This part of my story is incredibly difficult to write. No one EVER expects to shout out proudly, ‘Hey, I’ve been admitted into a psychiatric hospital’. No one ever wants to feel like they’re crazy, weird, losing grip on reality and could be filmed for a scene in One Flew over The Cuckoo’s Nest. But it happened. It happens to MANY people. It even happens to those of us that think we’re sane.
If you’d have asked me when I was 24 and going through exactly this, if I was glad it happened or if I’d be shouting it from the rooftops, I would have crawled into the nearest camel’s butt crevice and never come out to face the world. But I am, and I do.
Mental illness has affected my life profoundly. It stopped my life completely, it showed me how much courage I had, how much pain I could take and how many incredible ‘crazy’ people there are in this world. But most of all, it taught me to embrace the weird, wild and unique part of the brain that so often gets left behind in those tiny primary school desks and chairs (that you now wish you could fit one leg in, let alone your entire ass), it taught me about impermanence, acceptance and vulnerability.
Without this short period of my life, I would not have experienced half of the things I have. I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud of every aspect of my life. But most of all, I’m proud of those that are much worse off than me and face incredibly frightening experiences like these on a daily basis. It is these people who inspire me to be honest, truthful and brutal about my experiences. I wish with every fibre of my being that somehow, we could take away your suffering.
I am often asked why I smile all of the time. I smile because I made it, I smile because I’ve been to the pits of hell in my mind, I smile because life is amazing, I smile because I have incredible people in my life who helped me understand and care for myself, but most of all, I smile because I AM ALIVE.
Throughout my blog, I’d really like to talk a lot about mental health, creating awareness and talking together about how we can help each other as a species rather than judge and mock those that are suffering.
And this is how it began ……