In follow up to the recent news of the Irish mental health cuts a demonstration was organised by Mental Health Reform and The Union of Students
As soon as I got word this would be going ahead I put the plans in place to be there and to show my support. I spread the event on Facebook and hoped it would gather enough attention to create publicity on the matter that #Thisisnotokayanymore.
I was apprehensive as to what to expect. Questions were flowing through my mind making me in turn uneasy. “Will I be out of place there? What do I do there? Will many people show up?” I knew how much I wanted to be there but I was in no way prepared for all the emotions and feelings that came with it. Unknown to myself and only recently discovered I seem to emotionally shut myself down when it comes to reality and being fully in the moment as DBT thought me. I don’t really understand it and I can’t see in myself the confusion to comprehend the Here and Now. To me I seem fully in control of what’s going on although that’s where the Alexithymia (This is a dimensional personality trait in which a person seems devoid of emotion because they are functionally unaware of their emotions) plays its part.
As I arrived students were handing out leaflets and green ribbons. The chanting had already started at this stage. It started, stopped and started again. The Rhyme didn’t go unheard. It was heard but sadly some people chose to ignore it. On a positive note though those who listened heard it but we also felt it.
The speakers were so brave and I credit them. To get up and speak about something so raw, or feelings so filled with emotion. At times I bowed my head with deep emotional recognition, at times holding back the tears from the familiar experiences of the flaws and faults in the minors mental health act such as being escorted by Gardai to hospitals when detained. At times you are handcuffed depending on high your risk is. Does involuntary detainment mean you should be handled as if you would be if you were to commit a criminal offence ? To me this is completely wrong and it’s sending out messages to those already vulnerable that they have done something wrong. You mightn’t agree with what they have done but if their not in a good headspace at the time are you really to judge ?
There was a time when I was detained under section 25 of the mental health act. The day I become involuntary I refused my medication and was held down by nursing staff and an injection was administered against my will. At that time in my life I had no say regarding my life. I was kept against my will, given treatment against my will, on one to one constant observations against my will and while my feelings and views were heard I had no say because I was detained and let me tell you when your a minor in Ireland and under a court order you don’t have a say. Everything is done through a guardian ad litem. They will put your views across but their job is to act in your best interests. If you want to go home and they feel it’s in your best interest to stay your words seems to be put to a corner. That however is just my opinion and my experience of being an involuntary teenager. I fought against my consultants on these matters and my capacity was then assessed by an independent doctor . Human rights got involved and that went on over a year. It is now case law. I still however was detained, given medication and kept on one to one observations. The final conclusion didn’t effect me because the judge had granted an order to continue with the treatment as it was. Hopefully though now adolescents and children have more rights.
The one thing about being there was that everyone was on the same note, everyone shared similar views and we were all there with the intent to let our government know that this is not okay. Family members spoke about losing their close ones while others spoke of being at the brink of suicide. One mother spoke of the experience her son had with the mental health act. All the speakers brought some sort of emotion or feeling to me. And that is why they speak, that is why we were there to listen. We all felt some bit of their pain through their stories, we all felt some of our own pain through the speakers accounts, we all can relate it to our own experiences with mental disorders and illnesses or loved ones journeys through the tunnels of darkness.
If we can all feel it what’s to be said of the people running our country ? They must feel something so why are they so ignorant to Ireland suicide epidemic ? Why are they choosing to turn a blind eye on those in need ? Why are they acting as if the services don’t need as much help as they can get ? Why are they not listening and why isn’t the terrifying statistics of Irish suicides in the last few years not tearing a hole in them so deep , deep enough to feel so helpless and so desperate to change it? Why aren’t they acknowledging their incompetence and negligence on the matter ?
The question I want answered is when is enough enough ? When will they take responsibility ? And most importantly what more does it take from them to actually see it from our perspective or are they so detached from the harsh reality of mental illness that they are incapable of seeing the full picture?
Well open your eyes, look around, look in the newspapers, look on social media, listen to the radio. You can see the missing posts. You can hear the ambulances and rescue helicopters. You can hear parents pleas for any information on their missing son. You can see the graves. These people may have passed but they were once alive and laughing. In a country failing them what more do you expect ?
Take a look at your postmans eyes, your neighbours clothes , your nieces scars. Can you not see all the evidence of the silent killer, murderer, critic, ? The evidence is in the people around you.
WAKE UP . Before it’s too late.
You can never undo the past and unfortunately we can’t bring our loved ones back from the dead so do the right thing. It’s now or never.
Time waits for no one.
Thank you to all the speakers and those that were there to support the demonstration. It’s people like you all the world needs. You will be the ones to make a real difference. Not the ones with the power.