Sunday, 22 January 2012


I was up all night, but able to get a six hour nap in today. I woke up to an empty house at five in the afternoon as my wife had gone to her parents for the evening. After playing several hours of Depeche Mode I  settled on a documentary on the Hillsborough Tragedy. For those that don't know, on the 15 April 1989 96 Liverpool F.C. fans died when the South Yorkshire police did such a poor job of crowd control that fans were pushed through a gate to their deaths.

Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson & others-"Ferry Cross The Mercy (Hillsborough Appeal)"

The tragedy occurred in my home city of Sheffield, when I was 19. Watching this documentary has brought back a lot of hard feelings I've hidden through the years, and they are all coming out tonight. When I'm home. Alone.
Shankley Gates, Liverpool, Merseyside

Knowing family friends who were police that day (and later blamed for the disaster), and others who were fans of Sheffield Wednesday which plays at Hillsborough, and others still that served in other various helping capacities really brought this mess home to me. 

King Edward Hospital, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

I was employed at a hospital and although I wasn't on shift that day I went in to work, knowing they would need any set of trained working hands they could get. I went to my superior and asked to send me where I needed to go. That's what I remember most about Hillsborough. It brought out the best, and worst, in mankind.

Northern General Hospital  A&E, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Instead of bringing in people who were going to have minor surgery that day I was attempting to help sort some of the 700 wounded (most of whom never appeared at hospital). Telling family members that no, I hadn't seen their loved ones and direct them to the makeshift morgue/triage area at the gymnasium. Recognizing these family members as they kept coming back and calling hour after hour hoping for a different answer. By far we dealt with more distraught family members than actual victims. All the while I hadn't yet dealt with my own feelings of my mum's illness and death I was trying to help others deal with theirs. 

Fans pulling up fans as the gate to the pitch is opened

Looking at the clock its now 11:30 in the evening, Jane's home and tucked and I am feeling all of this like it is yesterday. My emotions are extremely raw as a consequence of having Huntington's which makes it hard for me to sort through and process my feelings. Often I use other's experiences as a guide to how I should behave and feel, tonight I don't have that. What do I ask, Jane how do feel when thinking about your feelings when you dealt with hundreds of families looking for their loved ones? Chances are she hasn't.

My psychiatrist tells me I suffer from four issues these days, in no particular order: post-traumatic stress disorder from discovering mum in combination with dealing with Hillsborough, survivors guilt over these tragedies, Huntington's Disease, and clinical depression/anxiety. Of these, the survivor's guilt can be helped through talk therapy.  Huntington's Disease,  Anxiety & Depression can be medicated and PTSD can hopefully be helped through Cognitive Therapy. 

Is it any wonder that I suffer from insomnia, have attachment issues and other mental health issues? Its days like today when I am so grateful I have Jane in my life.  It takes a special person that can put up with all of these issues.
Hillsborough - The  Documentary pt. 1/6

Special thanks goes to Jane Rudd Ware for going through the myriad of links to find the ones that would be most informational to outsiders to the tragedy. 

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1 comment:

  1. Excellent blog post, Paul. I'm having a rough morning and I needed to remember that other people suffer too... not just me. I'm not alone!