I think its high time I wrote this piece
down because tomorrow I cannot guarantee I’ll be alive
you see most times i lie when I say I am fine
the truth is deep down there is a war going on in my mind sometimes it makes
me happy most times it makes me sad and other times the emotion is difficult to
describe but one thing I crave above all is for this pain to subside sometimes
I feel numb and lifeless so I cut my skin to reassure myself I still bleed I
wear my cloth of disguise and this guy has a facade from the ground to the skies but
underneath are tattoos on his bodies that are screaming for help. Yes I tried to
speak out. Communicated to mom and dad but son you cannot have a white man’s
disease in Nigeria especially when it’s not communicable so take your communion and
let’s go to church today is deliverance and your problems will be solved. At church
the ulsher refuses me to enter, she says I am wearing shades and a snapback but one
thing she doesn’t understand is these shades are covering my tears and eye bags
the cap is covering half my hair I shaved last night. I thought this was a place
that accepted all with love and not give stigma or are we interpreting
God’s word the other way around. The the pastor goes on to preach what I don’t
really understand. all I know is I didn’t hear Christ I heard finance. I need peace
and you are pissing me off. I need Christ and you are adding to this crisis.
deliverance was after and after deliverance I felt worse I guess the
demons left everyone and entered into one. shut up!!!
these thoughts are multiple personalities and they tell me what to
do so I get high trying to shut them out but one thing about it is it is a quick fix.
the problems are still there so I increase the solution looking for a
solution but these dosage leads to more complication. Friends claim they are
busy and think I’m looking for attention but they dont understand I’m actually at
tension I chat my eX to know whY I am a Zilch but she replies like I sent a B C
this is getting out of hands I am in prison as this shackles in my head wont
let me be free. This disease is not giving me ease. It’s like I don’t exist.
I heard death takes you to a better place so i’ll rather use the exit
Mental Illness Is a
Spiritual Experience Mental illness affects many
people in the world, and each person has a unique set of
symptoms. In traditional medical fields, it is thought to be
strictly a chemical imbalance in the mind, with prescription
medication thought to correct this. But while the brain
naturally has a great deal to do with mental illness, the
condition actually goes much deeper and involves something
far more obscure. What is obscured from our view, we
cannot fully understand and tend to fear. We cannot physically
see the causes of mental illness, only the physical
symptoms of anxiety, depression, and psychosis. Many people will
go straight to judgement and then stigmatize those with
mental disorders because of what we cannot physically see.
While mental illness certainly revolves around the mental
component, the spiritual aspect is almost exclusively
overlooked. No conventional treatment will ever recognize
this spiritual aspect, which is the core of our being and what
we are at the deepest level. So only treating the surface, the
physical body, will never truly heal the root cause. What are
these spiritual causes that are not well known or are usually
overlooked? There are a great many causes that have been
identified, yet a plethora of them still exists that we have
not the slightest understanding of. To begin to comprehend
the spiritual causes of mental illness, it is best to
first understand the remedies traditionally used to treat
mental illness. Those who struggle with mental disorders
might be experiencing heightened sensitivity to other individuals
and to their personal environment. They might have
extrasensory abilities and feel unable to control the influences
of unseen energies around them. People like these in our
society are likely to be labeled mentally unstable, and generally
prescribed medication to numb their emotional pain.
Unfortunately, medical intervention can end up closing
the spiritual doorway that natural law had opened for a
reason in this person’s life. That is why medication can
never be the only solution to someone’s problems, since it
only addresses the physical aspect of illness. Psychiatric
medication is not meant to solve the root problem, because it was
developed to function only in this physical domain. Some
people are quite sensitive to the energy in the environment
around them. A category of these people are known as empaths,
individuals who can absorb other people’s emotions, or who have
sensitivity to spirits of the dead. Others who are sensitive
to energy may end up being diagnosed with bipolar disorder
or schizophrenia. They may see or hear things that others
cannot, things that may form in their mind, or reside in the
non-physical domain. People whose chakras are imbalanced
may experience emotional restlessness, feelings of
insecurity, or the kind of severe anxiety found in many
anxiety disorders, or exhibit symptoms of borderline
personality disorder or components of other debilitating
conditions. Chakras are the energy centers of the
non-physical body that are connected to specific points
of the physical body. When imbalance exists at one chakra
level, we are susceptible to an imbalanced life while another of
our chakras becomes overactive to compensate for the lack of
total energy balance. One of the most powerful forms of spiritual
energy alteration of the non-physical body comes from the
physical things that happen to us. Abuse of all kinds is a
core process of energy transfer. Extreme discontentment and
negativity are passed from one person to another via a physical
medium. Violence is a way for one who is troubled and perhaps
hateful of life to pass along that feral hatred to someone
else. Such severe negative energy is infused into the one
being abused, who then is at high risk of becoming an
abuser on some level and feeling worthless as a result.
