[lit-l lahyls]: Christine McVie wrote this with her husband Eddy Quintela – they had just married. It’s not clear whether the song is about her breakup with John McVie or her relationship with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys.

 

The House That God Has Forgotten Part 25: Mental Illness

It is my day off today, or shall I say… I have vacation until Monday, so there is a risk that I will be writing here a bit more fluently than lately. It kind of happens like that when you have a lot of time to think, you have more time to write.

Or in my case, more time to listen to music. Yes. These videos you skip over with every post are actually something I play on repeat when I am writing. It is my inspiration, it is what makes the words flow out from my skinny fingers to the keyboard to your eyes at this very second.

The sky is a bit grey today. It is darker than usual and rain is finally in the air (at least we all hope so) it is typical weather in the spring here in Stockholm.  I am under a blanket as I write this. I just took a new snus and am now ready to enlighten you on something new.

What it is like to be mentally ill and work in The House That God Has Forgotten.

I am not the only one that can be it. Out of 100 plus people it would be hard to believe that I am the only one in the whole glass lined and tall House That God Has Forgotten has had mental issues.

People go “in to the wall” which is usually not a secret, but how many in silence sit there and feel like they are going to kill themselves?

When I tell people I am bipolar, they usually say nothing because it is awkward, or “I am sorry”.

I never understood why either are necessary. It is never anything to be ashamed of.

There was a girl once named Erica who worked at The House That God Has Forgotten. She suffered in silence. Sadly, she committed suicide.

I remember one day I saw her crying and I took her into one of those disgusting dark rooms that are by the black sofas on the third floor and I listened to her cry. I just listened to her. I was late getting back to work, but I did not care. She needed someone to listen to. So I sat there and I listened… about her father and how he drives a taxi cab…how her parents never listen to her, and just how alone she was.

I remember sharing with her something that everyone knew. “I am bipolar” I said in a calm voice “I understand quite a bit of these things”

I never talked to her again. She would come and go like a ghost in the hallways, and I think for the most part, we had our moment and for her it was just this “Oh shit, she saw a side of me I do not want her to see”

So we never spoke again.

One day I came to work and I found out the traditional way you hear about these things… through a three line email about how someone has died. Needless to say, it was the first and only time I have really cried about someone dying except my beloved grandmother.

When I found out she was bipolar. It hurt even more.

Probably because I knew and know that it could just as easily have been me.

Some people do not believe in mental illness so a lot of people keep it secret. People make jokes about it (not people that know me because well… I have one) but they do it quite often.

A prisoner has mood swings they are manic depressive (bi polar) a prisoner that is suicidal  gets punished for feeling bad by having someone shining a light in their face once an hour. I get it, you do not want to find someone hanging in their cell. That would be a nightmare that most people could not handle to see, but still what most people never understand is that it is the quiet ones you need to watch out for.

I know. I have been there.

In 2012 in The House That God Has Forgotten I was on my way to killing myself. I would fantasise about getting run over by commuter trains and would drink myself until I felt like I could get the courage to do it. The only thing that kept me alive was at the time, my cats.

They would look at me and I would think to myself; “What if no one finds me and no one takes care of them anymore”

So I am sitting here today writing you because of Bamse (R.I.P.) and Blanka.

Nowadays people that knew me at that time would say “you were really in a dark place” and that is how you describe it really. It is a dark place and a lot of times you are all alone.

Oddly enough it was my ex wife that noticed that something was wrong with me. But it was a start of a very long process. Going to mental illness emergency rooms and being sent away with a package of medicine that could be used for allergies than for mental illness to waiting to see a local doctor to then waiting to finally see a physicist.

It took them one visit to give me a diagnosis. Something that usually takes months to do, but I have it so blazingly bad that it took only one visit.

Then it took me months, years of medicines to find things that work. Anti depressants make me manic, this one gives me an overdose and that one kills my kidneys but does nothing for my head.

So I know that I cannot be the only one in The House That God Has Forgotten that has felt that way.

How does it feel to be bipolar you are asking yourself. I wish I could tell you, but I have forgotten. I can relate, but a lot of times it is the people that are around you that feel it the most.

It is you that is not mentally ill that pay the price. It is coworkers, friends, family and yourself that feel the brunt of it.

I do not feel it anymore because I take 11 pills of 5 different medicines that do everything to stablize my moods and let me pretend to be just like you.

I miss being manic, because then I could write better. I was never tired and much more social. Now I spend my time being anti social. I avoid doing things with other people outside my family because well… I have to feel safe around you.

It takes a lot for me to go to the company party every year and I get nervous as hell if I do not have anyone there to show up with. It is lonely sometimes being sick, because you wish you had friends, but people well… they don’t get me anymore.

I don’t drink alcohol (because of the medicine) so I am even more boring to have around and a lot less able to relax.

I always tell myself that people have to keep trying to get me to go along and eventually I will. Eventually I will open up and tell you things.

I do not cry anymore at The House That God Has Forgotten, but I do pay a high price for the fact I am open with it. The bosses, well… they look at me differently and I feel handicapped to ever apply for a job outside my own because perhaps they will sit in a meeting with each other and decide that I am just too irresponsible, or even unstable.

Both of which I am not… but something I fear.

Maybe people have forgotten I am sick, but I remember every morning and every night when I have to take my medicine.

Erica sadly was not as lucky as I was. She took her own life, and it is sad that no one remembers it anymore.

I did not forget at least, because I go through the same rituals she did every morning and night while working at The House That God Has Forgotten.

Except I was brave enough, or lucky enough to have 2 cats living with me at the time.

There is nothing to be ashamed for you to be mentally ill. The only thing everyone should be ashamed of is that we do not talk about it enough at The House That God Has Forgotten.

Because of the prisoners, because of our colleagues, and because of me that live with everyday.

That had a memorial book for Erica where her parents wanted people to sign. Most people wrote things who never did know her.

I wrote on one of the back pages in shaken English…

“I have been there too”

And did not sign my name.

 

 

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