Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dying in plain sight . . .

Extract from the blog post from a close family friend, who has known Schapelle's family for over 25 years . . .

Schapelle has been officially diagnosed as insane. In the doctor’s own words . . .

“Schapelle is suffering from a severe psychotic illness accompanied by delusions, hallucinations and thought disorder. At times, her fragile mind and body shut down and she sinks into a catatonic state.”…. “She has no hope, her treatment is inadequate and cannot work in the current (prison) environment. She is condemned to a private hell which is hard to contemplate and which will probably end in death.”

Schapelle has already lacerated her arms, knees and face with broken glass. She will not survive much longer.

Even when Schapelle’s mental state was better, she still suffered immeasurably. Being a female prison inmate in a Muslim ruled country immediately places you at a disadvantage.

Unlike the men, women are not allowed to play sports, or work out in a gym, they do not have access to television and there is no furniture of any kind in their cells.

The lucky ones, those with support on the outside, sleep on thin mattresses, the rest sleep on sarongs spread out over the concrete floor.

The men can come and go from their cells pretty much whenever they want to, whereas the women are locked up for 15 hours a day, sitting around most of the time, barely moving.

Contrary to what some may believe, Schapelle does not get out of prison to wine and dine with her sister whenever she feels like it. She never has and she never will, until she is free, and has been cured (hopefully) of her serious mental illness.

Schapelle used to read books but can no longer do so, due to her inability to concentrate and the phobias she has about practically everything. Even reading short letters from friends is now almost beyond her. Until recently she was making beaded necklaces, bracelets and anklets, one of the very few things that the prison authorities allowed her to do, but now struggles even with this.

The simple acts of washing, dressing and eating, at times, be too much for her to manage on her own, depending on her level of lucidity. At times like this, her sister Mercedes has to come into the prison and assist her with these basic functions, a job which nearly breaks her heart.

Even if her former request to start up beauty therapy classes for her fellow prisoners was now granted, it is highly unlikely she would be capable of running them.

The toilet in the corner of the cell occasionally blocks up spewing human waste out onto the floor which can sometimes remain there for days until the problem is fixed and the floor cleaned.

Additionally, the stench from outside, the heat and humidity, the mosquitoes, the red ants that bite at night leaving welts and scars, and the rats, remind Schapelle every day of exactly where she is.

The prison is rife with diseases like Aids and Hepatitis and Schapelle suffers regularly from severe eye and ear infections. Her hair has gone prematurely grey and has to be dyed constantly to maintain its black appearance.

In her 5 plus years of imprisonment, Schapelle has witnessed all manner of horrors, horrors that no young woman should ever have to see - prisoners being bashed to a pulp, kicked in the face until it’s just blood and bone, girls attacking each other with broken glass, women miscarrying in her cell, and several suicides.

She has endured this without the assistance of trauma counselling, which we would all expect to receive for witnessing far less.

She said in her book, written in 2006, “I never know what I’ll see next but I do know that in my future there’ll be many more grim, disgusting sights I can’t yet even imagine.”

In 2010, there is not much left that Schapelle has not seen.

Full post HERE