Yesterday, I read Maybe I Don’t Belong Here by David Harewood. There were other things I meant to do but I didn’t do them; I became absorbed in the book and read it.
It’s about his life and his experience of psychosis, when his two halves, the black half and the English half, seemed to split. He wrote that at times he was able to fuse the two halves together but occasionally the gap between them was just too big. He discusses how this was related to the racist abuse he’d received. Black men in Britain are ten times more likely than white men to be diagnosed with a psychotic illness and four times more likely to be sectioned.
David Harewood was twenty-three when he had a psychotic breakdown. His friends decided that he needed to go to hospital; he was restrained by six police officers and transferred to a locked ward. A couple of years ago, he took part in a TV programme, Psychosis and Me, about what happened to him. And this year, thirty years after the psychotic episode happened, he has published this book about it. In it he writes, “Writing this memoir has meant taking a hard look at my deepest, darkest moment, understanding my vulnerabilities and being honest about them.” I’m glad he did that as it helped me understand some of the abuse that black people have endured in this country and still have to endure.