My previous two posts on the sad state of mental health services has inspired my friend Lee to share some of her experiences of life with her son. It is important that people talk about these issues and get it out into the open. There should be no shame attached to mental illness. Thanks Lee.

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Out to get you… out of your mind

by Lee K Curtis

We can’t make you get help. You’re over 21, an adult capable of making your own decisions. But you’re not. You’re a paranoid schizophrenic, convinced that we’re all out to get you.

Your father is not your father. Your mother is not your mother, you claim. You arose from spontaneous generation?

We want to help, really we do. Sadly you must prove yourself gravelly disabled, or a danger to yourself, or to others. THEN we can help you, if it’s not too late.

So we wait. Two years, nine months and sixteen days later we have finally accumulated enough evidence. I sign an affidavit at the County Attorney’s office.

The cops break down your door and climb over mountains of garbage to get at you. They drag you away to the psych ward.

You barely weigh 100 lbs. A fungal rash crawls across your face and down neck. Your knee is swollen from sitting in one position for too long. Your vitamin D levels are critically low. No sun for my son.

We can’t force you to take meds without the judge’s order. You shuffle into the courtroom in shackles, accompanied by a police officer. It’s routine, I am told.

The procedure is purely a formality. Everyone can see you are a tortured soul in need of help. You are ordered to take medication and returned to the ‘behavioural unit.’ Talk about an oxymoron.

You are still sure we’re all out to get you. Our numbers are increasing. You’ll show us. Swallow the pills then puke them up. Three weeks later there is no change.

The doctor catches on and draws blood. No meds in your system. So they inject them. The demons begin to fade.

The bad thoughts have been with you so long you’re scared to be without them. They are familiar. Who will you be without them, you wonder? A good man with good thoughts, I believe.