It saddens me that there’s still lots of stigma around people who have mental health issues. The past 10 years I’ve been on the receiving end of gaslighting, subtle mocking, verbal and emotional abuse.
This is why I’m quiet and don’t interact at parties or socialise much, I keep to myself to avoid judgment for what others may think of me. I’ve been called things like “a loser with no future”, “F**d in the head”, that my art is bad, that I’m not good for anyone. I’ve heard people refer to my medication as “happy pills” & “shut up pills” (they are far from happy). Some people have even referred to the mental health cage around the courtyard as a “monkey cage” because the patients would try and climb out.
While that may seem funny to some, it’s very ignorant and dehumanizes those who are suffering from mental anguish. It does not surprise me that people would want to climb out of the “monkey cage”.
I myself wanted to, as some of the staff in the mental health facility use emotional, verbal abuse, forced treatment such as stuffing pills down my throat and threats of violence if I don’t cooperate. My family put me in hospital after I became catatonic (non verbal). I was barely grasping reality after seeing and hearing demonic entities. So, you can imagine those abusive staff amplified the already frightening situation.
I’ve even saw a patient jump from a two-story balcony to escape the institutional abuse that still happens in the 21st century. It’s sad that those who are meant to care for you can do more harm than good. They see people with mental health problems as less then human. The moment you dehumanize someone you feel you can treat them how you like (like the Stanford prison experiment). While what I’m thinking or say may not always make sense to others, it’s not something I can “just knock it off” as some people put it.
What may seem like a fantasy and a made-up story to others is a lived experience to the person who is suffering. It’s not the magical thinking that’s the problem, it’s the concreting of ideas (the inability to discern fact from fiction).Magical thinking solidifies into the fabric of your entire reality, becoming a lived experience. It’s easy for others to simply say “knock it off” but unfortunately, it’s not possible when your symptoms are strong.
Many people still have this perception that someone’s mental illness is their identity and generalise. First and foremost I’m a human not a Schizophrenic. I’m a human who expresses symptoms of Schizophrenia when I become unwell. Unfortunately, most doctors dismiss what I say when I tell them I have Schizophrenia. They would not allow me to wean of my medication when I told them my brain is foggy and I feel dead inside. Over the years I’ve made several attempts to go off my medication but was unsuccessful. It turns out if you do not wean off them you can get a side effect called rebound psychosis. It’s been one year now and I’ve successfully come off my medication without a psychotic episode.
This was possible because my doctor thought that my physical health complications were caused by my medication. He agreed to step me down to the lowest possible dose and I was able to wean off them.
After a few months of the low dose, my brain started to function, I could think clearly again, and experience the full range of emotions. This might not be the case for everyone but for me it was the best thing I could have done to regain both physical and mental wellbeing.
2021 was a bit of a rough year but now I’m starting to find my inner light and share it with the world again.
People with mental health problems may not have the interpersonal skills to cope with everyday life and the abuse sent their way. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel… they are still humans with valuable gifts to share with the world.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
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