my rucksack that I bought after my release from the Harare hospital – I’m using my fiercest tone and every foul word I can come up with. Ironically, this is an acceptable request and it works – to smoke. I’m hoping that they think I no longer need sedation because the nicotine has worked but it doesn’t so I use the butt and light another. Then I request a Zambezi beer hoping they will conclude that nicotine and alcohol are enough to sedate me. There is no beer and I’m not allowed to finish my last cigar and am held down and injected with 5ml of murky white liquid called CPZ (according to Wisdom when I enquired about the name of the drug the next day). I’ve tried to google it. Perhaps Wikipedia hasn’t discovered it yet. It smells like dog dip and as I’m lying there I ask if they got it from a vet. I ask them how long it will take – to die.
I’m carried into the room to lie on my couch which is my bed – got that idea from seeing Cecil John Rhodes’ in a museum in Nyanga. On waking I stand up to make tea and a second later I am lying on the floor hitting my head on my drinks cabinet. Like I’d been tripped by an expert. I thought I had died – it wasn’t fainting – I have no words for it.
The next day we all sit bored in the room – waiting for me to take my tablets although there is no mention of them. On finishing my coffee I see pink at the bottom and know that they have put one of them in my coffee. I spend the day drowsed.
The third day in a desperate attempt to leave the room, I boldly announce that I will take the tablets and demonstrate it openly. Reading Mark 16:18 before I pop them. I am allowed out – on my own. I march off to the Victoria Falls Hotel where I have breakfast. My family join me miserably as they had thought I was at the Rest Camp. We agree to spend the day apart and meet up later. I then book a facial and massage for 4pm and go for a swim. Lying at the pool the tablets take effect and I am no longer free spirited and spontaneous – I’m desperate and feel I need to be hospitalised. I’m not sure how to be on my own and feel I can’t function independently.
I’m supposed to be meeting Wisdom, the doctor at 1pm but to stall it – struggling to focus, I manage to message him and ask if there is Olanzapine in Victoria Falls which is a medication my initial psychiatrist at Bournemouth Hospital, England prescribed when I was first admitted for the reaction to steroids. I coped on it but the doctor in Harare said it won’t work. Wisdom doesn’t reply so I feel justified not to honour my appointment either. But I still can’t cope. I force myself to the spa and ask them desperately to shift my massage to right now. At least I can lie for half an hour without making a fool of myself.
Afterwards I go next door to the Kingdom Hotel where I sit in the heat on a deckchair drinking a coke, on the verge of panic. Just before my 4pm appointment I change into my costume and have a quick swim. I have the facial – I’m so desperate now and have little control. I walk through the grand lounge of the Victoria Falls Hotel onto the I Presume terrace, down the stairs, along the stone pathway toward the view of the bridge, I drop my bag and keep walking – my slops flick off and I keep walking – hitting the grassy slope I collapse under a cactus which hides me from any audience on the terrace. Some warthog chase each other next to me. My family are there and march down to demand we leave. I can’t – I have lost control of my body – my mind. I am shaking as my body is in shock. From two tablets. To stall – once again – I demand cigarettes. Miraculously that works again. I’m not a smoker. I’m bought a packet of Berkley cigarettes and given a squashed box of Lion matches from a waiter’s pocket. I chain smoke. Thinking of plan B. The sun sets and it is a pure beauty. A staff member arrives to entice me somewhere – telling me there are snakes. I refuse. The moon is full – I gaze at the stars in full display – I love the sky during the day with clouds and sunsets but stars remind me that I am part of a much bigger story and I cry. I do not deny that I would rather be in heaven. I want to be with Jesus and I seriously joke if He doesn’t come soon to rapture me – I’m gathering Holy angels to arrest Him. The ambulance team arrive and inject me twice to transport me back to the room.
I spend three days in the room sitting on the floor during the day – my couch is always occupied by a captor, mostly my mother. I cannot be bored – it’s impossible. Even if my mind is being controlled by substances and my body weak and panicked – I am constantly finding ways to stimulate myself. I drink at least six litres of water to detox and also due to a constant thirst which can’t be quenched.
