On the romanticism of mental illness. This is me, taken by my sister, psychotic in a psychiatric ward, where much of my life has been continually wasted. The illness is there in my face. My eyes and expression; it’s not even me. It doesn’t look like me. That is a sick person in the middle of hallucinations. Someone with unwashed hair, who hasn’t showered in weeks. I’m asking her if there are insects and microchips under my skin.
It’s so glamorous having nurses supervise you in the shower. So glamourous being on such heavy antipsychotics that you drool on yourself and can barely move. So glamourous having a nurse brush your teeth for you. So many glamourous medication side effects like bleeding gums, hair loss, weight gain, weight loss, shaking hands, rashes. Glamourous being so psychotic you can’t recognise your own family. Glamourous being taken out of university in an ambulance with staring crowds. Glamourous losing your job when they find out your mental health history. Glamourous losing friends, being unable to mix alcohol with your medication, missing uni and life and spending weeks seeing the blue and white walls and barred windows instead. Glamourous coughing up blood from medication toxicity. Glamorous having bruises and needle marks in your arms where they check your medication levels every week. Glamourous being stripped naked by nurses. Glamourous being in a coma with a catheter and a tube down your throat and nose with machines keeping you alive after an overdose. Glamourous in canvas restraint “suicide jackets”. The delicious hospital food. Glamourous developing an eating disorder from a persistent delusion when you’re convinced your food is poisoned (awesome, another illness!). Glamourous going into organ failure from the eating disorder and being hospitalised for that too. Glamourous hair loss, muscle wasting, lanugo, bone weakness, bruises from the anorexia caused as a secondary mental illness from your first. Glamourous having to divulge your diagnosis to your tutors to explain your disability support plan so you don’t fail when you’re hospitalised. Glamourous losing your relationships. Glamourous the disappointment on your family’s faces when you relapse yet again.
So effing GLAMOUROUS.