mental illness - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
"Psychosis is a natural response to being unable to solve problems, Casey."
"How d'ya mean?"
"In childhood we are more creative, that part of our brain that dreams at night has more access to our daytime thinking and we can dream up the most wonderful fantasies, live them in a sort of way. It's what small children do all the time."
"But for the most part we fail to continue using our imaginations, or rather, it gets 'educated' out of us. The brain connections between the subconscious and the conscious minds weaken, like when anything is unused. But in times of serious problems, of high stress, the brain panics and tries to reconnect them. The result is 'awake dreaming' or 'psychosis.' And since the person is already in crisis, it's difficult to handle."
"So what are you saying we do for them?"
"Oh, sorry my dear, you misunderstand. We can help the sick, but the real work is in the schools, in stopping the destruction of the connections in the first place. Above all kids need to be nurtured with love and have the freedom to use their imaginations without fear of judgement. Then they will grow with healthy and fully connected minds, far far more intelligent than we are. All this takes time, but we can cure everything with whole and connected minds... everything. Future generations will be solving problems in their sleep, solving them in play, fun and work will be the same thing. Casey, it's the key to utopia."
Our approach to curing mental illness had been all wrong for so long - speaking to the conscious mind when it was the one underneath that needed to talk. The patients never knew why we told them children's stories, ones about all the monsters being in cages, about strong tall trees with protective branches and blue skies with brilliant shafts of white light. We had to talk to the subconscious in the language of dreams - soothing the entire mind all at once.
Sanity is just a limited mind. Sanity is a mental operating system accepted by the masses as within normal parameters. I'm not like you, I have something different. I can shift from one operating system to another quite invisibly. You won't ever know which one I'm using because I don't have to tell you a god damn thing. Until your shrinks can mind read, we're done. No more cosy chats, no more honesty, no more drugs, no more rooms without door handles. I don't need you anymore. I'm not mentally ill. I'm the gingerbread man.
For fifty years I was corporate climber, eating up-market ready meals with sitcoms, living vicariously through movie stars instead of leaving my condo. I laughed at my sister and her “greenies” with their alternative lifestyle, baking their own bread and dancing improvised music in town halls and forests alike. I had the designer outfits and the most perfect shoes ever made. I had the granite counters. I had teeth whiter than fresh paper. I could find lovers on the internet as easily as ordering a pizza. Then I retired.
It was fine at first, I spent more time on the internet, ate more pizza. My soft middle became softer and then the depression began. I wanted to go back to work, I had status there, I was someone. Now what was I? Some over the hill woman desperately buying hair dye and expensive wrinkle reduction creams? I'd lived the independent life, I'd had the best of everything. I wasn't annoyed by kids or weighed down by a husband. But my “friends” scattered when the depression deepened, it was mental illness after all. They didn't go all at once, but their calls became fewer until they stopped all together. So I did the only thing I could, I called my sister and she came before morning, still smiling like a twelve year old. She said “welcome back” and I cried, I don't know why, but I did.
Anyway, mental illness, being crazy, loopy, insane, sounds amusing from the outside, not so much from the inside. Imagine the worst nightmare you’ve ever had, take a moment to recall it. Then imagine you were unable to wake up from it because you are already awake. All those bizarre ideas that make so much sense when you’re asleep start to make sense with your eyes wide open. I know you want to know if that’s what happened to me, but I’m not going to tell you too much more right now. Please don’t be offended, I don’t know you very well yet. Later on, sure.
Maybe there’s some aspect of it that worries you? You look almost sickly. Oh, I get it. You think I might drive you crazy, that me trying to “wake you up” means you have to go mad first? Hmm. Well, I won’t lie to you, that is what it means for some people, but that’s only if they aren’t with me. I can “wake you up” without the need for psychosis. Anyway, once you have some kind of “nervous breakdown” your brain is weakened, you don’t want that, trust me. Plus you could go off on almost any tangent at all. It can ruin your life for years and sometimes you don’t really recover. You can lose people close to you, people you love. I don’t recommend it, not for anyone and least of all you, you’re so nice! I think you're adorable! But we need some ground rules, I need to know when you’re coming for a start...
You think I’m still mad with you? Oh, no, not at all. I forget these things faster than a teaspoon of yeast, ha ha. No, seriously, I’m not the grudge holding kind. Glad to see you’re looking normal again, I didn’t like that rapid changing thing you did the other day, not cool. You want to know more about my mental illness but you’re scared to ask, that’s right isn’t it. How did I know that? I know these things, plus it’s kinda obvious. People find it as fascinating as those cop shows with dead bodies draped all over the place. I’m not saying you’re morbid though, not at all. I like you! I used to watch those cop shows myself, until I figured out their role in keeping me ‘asleep.’ All that fear you know, it seems exciting at the time but it isn’t good for anyone, it just makes us feel good about ourselves for not being barbaric monsters instead of actually getting off our backsides and doing something positive, that’s partly what I mean by ‘sleeping’. I prefer being fully awake, everyone’s much safer that way, trust me.
