Dominic's blog part 1

I'm anticipating the broadcast of the Bedlam episode in which I appear tonight - episode 2, Crisis - with mild interest, a touch of apprehension, a slightly rueful feeling. I'm not in any doubt at all, I know that I did the right thing by agreeing to participate in the making of the film, and regardless of what impression is given or how it is received, that knowledge is secure.

I wanted to do this, I meant to do it, and the film is a fair reflection of how it was for me on the triage ward in Lambeth Hospital in the immediate aftermath of two suicide attempts. This is what it was like, people, and I think it's better that this is known and shown under these circumstances - careful, controlled, collaborative - than not shown at all.

The ruefulness is the same feeling one gets about any decision made in the past that has its ultimate result in the present. You look back at yourself agreeing to do something, imagining your younger self chuckling and thinking: 'Yeah, let's do it, this bit's easy, and Future Dom can deal with the tough stuff later on'.

It was easy, too, the filming. More than that, it was really helpful to talk every day to Paddy and Alice, who made the film, not just about how I was coming to terms with what was going on in the aftermath of my suicide attempts, but about sport, books, food, families - all normal things, which were at a premium at the time.

Was it strange, being filmed at this critical and horrifying juncture in my life? Not really. I was frantically trying to normalise everything anyway. Waking up every morning in a secure ward and remembering that you have recently attempted to murder yourself is as strangest it gets. Being filmed on that ward is only more of the same, a matter of degree, not difference.

I've seen the film a couple of times. What freaks me out most - apart from the unavoidable discomfort of seeing and hearing myself as a third party - is how well I seem, how 'ok'. I can remember those scenes, and I know that I was desperately holding myself together, and I can't see that from the outside. Maybe I'm a better actor than I realise.

The apprehension I'm feeling, apart from for being busted for being myself, is really to do with public reaction to the film.

More than any mild sense of foreboding or concern, I am genuinely interested to know what other people make of it. My family and I went through a period of something that can probably be called 'hell' without a particular sense of exaggeration, and some of that is captured on the film.

While you don't want to shout about these things, given the situation, it would be foolish and potentially harmful to shy away from the reality of it now. You wouldn't wish it on anyone else; but there is surely some value in sharing the horror through the proxy of well-made TV? Isn't that how we grow as people, by experiencing what we can of other people's lives and so gaining some insight and empathy? I hope tonight's episode of Bedlam is able to do a bit of that - I hope you enjoy and learn something from it. I certainly did.

 

Website Design by Limetree Products