As a self appointed mental health advocate, I have been fortunate enough to be approached by the BBC a few times throughout my crazy journey of ill mental health and my latest opportunity was being able to share parts of my story via the BBC Radio4 and Made In Manchester documentary, “Black Girls Don’t Cry”. Due to resounding success, it is available once more. It airs January 3rd at 8pm BBC Radio4 but is also currently available on iPlayer. Simply Google, “Black Girls Don’t Cry” or https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b9zfws and you shall be able to hear two other brave black ladies as well as myself, share our stories of ill mental health. Catch it while you can. It really gives great food for thought.
I have a vortex of solemn energy that lingers above my soul and heart,
No vacuum of pills nor therapy can suck it away,
Nor positivity can shrink it,
Or banish it,
Or lead it astray.
No one can be more frustrated about this than I,
I constantly try to shift it,
But its tangled and knotted roots,
Are so thick and deep,
They have tricked my body into thinking they belong.
I want to run,
I want to hide,
But there is no getting away from this,
It’s in me,
Part of me,
This giant tardis,
Of numbness and misery,
Why it chose me is a mystery,
But I know in my heart,
That I will never be free,
As each day it gets more firmly rooted,
Holds me back from my potential destiny,
Deviding me from my friends and family.
Alone I must suffer and endure this,
Riddled in pain,
Watching life go by,
And all the things that I will miss,
Because there is no escaping this.
This poison will stay with me for as long as I exist.
I did not ask for this.
I do not relish in it.
I did not choose to be a host.
You think I am self indulged and selfish,
Able to set myself free,
Embrace love and be happy.
Oh how you are wrong!
I did not invite or agree,
For this curse to be bestowed upon me,
To live life in constant misery,
It chose me!
You’ll never understand it unless you also have experience it,
And so the fact that you don’t,
Ignites relief within me,
I would rather your frustration,
And gradual segregation,
Then for you to have to live through the same as me,
In order to fully understand me.
As this black hole of darkness eats away at me,
I would not even wish it upon my biggest enemy,
Is not the type of life that I would wish for me,
But I caught it,
I must undergo all that comes with it.
The black hole,
Of ill mental health,
Eats away at you,
Until one way or another,
There is nothing left of you,
And seemingly no way out!
So I have been feeling unwell for a while now, well actually upon reflection, all of my life. A whole thirty-two years, but more recently I have been struggling through yet another relapse, avoiding hospital narrowly and accepting home visits for a while. When I say unwell, I mean mentally. I haven’t always known it, which made it easier to ignore, but now I realise, stuff like this will always catch up on you. I don’t want to sound like a cliché but I am the female with the, “Daddy Issues”! Love is hard to find, most of us take it for granted but as human being’s, whether we admit it or not, it is an empowering emotion that we all need and seek. We can fool ourselves into thinking that we have control of who we love and who loves us and perhaps we can manipulate love when it comes to platonic relationships and romantic relationships but an integral part of our upbringing and who we are and who we become, stems from the love that we should have received from the day we were born, the unrequited, unconditional love of those we are born from or those who have raised us. Of cause not all of us are lucky enough to have experienced that, I am not naïve and I acknowledge this, but also see that the repercussions that can lead from this can have detrimental results. I was unplanned, like a lot of babies are, my biological parents only just passed as adults, which is common but neither which are my fault. If there is anything that will fast track you from being a teenager or bone idol eighteen year old, it should be the birth of an innocent, dependant new addition to life. How can you not dote upon and fall in love with a someone who is basically a part of you!? It may take time to come to terms with, but in my opinion, becoming a parent is something that you cannot and should not run away from, ready or not, you make your bed, you must lye in it! The repercussions of being dismissed can be catastrophic, trust me, I know! So my father never planned me, accepted me, took responsibility of me and disowned me. To him that may be the end, done and dusted, but the pain weighs me down each and everyday and my idea and understanding of love is very messed up and complicated as a result. It isn’t all about him but I believe him to be a root to a lot of my mental health issues, not just emotionally but genetically, as he has Bi-Polar! I thank my Mother for doing the right thing, accepting, loving and raising me. For a long time it was just the two of us, but now she has an additional family of her own and my step father and his family are wonderful, I have a beautiful little sister who I adore, but I still often feel ostracised and like an inconvenient and spare part, especially now as I am less independent as I used to be. My needs now as an ill adult are much more then what my needs were as a child. I do not begrudge the situation but being the emotionally unstable person that I am, I often feel that life is to hard, that I am a burden and that it would be better and easier for everyone if I was no longer here. Throw in some psychosis, getting my buttons pushed and goaded into taking action and physically removing myself from everyone, everything and this world, albeit scary to transition into the unknown, the concept seems less painful then being who I am.
