TV Asylum

Last night I was watching the BBC program ‘Who do you think you are?’, it is a program I like many many others enjoy and the story last night with all it’s twists and turns was really great. They had landed up in Plymouth, where I lived years ago, following the life of Greg Wallaces’ great great Grand Mother, on the surface it was a normal story for someone of her time and social standing, but then one of the shockers they exposed was that she was committed to an Asylum where she eventually died. For the purpose of showing the size of an Asylum and to explain the terrible way mentally ill people were treated, they went to the Asylum that she was committed to. As the car swept round and off a country road the shot gave a long view past a set of gates and along the drive to the main building. I know I made some sort of noise, though I can’t remember what it was, but I did follow it with ‘Oh my God, that is where I was’. Moorhaven hospital has now been converted into residential housing, I checked on line this morning and it was sold in 1993 for redevelopment, but that didn’t change the cold, blank and shocked feelings I had to see it again after so many years. I wrote before about a black period in my life which resulted in my being committed for about 2 months. I haven’t seen the place since then and until today, I had even forgotten the name of it.

I am in some ways still a bit shocked by it and stunned how in just a few seconds that the trigger of seeing a building I had wiped from my mind, can have. In many ways that is exactly what I did, I wiped it out. Yes, I did still remember the fact I was there and the odd strange small thought of the place, but not the full clear images that the unexpected viewing recalled instantly. From that point last night to right now I find I keep drifting back there, remembering strange things like the fact at that time I was a vegetarian and the kitchen had produced a vegetable pie, but it had a suet pastry on top, suet is a beef fat, at the time it upset me hugely. I remember when I first arrived there I sat in the day room, chain smoking and starring at the grubby carpet of the day room floor. All I felt was blank and all I wanted to do was vanish. Looking back at it all there are huge blanks and I can’t help feeling that although the memories have to be there somewhere, my mind on it’s own has boxed it up and isn’t keen to let me open them, I doubt if there is any good in opening them and I am not intending to but how do you stop your mind doing what it wants. It is easy to say keep yourself busy, but as we all know that only works so far, my mind wonders all the time and I often find myself staring into space and being a million miles away, today the difference is my mind is only going to one place.

It just shows how a few seconds of a TV show can effect you. This isn’t the first time that has happened and I am sure everyone has had memories stirred and in the past they have always been mixed happy and everyday things but this is so different. It has left me wondering how many people out there this happens to daily, people who are enjoying a simple TV program and find themselves catapulted into a dark painful past life. TV is a powerful force and always has been and in our modern world we all sit and watch, I had until last night never thought that such strong negative feelings, were also in it’s power to ignite.