By Nutan Modha
There are cold facts about ‘suffering’ with mental illness in this age. It’s a cruel and silent isolator. However, here we are in 2020, with Corvonavirus and the external world is on the brink of a shrinking populous, and mass isolation. News sources from MSM to independents coming from two camps, claiming it to be real, and some not real. This uncertainty is almost certainly a royal attack on the psyche of a nation and this is a worldwide pandemic.
I used to believe that the medication was toxic and anything connected to pills was unfounded and inhumane. I became a studious little thing after my first breakdown in 1993 – I did what a lot of us do. I read vociferously around the subject.
I needed the affirmation that provided me with the idea – that my treatment was ‘wrong’ and ‘the cure’ was wrong. Out came R D Laing – the divided self and a litany of books and research into various types of illnesses of the brain. The fact that I sought an affirmation of this ‘gross wrong doing’, was more about me and Edward Munch: an internal scream after the dust had settled. Little did I know that the journey was going to be the opening of so much compassion, that my heart & empathy grow in leaps and bounds.
I gleaned that there were two sides to the equation and believed that my illness and it’s delusions had its roots in the unconscious surfacing and the muddle that became my mind was basically talking in dreams. I read Freud, Jung and even did a Jungian Analytical course – for one more feather in my tiny hat. I was determined to increase my cognitive functions to allow me an anchor to ‘get grounded’ – when in need.
The answers to my recovery took shape in mixed blessings as I analysed the wheres and wherefores in a relentless attempt to find the real answers.
I looked to the shamans in indigenous tribes, the recovery rate in the third world and compared the treatment cycle with western nations – where despite all the campaigns any charity could muster, I still felt very much like the local leper. Third world recovery rates are better by the way.
Looking back, my family (three sisters and no family history of mental health problems) had no idea how to treat their daughter who was set to be a high flyer. It was grasping at straws and I gave as good as I got. Jack Nicholson in ‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest’ style in hospital settings. I did not appreciate the authority over me and subjugations of a personal nature. I soon earned a reputation as walking in after several admissions the nurse’s eyes rolled upwards as I came in through the double doors.
It’s been seven years since Glasgow MH last saw me and the average MH outpatient does not seek being incarcerated – as the laws can lead to indefinite stays. Which would deprive me of my solace at a desk, beavering away with headphones, the internet and words. The stay can drive you nuts with being forced to sit, eat and smoke at the command of the charge nurse.
Hope in my darkest hour is knowing how to manage my illness, rather than waiting for the Damocles sword to drop. A psychosis has no firewall and there is no reign on this horse that can stop the surge of thoughts.
Hence sleep, food, rest and routine has been paramount in my daily dealings. I’m a natural introvert. The fact I have chosen not to go back to work and have chosen to pursue my passion for writing. Being occupied with small validations, such as writing, sewing, painting should be applauded. To add the fact that we, as the vulnerable in the UK are allowed monies to survive is positive.
Back now to the present day and a pandemic hovering over us in 2020. I have a creeping suspicion that ‘us mentals’ who have won the battle over cabin fever will be survivors & healers of many kinds.
An open palm that says come with me. If you want to live. I’m proof.