Without proper cleansing of this negative energy buildup, these
people will continue to suffer in an expanding and unending
cycle of abuse. These repeating cycles of negativity and abuse
are common among individuals suffering from post-traumatic
stress disorder and other trauma disorders. Another source of
energy transference comes from intention, the personal energy
that we put into our thoughts, ideas, actions, and even
into the foods we eat. Putting negative intentions into our
thoughts and actions can turn any positive effort into one
with a negative result. Putting negative intentions into our
food means to eat out of shame or guilt, to consume the food
because we hate ourselves and our bodies, when instead we
should be honoring both. As a result, we put ourselves at
risk of developing many physical health problems, including heart
disease, obesity, and cancer. Our own intention is the key to
our physical health condition. So is the food itself and how
it’s prepared, as well as each person and process that was
involved in its preparation. Animal products have the highest
amounts of negative energy and negative intentions put into
them. This is due to how poorly animals tend to be treated in
the industrial livestock farming system, where they are seen as
commodities instead of living creatures. Negative energy also
resides in many non-animal foods that we consume, due to the
corporate agricultural system in place today that produces
cheaper products, devoid of nutrients and poisoned
with pesticides, that is more profitable than real, healthy
food. Regardless of the food source or the negative energy
already in the food, it’s still possible to cleanse this
negative energy before you consume it. Being thankful for
each step of the manufacturing process, for the money to afford
the food in front of you, and for your body’s ability to
digest the food and absorb its nutrients will help to eliminate
some of the negative energy that resides within your food.
Many alternative, spiritual practices, such as meditation,
yoga, chakra cleansing, reiki, crystals, and so on, can help
you to clear away negativity and promote a proper spiritual
connection that you will find to be stabilizing and fulfilling.
We are all connected to the spiritual realm that is the
basis of our existence. Yet many of us are completely unaware of
this fact. Some people will turn to mundane tasks in order to
gain at least a hollow sense of fulfillment and pleasure in this
physical domain. Others have their spiritual door far too
open, allowing excessive energy to enter from the non-physical
domain into their physical bodies, resulting in an
overload that manifests as mental illness. There is in
fact a natural balance, and finding that
balance is the key.
♪ [intro music] ♪ [Mental Illness Los Angeles] Oh… We’re about to get onto the freeway. ♪ [down-tempo hip-hop music] ♪ [Narrator] L.A., the City of Angels. Palm trees, sun, and beautiful people. But there’s another side to this city. There are places that tourists should never go. Places even locals try to avoid. This is Skid Row. A place referred to as
America’s only third world city. It’s home to hundreds of homeless people. Many of whom are mentally ill. or impaired. We’d been warned, but nothing
prepared us for what we saw as we cruised the streets
leading to the heart of Skid Row. We’ve filmed in plenty of places but we were surprised how bleak
and frightening this place is. Film crews aren’t welcome here, and none of us wanted to
get out of the van. [inaudible] Our first destination was
the Union Rescue Mission. It’s the largest and oldest
organization in the USA working to support homeless people. It was started by the founder
of Union Oil, Lyman Stewart, one hundred and eighteen years ago. [Man] Skid row in L.A., which is really like
one of the worst human disasters in the US, and it’s really been
caused by corralling and containment of people who are struggling
with homelessness. [Narrator] Thirty percent of homeless people in the US
have some form of mental illness. If you’re poor and mentally ill,
you have few options before you hit the streets or jail. [Man] And you never know, which came first.
Sometimes the mental illness comes and leads to homelessness, but certainly
prolonged homelessness and suffering devastation on the streets,
being robbed, and beaten, and mugged and if you’re a woman, much worse.
Certainly leads to depression and other issues of mental health,
so we’ve got to make sure that we don’t leave one precious
human being on the streets, that’s really the bottom line. [inaudible] [Narrator] Andy takes us to what feels like
a disaster zone. He makes regular trips here,
handing out water. He’s insisted on bringing eight
minders along to make sure our cameras don’t upset people, but I wasn’t prepared for the barrage
of people coming up to us. Man, you want water? No? [inaudible] the United States Marine Corps,
my name is Lunatic, I’m gonna say Julie and Rydell, we alive ya’ll! According to the 2007 statistics, up to 142,000 men, women, and
children become homeless over the course of any year. Up to 74,000 people are homeless
each night in Los Angeles county. Half the homeless are single men,
25% are single women, and the rest are entire families. We are the capital of homelessness, we have more people on the streets
in L.A. than in any other city. Double of what New York and
Chicago have combined. Every suburb, every region,
every city has kind of dropped off their folks who were struggling
in this spot in L.A. and forgot about them. We’re not living up to being
in the City of Angels and we’ve gotta work toward the day when
we don’t have one precious human being on the streets and that’s
gonna take a lot of work, but mostly, it’s gonna
take a heart change. [Man] What sort of feeling
does this give you, Andy? [Andy] Just encouraging to give folks
a cold drink of water and a little bit of encouragement
and some hope, because I mean [Reporter] To get through the day for you, I mean
you see a lot of sadness, I mean is this just sad too.
Is this getting you through? Doing stuff like this?
