DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE AND BACK AGAIN
A story about family, mental illness and the craziness that comes with it
Rating: PG-13 for some mature themes
Genre: Psychological, adventure
(The following events are based on a true story but some names and events have been changed to protect the identities of the characters.)
FALLING DOWN THE HOLE AND EXPLORING THE DARKNESS
Do I have a mental illness? Maybe but the better question is, do I care what other people think about that? And my answer is a resounding, HECK NO! So long as no one is getting violent or hurting themselves, then that person should have FULL control over their own medical goings on. Then again, I am a 20 year old male still living at home with mum and pop so maybe that in itself is a bit crazy. My name is Mike Whistler and I have been diagnosed with having a mental illness!
Bipolarity, depression, Schizophrenia, manic something or other, take your pick but I am getting ahead of myself. I suppose that it would be best if I started at the beginning. (not of my life but the start of some troubling events as I remember them) As an average high school graduate, I had taken some time off and had begun looking for work. Excellent attendance, decent grades and a spotless criminal record gave me the impression that finding employment would be easy.
This is when I got the rude awakening of a lifetime. Not only had jobs become scarce for some reason but I was regularly being turned away from even fast food positions. (which I always assumed were easy to get) My once supportive immediate family members gradually became obsessed with my prolonged unemployment. Almost every conversation soon devolved into an awkward interrogation about the progress of my disastrous job search. I was doing my best and even doing my part with household chores but it was like they just did not care anymore.
As the employment search dragged on, the constant rejection from the real world (job applications not getting me hired) and increasingly aggressive behaviors from those who I shared a home with, all started to take their toll on my mental wellbeing. It is one thing to have a stranger insult a person but it is entirely different to have those put downs coming from your own (former) support network. I started to feel isolated and betrayed. (partly due to not keeping in touch with friends from high school) When the clones from Episode 3 turned their blasters on the Jedi, I would imagine it felt very similar to what I was going through.
With no obvious light at the end of the tunnel (in regards to a job) and family members displaying the worst possible sides of their personalities, the vast majority of my attention became divided and scattered. My room was at the far side of our single story house but I gradually became scared to even set foot into the hallway. With the line between friend and foe becoming more muddled by the day, I became tense and paranoid. Activities that I once enjoyed became undoable because it seemed like every time I started to relax or let my guard down, someone would find me and start screaming about my unemployment.
Occasionally I managed to watch some TV in peace but it was not much fun anymore. By this point I had become fearful enough that when bad things happened on the television, I thought that they could be connected to the real world in some way. This led to many of my favorite programs actually scaring me half to death instead of helping me to feel better. Without much to do except look for a job (which seemed to be an exercise in futility) I quickly became bored out of my mind. At least I still had my imagination to keep me company but without a balanced lifestyle to ground it in reality, my creative side soon went out of control.
Now feeling quite alone (despite still being around other people) I began trying to make sense of why my life turned out this way and why all of these things were happening to me. Some of my favorite theories were: Had my family been killed by wild animals and replaced with look a likes? Was it possible that they had been brainwashed or taken over somehow?! As I was busy trying to disprove these thoughts in my own head, I would sometimes appear to be doing nothing but blankly staring into space. But since when did it become a crime to sit quietly and expect not to be bothered?! Needless to say, the unfriendly behaviors of the people around me reinforced these unsettling theories rather than helping to dispel them.
One day my father barged into my room and informed me that we would be taking a little trip to the doctor’s office. (apparently it was now against the rules to even think to myself) I went along quietly, it is not like I had anything better to do. Even though we were only driving through the suburbs, my healthy sense of paranoia gave me the feeling that we were traveling through a war zone. I saw it as an important escort mission and there is no telling who is on my side or how long they would stay that way. I nervously take note of every detail, the animals that are around, the color of vehicles, pedestrians, since I could no longer be certain of who was my ally anymore, I needed to consider every living thing as a potential enemy.