Bitter cold and starvation… I spent two years on the streets. I used to come here with the last bus, enter the hospital illegally and
go to sleep on one of the beds. Emil Traev, long-time patient of State
Psychiatric Hospital “St. Ivan Rilski” A piece of bread… I didn’t eat
out of dumpsters, I didn’t beg, but it was very tough. The pension was 42 leva (21 Euro).
Now it’s 110 (55 Euro). I’ve been surviving 18 years now,
thanks to this hospital and its staff. At first, I was here for a year
under an open regime and after that they
voluntarily placed me. I was never sentenced or ordered
to get treatment against my will. Everyone has problems – now and then they become aggressive, nervous, torn in their
thoughts and views. The point is that with us it’s just
more severe and it’s a condition. That’s the thing about our illness – little by little everyone abandons us because of our needs, which are, funny though it may be, a few coffees,
a couple of cigarette boxes – that’s what our brain needs,
it helps us and comforts us. Nevertheless, I feel guilty – guilty for not having a job,
guilty for not having a family, guilty for not being able to
function normally like the rest, guilty for not having children, guilty for not having their
problems, but my own. This is why communication is
so difficult between me and the rest of people in this
small town where I live. Other people make us ill. We can exist more or less normally
and be part of this society, but it’s very hard. It’s very hard, because society itself
has to change. The sad narrative –
success or strength, the silhouette of importance –
victorious fate. No fights for love,
not enough freedom, a kind of attachment –
success or strength. Special thanks to the poet Emil Traev A Bulgarian Helsinki Committee