-[Andy] No. Yeah, it helps but what really helps is when
somebody gets a bottle of water and they decide later on because
they know where the water came from they come in and ask for real help. [inaudible] [Narrator] Andy once spent a night out on the
street just to see what it was like. [Andy] I slept like thirty minutes ’cause
a guy said he’d watch my back, you know I took a little nap, but that’s all I got. A friend of mine that spent twenty years
said, “Andy, after six or seven days, that fear would’ve been replaced by anger
and you would’ve adapted ’cause humans adapt to anything.” We realize they’re precious people,
they’re somebody’s aunt, somebody’s uncle they’re somebody’s precious baby
that they held in their arms and we need to quit referring to people
as “the homeless” or “the drug addicted” [Narrator] It’s hot, a dry, searing kind of heat. [Man] We’ve only come about…
maybe fifty meters. We’ve handed out over
two hundred bottles of water. It’s gone. [Andy] We experienced a tsunami of families
in this latest economic downturn, and about 53% of the families who
came our way were experiencing homelessness for the first time in their life.
They lost their home, they lost their job,
they lost their apartment, they ran out of funds, they ended up
in a hotel ’till their savings was gone, then they moved to their car, and then
the last stop was a place like Union Rescue Mission and we relaunched
probably about 45 families, including I think three are getting
relaunched this week because we didn’t leave them in
homelessness long enough to suffer the devastation of homelessness. You wouldn’t have wanted to visit here
before the safer cities initiative You couldn’t. I couldn’t walk down the street
without having to break up a serious… pipe fight or knife fight. It was described as Mardi Gras on crack. And it was very dangerous,
and now you can see we can walk down the street–
-[Man] Yeah. -[Andy] pretty safely and without
the police we couldn’t do that. -[Man] Yeah. This is our day room for our male folks
who come in and are staying with us and they can come in and
just have some quiet time, just to get off the mean streets
down here on Skid Row. [Narrator] People can sign up for
beds, enjoy three meals a day, and take what might be their
first shower in weeks. -[Lady] Good Morning Sweetie, how are you? [Narrator] Here, cuts are provided along with
fresh clothes, and medical care. Therapists are on hand to assist the
mental state of those who turn up here and work out an action plan. The Union Rescue Mission provides a
real opportunity to get off the street and start a new life. [Lady] This wall is the wall
where, when folks come in and they’re sick and tired of being
sick and tired and being on the street and they want some help, they sit in
these seats for about 14 days, that let’s us know that they’re really
serious about getting some help. [Lady] It’s full every night. This place holds
I think about 160 single women, and we’re full, we’re overflowing, and so
we put out cots in the area downstairs where I showed you the dayroom for the women as well as the men,
that’s our overflow. [Man] So, how long essentially
would somebody stay here? [Lady] Normally, it would be a month and then
after a month, you have to try and get in one of our programs,
to try to get off the street, or just go away and I guess,
stay somewhere else, but because we’ve had to bend the rules
a bit, because we’ve really had nowhere to send anybody, so we’ve had to let
them stay a little, a lot more than one month. There’s like 160-odd beds here,
and as you can see, most of them are made, which means that somebody’s coming back for the night. There’s very few that aren’t made.
This place is full. And overflowing. Yeah. [Narrator] The question going around
in my head is, “why are all these people here?” For many, the bottom has
fallen out of their life. But a whole lot of people
living here are mentally ill. Hospitals have even dumped unwanted
mentally ill patients here on the street. [Andy] Actually, I was standing out front,
and a cab pulled up, did a U-turn dropped a woman in a nightgown
in the middle of the street and she started wandering this way,
and I called the police and sent a staff person to rescue
the lady off the street. We had a video tape of that
from our cameras and that played all around the world,
and it was the first time… it had been documented that hospitals
actually drop off patients. She was from 20 miles away. So they
dropped this woman off in her hospital gown in the meanest streets of Skid Row,
she had dementia, she had high blood pressure and a fever, and if we wouldn’t have seen them
drop her, we wouldn’t have rescued her. She’d have been on these streets, and the
hospitals were fined, and they set up a protocol, and my wife and I set up a special referral
sheet, that they get properly referred and can we or can we not take care
of the needs of that patient? Yes or no. And set up a system, but then we found a
man wandering around out here who had nine prescriptions for anti-psychotic medicine,
and he’d been dropped off by a mental hospital 40 miles away,
and the city attorney looked into it, and found that 155 mental patients had
been dropped off on these mean streets in 22 months, and they were
fined 1.6 million dollars, and now there’s a city law
banning the dumping of patients in Skid Row LA, and South LA,
and that’s the thing… doctors are sworn to do no harm,
and yet hospitals were dropping the most vulnerable people in our
society off on these meanest streets really in the country. Sharon Cameron was homeless
for nearly 25 years, and has struggled with mental illness
and drug addiction most of her life. [Sharon] I would just grab anything, to
just make what I was feelin’ go away. And then your body is burnt out,
my slogan was, I felt like I was dipped, cooked, and fried, the only thing
left was to toss me to the side. -You used to sleep here?
-Yes, sleep here. If you notice, people still sleep here.
All this back here, because it was safe, it was not too light,
it was not too dark, you know, you can kinda peek up and
see what’s going on. -And it was warm?
