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The Mentally Ill Issue

Scary Hours

A couple of years ago I was in a club in London and a couple of girls spiked my drink. I've never been the same since.
Κείμενο Michele Smith

Self-portrait by the author around about the time all the nasty business in the mental hospitals was happening

A couple of years ago I was in a club in London and a couple of girls spiked my drink. I've never been the same since. I feel like I've recovered but my life has never been the same. When they spiked my drink I started to hallucinate. I don't know what drug it was. The hospital ran a few tests on me but they didn't know either. I saw all kinds of things like demons and all kinds of terrible stuff. I think because I'm an artist a lot of the visions I had were to do with things I've seen in paintings. People want to hurt me because I've got a mental illness but I do feel lucky though. Why? because I've been told my illness is curable. Not everybody gets told that. I know people from the hospital who have got schizophrenia. One woman from Tottenham who I knew killed her cat by chopping its head off. She had a little bottle and she put the cat's spirit in it. But I got bullied a lot in there and that's why I got sectioned. There was a woman in there who told me she raped another woman with sticks. She came from Holloway prison and said she had the best days of her life in there. It was scary. I had to sleep next to her every night and I was really scared of her. One night the doctors gave me an injection and some medication before I went to sleep. This wasn't like an ordinary sleep, it's a really deep sleep. This Chinese woman tried to strangle me. She was lying on top of me. I don't know what else she was trying to do to me because I was in this deep sleep. I didn't even wake up through it. Another woman in the ward said it took five of them to get her off me. The doctor told me I would need medication until I'm about 30 but I reckon I'll be taking it forever. I've been on Lithium, Prozac, lots of different ones. They've all got different side effects and that's what's really terrible about people discriminating. Because say if you're affected by one side effect and it's making you act in that way, you can't help it. You either take your medicine and suffer the side effects or you don't take them and you get even worse. My old medication used to make me see apples so during that time I painted a lot of apples. I'm getting better all the time now. MICHELLE SMITH