No Longer Human (The Anime) – About Mental Illness

This might get personal. Well, might and might, it will be. But first, let’s talk a little bit about Osamu Dazai. Not the Osamu Dazai in Bungou Stray Dogs. I never did like the way they did comedy out of his desire to commit double homicide with a beautiful lady. Maybe it changed, I never watched the whole show for a lot of different reasons, that not being one.

Osamu Dazai wrote a book called No Longer Human. The anime, or rather four episodes in Aoi Bungaku Series, are called No Longer Human after said book. Even though the character’s name isn’t Osamu it is a more or less autobiographical.

No Longer Human is an anime about a young man, Ōba Yōzō, who is plagued by his upbringing and his sense of alienation and not being able to understand other people. He is repeatedly misunderstood, wherever he goes and he is easy to use, both as a little child by a maid in the house and later classmates and publishers. He plays the clown in school to make people laugh and to get friends, he joins the resistance to get acknowledged and gain others friendship, he lets the maids use him without telling anyone. Everything to make people like him and accept him.

no-longer-human-1

There is one boy though in school who can see through him and who shows him who he really is. That’s when Ōba makes his first painting. It’s horrible to put it mildly but it is a good representation of who he is. He drops out of college, gets entangled with one of his classmates and starts to drink and do drugs and well, everything goes to hell. He meets up with women and one in particular is willing to die with him. It doesn’t succeed. For him. She dies. After that it is a downward spiral…

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It’s a dark story, you won’t feel comfortable when you have finished these four episodes. The whole series is 12 episodes and they are nowhere near as dark and depressing as these. So, why am I writing about this horrible anime then? Well, if you want to know a little bit about what it is like to live with demons eating you up from inside this is a good start. There is nothing funny about it. No jokes. No exaggerations. It’s only harsh reality. Maybe we should look at mental illness in a lighter way? Osamu Dazai in Bungou Stray Dog is a very funny character when he is failing to kill himself over and over. People laugh at him. Just like people laughed at Ōba Yōzō when he tried to make connections to people. When he tried to belong. Maybe there is a connection after all.

This is going to be very personal now. If you don’t want to hear about mental illness and suicidal thoughts and stuff related to that for some reason or another I urge you to stop now. Thank you for reading so far.

AMV No Longer Human

Well, I read a tweet earlier this morning about suicide and how you can get out of those thoughts. I am no pro when it comes to others way of thinking. I can’t read thoughts (yet, but I am working on it, so beware) but I know how my mind works and I know more people with suicidal thoughts than I think the average person do. This picture made me start to think.

Attachment-1

I wasn’t born a cynic but the older I got the colder the world turned. I look at this picture and I think about the girls I met when I was admitted to the psychiatric clinic ten years ago. We often sat and talked about our families. About how thankful we were that we had them. How much they meant to us. How happy they would be without us. One of the girls left a week after I had arrived. “You are well enough to go home now.” That’s what the doctor said. She came back two days later, after another suicide attempt. She was still thankful that she had her children and her house and her friends. She was gonna become a grand mother, at 40, not that far in the future. But still, they would be better without her. 

One of the other ladies was so speeded when she came in they had to restrain her in a bed for three days. Her brain worked overtime and memories flashed through her mind with the speed of light. At times she was laughing manically, trying to climb out of her bed, scratching at the wall. Just a half a year earlier that was me, but in my own home, without someone to hold me down. For a month I was high as a kite on anti depressants, climbing the roof, getting only an hour or two of sleep. I have no memory of that time any longer but I’ve been told what I was like. Anyway, that lady, she was in her 60s, told us when the high (not from drugs but from an unusually intense manic episode) wore off and they let her out of her room, that she was thankful for all the things in her life. How she had been doing so much, traveled so many places, seen so much and met so many people. She loved her husband immensely (he was the cutest little uncle one can meet). But it didn’t matter, she wanted to die.

Another one of the older ladies was around 70. She was chronically depressed. Every year when Christmas was closing in she knocked on the door. “I love Christmas” she said “but I don’t want to live.” Her husband died around Christmas.

The two last examples are extreme of course, especially the second one. The first one is so very common. She wasn’t alone during my time there. I wasn’t like her then. I wanted to get back home to all the things I loved. Back then that picture above would have worked because me accepting to get admitted was a cry for help. I was there voluntarily. Two of the above wasn’t.

There have been so many times though that a list like that would have just been a hit in my face. “Make a list and you are gonna see how much you have to live for.” The one who asks the question what to write in a suicide note screams for help. I know I am cynical but when I sit with a bottle of vodka and look at the package of sleeping pills I don’t scream for help. I have already decided and no lists in the world can help me. As with the woman in example one. She was a good faker. She had already decided when she left the hospital that she was gonna die. No lists would ever make her life better. She already had a great life, she just was so sick life would be better for the ones she loved if she didn’t live. No lists can change that mindset.

I am sorry that I am dissing this idea so hard but sometimes I get the feeling that people think it is this easy to help people. To me it is mockery to tell someone to do this and do that when you don’t know. I’ve heard it multiple times, that it gets better, that I just have to look at the positive things in life. What if my positive things weighs lighter than your wellbeing? Your happiness.

Because, in the end, all I want is for you to have a good life. You can’t have that if I exist in it. Not the way I am when I am at my lowest, darkest point. I am not egotistical, I care. I love. That’s what’s on my list.

6 thoughts on “No Longer Human (The Anime) – About Mental Illness

  1. I agree with you. I’ve worked in wards and the human mind is complexe, tricky, terrifying and beautiful. No matter how great intentions are you can end up doing a whole lot of harm if you’re not careful.
    But not this post. This post was careful and very pretty. Thanks

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience. As someone who has mentally ill loved ones, I always appreciate it when someone gets it: willpower and positive thinking alone won’t cut it. Mental illness is an illness and should be treated as such; to say otherwise is rude to those who suffer from it, and that’s not what they need.

    Liked by 1 person

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