-No, it was cold. In the summertime it’s okay, but it was hard.
-What did you sleep on, cardboard or something? -We had, in the rain, put the cardboard up.
But see, they don’t allow that. This is a public library.
-When you’re laying here, what are you thinking? …Is this the worst thing
in the world, or what? Actually, I didn’t have a thought,
I just stared at the sky and you see, I was not only homeless,
I was gone mentally, and I didn’t, it was, just existence,
you know, just balled up for the night existence, worry about who’s gonna hurt me,
of course, and who’s gonna, you know, men take advantage of ’em– women. I mean, you wait– when you first pass out,
I pass out and like I said, I go to sleep. I pass out and when I, I just came to,
can you imagine? And you know, sometimes I didn’t
really know where I was. I didn’t, oh God. It’s an
indescribable feeling. It’s just like, you know, that’s when
you go off into depression, deeper and deeper and deeper,
and just wishing you never wake up. You know, of course there’s suicide
comes with that, and I just kept trying and I kept trying, so I just got disgusted,
I said, I can’t live and I can’t die so I existed. -[Man] So, how long did this last for?
How long were you on the streets for? -This lasted almost 20 or 30 years, off and on. -[Man] Just to get a bit of background,
you were one of nine children. That must have been
tough growing up. -Yes, I have three older than me,
my older sister committed suicide at 25. I was really jealous ’cause she succeeded,
but not no more. Then, my brother he’s in Seattle, he’s doing well.
Then my sister, Deborah, I’m trying to help her, that’s the one
sleeping on 65th and Western and it’s really bad. And then comes me,
but and then five little boys up under me they all have different fathers,
so that let’s you know that environment with these men coming in, you know what I’m saying?
I love my mom, she was young, and no I don’t, I’m not
the one that talk about she was young and she
made a lot of mistakes. -Trouble started for you pretty early.
When were you diagnosed? -Well I knew something was wrong.
I knew something was wrong, ’cause everybody’s smiling
and I didn’t get that. You know, it didn’t look like
the sun was shining to me, it hurt my stomach. -When was the moment you said,
“I can’t do this anymore? I’ve gotta… do something about this, you know
I’m fifty-years-old now, you know?’ -I went downtown, and I just took
all sixty of those pills and I said a prayer. I never forgot to pray though, never.
I’m talking the cell phone, “Lord, where are you?
Please come help me.” So, I took the pills and I prayed,
and do you know, I just froze– I didn’t even go to sleep.
So, that’s when I realize, this is, I can’t live and I can’t die.
That part I knew clear. That’s about the only thing
that made any sense to me. I kept thinking, “this man up here
got a plan for me,” ’cause I really don’t want to be here
and I don’t know how to live that’s a cold situation. So that’s when I went to the Excelsior House,
that’s a great place too, I love this program. -So many people are needing help,
that counselors struggle to reach them all. Sharon needed to take the first step. -This room, you got all the ehtereal lights, huh?
-Yeah, that’s, everyday is Christmas to me now. I love this place called Earth,
I never thought that I would say this, look, everything is very peaceful. [Narrator] Sharon’s been off the
streets for just a year. She now works as a peer advocate
for the treatment center that saved her. -[Man] Every day for you now is like,
you wake up and it’s– -Yeah, I’m just ready to help someone.
See, as I climb, I gotta make sure… I have something in my hand,
and my doctor and my therapist told me don’t overdo it, but He got me. -Yeah.
-Yeah. [Narrator]: Now Sharon’s eagerly helping
as many other homeless people as she can. She has a spare bed set up for the
homeless people she picks up off the street. -This is Jesus carrying me. If you notice, he’s
carrying me through the storm, the rain, the quicksand. I mean,
there’s every– see it yourself. -Right.
-It is what it is. Look at that. Beautiful. Do you know I have a problem with,
this is why I’m afraid now for me? ‘Cause I feel like I don’t deserve anything.
Every time I would do good, then I’ll make sure I kick myself down. And I’m really aware of that now,
so I’m really watching myself now, and I’m talking about it to
everybody that will listen and have that feeling in their heart. -This is your sister?
-Yeah, that’s my sister and this is me. -And she lives– -She’s about eight, yeah. I would like
for you to see her. Maybe she could– -Maybe we can go today and see her.
-I sure hope so. I really need help with her but I’m doing– yeah. So you can really
see what’s going on. -What is going on with her? She’s–
-She’s delusional, she’s sick physically, mentally, substance, she’s just
broken. She’s another me. How I was.
-Really? -Yeah, I’m trying to take some of this stuff,
these tools I have and I’m trying to spread them all over the world now,
and she just happened to be my blood. I just want to share the gift of life
with someone else. -Oh, I like that. [Narrator] Somewhere out on these streets
is Sharon’s sister, Debbie, or Angel, as she’s known on the street.
She’s lost in the City of Angels. -How ironic is that.
-[Narrator] We decided to try to find her. ♪ [hip-hop music] ♪ We head south of downtown L.A. to an area
most people will have seen on the news. But there are few good news stories
out of South Central L.A. -Every other corner, you see a
liquor store or a church. -Yeah.
