Mental Health

Prisoners of the Mind – Flash Fiction

I extended the hand of friendship to a troubled person, but ultimately, it was swatted roughly away. Social anxiety, fears and social reclusiveness/exlusion are incredibly resistant social problems. Mental ill-health disorders are on the rise.

Care for your mental health with as much tenderness and attention as your physical self.

A Fictional Story from Rochelle’s photo prompt:

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I’ve been this way so long, it’s hard to remember when it started.

A pathological withdrawal from events, people and society. The line between mental health and mental ill-health remains razor-thin.

The fog outside, like my heart, holds little joy or interest – emotionless, but safe. I’ve not worked for years. I no longer know routine as functional people do. Like the waves or the wind, I respond biomechanically, when the body demands it.

We are flourishing now. Recluses. Depressives. Gamers. Detached prisoners of the mind. Stress, drugs, hatred and technology feeding the dis-ease.

We fear not death. We’re halfway there.

100 words written for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt.

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43 thoughts on “Prisoners of the Mind – Flash Fiction”

    1. Thanks, Cindy. The band of totally normal is narrow. We all have our quirky idiosyncrasies. Mental health can be strong or exceedingly fragile. This story although inspired by a true event, is fictional.

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    1. It is especially hard on family when one member suffers from mental struggles. Sad but true indeed. And on the increase. The reasons are multi-factorial but are we addressing them or even understanding them well enough?

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    1. Thanks Laurie, I wasn’t sure whether to publish this one as it is sad and dark. And some people of course, thought it referred to me but it was more correct to say I have known people afflicted with such sadness.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I like the composition of your photo. It captures a sense of not being able to focus on one thing. But rather, many confusing thoughts are entering one’s mind.

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    1. Hi Kevin, Thanks for your comments on the photo, but it is not mine, but Rochelle’s as the photo was the prompt for the story. I went to add the attribution to the photo caption, but WordPress must have eliminated it as it is not showing up. On mobiles, the caption did not display correctly so perhaps that is why. Nevertheless, I added the attribution into the description and ‘alt text.’ When I read your comment here, I added more words to the text block to make ownership of the photo clearer. Thank you for making me clarify. And I do agree both on your comment about the photo that it captures a sense on not being able to focus and also how it symbolizing an outlook resulting from jumbled thought processes.

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  2. The more understanding of mental illness we get, the narrower the band of ‘normal’ becomes. But technology can also be positive, for example I’ve seen many people on the spectrum feel understood and at home when they find people with similar experiences online.

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    1. Interesting point you made about “The more understanding of mental illness we get, the narrower the band of ‘normal’ becomes.” I think it could be comforting for those who judge themselves weird or different to know that they are the vast majority of folk, and a small minority are terribly well-adjusted individuals able to cope, and ride the waves and challenges of life. From an evolutionary standpoint, this confuses me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s interesting to look at it from an evolutionary viewpoint. I don’t think that’s necessary. Who defines what’s normal? Who did in the past? Many diagnosed neurodivergent stages don’t affect people all that much, many have learned to mask, others can get through life quite well with it, only not necessarily the way the neurotypical authorities define as right. It’s not all the same, still, people are happier to find others similar to them even if it’s not necessarily a majority. I’m not an expert though, I can only repeat what I’ve read.

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        1. I think you are right. Wherever you are on the scale, or spectrum, it is comforting to know that there are others who understand or can relate to the way you feel. I am glad the impression that neurodivergents don’t get or want friends has been debunked.

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    1. Hi Dorothy, Everywhere I turn, there seems to be someone or someone who knows a close friend or family member struggling with mental issues of some description. Particularly sad is the younger people afflicted. They seem to lack a practical approach – looking for external forces to cure/ameliorate/make better the circumstances causing them grief. Self-reliance seems foreign to a growing number of youth. The young people that are without mental troubles are the ones that must steer the strategies of support. Luckily, for me this is just a fiction story although inspired by someone I knew.

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      1. A big part of me wants to blame social media. The kids are so attached to their phones and all the distractions, I fear they are not really living their lives but watching everyone else, often doing stupid things or telling them, especially the girls, how they need to be more beautiful by doing what they are doing and using the products they are using (and getting paid for). They let people they don’t even know on line tell them how to feel and behave, and sometimes badger or belittle them.
        Our technology has zoomed far beyond our common sense.

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        1. You are right about technology, Dorothy. It is a double-edged sword. The positives are mainly for the older generations who knew life before smartphones so we are aware of what we are losing or lost. The youth know no other life so can’t see what is possible or how it is to feel and think without checking with google. Change has come so fast, I do wonder what humans will be like in 200 or so years from now. Will we adapt or lose so much of our humanity?

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Amanda,

    The last line is powerful. I’ve known this kind of isolation and feeling half dead inside. You’ve described it well. Happily, I’m there no longer.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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    1. Rochelle, I am sorry to hear that you have know isolation and feeling half dead. It is not entirely foreign to me but life throws curve balls which we have to either adapt to, leave or accept. I am glad to hear that you have overcome this. Did you find writing helped you get through it?

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      1. I did find writing helpful. I have a raft of poetry I wrote during those times. Also art therapy was helpful…and a few hospitalizations. I have a novel under contract where I’ve fictionalized my experience. Can’t say when it will be out but will let everyone know for sure. 😉

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        1. It is exciting to hear of your upcoming novel and I am very glad to hear that you found a way through difficult times. I find writing incredibly therapeutic for dealing with intense emotions. It doesn’t matter the quality of my writing so much at that point, it seems the act of expression is more important – it pours out on the page, ridding me of excess adrenaline and tension. I feel lucky that I can turn to the written word for release. Not everyone, like the poor soul in my fictional story, has that option.

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    1. Unfortunately so, Michael. They live a sad life to those who observe or know them. However, there is only so much help and support we can give, the rest is up to them and so often they feel they cannot stretch themselves further than their comfort zone.

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    1. Thank you Msjadeli. Covid highlighted the vulnerabilities in our society. It must have been hell when job loss from Covid resulted in people becoming homeless. And housing remains a big issue for many.

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    1. It isn’t a savoury subject, Bridget, but it is reality for some. In Japan, they call them NEETS – citizens not in education, employment or training. They largely survive with financial support of parents.

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    1. It is hard to comprehend how low people feel and I did try to capture that in my fiction story. So thank you, Janis. I have never felt that low but like most people have some down times, that are far more minor and pass. The person that triggered this story has lived with this abyss for most of their life. Sadly.

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  4. “I no longer know routine as functional people do. Like the waves or the wind, I respond biomechanically, when the body demands it.”

    This is beautifully written.

    I am a disabled person coming to terms with the fact that I can no longer function the way I used to. I faked being neurotypical until I was too exhausted from wearing masks and could no longer do it. Now I’ve accepted my shortfalls and I’m working to create new routines that suit me.

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    1. Ash – thank you for your honest and frank comment. I can see you get what I meant by that frozen, mechanical-like robot who operates in society yet hides their true emotions. I suspect you are in fact mentally strong to face challenges as disability and yet accept any shortfalls yet still push forward to create new routines that work for you. “For you,” being the important words here. I can relate to the wearing of masks being exhausting. Also not great for your own self-concept to permanently disguise yourself as it seems counter-intuitive to acceptance. Albeit, sometimes necessary to give oneself time to summon strength).
      Some words I read which resonated for me is this: It is through our wounds that we shine! I love this positive spin!

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