I’ve been staying at a women’s crisis house in Islington for about two weeks. So far it’s bloody hard work (ALL the talking!) but much less clinical-feeling than the last crisis house I stayed at. This is my 5th crisis house or hospital admission this year, and after that much time in institutions of one kind or another, little things start to mean a lot. For example, I’m unspeakably grateful that the beds have sheets and duvets of the kind you might find in an actual house; I was starting to think that the next time I saw a standard-issue NHS mint green blanket, I would use it to abscond out the window.
There are also several full bookcases, whose contents are bafflingly wide-ranging, but fall into 4 broad categories:
- Feminist favourites: Carol Ann Duffy, Sylvia Plath
- Easy reading: humour, thrillers, romance novels
- Mental health books
Structuralism and post-structuralism for beginners
Feeling like life has no meaning? Have you tried looking at a cartoon of Ferdinand de Saussure explaining signifiers and signifieds? Honestly, I feel better already.
Sex tips for straight women from a gay man
Contains such tantalising chapter headings as “Penis primer” and “A quick course on condoms.” This chapter is helpfully divided into why, who, when, what, where & how. Never let it be said that the mental health system doesn’t encourage patients to use their time productively.