A few days ago I woke up at around 3am to hear a woman screaming somewhere outside. I observed thoughts float across my mind in my dreamy state, firstly wondering if she'd been out partying, then thinking is she ok; is she being attacked. The screaming died down, so I rolled over and told myself there's nothing I can do anyway - I don't even know where about's she is. A few moments later the screaming started again, and this time it sounded much closer. So I got out of bed and went to my window. The first thing i saw was a police car and so felt relieved, for that meant someone was helping. There was an ambulance too and another police car arrived whilst I was looking out the window. The woman continued to scream, intermingled with shouting 'this is illegal' and 'no don't, don't touch me, get off'. I also heard her shout 'help, please someone help me'.
I went back to bed, after all it's rude to stare right! Under my duvet cover I felt triggered - a reminder of times gone by. Both a reminder of myself being pinned down, hand cuffed and thrown in the back of a police van for being severely depressed, and for the times I had witnessed the same thing happen to others whilst at work. As I lay in bed hearing the woman screaming and shout I felt her pain. I felt for her not being listened to, I felt for her obvious distress and I felt for what was likely to then happen to her. I obviously don't know what was going on for her but it sounded oh so very familiar.
Bless her heart I thought, and as I sent her a healing prayer through the ether I wondered whether she was in fact like me back when I was unwell, many years ago. Perhaps she too started out as an exhausted mum.
It eventually went quiet, the police cars went and the street once more looked like nothing had happened. But where did she then go? To hospital? In to police custody? Had she been jabbed to calm her down, or had she passed out due to some injury? Either way it was obviously distressing for her.
I wanted to go give her a hug, for it sounded as though she felt terribly alone and scared. I know that feeling. How easy it is for people to declare her a nutter, off her trolley, laugh about it and go back to sleep. But here was a fellow human being who was suffering, and her screaming and shouting indicated she did not want help from the Police and paramedics.
But as I lay in bed I wondered at the mess this world is in. the wars, murders, rape, pillage, greed, abuse, negativity and increase in mental illness. Did you know the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has nearly 300 categories of diagnoses (verywellmind.com) in it? The DSM 5 is the latest American manual. The DSM III which came out in 1980 had 265. In my mind that is suggestive of mental illness increasing. Obviously psychiatric understanding can be taken in to consideration, but approximately 35 more diagnostic labels in 40 years? Blimey.
And I wondered what would have happened to me, in 2013, if I hadn't had the good fortune to discover that the
mental health team were coming to section me (read my book coming out next year to discover what happened) They were coming to section me, because I was taking responsibility for myself (which they would tell patients to do frequently) and trying to get well - but my way, not the professionals way. And they didn't like it. If they had succeeded that may well have been me screaming on the street - desperate to escape the torment of my mind, to try a different way, but controlled by the very system that is meant to support.
I do hope that woman is ok. I do hope she is listened to compassionately, is treated as a human who's gone through/going through hell and I do hope she gets help for the trauma she so obviously experienced whilst I, and many, were lying there listening to her in our beds. I hope she is counselled through the process, but I doubt it. After all she's just 'mental' right!
I aim to be a voice for those who, even when they so obviously voice how they feel like the woman t
he other night, still go unheard. I aim to be a voice for all those stuck in a system that does not seem to have their back, a system that says it empowers and is person-centered, but in practice seemingly does not.
I aim to be a voice that emphasises the dire need within psychiatry for people to be treated holistically - mind, body and soul. Medication numbs the mind and creates havoc with the body. The soul is not even discussed.
My own healing experience only came about when I realised there is way more to me than my mind. Through focusing on heart awakening, on our soul, the truth of who we are, mental illness can become a thing of the past.
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