Like the Exorcist. The French and Saunders version, naturally. Only orange.
Being physically ill is rubbish. Incapacitating, undignified, requiring of all manner of mopping up afterwards, both literal and metaphorical. There is one crucial element to being physically ill, as opposed to mentally ill, is that generally folk are able to process what the illness is. Puke everywhere and, except for that occasional person who makes it the fault of the sick person, you will get sympathy. Most of us have at one time or another suffered the same fate. So - from a safe distance, of course - people are comfortable with being comforting. If it's of the self-inflicted variety, that sympathy may be less forthcoming, but at least people can map their experience on to yours.
Why dwell on this frankly unpleasant subject? To draw a contrast, I suppose, with the typical experience of someone who is mentally ill. I get a load of those 'Time to Change' posts appearing on my feed on Facebook and I'm constantly struck by the number of them that focus on the fact that mental illness is dismissed, passed over or ignored. Convincing anyone that a mental health problem is real, not just a cry out for attention (or whatever), is challenging. That's particularly true, I think, of people with no clear reason or back story for their mental illness, and also of people whose behaviour does not transgress into abnormality in public. And a lot of this is simply because the lack of any personal experience with mental illness makes it very hard indeed to know what it is like to suffer from it. I think this is particularly challenging for teenagers, because (a lot of) the adults in their world will look at teenager-ness as the cause, find there to be no convincing (to them) reason for whatever behaviour they observe, and dismiss the possibility of a real mental health problem out of hand. It's heartening to see that this attitude is getting less prevalent, and those with mental illness are more likely to be heard. I hope there will come a time when it really is okay to be forthright about mental health. Britishness is a barrier, of course: we tend to behave in public at least as though there are no physical illnesses, feelings (of whatever sort), and certainly not mental illness. This, I think, is supposed to protect other people, which is a noble goal, to be sure. But perhaps it's time to abandon reserve in favour of honesty.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought