What struck me in the above extract was Mattew’s sense of powerlessness and lack of control over his relapse, recovery and treatment journey in the health and family system. We want every individual in Singapore to have a safe space to reach out and tell his/her story. To have one’s emotions and experiences held tight. We want to create a community that validates not only the joy and triumphs of life, but also the pain and secret shames embedded in your personal journeys.
I wonder if you believe me? People don’t tend to believe me. I’ve been asked a lot of questions. Questions like:
This voice – his voice – do yo hear it inside your head, or does it seem to come from the outside, and what exactly does it say, and does it tell you to do things or just comment on what you’re doing already, and have you done any of the things it says, which things, you said mum takes tablets, what are they for, is anyone else in your family FUCKING MAD, and do you use illicit drugs, how much alcohol do you drink, every week, every day, and how are you feeling in yourself right now, on a scale of 1-10, and what about on a scale of 1-7,400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, and how is your sleep of late, and what of your appetite, and what exactly did happen that night on the cliff edge, in your own words, do you remember, can you remember, do you have any questions? That sort of thing.
But it doesn’t matter how careful I am to think hard, and tell the truth, people don’t believe a word I say.
Everything I do is decided for me. There is a plan. I’m not joking. I have a copy of it somewhere. We have meetings, me and some doctors and nurses and anyone else who feels like showing up to take the piss. We have meetings. They’re my meetings, so everybody talks about me.
Afterwards I’m given a few sheets of paper, stapled together, with my plan written on them.
It tells me exactly what I have to do with my days, like coming in for therapy groups here at Hope Road Day Centre, and what tablets I should take, and the injections, and who is responsible for what. This is all written down for me. Then there is another plan that comes into play if I don’t stick to the first one. It follows me around, like a shadow. This is my life. I’m nineteen years old, and the only thing I have any control over in my entire world is the way I choose to tell this story. So I’m hardly going to fuck about. It would be nice if you’d try to trust me.
Above extract is taken from pages 88 and 89 of ‘The Shock of the Fall’ by Nathan Filer, The Borough Press (2014). The story follows a 19 year old boy, Matt, through his writings on losing his special needs brother, family interactions and friendships, and receiving treatment for mental illness at his community-based day care centre.
Reflections on ‘The Shock of the Fall’
At this point I’m just half-way through, so I’m not even that sure yet of what exactly is going on with Matt. Not only does Matt suffer from very (in my opinion) convincing delusions, he also finds it extremely difficult to verbalise and express his own entangled emotions and memories surrounding Simon’s death.
However, what struck me in the above extract was Mattew’s sense of powerlessness and lack of control over his relapse, recovery and treatment journey in the health and family system. This reinforced for me the importance of creating and sustaining platforms such as https://thetapestryproject.sg and even this particular blog. We want every individual in Singapore to have a safe space to reach out and tell his/her story. To have one’s emotions and experiences held tight. We want to create a community that validates not only the joy and triumphs of life, but also the pain and secret shames embedded in your personal journeys.
We welcome you to tell any variation of own story, as well as to share personal thoughts, reflections and insights on mental health and wellness with us here! Remember, there’s no such thing as ‘wrong’ emotions, only invalidated ones.