The hefty price of mental illness

The mind is a labyrinth… A planet that hasn’t been discovered, a room in the dark that you think you know…. The mind, who can claim they understand it? Like going through a new city without a GPS; without speaking its language… The mind is the unknown… what makes us tick? Why me and not you get affected by this and not that?

We have theories. Oh this we have. We have got books and essays, experiments and graphs, longitudinal studies, coefficients, variables, control groups, placebos… We have got neuro-imaging, DNA markers, studies on indigenous people…

But the truth is scientists are only tiptoeing, trying to read this overwhelmingly complex cartography with very limited tools and a heck of variables that are almost infinite.

Zoom in now into you, into the individual. How many zillion variables are there that make you unique? Genes, social upbringing , education, health, and god knows what…

You feel unwell, gather up your courage and seek help. You go to whom you think she or he holds the answer to your despair. You wish for a magical cure, you surely aren’t the only one who feels this way. There must be others who got better, others who were saved. Why can’t you be one of them. But this is the road less travelled my friend.

Your symptoms are interwoven like a beautiful carpet. You recall some, but forget others. You think that talking about this particular subject is important, while it is not really why you are suffering. You are unwell, you cannot focus, you sleep too much or too little. You overeat or starve, you cry or sit like a stone for hours. You hurt yourself, or even others. You still believe somehow that it will pass.

You want to escape but where do you go and leave your mind behind? You dwell on death, on freedom. Stop this pain. Please stop it. I am too weak to end my life, to tired to explain myself. I have lost my patience, I have lost my compass. Nothing feels the same, life became like and old broken TV set. Things are all grey, nothing interests you. Where are those dreams? When you don’t have a favorite color, movie, song, book, meal, place, activity, hobby… When you think you could do anything or be anyone and find that you have absolutely neither interest nor knowledge of what you could be… When you become wart in a beautiful face, a fly in the perfect meal… You seek help.

They drug you up. Three days one pill in the morning, up it to two on the fourth and wait for another three days. Now it is ok. You won’t feel anything but worse. Throw up, yes but preferably not your meds. Cannot get up in the morning? Was it your vivid dreams or your nightmares? Want to stay in bed? Read a book? Oh yes the letters jump off the page? Then try to relax? Now time to increase again your meds. Awful headaches? Is your heart jumping from your chest? Are you staring without blinking? Oh maybe take this other drug to reduce the side effects. Now be patient, you are a patient after all.

People find you even weirder than before? You are not crying now. You are not arguing. You are not laughing. You are doing nothing. A fast train you boarded but there are no windows. You lost track of time, of space, of meaning. At least you knew that you are unwell before. Now you won’t know wether or not you exist.

Oh sorry, wrong treatment. That is fine, what were the stats again on getting the right diagnosis from the first round? No idea. So off you go.

Remember all those amazing side effects you just barely survived? Now it is time to get the withdrawal effects. How long? Oh why do you assume they will know the answer to this question? More nightmares, dreams they call vivid but that are worse than reality, vomiting, dizziness, aches everywhere, now you have cholesterol too, didn’t we tell you to stop eating like a pig? Now what is it you are saying? Electricity in your mouth? Are you sure? Humm, we heard of brain zaps… Well you see they are like this screeching sound just like chalk on a blackboard; a diamond ring on a window, a train that comes to a halt with this sound that makes your cells shrink…

Ok put this all aside. How are we doing with the new meds? Off you go, half a pill for three days, plus one week of 25 mg of this other one, if anxious up to 3 pills of that. Yes? Ok now some more? But be careful, this new drug is the golden cure. Are you itching? Sure? Cause you can die from a skin condition if you increase too quickly. Why a skin disease that could get me blind if my troubles are in my soul. Now, now.. don’t be a spoiled brat.

What till when? Is there like a threshold? A danger zone? Oh how can we know that? We are not sorcerers. Yes yes, you will get your feelings back. When? A month or two? What to do when you are suicidal? Don’t dwell, is it not written that some drugs make you suicidal although you are taking them because you are suicidal?

Just wait and see. Oh look. There there, you got back your focus and your personality is surfacing again. Shit! Isn’t this what you wanted? No actually this is what brought me to you in the first place. My problems have quadrupled, I don’t know what to say. Got to deal with my original burdens, my withdrawal effects, the side effects and above all life that happens in between.

Are you doing your breathing exercises? Are you drinking your herbal tea? Hot showers? Relaxation files and brainwaves? Humm. The daily walks too? Well then things should be in order. Be patient my patient, or get the courage to end it all up somewhere far away where no one will see how ugly you will look when you are finally dead… They forgot they gave you the weapon you were looking for all along…


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