Thanks for your reply, Anewchapter. I was actually shocked when I woke up this morning and I noticed what I had written, so I thought I'd delete it again, before I saw that you'd replied.
I agree with you. I've only been to a psychiatric hospital once, after asking my GP to refer me and getting a referral for the same day. At the time I was living in Germany, and the hospital was high up in the hills behind Frankfurt, surrounded by a beautiful forest. It consisted of a number of 19th century buildings, and during the first night it snowed heavily, so that during the six weeks I spent there, everything was covered in a thick white blanket of snow. From the second day, I was allowed to leave the ward / building I was in, and from the third day I could leave the hospital with written permission from one of the members of staff. There were Christmas trees, frozen lakes, a gallery with fireplace and grand piano, a separate piano room where I spent a lot of my time, and the Christmas market in the nearby village - so I guess i have a rather romanticised view / memories of what it is like to be in a psychiatric institution. Of course I know that I was exceptionally fortunate, and that most places are more like impersonal high security prisons. And even in the place I've described, I didn't feel comfortable with handing over responsibility for my life to people I didn't know. There are probably very few people whom I'd find empathetic enough for me to be able to open up about my feelings.
Fear is my greatest enemy, but I can feel it inside me nearly all the time. I keep waking up in a state of shock at night, drenched in sweat and thinking I'm about to have a heart attack. I feel malnourished - although I've been ordering in a lot of my food when I get paid, I just don't seem to be able to get it right. I'm hungry most of the time, but I tend to only get an appetite for certain things, mostly high-calorie fast food. The previous time when I placed an order, I ran out of sweet things very quickly, and ended up craving sugar a lot of the time, so at the moment, my freezer is full of ice cream (and vegetables), and I've got far more yoghurts, chocolate mousse, cake and so on than I can possibly eat before the 'use by' date, but nothing that I can make into a quick meal!
I could go on and on about all my different issues. But my friend (whom I sent a message to last night, similar to the one I wrote on here) has invited me round for a cup of tea, so I'm going to get myself ready for some fresh air.