October 15, 2010

Outpatient: Stay away from drugs, alcohol

An out-patient of the Mental Health Centre (MHC) is advising youths to stay away from drugs and alcohol as they can endanger the health of the mind.{{more}}

Relating his experience with mental illness, the patient told Searchlight that while he did not consume lots of alcohol and was not a serious drug user, the times that he practiced these habits his illness became worse.

The 39-year-old man said he has been a patient of the Mental Health Centre since 1987, when he was 17 years old. He said that he had to be taken out of secondary school as he suffered a “nervous breakdown.”

“It has been challenging, really challenging. You have to have faith. If you don’t have faith, you will lose all things and you might end up and stay in here (MHC) long,” he said.

The patient also described his difficulties with the several jobs that he has had over the years. He related that he worked mostly with security companies as a security guard. Working on the night shift for most of the jobs, he said, that he became used to not sleeping at nights. He, however, had to change many of the jobs as he would get sick and would have to take leaves of absence.

“I was working with security companies, and most of the time I would get sick on the work,” he said. He added that at one time, he was offered a job to work as an attendant at Mental Health Centre. “They gave me a job to work at the Centre, and still after 7 months, I couldn’t make it and I start to get sick again,” he said.

He related that often times he felt the stigma of being mentally ill on the job. “When you on the work, they telling people you sick and you crazy, and that you is a crazy man. From the time you tell them you had a nervous breakdown, they look on you different.”

He, however, remembered one of his bosses who had always encouraged him to take his treatment.

He added that several times after that, he had other jobs, the last job being in 2005. He admitted at that time, he started to smoke, which he said “triggered off his sickness.” He then decided to stop smoking. He, however, explained that his treatment has serious side effects.

“My main problem is when I take the treatment, it does make me want to lie down whole day. I have thing to eat, and I don’t even want to get up to eat. I does have serious side effects, so I does have to end up and come here (The MCH),” he explained.

Describing the nurses at the centre as “genuine”, the patient added that they are “trying their best with us”, adding that often times, it’s the patients who mess up. “Personally I know I does really mess up myself,” he said.

Though he is currently unemployed, he occupies himself with music, feeding his love for the art by playing his guitar.

He has played with gospel bands, but said he has “gone secular now” and is also a part of the concerts held at the Mental Health Centre. He hopes to continue playing music and to have a studio recording done soon. (OS)