Meet Joshua Mootilal: Part Two

A photo of student, Joshua Mootilal standing outsideInterviewed by: Lauren Lee, October 23 and November 2, 2020

Photo credits: Joshua Mootilal

Please note: this blog discusses mental health, suicidal thoughts, and domestic violence. If while reading this you find you want to talk, go here for a list of supports and rescources.

L: How do you motivate yourself to get treatment and to keep moving forward?

J: There just came a point where I didn’t want to be here anymore in the same way I was existing. I was just desperate. After 10th grade I was at a different sort of rock bottom. I was sedated all the time, almost, it felt like I was really dead inside. I would say lethargic, but, I don’t know, I felt sluggish. There was nothing else to do so I went to therapy and got meds. That isn’t the situation anymore though. But I try to make sure I go to these appointments all the time even if I’m not always mentally present. I just try to force myself into the habit of going and take that small victory.

For a long time I didn’t have any dreams or goals or anything I wanted to do. Eventually I discovered things that gained my interest. Those things are places I want to be so I can do those kinds of things, mainly things in the arts and projects and things.

Lauren · Clip #4

L: You’ve been really open in your responses; I think that’s really important. A lot of the time, things that you’ve brought up aren’t discussed in mainstream conversations about mental health. So, is there anything else that you want to add that isn’t really talked about in mainstream discussions of mental health?

J: Yeah. Maybe a few things actually. There’s a whole internet thing about promoting mental health advocacy and people sharing to social media. But it feels like that’s all just for show. There’s a whole thing about reaching out to people who you know are struggling, but that hasn’t been a common thing in my life at all.

Another thing, and this is more talked about, but when it comes to medication and therapy you can’t just do one and not the other. Medication alone won’t be good enough, you really need that therapy piece to treat yourself. I think actually everybody should have a therapist or be in counselling, it doesn’t matter if you feel like you don’t need help or don’t have mental illness. I heard someone say "life is too difficult to live alone," and I think that reflects the way we are built and the way we work – I think we need that support and that community.

L: Why is it important to you, and why should it be important to others, that you are sharing your story?

J: I find that there’s not really a lot of the gritty stuff talked about when talking about mental illness, there’s not those more specific aspects of it to share and to understand what people go through and to show that other people go through the same stuff, so you don’t feel bad about yourself. So giving these kind of things form is one way to start to overcome these struggles and to help others.

When it comes to mental health a lot of the stories are from a future perspective after they’ve overcome that main thicket of hell. A lot of stories are from people who have sort of overcome a lot of their battles and are functional. But I don’t find a lot of stories of people’s experiences that are currently really in the dark, who don’t have the means of putting themselves together to share their stories because they’re just trying to be functional. I’m someone who’s in the thick of it. I don’t hear enough stories of people who are still in the rough, who are dishevelled and not polished and who are dysfunctional, like me.

Lauren · Clip #5

L: How would this Ketamine treatment change your life and your outlook and just your way of being?

J: It’s a pretty substantial success rate. It’s known for being able to get people out of the grip that depression has of them when nothing else has worked, when they’ve just been afflicted with this unshakable depression. To be in a state where my mental health is improved, or is closer to being functional, is something I’ve never experienced. Being in a state where I wouldn’t be so locked down by my own mental barriers would be a first; it would be being actually allowed to live. The Ketamine could help with the pain too, which would be amazing and I could exercise which could improve my mental health and my overall health in general. Being locked in my body is something that drives me crazy because it doesn’t feel comfortable to move in my own body.

This Ketamine infusion therapy is really what could maybe save my life.

L: So, my final question: what do you hope comes from you sharing your story and what kind of change do you hope it brings?

J: I don’t know. But, I want to be able to take the shame out mental illnesses. A lot of this stuff makes you feel pretty low and feel pretty bad about yourself. I’m okay with taking that stuff on the chin because I would like to be the person that maybe takes all that negative attention away and breaks that unspoken barrier and help people feel less ashamed. If anything, it would be nice that people would relate maybe to the more everyday person kind of experience.

The practise I’m still trying to get used to is to be compassionate towards yourself but also if you are struggling – a way I frame it is that you owe it to yourself to get better and you owe it to yourself to take care of yourself and to do the right thing for you and your health.

Also, the Ketamine therapy is crazy expensive and the insurance doesn’t cover it. It’s really the only option I have left that I haven’t tried. So I opened a GoFund Me. This is probably going to work though, honestly. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way about anything before.

L: From what you’ve said, it really sounds like this would help you create a new chapter to your life.

J: I would be able to live for myself, and that’s something I’ve been struggling to do.

L: Well it might seem weird for me to thank you for sharing your story, but I do thank you for hopping on this call and talking with me. I know it was probably tiring and difficult at times to recount your story.

J: There’s one last thing I wanna add for people, because therapy is a difficult journey. You may hate it at first, I did. But it’s not gonna be easy because you have to find someone who works with you and that might be a struggle, so you might not find success in the beginning but you really have to just keep going. I know it can be hard to retell your story again and again and again. I’ve done it countless times. Please don’t give up.


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