VULPINE VALIDATION –
Sept. 1, 2021 – “I knew this was a moment that was outside the mundane…this fox just appears and pulls me off the edge, away from that precipice.”
The powerful encounter with her friend fox had broken the “spell” and pulled her back into the world. “It could have been a mental health worker that popped out of the bushes. It was the same sort of rescue. The moment is the inspiration behind Everett’s memoir where she details her experiences in the mental health system. The book began as a collection of songs, poems, essays and illustrations that she created during numerous stays in a public psychiatric ward. Drawing on that “dossier of content”, Everett aims to give new meaning to the various diagnostic labels – schizo-affective, major depression, juvenile autism – assigned to her by doctors and mental health staff throughout her life.
“When you’ve been through a public psych ward journey it’s another layer of trauma and survival.
“The only way you can be admitted to a public psych ward is involuntary,” says Everett. “It’s quite a violent admission.”
The process can take between 12 and 24 hours through the emergency department, an experience which Everett says can be embarrassing and disempowering, and often left her feeling alone.
Re-entry to the psych ward is always traumatic. It resembles a spacecraft’s re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere – lots of fire and smoke, lots of communication about me but not including me, always the people watching, waiting, observing, and picking up the pieces. And just like NASA the more you do it, the less people are interested. It’s a lonely experience going out into space and back home again, and it gets less newsworthy the older I get.