-And that’s only in the black neighborhood. -Right
-And they sell Sysco wine, this really cheap wine. -Yeah.
-That, cause you to get drunk real quick and sick. [Narrator] Sharon is a success.
But hers is a rare success story. It’s all too easy for people to virtually
disappear into the vastness of the city. -We’re getting close to where we are. -60th.
-I think that’s where Deborah
was sleeping back here. -Lot of trash.
-60th Street. Yeah, that’s where she sleeps back there. My mother died when I was 21 and I had
the 13, 14, 15-year-old kids to raise. -Yeah. Where was Debbie at that time? -Deborah was already messed up. She was from the age of, Deborah was abused really bad. I would sleep up under the bed
when Deborah was being raped. I was like seven and she, I was like five
when she was seven, so that’s another reason why I’m so determined to help her,
because I know what happened to her. -Yeah.
-I saw it happen. -And then she tell somebody and my mother
say, “what goes on in the house stays in the house,” so I said I didn’t see anything,
so can you imagine all that piling up on her?– -Yeah.
-Inside as a little bitty girl? [police sirens] I’m gonna have to turn.
Hey, have you seen Angel? You haven’t seen her? Alright.
She also sleeps in Compton. -Yeah?
-Yeah. -How does she get there?
-Huh? -How would she get there?
-Panhandle. See, last time I picked her up, she was
on that porch right there asleep, in the rain.
[Narrator] As we search for Angel, we come accross one of Sharon’s friends
still living on the street. -If it’ll help somebody, we trying to get some help
-We just got on the freeway. [Narrator] She’s nervous of the
camera and refuses to talk to us. -You have any change?
-No, I don’t have no money in my pockets. [Narrator] Just meters down the road,
a newly homeless guy. -You still homeless?
-[Narrator] There are people in need everywhere. -Hi, I’m Louis.
-Nice to meet you, man. How are you?
-Good. -So, this is your home right now?
-Yeah, this is my bed and my clothes underneath that. This is my home.
-Yeah? What put you into this situation? -I think financial reasons. Not enough money
to afford all that commodities and stuff. I think it was a financial reason.
-And who’s helping? -Right now?
-Yeah. -Well, I wait for public assistance and
I just live on whatever I can get out here. There’s more of the homeless
people right there. Yeah, she always– they fight over blankets. Que paso? Have you seen Angel? -No, who are ya’ll?
Why are ya’ll watching me… on camera? -I’m looking for Angel.
I was looking for Angel. -Angel in jail.
-Oh yeah? -Yeah.
-Why you look mad? You don’t know Angel’s in jail? -No, that’s my sister.
-You talking about skinny Angel? -Yeah.
-She in jail. -Alright. Wow. -She got problems when they
raided the house down the street. -What was she doing? Smoking crack? -No, she bough something for
an undercover police officer. -Oh, God! She’s gone to jail. She’s gone. -So, not so good news. -No. No, I don’t really know how to digest that,
but the one thing I know for sure is that she has a second chance.
Sometimes you don’t get arrested, you get rescued. [Narrator] Angel’s story is typical.
In and out of jail, on and off the streets. And a mental illness and
drug addiction to boot. But unlike Sharon, Angel is not ready
to let go of the only life she knows. -You know, sometimes when you’re out here… you just take anything just to
make the pain go away. -Not a nice way to find out though, is it?
From somebody else. -No, it’s horrible. I’m hurting.
I guess I’m hurting. [Narrator] For 25 long years, Sharon
lived on these streets. Not lived, existed. There are organizations striving to help
people living with mental illness, but the problem is so overwhelming. Too many people just end up
back on the street or worse… in jail. Some say, the L.A. county jail is the de facto,
biggest mental institution in the world. It’s the evening muster
at the Union Rescue Mission. There, people with nowhere else to go. It’s scary to think how easy it is to
slip off the edge in the United States. If you lose your job and miss
a few payments on the house, there’s often not a lot standing
between you and Skid Row. This is the first dinner
session of the evening. They’ll feed about a thousand people tonight,
first of all it’s the women, then the men, and they also feed the families separately as well. It’s a lot of mouths to feed. [Narrator] Up on the roof,
it felt like a million miles away. The sun was still shining, and it was
another beautiful L.A. sunset. Downstairs, they were setting up for the evening.
Staff here at the rescue mission know they have the skills to
help people back on track. People need to make a
conscious choice to seek help. But if you have a mental illness,
that choice isn’t so clear.
With the presumed suicide we have a lot of concern about those issues and I think the public has a lot of concern about those issues. Suicide is a
major health problem in Canada in the world There’s an overlap in terms of suicide mental illness and in particular bipolar disorder
depression and substance use and all those things
confer an increased risk actually for suicide It’s important for people to recognize the symptoms of depression and to
recognize that these conditions can be treated and that
it’s important to seek mental health help and to see professionals that
have the expertise to provide that help One can get treatment for substance
abuse problems and get good outcomes in the long-term but it’s very important to recognize
what the symptoms are and to seek help not not to kinda be
alone suffering in isolation So it’s very important for youth that are showing signs and symptoms of
depression or bipolar disorder to get the treatment that they need.
