When I was waiting for my bed to be available on the MHOA ward, I could hear a patient struggling. They drew the curtains shut and I heard one of the nurses speak. 'Now Melina, you have a choice. You either swallow your medication, otherwise under the mental health ACT, we will have to give it to you through sedation method. This is your choice, and you shoood choose the one which will be less painful for you'. By experience, it sounded like Melina suffered from Schizophernia. I never define anyone by their diagnosis, but having a diagnosis can help you understand someone else's reality. You may not be able to feel it, but reading it should be able to give most be a generalised understanding of what is going on medically, mentally and visibly.
I could hear Melina entering a psychosis. Her voice deepens, she started to spit and curse. She grunted, fought and wailed her way out of being sedated. I closed my eyes and for the first time today, instead of my numbness and anxiousness, I could feel her pain. I sobbed quietly while I heard her wails, her spits, and I thought to myself how unfair it is that someone had to 'live' in these conditions. I see no one else I know being sedated in hospital. I think of all my friends, living very care free and freely. Some could understand, but most people would not be able to begin to relate to this womens 'life'. I heard her movement on the bed end, and her yelling fucking arseholes as she fell silent and the curtains were drawn.
I can relate to Melina's pain, even though we have a different diagnosis. My intuition sometimes gets the better of me because I can actually feel pain, I'll take on other people's pain. This also happens because of my compassion and empathy, and then I start to get drained by always putting everyone's feelings above my own. I am capable to put my feelings first, but eventually I will worry about the other person suffering more and neglect how I feel. This is very damaging at times and can make life very difficult to live.
Melina has just been bought back from a CAT scan on her brain. She has sat down in the TV room, she's directly in view from my hospital bed. She is sitting with one of the guys on PRAC, sipping on her cup of tea. She seems very togther since the last hour and a half ago. She is articulately describing her pain to the prac student, who's attentively listening: "I have been in the mental health system for 21 years. To be understood is the hardest thing". I quietly seek comfort in the words Melina just said, and I feel a rush of warmth.
Melina describes her frustrations about the mental health system, and states how no one has followed her up. She describes the impact it's had on her, and expresses her anger. She states how she won't ever be able to experience love. A deep sadness over comes me, as some of my experience I have felt that I would be able to love, but no one would ever be able to love me.
You are all probably wondering how I'm feeling, and why I am ever worried about Melina's story. If anyone knows me, they will be picturing me wanting to run over to Melina and support her and help her. I listen to people with genuine interest, as I always wonder what other people's pain and experience is like. I know I have the wisdom to help people through theirs, like Melina is helping me through mine just by speaking or like she is right now. Imagine a vocal world where every mental illness sat and listened to each other. That reality is a reality I only ever see in my wildest dreams. Humans sitting down and interacting and accepting one another's sufferings and differences, and learning off each other instead of telling each other to change. How beautiful would that be. Then Melina would be able to seek comfort in her isolation too.
Myself, right now, I have dissociated to the point of numbness. The rejection, the pain, the memories and the shame all surfacing. I felt everything all at once, and now I want to seek self descructive behaviour to bring me back to some sort of familiar feeling.
I wish I could pin point exactly what happened when I went into a pyshcosis Monday evening. To be honest I felt the old darkness of the psychosis coming, but instead of feeling the feelings, I try to control them by dissociation. I know how I felt at the beginning of it, and the end of it. The middle feels like a dream I cannot remember, and it's made me question my sanity. All I know is over time my deepest suffering has surfaced, and there is no escaping it any longer. The only way out for me is death.
I wait in hope for all my friends to burst through the MHAO door, embrace me with full acceptance and understanding. Some have. Others sit in anger as they feel hopeless, others upset and not sure what to think. I understand, but please remember this pain is deeper then what ever you think you've done wrong. My closest friends have never let me down, but all I need is a 'how are you', 'I'm thinking of you', 'would you like a visitor'. Instead they think about themselves, how scary it would be to go to a Pysch ward. They need to look after themselves yes, but they also have to remember this is my reality of living with a mental illness. I didn't want to end my life over hatred for myself, I respect and value myself. I wanted to end my life over the pain inflicted on me, and only a very few people I have let into that dark world and have shown them this is what I have had to deal with, and this is how I cope under the circumstances I have. Everyone's pain in this world is valid, regardless if someone cannot relate.
The ward is very quiet. I'm in a room full of people who are suffering silently, but inside they are screaming loudly. I'm waiting anxiously for the psych team to evaluate me for the day. It means more talking, more crying, more anger and more despair surfacing. I look up at Melina sitting peacefully, sipping her cup of tea and smiling to herself. I smile too, but I still don't feel a thing. Melina's famous last words to the boy from PRAC: " you find yourself in situations beyond your control, it's never in your control and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it".