WHY I WANTED TO MAKE A DOCUMENTARY

I started out filming just for my own sake. It really helped putting words to my feelings and having someone to talk to – even though I really just talked to myself. Things didn’t feel in vain when I could tell the camera. It became good therapy. I never told anyone else but the camera – it should all be between us. No one else was supposed to know what we were talking about. No one else was to enter our conversations. Several years later I accidentally showed some of the material to a friend, and she said that this could be put to good use. That it could help others. This documentary is both for those who understand and those who need to understand.

I wish I saw a similar documentary when I started cutting myself on purpose. I had no idea others were doing this or that help was out there. If I had known at an earlier stage, things might not have gone that far. I don’t think that my story is important to tell because my story is unique, but I think it’s important to tell precisely because it’s NOT unique. There are many similar stories that are never told. With my background, I understand why. Back then I didn’t know that help was available, or even that what I was struggling with was a mental disorder. I associated mental illness with “crazy” and dangerous people. I had no idea I was mentally ill myself. I only felt a lot of shame.

It took a personal meeting with psychiatry for me to learn more and challenge my perceptions. I had learnt nothing about these things in school or elsewhere. It was completely unknown and scary territory. I even thought you had to be 18 to talk to a therapist. When I came to understand how little I had grasped, I became eager to shed more light on psychiatry – to inform, open up and encourage people to talk about it. I wanted to make it a less taboo and touchy subject.

EVERYBODY has a mental health. Everybody will suffer more or less, a few or many times during their lifetime. Some get mental illnesses. But nobody IS a mental illness. For instance, I have a diagnosis called borderline, but that doesn’t mean that I AM borderline. I am Ida WITH borderline. Just like Ola who has pneumonia, doesn’t equal that Ola IS pneumonia – he is Ola WITH pneumonia. I am Ida WITH borderline. People with psychiatric diagnoses are often branded as if the diagnosis is an identity.

Mental illness is invisible. If you have pneumonia and cough, if you have cancer and lose your hair, if you’re disabled and in a wheelchair – then people understand that it can be challenging, and that it limits your life. If you are mentally ill, it doesn’t show and it can be hard to understand why someone has a hard time going to the store. It’s easy to understand that someone with a broken leg think it’s hard to collect the mail. It can be hard to understand that someone who is mentally ill finds the same thing hard.

A lot of people get insecure when hearing about people who are mentally ill. I guess that’s not so strange; the unknown can seem both frightening and uncomfortable. You don’t want to be frightened or feel uncomfortable, and then it’s easier to avoid the subject. I’ve googled borderline and read what some people write about people with borderline – how nasty we are. True, I’ve never always been that nice to myself, but other than that I’m actually a pretty nice and decent person. If mental illness and psychiatry was more talked about and normalized, it would maybe not be so terrifying to hear about you neighbor who is a schizophrenic or your colleague who has a personality disorder. It would be easier on both parts. It’s a long way before we get there, but I believe we are on our way. But to get there it is important that a lot of people are able to speak out and that people are educated on the subject.

The work I’m putting down with this documentary and my openness in general is extremely demanding. I didn’t expect it to be easy. But I think these things are so important that when I have an opportunity to contribute, it is only right that I do what I can. I’ve gotten feedback from many people saying that my openness helps them. That is what I work for, and getting feedback like that is my reward and a motivation to keep on working.

– Ida