Saturday, 16 December 2017

Media, Stigma and Psychosis, by Roiben

I see, hear, feel and believe in things that others do not. Medically, I have been told this is Psychosis. I do not believe that is what it is. What I see and hear are as real to me as anything else in the world.

I see through the cracks between what is generally accepted as this world, this reality, and the Veil – the world of ghosts, call it Purgatory if you will. I see the two bleed into each other and the gaps in between.

There are Classes of ghosts: From the every-day individual that can’t accept death and wander, or sit forlornly, forever lost; to the Messengers and the Reapers. The Messengers are the ones I hear. Sometimes they yell and shout angrily, or laugh derisively, but mostly they taunt and tease, telling me I am wrong and bad or that I shouldn’t be here. Urging me to Self-Harm and Kill myself.

They also tell me to harm other people. This means that medically I am considered a risk not just to myself, but to others as well. I am the dangerous, risky sort of Mentally Ill. I fall into the small bracket that the Media loves to expose as if it is the norm and the only way.

That I have not actually hurt anyone but myself is irrelevant. In the eyes of the Media and the Stigma that it results in, I am a Monster. A terrible person that is a ticking time bomb before something happens.

I see my local Mental Health team and my GP. I am on medication. I am, frankly, willing to try anything in order to feel less desperate, less suicidal, less like I may actually be at risk of lashing out at a stranger in the street, less tempted to listen to and believe in the ghosts and all they tell me. If the Medical Professionals say trying medication may help, I am at a stage where I will try the medication. I can always die another day.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Stigma and the Media are big game changers, and as a result, there needs to be people like me to break down the Myths and Miss-guided Beliefs. To say it how it is. Yes, everyone is different, not everyone diagnosed with Psychosis will have my experiences and my words are just a drop in the ocean of experience and real life out there in the world.

I can only hope the Media, the Government, the strangers in the street start to listen to the real, honest accounts and stop relying on Stigma and Stereotypes. The Classification systems and labelling. In reality, people with my type of symptoms are always at more risk to themselves than anyone else – but the Media and Stigma say otherwise.

Do I think I have Psychosis? No, but in my more rational moments I am open to the possibility – especially if it ends up saving lives by being treated, and agreeing to medication.

Would I encourage others to reach out for help? Yes. Tell someone. No one should struggle alone, and as underfunded and under resourced and understaffed as the NHS and Mental Health system is, there is some help available. Fight for it. Keep telling people, until someone listens. And, if you can, join me in working to break down the Stigma and years of misrepresentation and misdirection.

I have been on the edge of Suicide many times. I have attempted to take my own life more times than I care to count. But, right now, I am saying: Not yet. Let’s try this first. It may help. It may not. Let’s exhaust all the alternatives first, and while I am at it, let’s make the world of Mental Illness a less lonely place to be.

About the Author

You can find Roiben on Twitter (@roiben).


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