We so often get caught in this state of negativity and it’s a poison like nothing else Whenever you’re ready I mean, the worlds hard enough as it is, guys. It’s fucking hard enough as it is Can’t somebody say “Hey let’s be positive, let’s have a good ending to the story”? Everyone else they just seem to handle everything But not me WHY You think I’m lucky? Compared to me, yes And why is this about you? I’m tired, Sam I’m scared, okay? I’m tired of this job, this life This weight on my shoulders, man, I’m tired of it Elena, I need you to calm down No, I CANT Styles, are you okay? I need everything to stop We’ll figure it out. You’re gonna be okay Am I? People. Life. I swear to god It literally makes me wanna scream What’s your problem? Ask me that again Why you gotta be like that? ASK ME What am I supposed to do?
Translator: Joseph Geni
Reviewer: Morton Bast One in four people suffer from some sort of mental illness, so if it was one, two, three, four, it’s you, sir. You. Yeah. (Laughter) With the weird teeth. And you next to him. (Laughter) You know who you are. Actually, that whole row isn’t right. (Laughter) That’s not good. Hi. Yeah. Real bad. Don’t even look at me. (Laughter) I am one of the one in four. Thank you. I think I inherit it from my mother, who, used to crawl around the house on all fours. She had two sponges in her hand, and then she had two tied to her knees. My mother was completely absorbent. (Laughter) And she would crawl around behind me going, “Who brings footprints into a building?!” So that was kind of a clue that things weren’t right. So before I start, I would like to thank the makers of Lamotrigine, Sertraline, and Reboxetine, because without those few simple chemicals, I would not be vertical today. So how did it start? My mental illness — well, I’m not even going to talk about my mental illness. What am I going to talk about? Okay. I always dreamt that, when I had my final breakdown, it would be because I had a deep Kafkaesque existentialist revelation, or that maybe Cate Blanchett would play me and she would win an Oscar for it. (Laughter) But that’s not what happened. I had my breakdown during my daughter’s sports day. There were all the parents sitting in a parking lot eating food out of the back of their car — only the English — eating their sausages. They loved their sausages. (Laughter) Lord and Lady Rigor Mortis were nibbling on the tarmac, and then the gun went off and all the girlies started running, and all the mummies went, “Run! Run Chlamydia! Run!” (Laughter) “Run like the wind, Veruca! Run!” And all the girlies, girlies running, running, running, everybody except for my daughter, who was just standing at the starting line, just waving, because she didn’t know she was supposed to run. So I took to my bed for about a month, and when I woke up I found I was institutionalized, and when I saw the other inmates, I realized that I had found my people, my tribe. (Laughter) Because they became my only friends, they became my friends, because very few people that I knew — Well, I wasn’t sent a lot of cards or flowers. I mean, if I had had a broken leg or I was with child I would have been inundated, but all I got was a couple phone calls telling me to perk up. Perk up. Because I didn’t think of that. (Laughter) (Laughter) (Applause) Because, you know, the one thing, one thing that you get with this disease, this one comes with a package, is you get a real sense of shame, because your friends go, “Oh come on, show me the lump, show me the x-rays,” and of course you’ve got nothing to show, so you’re, like, really disgusted with yourself because you’re thinking, “I’m not being carpet-bombed. I don’t live in a township.” So you start to hear these abusive voices, but you don’t hear one abusive voice, you hear about a thousand — 100,000 abusive voices, like if the Devil had Tourette’s, that’s what it would sound like. But we all know in here, you know, there is no Devil, there are no voices in your head. You know that when you have those abusive voices, all those little neurons get together and in that little gap you get a real toxic “I want to kill myself” kind of chemical, and if you have that over and over again on a loop tape, you might have yourself depression. Oh, and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg. If you get a little baby, and you abuse it verbally, its little brain sends out chemicals that are so destructive that the little part of its brain that can tell good from bad just doesn’t grow, so you might have yourself a homegrown psychotic. If a soldier sees his friend blown up, his brain goes into such high alarm that he can’t actually put the experience into words, so he just feels the horror over and over again. So here’s my question. My question is, how come when people have mental damage, it’s always an active imagination? How come every other organ in your body can get sick and you get sympathy, except the brain? I’d like to talk a little bit more about the brain, because I know you like that here at TED, so if you just give me a minute here, okay. Okay, let me just say, there’s some good news. There is some good news. First of all, let me say, we’ve come a long, long way. We started off as a teeny, teeny little one-celled amoeba, tiny, just sticking onto a rock, and now, voila, the brain. Here we go. (Laughter) This little baby has a lot of horsepower. It comes completely conscious. It’s got state-of-the-art lobes. We’ve got the occipital lobe so we can actually see the world. We got the temporal lobe so we can actually hear the world. Here we’ve got a little bit of long-term memory, so, you know that night you want to forget, when you got really drunk? Bye-bye! Gone. (Laughter) So actually, it’s filled with 100 billion neurons just zizzing away, electrically transmitting information, zizzing, zizzing. I’m going to give you a little side view here. I don’t know if you can get that here. (Laughter) So, zizzing away, and so — (Laughter) — And for every one — I know, I drew this myself. Thank you. For every one single neuron, you can actually have from 10,000 to 100,000 different connections or dendrites or whatever you want to call it, and every time you learn