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Case story: man 22 years old

How long have you been attending our activities at Il Grande Carro?

You have been attending for about 1½ to 2 years

Can you tell me about your life before coming to the centre? 

I finished school then COVID broke out. I did hotel management.

And how did you get on?

Very bad….Hardly the world of cooking. Sweat and fatigue. I always went home all dirty…in my chef’s outfit. I cleaned fish, prawns, my shoes all dirty. Sometimes I worried because I stank, I always cut my hands to peel potatoes quickly, you have to be careful with the oil, you always have to clean the knives…always doing automatic mechanical things…I finished school. I graduated from the hotel management school….

And then?

…afterwards there were some psychiatric/psychological problems and they sent me here (to the day centre).

After school did you also try to do any work?

I worked in the stock market for a while…a bit “under the table”, eh…then I gave up, more and more years…in the end they sent me here.

What fundamental problems have you faced in your life? 

Knowing how to do things. People…distinguishing between those who love you and those who want to take advantage….the difficulty of communicating with others…especially with those…and I’ve met a lot of them…if you suffer from a disorder…it doesn’t become an excuse to do whatever you want….to me those who go around…first of all it’s DYSLEXIA that ruined my life. Go explain to these kids today all dyslexic…what it was 10 years ago. I had a support teacher….I did a very good oral exam….I even brought Freud…today is also Memory Day[1] we should put “La vita è bella”[2] in the background….

What is your current living situation? What are the activities, who do you live with?

Now I want to sleep, eat and try in every way to go out with friends. (Talking about video games)…I play video games and at the beginning I also played to get to know people, to make friends…look if you know the ones you play with it’s better, if you play with a jerk who only thinks about scoring points…preferably with who you know at least you see him on the screen. On some games at least you see the face on the screen…I found a friendship with football.

Right now I’m doing a masseur course…I did the first level. The masseur to work and to make some cash…you always work for money

What kind of support do you feel you need?

A protected environment. I can tell you care about patients…you don’t even treat us as patients…it’s a nice protected environment. I’m a bit worried about all these people who are used to a protected environment and then go outside and get mistreated…at least we’re safe here. Because outside you say there’s a bit of a stigma.

OUTSIDE IS A JUNGLE … but this tells you that there is so much prejudice … the Carabinieri[3] have so much prejudice …

I’ve just discovered that if you have tattoos they start stopping you… what’s all this about tattoos… do you have tattoos?

What is the relationship you experience with other people? How do you feel in contact with others at the centre?  Is there anyone important whom you particularly trust? (in the organisation, as a peer, friend, etc.)?  What qualities does this person possess? Does he/she play a role in your participation in the Centre’s activities?

I don’t know: like M., F. and then now G….who seems to be messing around together…but also S., F., D.

One in particular?

No I wouldn’t know who to choose… the one who always talks. . That’s important.   

What’s the quality she possesses?

Talking…its communicative…a lot of people keep quiet and never know what to say…instead when I see someone who talks (because I talk a lot too) we’re all fine. A repartee…it means that you are still in here…a person who is stimulating to talk…let’s say that when someone laughs it means that he is still alive…

What does the term ”inclusion” mean to you?

Participating in activities where everyone can make it without being left behind

Do you feel you are part of a ’community’/’a group’? 

A bit let’s say I am the only one who stays… because many either leave or find work… I have met many. Yes I feel I am part of a group. But I have my little group, they all welcomed me yesterday.

But what would you call this group?

 ”…help us to find work?”

Would you call it a group of friends or a group of something else? 

I don’t know. It seems to me more like a therapy group. Because friends… friends… no one ever came up with ”let’s do a WA group!” Only M. once asked for my phone number.  ”Why don’t you propose to do a WA group?

I can tell you that the other labs have a WA group” I tried it once…I might try it again…sure

What does it mean to feel part of a group?

To be a piece of a puzzle… inside a puzzle and inside a hole.

What creates a sense of belonging to a group?

To be accepted…accepted. Presented by name only…that characteristics…that we all love each other, that we create those bonds…to help each other…it means solidarity

”Does having a goal help’?

It depends on the goal…It has to be within everyone’s reach and that no one is left behind

If you create mini-groups, those destroy everything…it’s a problem.

For example, does having a group objective help in your opinion?

It depends on the goal because not everyone can manage to raise the goal and afterwards you create the mess ”…you are weak!” A goal that is a bit suitable for everyone… otherwise one gets left behind, one feels like shit…

And also having a technical object to learn…something technical helps in your opinion?

If everyone is capable, if no one falls behind, if everyone can do something then yes, otherwise it’s useless

What aspects should be considered to make the interaction between the community and the rest of society as simple/fluid as possible?

How to make the experience more known, centres like ours

Don’t say ”Centre”…because people like hear psychiatric centre…here I don’t go there is full of crazy people…because as they say there is so much prejudice…never attack psychiatry with other words…and so how could you do to make it known…you can make a group….what are the names of those people who do those groups like dancing…a CLUB…give the idea of a bar effect…a bar effect venue…people come…

What skills and personality traits do you think professionals working with young people need in order to work better?

For practitioners it means being calm, talking, listening, giving advice. Never get angry.

Especially sometimes if you see a disoriented person who doesn’t know where to go…you have to give him a hand. Never get angry Ilario…

(Inclusion means) availability or else people will leave you. A bit like those in hotels. Receptionists…we should be like the receptionists of psychiatry: the right word is welcome…but welcome tastes a bit like desperation…if you say welcome people think of immigrants, it makes them think of losers, of immigrants…of racism…better receptionists than psychiatry. We could call it like this!

How can we ensure that new participants/activities can be involved without fear of stigmatisation?

Reduce the stigma… Nothing…you can’t do much…and some of it is also because of the films. You can’t do much about it… It’s very fashionable for killers to have mental disorders. You can’t do shit about it.  You can’t do anything about it. You can only help people who have problems…you can try doctors or guys who are studying to be psychologists, psychiatrists all want to understand the human mind…all seem Freud!

[1] The Holocaust in Italian Collective Memory: Il giorno della memoria, 27 January 2001

[2] Life Is Beautiful (Italian: La vita è bella)  is a 1997 Italian comedy drama film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni, who co-wrote the film with Vincenzo Cerami.

[3] Italian Military Police