Every time I go to group (ew, group) or am in a hospital with other people who have mental illness (whatever scope of illness, whatever age range) there is often great comradery between us. It’s freeing. It relaxes the soul. Judgement free zone. Let’s compare scars, k? ❤
Setting: Common Room
I start with, “okay, what are you in for?”
Guy: *does not reply*
“Look, we are both in a psych ward because we are psychotic.
So, cut the shit. You’re among you’re people.”
Guy: “…uh, bipolar, possible borderline with psychotic tendencies.”
me: “Cool. I’m bp2. Used to be borderline. Go here often? Never seen you around”
Guy: “First time here.”
Me: “Oh, that explains it. What did you do to land yourself in this shit hole. Suicide?”
Guy: “Yup.” *starts to feel comfortable*
Me: “Same. What you on, bro?”
*Both of us continue to talk about self-harm, what we use, drugs (legal and illegal), childhood traumas and how our doctors suck.*
This comradery only happens when I am “among my people”. The admittedly fucked up. The people that are failures – failures at ending their own life.
The slicers and the burners and the self-medicating and the manic.
It’s always especially nice when I am in the presence of a fellow New Yorker who is around my age. And I do have a hope of seeing a familiar face.
In contrast, there is nothing more… I don’t know quite the right word. It’s more than annoying, but I’ll use the term annoying. There is nothing more annoying than a clearly effed up individual hiding it. And, also, bragging about their cure. Fronting. Someone who is fronting. I can’t blame them for their actions. It is still annoying. And it also makes me depressed, because quite frankly I’d like to be able to brainwash myself to that point of self-denial. To be able to really be the girl of my own dreams- a happy girl who wasn’t raped, assaulted, abused and isn’t on chemo suffering from multiple incurable painful chronic illnesses.
On the outside, we front. We all front. I know and I shouldn’t be annoyed when someone else does it. Wether we front be physical or mental, we do it hard. We all hate to act but are great actors. We have to hide our problems because of the sigma. Will future employers not hire us if he or she sees our scars? Will that boy still think we’re cute and funny when we get depressed over the weekend and don’t pick up the phone? We wear long sleeves, hide our pills, blame our weight gain on stress, put makeup under our eyes to cover the dark circles, drink caffeine and smile. Smile. Smiling is the hardest.
I’m real on here and I’m pretty real IRL. No fake smiles. I’ll smoke my medical cannabis around whoever and pop my pills. occasionally wear a t-shirt. Explain mania. Explain depression. Explain why I feel sick today- all to educate ignorant people on the different types of mental illness, the accessible care issues and medications that can cause more problems than the illness itself. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t give a fuck anymore most of the time. Not all the time. Most people don’t like me unless I’m manic anyway. Most of the time I’m a miserable fuck. Nobody likes me. So I just say it like it is. Anyway, when we’re all inside a confined space with each other, locked up, that caked on make-up we need to adorn our faces with can be peeled off. PARTY TIME! Who else is going to yoga at 10AM and art therapy at 11AM? Meet you there!
Inside, there is no need to front. It’s time to be real. It’s time to talk about the shit that’s actually going on in our own damned mind. I noticed we don’t talk to the doctor’s as much as our peers. There is no mask with our peers because we are equally fucked, unlike our doctor’s who pretend to have their shit together. No facade we have to keep up in order to protect a part of our true selves when it’s the same facade we share.
I’m really popular when I’m confined with other in-patients or outpatients.Way more popular than when I’m the outside world where everyone is faking it to make it. I can be more me. And they don’t hate the real me like the people outside do. They get the mood swings.
I get loads of phone numbers from young men (and women) who can finally let their guard down and appreciate that someone isn’t judging them for their illness- an illness that they have no control over. We get eachother. Plus, I think I’m like a 6 out here and a 9 in there. LOLS. In any case we share that
we are victims of our own minds.
Slaves to the chemicals in our brains that don’t function correctly.
An illness that isn’t a choice.
It’s a bit like being on WordPress and talking with someone who has the same diagnosis as you under the #Depression. Except, this is real life.
Some people you run into in places like that, however, can really suck any happiness or comfort away from you that you’ve gained. Energy vampires. And some people are really scary. Violent. Crack addicts coming off crack + dealing with schizophrenia. They are totally erratic and I’ve seen attempted sexual assaults in a so-called safe controlled space. And the doctors, too, are erratic. Quick decision makers with a new plan each day fucking our brains with new chemicals. Shoving pills down our throats without telling us possible side-effects. Ripping our narcotic dependencies while starting a new SSRI at the same time. Revving us up with the new awesome methadone gold-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow answer to our problems to get off benzoids but in reality methadone is just a new drug we all become addicted to anyway. LOL@Udoctor.
That’s why, besides the terrible food, cold rooms and showers, no privacy and threat of looming security guards equipped with tasers, we want to get the fuck out of there.
Makes sense, no?
Still,when in-patient or out-patient or group, whatever,
being able to see yourself a bit in another’s mirror
is that one silver lining.
All of the fucked up can congregate and celebrate in expressing how we truly feel— the bad and the good.
And, before I go, let me add that WE CAN say crazy and fucked-up freely if we feel like it, without the negative connotations the outside world puts on it. I like owning it and don’t mean to offend. And you know, you gotta be at least a little crazy to end up in a psych ward! Cut the shit. Be you. And I’ll be me. Scars and bad thoughts and mood stabilizers and all.