Hello all. My name is Peter McDonnell and this is an extract from my new book, ‘Viva Mental Health’. The idea is that it is a cheerful take on having a serious mental illness. I was very delusional, in grandiose ways (I thought I was the modern day Jesus Christ, sent to Earth by God to make some positive changes, at the time it made sense) and I also had psychosis back in 2001 when I first got ill. I later developed anxiety problems. I was lucky, I got better, and sharing my story is proving to be very enjoyable. If you would like to read more extracts and find out more about me and my book, you can visit my website I have made to support my writing.
At times I thought I had a telepathic relationship with various people, and that I could talk to people on the television telepathically. I spent a lot of time talking to Britney Spears, who became a sort of ‘Imaginary friend’. This extract is about when I thought she was sending me telepathic messages to meet her, so off I went. This was in December 2001.
Chapter 2 – Crazy? Me?
Because of complications at home I was staying at my dad’s for a bit, he was two minutes’ walk away from my mum’s, and I could stay there anytime. One day when he was at work, I broke a light switch. I had hit it, for some reason. Either I was having a talk with the switch itself, (I thought that objects had souls that I could talk to), and grew mad at it, or I was talking telepathically to a human and they angered me, so I hit the light switch as if to say ‘this is what will happen to you if you keep angering me’. Maybe a person in my head was telling me to hit it just for a laugh.
I decided I would repair it. Repairing things is fun. I needed to take the broken parts to B and Q and find a replacement. I didn’t know how to turn off the electricity, but I got a screwdriver and removed the plastic cover anyway. I disconnected the wires from the switch mechanism. I was now looking at the metal casing embedded in the wall and two bare wires, one red, one brown. I thought to myself ‘I know this is dangerous but God won’t let me get hurt.’ I decided to do it as quickly as possible and as I yanked the casing free from the wall, the two bare wires both touched the casing and I was electrocuted, receiving a strong shock in my arm. I was not thrown across the room or anything, but it hurt. I felt myself, no damage at all. I was lucky to hardly have been injured.
One day I was low on weed and money, so my THC flooded brain offered me the perfect solution. This day would not be like the others, this day I would meet with my imaginary friend, Britney Spears. I searched my feelings for where she was, and the idea grew that she was currently staying at The Ritz Hotel in London, room 213. The number 213 moved into my mind’s eye for no particular reason as I routinely turned on the television at about midday, so no reason not to, I would depart right away. I telepathically sent my idea of meeting her in London, a short train journey away, to my friend, who had a car. I waited for the whole afternoon, but my friend didn’t show. His loss.
That evening I put on my roller blades, and left for the train station. I soon boarded one of Network Rail’s worst carriages and got off at Waterloo station in London. I didn’t have anything on me except ten pounds, a book to read on the train, my personal stereo and possibly some cigarettes. I think I even took my passport, just in case. I was and still like to be quite a positive thinker, and I thought there may even be a chance that this time tomorrow I would be koching with Britney at her California mansion, if she had one. Or who knows?
I wore my rollerblades and had my regular shoes, one in each hand. I was wearing jeans and a casual ‘Nautica’ jacket. The plan was to meet Britney, in room 213, at The Ritz. After the night, we would both go to my home in Basingstoke, and I would pick up some things, and introduce her quickly to my parents and possibly my friends, then it was onto new amazing things.
I skated from Waterloo Train station to The Ritz, I think it took me about an hour and 45 minutes, using my instinct to decode Gods instructions to me, as to the route. If I saw a road sign that randomly stood out to me, I would follow it. It was dark and cold, but I was convinced that I was in good mental health, and I was quite happy, skating along, enjoying London, listening to ‘Oops I did it again’ on my personal stereo.
