Home > Opinion > Journey asks Craig Watson; What is it like to live with mental health issues?

Journey asks Craig Watson; What is it like to live with mental health issues?

ONE OF the main hurdles I face in life is social phobia.

For me, this means that I fear people will think shamefully of me.

There are many labels of shame society can place upon a person.

I fear some of these labels being placed upon me.

I also fear that false judgements and labels could result in persecution.

It leads to a lot of paranoia and foreboding about going out in public.

It affects me on buses and trains, going to church, going shopping; in almost any public place.

This does not mean I avoid all these places, but insecurity can strike at any time.

And if I think I’m being judged and given a label, it usually makes me feel anxious and angry.

All this thought takes place inside me, and there’s usually no visible sign of it.

A lot of the suffering of a mentally ill person takes place quietly and invisibly.

My diagnosis is schizophrenia, for which I engage in a whole-of-life treatment package.

This includes taking medication, regular exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and working through my issues with my doctor, using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

I also have many friends I talk to, whose support I fi nd invaluable.

But I find I need all these things to stay well.

One thought a friend gave me that I found helpful is about Jesus and Zacchaeus, a man who was an outcast, a tax collector.

My friend said that, like Zacchaeus, many of us at times think, “I’m this, I’m that …”, but Jesus sees past this, eats with
us, and has a plan for us.

I believe his plan for me involves artwork.

Here is one of my chalk pastel works entitled, “Night”. I hope you like it.