something, or you have an experience, that bush grows, you know, that bush of information. Can you imagine, every human being is carrying that equipment, even Paris Hilton? (Laughter) Go figure. But I got a little bad news for you folks. I got some bad news. This isn’t for the one in four. This is for the four in four. We are not equipped for the 21st century. Evolution did not prepare us for this. We just don’t have the bandwidth, and for people who say, oh, they’re having a nice day, they’re perfectly fine, they’re more insane than the rest of us. Because I’ll show you where there might be a few glitches in evolution. Okay, let me just explain this to you. When we were ancient man — (Laughter) — millions of years ago, and we suddenly felt threatened by a predator, okay? — (Laughter) — we would — Thank you. I drew these myself. (Laughter) Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. Anyway, we would fill up with our own adrenaline and our own cortisol, and then we’d kill or be killed, we’d eat or we’d be eaten, and then suddenly we’d de-fuel, and we’d go back to normal. Okay. So the problem is, nowadays, with modern man— (Laughter) — when we feel in danger, we still fill up with our own chemical but because we can’t kill traffic wardens — (Laughter) — or eat estate agents, the fuel just stays in our body over and over, so we’re in a constant state of alarm, a constant state. And here’s another thing that happened. About 150,000 years ago, when language came online, we started to put words to this constant emergency, so it wasn’t just, “Oh my God, there’s a saber-toothed tiger,” which could be, it was suddenly, “Oh my God, I didn’t send the email. Oh my God, my thighs are too fat. Oh my God, everybody can see I’m stupid. I didn’t get invited to the Christmas party!” So you’ve got this nagging loop tape that goes over and over again that drives you insane, so, you see what the problem is? What once made you safe now drives you insane. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but somebody has to be. Your pets are happier than you are. (Laughter) (Applause) So kitty cat, meow, happy happy happy, human beings, screwed. (Laughter) Completely and utterly — so, screwed. But my point is, if we don’t talk about this stuff, and we don’t learn how to deal with our lives, it’s not going to be one in four. It’s going to be four in four who are really, really going to get ill in the upstairs department. And while we’re at it, can we please stop the stigma? Thank you. (Applause) (Applause) Thank you.
The breakdown was 2006 and the first
time I spoke publicly was 2011. I was writing songs about it and that’s what
encouraged people to start asking for the story. I was always able to sing
about it. For some reason that felt safe, but speaking about it felt terrifying.
And the first time they asked me, I remember it was like weeks leading up to
it where I felt like all of those trauma circuits were just lit up and I just
thought, I don’t–I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to go into this story again.
But when I spoke that day in Minneapolis and I looked out at all the
families, and I looked at the families that had lost children, I looked at the
families that were supporting each other through it and I saw that it was doing
something, that being up there–as uncomfortable as it was in the beginning,
and it’s gotten a lot easier–but that I was able to turn something that had been
so terrifying to me into something that could serve other people and there was
a sense that having survived there was a responsibility. When I was going through
the worst of it I did I felt like there weren’t enough stories of young people.
There wasn’t enough. I was hanging on to Kay Redfield Jamison books for dear life,
you know, carrying them around with me. But I felt that there there weren’t
enough people my age talking about it, and there wasn’t enough giving me a
sense that my brain would come back and that there was something on the other
side. And I think to to speak about it started to feel more and more like a
responsibility. As someone who had gotten through it. And people gave me the
courage. The courage didn’t come from me. People just came up over and over to me
after after I spoke and said, I needed that, I got something I can work with out
Hey guys, what’s up? It’s Alexa. Uhh, welcome back! Thanks for coming back. Um, I was filming a “what I eat in a day video” and I literally couldn’t get through it just because I didn’t feel like I was into it. And I just don’t really think it’s fair to make videos, for me and for you guys, if I’m just not really enjoying it. Because I feel like you just don’t make good content and that’s not fun. So I decided to just sit down and do another mental health Q&A just because I don’t even really know what else to make. I just feel like that’s kind of who I am as a creator for now, which also feels kind of horrible and I just didn’t really know I was going to react the way that I did and react so vulnerably and the past few weeks have been really, really weird since the first video talking about the hospital and the second one with like a follow-up and all my friends have been incredibly supportive and you guys have been incredibly supportive. And just kind of hearing what you guys have to say is absolutely amazing. Okay, so I just wanted to thank you guys for being so cool, and I wanted to do something for one of you guys that would hopefully brighten your day and um, I found all this and decided I wanted to give it to somebody so it’s just like 600 dollars worth of makeup. It’s like a lot of benefit stuff, um like some highlighters, an eyeshadow palette, just kind of like a little care package and I figured somebody would really, really love this so I’ll leave a link down below of how to enter, and hopefully somebody that wins is somebody that’s going through something and can get brightened up by this. So, yeah. “How do you feel about starting medication?” Um, medication has really personally helped me out a lot um, it makes life a lot easier so I think, I mean it’s not right for everybody and some people really disagree with me I think just have an open mind about it if you think it’s