...What’s up? You’re scared? Why? What did I do? Oh! It’s the mental illness thing, right? You think I’m gonna grab a kitchen knife and behave like we’re in some Stanley Kubric movie? I’m a pacifist, I never hurt anyone! Do I have a criminal record? No! Why would you ask? Where are the knives? Do I have a gun? I think you should leave now. Though to be honest I’m not sure how you get in here anyway. And for the record, I don’t see it as illness at all, well not this bit, the early bit sure. I was crazy, but now? No. This is a spiritual awakening and I’ll thank you to keep your cultural stigma to yourself. This is how westerners wake up, if they don’t have a guide like me to help them. It’s a baptism of fire and unless you are mentally 100% before it begins with no history of depression you won’t make it. You’ll be a big pharma guinea pig on ever higher doses, analysed by shrinks and mistrusted for your transformation.
Why westerners? Why so hard for us? We’re brought up in culture of fear and coercion, so what do you think comes out first when the mind loosens? That’s right, it is the scariest damn thing that can ever happen to you. The devil himself will come and unless you can face down every fear, own your guilt in a healthy way, you’re screwed. But if you can, then God can come, the Creator, and He’ll talk to you like a best friend, calm you, tell you everything will be OK. Then you can unshackle from big pharma and the doctors will see a miraculous recovery. And after all that, you know what? You’re free and there is more Love in your heart than you knew it could hold. You’re free to do God’s will because you actually know what it is without reading inches of scripture. I’m not sick, I’m finally whole. I’m well. Sick people buy shit they don’t need even though they know it will kill them and the planet for future generations, for their own kids even. So who’s sick now?
Uncle Tommy has become a caricature of himself, but he didn't used to be that way. Once his emotions were as variable as the rest of the family, sometimes gregarious, other times moody. Now he's stuck in his negative range and always extreme. Once his face was soft with the beginnings of laughter lines, not creased in that angry way that has become his only face to the world. He was in hospital a few years back, no-one will say what for, but when he came out his personality was altered - rigid I suppose. One by one his long time friends dropped out of the scene, worn down by his new found aggression and negativity. Every Sunday Dad goes to visit him with some wine and black vinyl records, always hopeful that one of these days the old Tommy will resurface. I don't want to tell him I gave up a long time ago, but I did. It's a waste of good wine, good music and a Sunday afternoon...
My brain is an extinguished fire. Once it burnt bright and I knew of happiness and light; I could see a future... Now my mind is dark, subsisting on the burnt tinder of who I was. In these ashes there is nothing to even renew a spark. All I can do is huddle in this moment, live from heartbeat to heartbeat. I feel like the world isn't really there at all, like it was stolen and replaced with something empty, photoshopped, fake. It makes sense in a weird way, the real world gave me feelings of joy. I felt connected to it, part of it. But either it was taken away or I was; every second of every minute of every day all I can do is float in the void.
I know things they don't. I know things. Reality shifts and turns, it isn't static like people pretend. The world is a computer program and there's no way to know what we really are. We could be blobs, artificial intelligence in a simulation, an alien race's idea of a fun afternoon project. The chances of our reality being the first one are almost zero. I've seen the cracks in it, the accidental repetitions and faults. They can pause it, rewind and re-do, but some of us are resistant to the changes, we carry a residue they never meant us to have. I've seen the world slow down and I remain at normal speed. I've seen people walking in a stream like zombies as they turn on the auto-controls to make a live-edit. I've heard words come from the mouths of others that are a kind of "bug-fix." They aren't mean. They are truly trying to build our world better. Either we're their pets or we are them, submerged in a matrix that gives life. These doctors can't understand all that. All they can do is medicate me back to the matrix.
Time doesn't run in straight lines and logic is a circle. They'll never make any progress until they figure that out. Forwards can only happen when the loop is fixed, when the energy has somewhere to flow. That's what eternity is. Deja vu isn't a brain malfunction, it's when you realise this isn't your first time in the loop, and those who gain an awareness of it have the chance to make new choices, to do things different and learn in a way others cannot. You aren't the first you, just like I'm not the first me. I'm sorry you don't like my answers. It's just that you aren't clever enough to understand them yet. Pardon? What did you say? Funny! You said the exact same thing last time too.
The key to restoring mental wellness was to understand that "love" is the basic operating system of every human mind and illness requires a "reboot." Once we knew that we began to pour real love into the unwell and the results astounded even the harshest of critics. They thrived, repaired and had no need of medications. It wasn't easy at first, popping pills is far more simple, but in the medium to long term it was a solution, a cure, when nothing else was.
Abandoned is what you see on the outside, and then you make a cacophony of judgements for why I am so very alone. But let me open up my head and soul so that you can see what being abandoned really does to a human. At first there is the screaming of the soul, the begging and the will to do anything not to suffer, to stop the soul shattering and bleeding so invisibly. Then there is the breaking of the brain itself, the falling into emotions that push and pull, the erosion of self respect and self control. And it hurts. It hurts every day until the brain stops yearning for love and begins to reject its cure... because to there is a part of you that will always remember how it feels to be so abandoned, for everyone you ever loved to show you so clearly that they have no idea what love is. And this transformation is so very painful for the sensitive hearts because we fight it, we cling to love, to the smallest whisper of a chance for love, for a love that would weather any storm to remain true, that would rather die than abandon because they fully comprehend the pain that would cause. So, when you find a soft hearted person abandoned... when you find love in their eyes... keep them safe in your arms forever, and they will do the same for you.
Once the soul is so thin the body follows, instead of a growing sense of self love and self worth, there isn't the strength to climb upwards to health. And so it is so very hard to eat more, even when it is a simple bite at a time, hard to listen to the part of the self that wants to stay alive and be loved. That's the hated anorexia, the cruelest way to mask pain in these girls we love so much.