The main entrance to The Ritz was surprisingly understated. There was no one on the door so I rolled straight in, still wearing my skates with a shoe in each hand, and queued up in a short line of smartly dressed wealthy looking people. When I reached the front of the queue, I calmly asked the clerk, ‘Can you tell me which room Ms Spears is in please’. She dutifully checked her books. ‘Sir we don’t have a room for Ms Spears’. I replied ‘I think she’s in room 213’ ‘We don’t have any reservations for a Ms Spears’. I was a bit surprised, but I knew that sometimes people checked in with a false name, so I left the desk clerk to call security while I had a look around for myself. I started up the grand staircase, finding it difficult to walk upstairs sideways, as I still had on my roller blades. I wasn’t exactly blending in with my surroundings. When I got to the first floor I found somewhere to sit down and took off my skates and put on my Nikes, making a mental note that if I ever were to repeat the exercise, to change footwear on the ground floor.
I found room 213 easily enough, knocked on the door and waited. A cleaner answered, who did not speak English, but I could see that there was no one in this large room. I hallucinated hearing Britney’s voice behind me and turned around, but there was nobody there. I rethought my plan. I needed the loo, so I wandered through the restaurant on the ground floor to find the bathroom, and then wandered back to reception. The Ritz in London is an impressively grand and attractive place. Piano playing hung in the atmosphere of the spacious restaurant, melodic mainly right hand playing, Debussy, I think. I could almost hear Britney Spears in the music. I went back to room 213 and just hung around for a bit. I decided to check out the top floor, she may be in one of the nice rooms. I walked around the corridors for a bit longer, but soon the security man found me. He was not a large man, but he looked authoritative enough to deal with the odd straggler. He accompanied me to the exit, where there were black cabs waiting to pick people up, and while leaving, I wandered whether I should put my skates back on or take a taxi to the train station to go home.
This was my only experience of The Ritz, until a year later when I tried the same thing again, but more about that journey later.
I thought I would skate to Waterloo train station, and see a bit of London in the process. I don’t remember much about the trip back home, but I do recall stopping at a cinema and buying a coffee flavoured ice cream, playing on some arcades, and stopping to give five pounds to a homeless person on a busy street, where it occurred to me that an hour ago I thought that five pounds would be such an incredibly small amount of money to me by now, as Britney would be paying my way until I capitalised on my newfound fame.
I remember skating alongside the Thames, possibly near Westminster. I also remember skating across the Thames on a road bridge but I can’t remember which one. The only other thing I remember about travelling back to Waterloo train station at about nine pm through busy streets was almost flooring a lady with a broken leg who was using crutches, as my roller skating proficiency bubbled over into over confidence and the situation got away from me. She sent me an annoyed look as I apologised and I was embarrassed and newly schooled. I was careful after that. I soon boarded a busy train home, and I read a Mario Puzo book while travelling, not The Godfather but one of his lesser known stories.
Although I didn’t find my imaginary friend on that wintry night out to London, I did enjoy myself. As I got nearer to home I was wandering where she was. I concluded that she had been unable to meet me, and that she had tried also but failed. She could be anywhere in the world, but we had got our wires crossed. As I was on my street, almost home, I thought, maybe she left The Ritz to meet me at my house, and that’s why she wasn’t there. Maybe she was right here – 100 metres away, having a chat and a cup of tea with my mum as we speak. This was good, the evening endeavour was not to be wasted after all. I began to look for expensive cars parked on the street, none there, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything. I opened the door and she was – not there. I was disappointed, but a nice joint would soon sort that out, it always did, temporarily, but I paid for it by being affected by more craziness. Some people can smoke weed perpetually and not be adversely affected. For me it felt good, but didn’t do me any favours in the long run. It was fair to say that the craziness had been brewing up without my awareness for months. My awareness of reality was dim.
The next morning I was trying to meet Britney again, and I was feeling like maybe Paris was a good idea. The fact of the timing of my meet up thoughts was happening now suggested to me that now was the best time to do it, she must be in the neighbourhood, and wasn’t in London. The next best place for a meet up would be Paris. Paris would be a fitting place to meet up with a star like Britney. If I went to the Eiffel Tower she would surely show up. I made up my mind to go to Paris. As I write this I’m wishing I was still so adventurous.
At times I was sure that I was really linked to Britney Spears. At other times it felt like she was imaginary. I thought it best to at least try and find out by putting in the effort to meet her.
About the Author
Peter McDonnell lives in Hampshire, England. You can contact him via his website www.petermcdonnellwriter.com, which includes a number of excerpts from his book.