Friday, November 10, 2006

Treasure alert, again

If you're not reading Stranger's Fever, you're really missing out on something fine, you know. At the moment Bronze John is in a psychiatric hospital being treated for bipolar depression, and illuminating the experience for the rest of us in his typically good-humoured way. This, for example, about his psychiatrist:
[...] an extremely tall man, an ectomorphic patrician with sea-green eyes, hooked nose and closely cropped hair. He speaks in a precise, European accent, and for some reason the thought of disobeying him, or of concealing things from him, does not enter my head. He sits, long legs crossed above the knee while I explain things to him – [...]

He generally attacks at dawn, like a Masai, seeing his first patient at seven AM. I think this is why psychiatrists think mental illness is so widespread. Many people who present as suicidal, homicidal or floridly psychotic at seven AM would be perfectly reasonable two hours later with a cup of coffee and a decent breakfast inside them.

- from Serum misery level by Bronze John

John was planning to kill himself the other day, by the way. At least, I think so. That's the way I'm reading this post about his reasons for going to hospital. He didn't kill himself. He might have, had he not recognised that his thoughts were symptoms of illness and something to treat, not follow.

Ignorance about mental illness can kill people, and at the very least, it makes people stupid. Take me, for example: I hesitated about writing this post, wondering whether it was the wrong time to point you towards John's blog. He's in a psychiatric hospital, after all, being treated for a mental illness. Maybe he doesn't want this getting around.

Maybe he doesn't want this getting around.

I hope you're as shocked by that as I now am. "Maybe he doesn't want this getting around"?? Maybe he'd be ashamed, in other words. Not ashamed of being in a hospital being treated for an illness - I meant ashamed of being in a psychiatric hospital being treated for a mental illness.

Bloody hell. It's unforgivable. Mental illness is illness, for God's sake, not a character flaw. Where the hell does shame come into it?

And look, now I've made a big issue about it, when all I meant was that Stranger's Fever is fantastic, continuously so, and the latest post is, you know, fantastic too.