We’ve all seen that film. You know, the one where Angelina Jolie has a strange fringe and Brittany Murphy has an obsession with chicken? Yeah, that one.
It’s a film about a female Psychiatric hospital in the 1960’s and it paints a pretty dark and horrible picture of the facility and the treatment of the patients there. I first watched the film a couple of years after it came out. I was about 13 or 14 and it made no sense to me. I didn’t understand why, if the girls hated the hospital so much, they didn’t just pretend to be better so that they could go home. I mean, it’s really easy to pretend to be happy right? You just smile. Smile and don’t cry. People always say that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile, so what’s the problem?
It was around that time that I’d realised that my mind didn’t work in the same way that everyone else’s seemed to. I was sad. I was anxious. I worried a lot. But hey, isn’t that what being a teenager is about? I continued to struggle with these feelings for years; I self harmed, pushed people away and considered suicide. I hated myself and, more than that, I hated the feelings I had but couldn’t explain. I didn’t know it, but I was struggling with depression. Then, one day, not long after starting University, I watched Girl, Interrupted again (you know, the one where Angelina Jolie has that fringe!). There’s a point where Winona Ryder’s character, Susanna says,
“…I know what it’s like to want to die. How it hurts to smile. How you try to fit in but you can’t. You hurt yourself on the outside to try to kill the thing on the inside…”
Things started to make more sense. Well, at least the film made more sense. They didn’t just smile and pretend to be better because they couldn’t and that’s exactly how I felt.
I was diagnosed with depression and associated anxiety in 2007. I told a few close friends but tried to carry on like usual with as few people as possible knowing about it. In fact, for many people I know, friends and family alike, reading this post is the first they will know about this.
So why am I deciding to write about this now? Well, in my post Time Goes By Too Fast I said that a lot had been happening and not all of it was good. Well, about three weeks ago, I broke. And I mean my mind literally broke. There’s no other way to explain it. Depression got the better of me and I was admitted onto a Psychiatric ward via the closest A&E department to my house. This was followed by daily home visits and a lot of medication.
Three weeks on and I’m feeling much better but I’ve been looking back at how difficult and scary the past month or so has been, not only for myself but for those around me and have decided to do a series of posts about my experience.
Hopefully the next few posts will help some people avoid getting to the point that I did, or simply be comforting words to someone who is going through the same; they might even be an insight for people into what a loved one is experiencing. I’m going to be as honest as I can, and turn on the comments function so that people can ask questions (you can always contact me via Facebook here).
In the meantime, if you haven’t seen Girl, Interrupted yet, I’d recommend that you watch it; it’s a really good film!