going to help you, maybe give it a shot. Talk to your psychiatrist. I don’t know! “How did you learn to cope with different symptoms that came along with illnesses?” Um, a lot of hard work, honestly that’s the thing, it’s like taking care of your mental health is a lot of work. It’s like having a full-time job. So I think I’m really not even fully in a place where I feel like I’ve coped with everything. I think if I was I would be making a “what I eat in a day” video currently. Life is totally hard. It’s really hard to cope with some things. There are some days where I can’t do much and I think the biggest thing is just learning how to accept that. And I think my also biggest thing is learning how to relax and take time for myself because if I don’t, I just end up spacing out and doing nothing for like an entire day it’s really bad. How did I keep up with school while I was in the hospital? Um, I kind of didn’t. Their whole thing is they only really let us do 3 hours of schoolwork a day So I just kind of did the bare minimum, took my tests when I had to, and I had to finish it up over the summer, but I actually ended up graduating early and, I had to finish up the work over the summer, which was a lot, but you know, priorities. “What’s something that gets you through a rough day?” Honestly, I have a few friends that I talk to about how I feel a lot and I typically will just like FaceTime one of them, call one of them, and they always do the same for me. So they just kind of get me through it and they really cheer me up. I have like probably 2 friends, specifically, that are just so supportive and amazing. And then I think if it’s one of those days where it’s just me, I’ll just go and do something or I’ll just be like, “Okay, I’m going to zone out and watch TV for a bit” Um, yeah, I just kind of try to do something, but some days I can’t pull myself out of it So… Advice for people with testing anxiety. I have horrible testing anxiety. Before I take a test, I’ve been known to have panic attacks, panic attacks during tests, Um, you can get a…most schools allow you to get a learning disability pass so when you’re taking tests you can either be in like a quiet room by yourself, or you might be able to have an extra like two hours It would take me, because I’m dyslexic, about four hours to take a math test. but I was allowed to have six hours, and I was allowed to come back. So I could like take the test for three hours and then come back the next day and finish the test. Um, but that was just because I had to get a learning disability pass. “Was it hard opening up to your friends about a mental illness?” Um, I think it was weirdly easier to tell the internet than it was my friends. A few people really knew about it, but now it’s like it actually is nice having all my friends know and it was nice kind of coming out with that to everybody at one time. But yeah no, it’s very weird talking about it with friends and I love talking about it now, because I feel like I’m kind of like set free in a sense but…yeah Somebody asked me how you cope with being heartbroken while you have depression. And I think this is literally one of the hardest things you can do in the whole world because you just…heartbreak is going to make you depressed. It’s like you’re mourning the loss of somebody that is alive that you want to reach out to but you can’t because they don’t want you in their life it just doesn’t work out for whatever reason it’s just still going to break your heart. And I feel like I’ve been properly heartbroken four times in my life by people that I loved so unconditionally and some were friends, some were people that I loved romantically everything, whatever. My friend Nick always tells me, he’s like, “Just get over it” Like, he’s like, “it sucks, but it’s not going to last forever” and I think it’s the same thing like when you’re depressed you feel like you’re going to be in this black hole forever and ever, but it’s like I’m still heartbroken. I’m still heartbroken, like there’s specifically like one friend that absolutely shattered me that I don’t know when I’m going to recover from it. I’m still like upset. But it’s like, what else are you going to do? Like, I don’t know. It sucks. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt more than other people, but you know it’s life, I guess. I think that’s the best way to accept anything that’s sad. It’s just, it’s life. “How do you confront people when they say it’s trendy to have a mental illness?” When people try to make mental health trendy, it’s completely disrespectful because it would be like making diabetes trendy like everyone that has an illness doesn’t want it and I think if you’re romanticizing it, it might show that you do have a mental illness and you’re trying to kind of identify yourself through that, but it also, for people that don’t have it, people that are like, “Oh, I have to do this”, “I have to do that”, it’s like, you know there’s so many of us that actually really do suffer with that and that’s not okay. And, for example, I was at a Halloween party yesterday and somebody had like a psych ward outfit on and I was like, that’s just completely disrespectful to the people that have actually been there and know what it’s like. and you’re just like adding to the stigma of people being crazy when they’re not. They just have an illness. I kind of don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to cry on camera. I’m just like so in a mood, and I don’t want to talk to people. Yeah, I think this is probably my last video about all this. I said that last time, but I think for a while, this is the last one. I’ll probably make a video about dyslexia in the future. And then, I don’t know, if you guys have any other questions later, I’ll probably make one in a couple of months. probably around like Mental Health Awareness Month. So, um, yeah, let’s break the stigma. Let’s be kind to each-other, because you never know what that person’s going through that day. And um, yeah, if you guys want to try to get some makeup, there’s a giveaway. And I’ll be back with happier videos next week if you guys want to subscribe, I would love to have you back. And, until next week. Bye!