Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sharing my Mental Health Story on National TV

That's me in the crazy house
Just recently I was interviewed on the Joey Albert show about the work I recently completed in Uganda

You can watch the interview on the Filipino Online TV Canada site.  Look for episode 4 of the Joey Albert Show.

Joey asked my about my life story and how I came to be doing what I am doing.  I related my story about my journey through mental hell that included a five month stay at a psychiatric institution called Ashburn Clinic.

I try to be as open and honest as I can be about my mental health issues, but it is sometimes hard to articulate what happened.

The Malcolm then is so much different to the Malcolm now.

Crazy Malcolm was hell bent on self destruction and very nearly succeeded.  I only survived with the help of some very loving people who get a nod on the side of the school I helped build in Uganda.

Ashburn Clinic was both the best and the worst place to be.

It was the best in that I no doubt left healthier than when I arrived.

It was the worst in that there were some truly sick people around me.  Skeleton like girls with eating disorders would be helped around the ward in case they fell down and broke brittle bones.  A grown man sobbing like a child because he longed for a relationship with his parents, while at others time enraged and wishing his parents were rotting in hell for forcing him into a paedophile ring.  And a young man hanging from a home made noose.

And me in the middle of it all doing my own fucked up things.

I remember that exact moment I decided to leave.  (I was there voluntarily).  It was at a hospital meeting that we had once every week where all the staff and patients met in the gym.  One of the patients struggling with substance abuse had smuggled in some alcohol and was promptly kicked out.

I asked if that was the policy of the clinic.  One staff member confirmed that it was and then the director of the clinic (no less!) berated me for my "uncaring attitude" and my "indifference to others".  I was shocked that she would not only publicly berate me, but also question my love for the people I had become very close to.

I remember thinking that I didn't need this shit any more and began making plans to get my life back on track.

And six year later here I am!

There is so much more I could talk about with my mental health issues.  Several people have asked me to write a book about it. About how I went from a successful I.T. manager, to the depths of mental hell, to building solar powered schools in Uganda.

Maybe I will write a book about it someday.  But not today.  I have another school to build.

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