I have survived missing the Victoria Falls carnival and any other New Year celebrations and my son leaves early on New Year’s Day 2018. I wake up to the smell of vomit. I get up feeling frisky but with an edge of denial that it is temporary and that I will soon be hostage again. It lasts through spring cleaning the room around my mother and teenage daughter. I leave it as late as possible to request a possible departure. It is approved. Except that I still don’t feel I can cope on my own and have to invite my mother – my daughter is sleeping in as she was out with friends for New Years Eve and thinks her drink was spiked.
I go back to the Victoria Falls Hotel to face my humiliation head on. It’s not that bad. I am reminded though by empathetic comments from various staff members as I do my walk of shame through the lounge – over the terrace towards the cactus. I inspect the damage to the lawn as I was pulling tufts of grass out while puffing my smoke and think it might look as bad as practising golf on a driving range – but it is a tiny patch. I continue onto the swimming pool. My mum sits in the Roman themed area and I’m in and out of the pool. I can’t swim well – my arm is still very swollen from a reaction to the first injection from Wisdom.
My mum wants to take my daughter to the hospital to be seen by a doctor. She is given a glucose injection and has blood tests which are clear. I jump in to ask him if I could get a prescription for Olanzapine as my mum wants to take me back to Harare or England to get them but he obliges.
The next day I take the prescription to the pharmacy and Zimbabwe doesn’t stock Olanzapine and I refuse to take any generics because of my history with medication in general. Fortunately, there is no facility in Victoria Falls to section me. They could put me in jail which would be more civil than one of those hospitals.
If I was drunk and behaved the way I had – I would be arrested and held overnight until I’m sober or sent home for a cold shower and pampered with cups of black coffee. If I did those things because I was high on drugs I would receive counselling and maybe offered a rehabilitation programme. Not put through hell. I can understand if I were suicidal or violent but I’m not – I just have invincible episodes which last a day and would prefer a bodyguard for these moments, if my safety is what the state is worrying about – it might be cheaper.
With the experience of two psychiatric hospitals and knowing how pathetic the environment is for someone having a manic episode, I would recommend instead a professional care team that in the event that one does have an unconquerable moment which appears they could put themselves in harm – a peaceful approach needs to be given – it only lasts a day or so. Perhaps calmly approached and taken to a quiet hospital with a kind doctor. Staying in a quiet room.
Not punishment – that’s for criminals.
FOUR THINGS I’LL SHARE ABOUT TRAVELLING WITH MY GUY
JESUS IS COMPETITIVE
This isn’t fairyland. The enemy continually spoils my plans but Jesus is a brilliant chess player and has twenty moves ahead. Mostly behind the scenes but I always seem to escape the flames. John Eldredge from Ransomed Hearts, Colorado says ‘we get it all back’.
I played golf on my own the other day and whispered to Jesus that I’m playing against Him and He said – ‘Bring it on!’
He is the Ruler of rulers and armies can’t defeat Him.
JESUS IS BRILLIANT – He is the smartest man who ever lived
I needed to buy my daughter a suitcase on one of my travels. I found the one I liked but almost didn’t buy it not wanting to carry two cases on the bus – train and then airport. Jesus told me that they will fit into each other – so I bought it in faith and they did!
JESUS IS COMPLETELY WILD AND PLAYFUL – He makes me brave
I walked across the border to Zambia in search of Him recently all because I made up a story a few years back set in Zambia – being rescued by a strong – kind man. I was sure Jesus said it was Him! I searched the internet to find out if anyone had seen Him in real since He ascended to heaven. PLUS I had written in a journal before that – a vision I had standing on a dusty road in the bush with Jesus and heard Him say ‘I will meet you there’. Oh well we all do crazy things when we’re love sick….
JESUS IS ROMANTIC
He says things like ‘I kept the sunset for you’ – who else could do such a thing? And ‘Let me love you’. And uses words like ravished. And I just love Him.