“There are parts of you that need to be brought back. And if anyone in your life is not okay with that… they are not your people. Your people will be glad to see that spark starting to light up again. So, if you have been slowly fading away my friend, this is the time to start saying yes to things that bring you joy and no to things that don’t. It’s really pretty simple.” Donna Ashworth, From ‘to the women’
“I started calling that girl back. The girl who loved living, the girl who danced instead of walking. The girl who had sunflowers for eyes and fireworks in her soul. I started playing music again, hoping she would come out. I started looking for beautiful moments to experience, so she would feel safe enough to show herself, because I knew she was in there. And she needed my kindness and my effort to come to the surface again.” s.c lorie @ butterfliesandpebbles
It has been hard coming back to Melbourne. All the reasons why I left have been hitting me like a tone of bricks. I went to my mum’s house yesterday to pick up some stuff. I was confronted with the dire state of my room, a symptom of my dysfunction all these years. Mum tells me that mold is growing on the windows. You could barely see the floor as I was sleeping on an inflatable mattress before I left and there were unpacked bags and clothes everywhere. I couldn’t find what I was after. I broke down in front of my support worker, slamming the cupboard door and crying as I told him how I wished I could clean all this up but everything is so hard. I feel awful the minute I wake up and really have no capacity to deal with anything. Losing things is a big trigger for me, and I cannot feel at peace until I find what I am after. I wish my mental health team would take my depression and distress as seriously as they take mania and psychosis. My dad told me that the police had asked him what phone carrier I was with when they came to his house looking for me after my shrink put a compulsory hospital order on me a little over a month ago. I had been worried about them tracking me using my phone, but everyone told me they only do that with high profile criminals. I was shocked to discover they were indeed thinking of using it with me. I wasn’t even threatening to hurt myself or anyone else this time. So many times in my life I would have loved a knight in shining armour to come and sweep me away. So many times I have gone to hospital asking for help but have been turned away, left alone to cry on the floor of the emergency department waiting room. I once left a message on my case worker’s answering machine telling him I wanted to kill myself and he never called me back. But when I am not asking for help they try and force me into hospital against my will using all arms of the state. My case worker tells me that I was “unwell”. I guess to them I “lacked insight”. But to me, I was going through a massive spiritual transformation. To me, I was changing the world with my high vibration. To me, I was bringing back parts of myself that I thought I’d lost long ago. I didn’t understand why they were trying to shut me down. They must not be “my people”, I concluded. “My people” are those who go to ecstatic dance parties. I felt like it was a conspiracy to keep me a “living breathing hollow numb as fuck person who cannot feel joy”, as I put it.
Dianna, in the documentary “Medicating Me”, trains students studying to become mental health workers and doctors. She askes them to take some medication. They are confused and say they don’t know what it is or why they need to take it. Dianna tells them now they know how their patients feel. I think this is a great way to help these people empathise what it’s like for patients with so-called “schizophrenia” or “bipolar”. When my doctor told me he would either be treating me from home or putting me in hospital under the Mental Health Act, I didn’t understand. It just made me ten times more scared than I already was. Yes it was nice to have them take me so seriously for once, but this time I didn’t really see myself as “unwell” and in need of urgent medical treatment. And I proved them wrong, as, with some time away, I managed to pull myself out of my “psychosis” myself.
Compulsory hospital order-
I hear him banging on my door,
Like a lion’s mighty roar,
Inviting me into his den,
Notes he scribbles with his pen.
“Insane” he writes and pulls out the Act,
I feel as though I’ve just been smacked.
He says he’s only here to help.
My insides make a quiet yelp.
So when he leaves to consult the boss,
I become one patient that they’ve lost.
I jump in the car and drive away,
And in my car that night I’ll stay.
But the fuel is right on empty
From my crazy manic frenzy.
Bless the service station that’s just been built,
Angels watch over me and provide a stilt.
I fill my tank and pay the man,
Dressed in pyjamas without a plan.
I don’t care what he thinks of me.
I just want to be me and be free.
I drive to a park and trample through the bush,
Everything feels like a dream, my brain is moosh.
I call my psychologist, tell her I’m on the run,
An ambulance tries to contact me and down goes the sun.
The fog is thick,
I now feel sick
But I refuse to give in
To this terrible sin.
I return to my car
I think of my ma
How it’s all her fault
This awful assault.
For she called the shrink
Told him my sanity was on the brink.
So he tried to lock me away,
So they can all say horray.
For I will be “safe”,
With grumpy nurses looking after this waif.
Pin her down and inject her antipsychotics,
So she will sleep through the codes and screams of other neurotics.
I am alone in the carpark,
Until another vehicle emerges in the dark.
My heart just about bursts through my chest,
For I think it’s the ambulance.
They lurk in the dark,
Just like a shark.
I need to get away,
As I fear I’m their pray.
I can’t see very far,
I just about crash my car.
I hear a man shouting,
I know my car needs rerouting.
Shaking, I leave the creepy carpark,
And off to my friend’s house I embark
I curl up in the car outside his place,
For he never comes home, what a disgrace!
Cold and alone
Without a charged phone,
I give up the chase
And drive to my dad’s place.
I know it’s the first place they’ll look.
But I am getting rather crook
I need to charge my phone and sleep,
I crash on the floor an emotional heap.
At midday I wake up to hammering next door,
It’s the bloody neighbour, I am ready for war
Until I realise he’s saved my arse.
Because I discover the cops on their way, what a farce!
I showcase my talent at escaping once again,
I drive to a secluded spot to get away from these men.
I switch off my phone and let the forest swallow me up,
My pyjamas get dirty as I run amuck.
A few hours later I return to civilisation,
I text a few friends as I search for salvation.
A friend kindly offers her holiday house,
I do a quick shop as I’m filled with rouse.
Shortly I am on my way to the place,
Where my healing will begin and I’ll feel God’s grace.
Where the hospital order cannot touch me,
Where I will finally, after all this, be free.
This poem for once has a happy ending,
I can feel the system is now bending
As friends support each other with respite that’s not a hospital,
But a beach scattered with shells and cuttle.