The first problem with mental illness is, in several countries you can only get a diagnosis after you’re eighteen, and anything that happens before that is either “teenage angst” or ADHD (not on paper of course) They will laugh at you and say “oh all teenagers are suicidal”, which is where I would stop in awe and at this point I would love to ask back: “well do you think it is normal, or does it show something about society?”. However, I will not start to write a novel about how this would be the most intricate age for treatment and everything that comes after is just a struggle from medicines, side effects and empty behaviorist conversations.
When you are eighteen, depending on your country or level of insurance you may try to ask for help. Chances are you will end up with a false diagnosis (because the hospital just gained EU money for that or simply by non-professionalism, and overworked carelessness) and in involuntary treatment, which will forever shatter your trust in psychiatry.
So here is the story of what might also happen to you afterwards.
At the university I was aware all along that I would have the talent to go on after BA. But mental illness took that from me. Hospital treatments and new medications with horrible side effects would take away my energy to go from the dorm building from the university building, which would have been a 20 minutes’ walk, but if I eventually started going it took me an hour or more. The rest of my motivation would be swamped by suicidal feelings. I struggled through these years and finally ended them.
I was in and out of workplaces. I had an anxiety which would not let me pick up the phone. Most of the time I was pumped with bumming-out, drooling, no concentration kind of drugs, and doctors had no idea what would work after the 10th and 15th one. If I dropped them it was all the same. I got in a hospital day care with older people, and I can honestly say it was the only year of my life where I did not feel threatened. I told people at the clinics that I would like to ask for disability, so I could work and illness-friendly places and gain a low amount of government money, please add to the equation that I had no family to even give me a place to live!
They said I will be fine in the workplace, it is a different era now. One of integration. And let me call bullshit right there. In my home country recruiters told me my face looked depressed, and that was enough for them they did not even bother to test my skills. (Then they cry on the news that there is no workforce). After 2 years of not getting any work and living off freelance translations I and my partner came to the decision to leave home. We found a job in another country and could finally build up some financial security.
There are all the regular inequities in within the workplace, and employees equal rats. But I now held a contract in my hand that said “no discrimination can harm the individual on the basis of any illness.” I will not go ranting on all the injustice of the 9 months I have spent there. I am on my notice period now anyway. Mind you this is a EU country where a limited number of people speak English, and I am not so good at their language yet.
Let’s say you had a depressive episode at this place. I won’t go into telling you how that looks like, if you are reading this you probably know it very well. The last one for me just happened recently. And let me break it to you that doctors are taught not to take it seriously and think you’re simulating like “all those colleagues of yours who came in here before with a headache”. I went to my team lead and told her, well you know, just put me on an unpaid leave (this is a place where people use unpaid leaves to have vacations btw.) so I could somehow get on my feet before I start at the new company.
She did not give me unpaid, but she referred me to a doctor. So today I went, and he told me “this is not serious, because it is just depression, and your company has raised various scandals with us in the past, so I will not give you sick leave (was asking for 4 days)”. So, the company that has issues with the only English speaking healthcare center is no longer welcome at it. Yay, right. Apparently not being able to sleep or eat for days and barely walking is not a serious issue as it seems – according to my company. Now what will I get? Unauthorized leave! That will probably end up in me being fired before my resignation period actually ends. Fired on grounds of discrimination based on an illness that you can not get sick leave for because your company turned against the doctors who could give any. So here is another contract breach on top of the other ones that are not mentioned here. Mind you, when I am well, I work like a horse.
So dear world, can you finally decide what you want to do with US, people who suffer from any form of mental illness. Do you want us to live on the streets as many of us already do because you closed institutions instead of making them less cruel? If yes, then why are you so upset by the idea that we could ask for euthanasia? Do you want us to go to work, then why not create jobs and promote companies that are able to actually integrate us? If you are puzzled and cannot pass these questions let me ask you just one more!
Is suicide selfish when the whole society makes you feel useless in many different ways?! Is suicide selfish when we no longer want to be a burden on anyone? Is suicide selfish when we feel the need to say sorry for our bare existence?
And if we lay in that coffin why do you suddenly start being sorry and say things like “I loved that person”.