For the last three years, I have been stuck on a carousal of darkness. I seem to mend and make progress, I have millions of ideas about what I want to do, who I want to be, and then all of a sudden and all at once, I fall back into depression and self loathing. Up and then down and then up and then down! I sabotage myself and life in one way or another, get sucked back into hospitals, psychiatric wards, then home treatment, and then released back into the community, living independently, only for the same thing to happen all over again and again, thus has been the pattern of my life since 2013 and I cannot seem to break it. There were fractures before, chinks in the armour but I kept getting back up, I still want to but it is no longer as easy, What changed? I honestly don’t know. I guess I could not hide from the truth anymore. With all of my heart, I wish that I could. I don’t want to hurt those that my life has meaning to, just the idea of it makes me feel sick, but only when I am thinking rationally, which if I am honest, is not always. There lye’s the problem and that is what scares me! When I loose my rational state of mind, when I cannot see clearly, all that I am and all that I know is pain and I just want it to end, whatever the consequences! When in crisis, there are no consequences, no after thought, no guilt, just a wish for silence and pain free tranquillity. What more can I do, I take my medication, engage with my support, live my life distracting myself from harmful thoughts and ideas, document my feeling’s, try to make a positive from a negative and write to and for you readers, to show you some light, remind you that you are not alone, but all the while, I personally feel alone, frustrated and unhappy because I would not wish this agonising cycle of life upon anybody, not even the man who made me.
I am a very creative person. I have a degree in Drama, I used to act professionally, I now write poetry, enjoy singing and learning to play guitar. I also like to watch films and TV in the genre’s of satire and drama. Raising awareness for mental health is my passion, alongside this website I am in the middle of getting my autobiography edited with the intent of publishing as a free e-book, I want to write a play and I have started vlogging on YouTube, “adiaryfromnoone”.
Social Media, Film, Television and Theatre are the platforms that I aspire to reach and share with. I am a believer in seeing what is already out there, because being out there proves that it works. I want to decode why it works because that will be my way in. Such ambition is difficult when some days I cannot even get out of bed, when I am isolated and not really aware of what is actually going on in the real world beyond my bubble. Without the key knowledge, any experience, support or training on how to network, target and successfully raise awareness and become established, I feel stuck and blocked from successfully interacting with the amount of people that I could potentially help. I am happy to admit my truth, and recognise the hope and comfort in this that it gives to others alike and with interest. The silver lining is, for the most part it keeps me busy. Although I have a short attention span and it is impossible for me to get all of my ideas done, let alone one.
Today I watched a movie called, “It’s Kind Of A Funny Story” which was described as a romantic, comedy drama. It caught my eye because the brief synopsis described a teenager (aged sixteen) who checks into a psychiatric ward. I was diagnosed and prescribed medication for depression at the age of sixteen, I have been on many psychiatric acute wards but much later on in life, none the less I could identify with the scenario and thought it may be worth my while to watch. There is a great power in empathy, be the story fiction or non-fiction, most ideas spin from some kind of truth and this is a film that I felt that I needed to watch. It has a four and a half star rating on Amazon Prime, so many people all over the world must have watched it, or at least have access to it and so I wanted to know what it was about this film that made it so appealing to the public, just like the cult classic, “Girl Interrupted” and “Prozac Nation”, what spice do I need to make my work appealing to all!?
Without giving to much away, I could relate to a lot in the film, many of the issues that the characters had, but I must admit that I recognised a fine editing brush that glossed over the more serious matters and issues in the story. As an English ex-patient (baring in mind that the film was American and set in Brooklyn, America) who has been admitted to hospital’s both in London and Birmingham, from my experience,they do not have mixed gender wards anymore, there is 0% chance that you can escape the ward unnoticed, bedrooms are all independent now, visitors can not enter restricted area’s such as your bedroom, you do not get daily therapy, most relationships formed with fellow patients in hospital don’t last when released back into society and the community, only being admitted for a week does not usually happen. The film covered a very serious taboo and issue (the realms of mental health and mental health care) in a very light way, challenges were solved rapidly and the fairy-tale romance seemed far from realistic to me. The story is told through the eye’s of a sixteen year old, perhaps that is why it was portrayed so lightly!? I felt uneasy as it finished, it seemed extremely positive, (this is not intended to be a spoiler but just the way that I perceived it) boy gets girl, boy recovers and finds himself in just one week, boy goes on to recover, boy moves forward, boy develops new dreams and lives a happy life! It is more of a coming of age story then a story about the complicated ins and outs of mental health. It was more of an introduction to mental health then a heartfelt and telling story, perhaps this is where I am going wrong, perhaps my accounts are to truthful and deep. People want to see romance and a happy ending, they don’t want the tears, the sob stories, to hear of people actually taking their own lives and perhaps in order to reach more people, I need to meet in the middle but the reality is, the world of mental health is harrowing, there is blood, sweat, tears and death and I know this to be true because it is my reality. I am not bitter, I am glad that the protagonist felt that he could cope, barely looked back and went on to live a happy, fulfilled and successful life but as someone who knows that world, as someone that hasn’t recovered, as someone who has been told by a professional that I will never recover, I would be a liar if I did not admit to be envious of that sixteen year old boy!
I would recommend watching it but ask you not to be fooled by the happy ending because from what I know, that is very rare. In all honesty, the story isn’t very funny at all! Suicide or contemplating suicide is very far from funny, it was more of a lucky story, the boy found help before he became helpless, that notion makes me happy.