Mental Illness



In my life I have been confronted with psychosis. You don’t realize you’re in brainpain, so much pain you’re in. It’s a balancing act on the edge of not completely losing control of yourself. In a mental institution, 1992-1993, we had short and long admissions, short was about a year and long could be twenty years. Patients walk around there with a child mask on, that’s what I call it. Adult male bodies. They talk like a child, are completely drowned in themselves, and react to things with wide open eyes. They are happy when a patient in the short department gives them a cigarette, like a child you would say but it is more like a dog or a cat getting a treat.

        Terrible, you think. Until you realize that they were once normal. These have been adult minds that have lost too much emotional space and have not gotten away from the emotional stagnation they experienced in childhood. And so did I. They once started in the short term department, where I am now is a fear that hits you in the throat.

        In group therapies you hear stories from fellow patients where you think you are posing yourself with what you have experienced yourself. Abused in childhood by two adolescent boys. In a psychiatric hospital that is not much and only match also being damaged a child.

        Caught in childhood, drugged around age 24, twice, so caught again, could have filed a police report, but what’s the point. You decide that twice is enough. Dutch society is full of easy opinions and especially about people like me. Whether I just want to become a part-time gardener, start taking medication, and get on with life. With all due respect, that’s not what I was made for. I had already taken medication during my institution and I had not liked it and I also knew that I could never accept it. Pharmaceutical companies are for-profit and commercial. That alone was enough for me to refuse it.

        And then find a partner also under pills usage which is more company than appeals to your intrinsic emotions, no thanks, I have a cat.

        So I decided to take the road without medication. For those in the long-term department, for those who had been abused by their father, which is life sentence in some way. Refusing was not appreciated 25 years ago, it was sacrilege. No one who read the package insert, a laundry list of side effects including suicide, just to name a few, and what also is mentioned is the text to take as a maximum of three months and the psychiatrist calmly prescribes it for five years in a row.

        But then you’re in line. Someone who can have a really good acceptance as a gardener is sitting at home on the couch, while I had to use my I.Q., could do something with it, that’s what I was made for, the side effects of the pills make you depressed, take extra pills, and recover every few years in a psychiatric hospital. That’s what matters is the culture summation to you of people who are just on the first step of society and should be looking up. fuck it! No! Order such a shit life for someone else.

        I sang out the ride and documented the insights gained and put them in a podcast so that I could put them behind myself, could forget, it was an instinctive action as if the body said it was ready and healthy so you could go back in with the soul and loose that awareness. Because after everything I didn’t want to forget was in the podcast, the ghost let go.

        By the way, 25 years ago I had also had an out-of-body experience and suffered liver and lung damage in previous destructive years. Psychiatry was too much in line with psychoactive drugs as if they owned stocks and it became a means of communication in the streets. People talk to you that they have so much respect for you with how positive you are in life and such, you with bags under the eyes and with eaten fat from the medication. You are petted and the communication-bridge is talking about taking pills, is that okay, is it enough, and more like it.


But what exactly is mental illness? When you see someone mentally ill, with or without medication, talking to someone, the feeling creeps in that something is missing in the communication. A realization that came to me after creating the podcast. When two people communicate with each other, they draw on a foundation to bring arguments to the conversation. For example: ‘In 1974 we  otherwise have lost the final with Cruyff football.’ If there is a difference of opinion about that. Facts from its own database, so to speak, to maintain a position in the conversation and to maintain opinion. What your identity is made of. Is that what the mentally ill person lacks in communication? The ability to retrieve arguments from memory on the spot during the conversation? You have to have some kind of refer-to-ability, some kind of reflective ability in the communication. If necessary, you can create it yourself, nowadays we have a third party such as social media so that it does not become too much one-on-one, and you are not taken away from too much emotional space so that you literally become one.


Joris van Huijstee