Last night a couple of us attended the Sydney chapter of The Moth. The Moth runs monthly ‘StorySLAMs’ which are open mics where you tell a 5min true story on a set theme. They run in Sydney, Melbourne, London and all across the States. Last night the theme was collaboration and two storytellers linked this theme with stories of mental health.
The first speaker told a story about being bullied by a Headmaster who turned out to be a paedophile. Though he did not give the content of any abuse, he raised many issues related to mental health such as where perpetrators of child abuse and rape are not properly brought to justice. We successfully advocated for a mention of 1800 RESPECT given the story was potentially very triggering.
The final speaker told a story about dysthymia which is a form of depression that is less intense than major depressive disorder but usually more persistent so can still be very difficult to manage. The speaker Matt spoke about attempts to get help which failed. He stated that they would only help him if he was actively suicidal. A doctor threaten to schedule him and he grabbed a knife and tried to flee from police.
Being scheduled is awful, many of us know this first hand. Even so, Matt’s message that he had been admitted before and they did nothing to help him is itself unhelpful. Sometimes you need to accept that you cannot assess the real level of risk you pose to yourself or others and you need to comply. Doing this early decreases your chance of a traumatic scene being caused by doctors and police.
Police are still too heavy handed and do not understand what it is like to be acutely unwell. Through storytelling though, we can make police and other members of the community realise how difficult it is to be mentally ill and together we can advocate for better treatment options other than involuntary incarceration and restraint.
Keep telling your story Matt but let’s try harder to use it to help others.
By the Mad Magpie.
If you are a victim of sexual abuse and need help, phone 1800 RESPECT. For a crisis where you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 000.