S3: Fine Line - Episode 24 - Mary

Episode Information

Fine Line: Mental Health/Mental Illness – Episode 24 Mary

[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 24, Mary.

Mary:  I always pray at night and lay in the darkness, and I think about where I’ve been and how far I’ve come, and sometimes I imagine that I’m on a beach and just sigh at the beauty of the color of the sky and the fullness of the moon. And it feels so safe where you’re at peace and alone with your thoughts. The hardest things to forget about my childhood are actually people’s faces agonized in, in, um, evil anger, the eyes and the hands, and never finding a loving touch. I wanted to be loved so much. I searched for kindness from the world, uh, around me, and many times I was met with more perversion. Uh, I don’t remember a day without pain. My name is Mary and I’ve had a very tested life. My diagnosis is, um, multiple personality, and I also have major depression with psychosis.

I want to be a good and honest woman in my life. That’s the main thing that I desire in my life. Major depression with psychosis is a clinical depression. It means that your brain is sick and it hurts just like it would hurt if you lost an arm or a leg. And you need medication to make your brain function. Psychosis is when you hear voices, when you hear things, when you see things and smell things that aren’t there. It doesn’t mean that you hurt people. Sometimes a psychosis is triggered by something else. So simple, just a flash of light or the way someone’s holding their hands, someone looking at you. And there are times when you don’t know if the voice is real or you think it’s God, I think it’s your father, or you think that there’s actually someone in the room, and the voices are so real, so touchable, where you look around and, and sometimes there is a face, there is a person standing there and you reach out to touch them as they’re speaking to you and they disappear.

There are a lot of things that I’m not proud of in my lifetime. I was a stripper for a long time and a prostitute. I was a drug addict, and, uh, I was an alcoholic for an intelligent woman. It took me a quite a long time to realize that the evil that was hurting me was gone, and I was the one that was doing the bad things to myself. I sing when I’m in my apartment alone, when I am feeling sentimental and say it’s raining, and I’ll make my hot chocolate and sing songs to my cat, <laugh> and to the four walls. And it’s, it’s sustained me many times, like singing a lullaby to yourself. Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling from Glen to Glen and or the mountainside. The summer’s gone and all the roses falling. It’s you, it’s you must go. And I must.

[Outro Music]

Host:  Mary is a brilliant artist and paints stunning portraits. In fact, I purchased one of her self-portraits and it’s hanging in my studio. Mary is also a storyteller and understands that stories can be windows into a larger world than our own places where empathy and understanding begin. Mary credits her therapist and psychiatrist for saving her life, for providing insights and strategies to deal with her major depression with psychosis. Mary said it took me years to understand that my mental illness could be managed and was not my fault. May something in Mary’s story stay with you. Thank you, Mary, for your openness, your courage, and your presence. Every person, every place is a map to somewhere else. I’m Michael Nye. You can go to my website, michaelnye.org/podcast for Mary’s portrait and transcript. Thank you for listening.