S3: Fine Line - Episode 26 - Michael W

Episode Information

Fine Line: Mental Health/Mental Illness – Episode 26 – Michael W

[Intro Music]


Narrator:  Welcome to Season three Fine Line narrative histories about mental health and mental illness, a traveling exhibition and weekly podcast edited and hosted by Michael Nye, supported by Kronkosky Charitable Foundation. May you find insight and understanding in these voices. Episode 26, Michael W.

Michael W:  My first name is Michael. I’m 40 years old and I’m homeless. I would like to work. I’m certified in, uh, h culture, horticulture, dry cleaning. Really, I got a talent to do just about anything. If someone just showed me how to do it, I’m not a Christian. No, but I do believe in Jesus Christ. I know one thing. If he didn’t exist today, we wouldn’t be alive. It wouldn’t be nothing on the face of the earth. And I feel that. I know that for a fact. Certain things I’ve suffered from love, honesty, denial. Pain is too deep. What helps me is understanding and a little advice. I don’t have nobody to depend on no more. The pressure build to a point to where I couldn’t handle living. I, I blame myself for it. I don’t, I I don’t have anything good to say. I don’t.

No person should be in a stage of being down. Everybody should have a willpower to be on the top. Mental illness. You wanna hurt yourself. Not talking, being quiet all the time, nervous. When things are not your way. Your whole body just completely go. Just shake sweat, dancing in the middle of the street for no reason. Digging in the trash can for no reason being nasty because that’s the way you want to be hating everybody pulling your hair out. You feel that’s the way to get the pressure off yourself by pulling your hair out your head. What causes my depression is it’s like I’m not accepted by nobody. It’s like that. I’m not even here most proud of. I guess I’m still alive. I’m proud of that. Most proud of. I’m not sure how to answer that one. I’m proud of myself that I made it outta prison.

I survived. I was in prison for a burglary of re rehabilitation. If you calculate it all the time. I did. I did about 15 years on a 35 year sentence. I didn’t get caught breaking in the house. I got caught coming out the house. That was the second time, though. You know, a lot of people get out and they’re thinking something big. It’s nothing big. Being in prison, man, that’s your life. Gone, man. They will lock you up in a place when you never be, know nothing about ever again. The only way you surface, you got to make it surface. I would love to stay free. Not committing a crime, not doing the wrong thing. Walk down the street by yourself and not worry about anything. Being free is being able to do what you want to do.

[Outro Music]

Host:  “Shoulders” a poem by Naomi Shihab-Nye: A man crosses the street in rain stepping gently, looking two times north and south. Because his son is asleep on his shoulder. No car must splash him. No car should drive too near to his shadow. This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo, but he’s not marked nowhere does his jacket say, fragile handle with care. His ear fills up with breathing. He hears the hum of a boy’s dream deep inside him. We’re not going to be able to live in this world if we’re not willing to do what he’s doing with one another. The road will only be wide and the rain will never stop falling. Michael’s narrative is haunting, direct, deeply honest, hurtful, and hopeful. He was once a child like all of us being carried and cared for. No, he was not able to receive mental health services when he was homeless. No, not able to receive the care and treatment he needed. Thank you, Michael, for your voice, your story, and your presence. May something in Michael’s story stay with you. I’m Michael Nye. You can go to my website, michaelnye.org/podcast for Michael’s portrait and transcript. Thank you for listening.