NATASHA DEL TORO: This program contains discussions of self-harm and suicide.
Viewer discretion is advised.
DANIEL: I was homeless for years.
Like, I used to sleep on the train.
ANGELA: I winded up losing custody of both of my smaller children.
NATASHA DEL TORO: The harrowing cycle of mental illness.
Filmmaker Margaret Byrne explores living with this disease, bringing insight from her own experiences with mental illness.
BYRNE: And honestly, I didn't know how to... exist, because it was so painful.
DEL TORO: "Any Given Day," on America ReFramed.
♪ PEOPLE: Four, three, two, one!
- Come on!
♪ (cheering) (traffic humming, car horns beeping) ♪ ♪ Rain, rain, go away ♪ Come again another day BYRNE: Back in 2015, I had just gotten out of the hospital.
I've struggled with mental illness for most of my life.
But this time was one of the worst, because it was the first time since I had Violet that I was hospitalized.
♪ Rain, rain, go away BYRNE: I was trying to figure things out.
And I think how I figured things out is by making movies.
♪ At the time, half the mental health clinics in Chicago closed.
As a result, the jail population exploded.
(people talking in background) A third of the people detained at Cook County Jail were being treated for severe mental illnesses.
(people talking in background) That would have been over 3,000 people every day.
I was so bothered by that.
I mean, I think in some other version of my life, that could have been me.
Next on four!
How many times have you thought about hurting yourself?
MAN (crying): I don't feel right right now.
OFFICER: What's his story?
All right, good morning, everyone.
MAN: Good morning, Your Honor.
BYRNE: The mental health courts were set up to bring people out of jail so that they could get treatment in the community.
DIMITAR: Entering the mental health court, you, you have to plead guilty.
How can I be mentally ill and at the same time be a criminal?
Either I did a criminal act, which was the stealing of a car, or I'm mentally ill and I just had an episode.
But when you're in jail, it feels like you've just been thrown out.
DANIEL: I stayed in the Cook County Jail for four months.
I stole a bottle of alcohol.
But since I have prior retail thefts, anything that I take, they upgrade it to a felony.
ANGELA: It feels good to finally be out.
I have four kids.
Cried every night missing them.
(directional clicking) I had car accident.
I ran to get help, and I thought I was going into a church, and I accidentally winded up going into somebody's home.
OFFICER: Don't film the courthouse.
BYRNE: Okay, I have clearance, but...
OFFICER: As far as what I know, you can film in this direction.
(voiceover): I mean, I never thought I'd be in the film.
(car door closes) Part of it is because it is a gut reaction to want to hide your mental illness.
I grew up seeing it more as a weakness.
(cellphone chimes) But I think when I started filming with the three of them... (cellphone chimes) ...I realized that this wasn't just about being criminalized for your mental illness.
It was about, how do you live with this every day?
♪ GINA: Dimitar, coffee time.
How you feel today?
- Uhh... Today I'm hungover.
But I feel tip-top.
- He don't like... - Tip-top shape.
- ...to be asked how he feel.
(laughs) (lighter clicking) DIMITAR: I was diagnosed with bipolar type one with schizoaffective tendencies during that summer after I graduated college.
I actually got a degree in anthropology.
(car horn honking) I look at my little... university degree, because I haven't accomplished anything of substance since.
(laughing, door closes) (talking softly) "'You hungry, Tony?
I'm gonna grab some tacos.'
"'Yeah, I want a taco and a Pepsi.'
"I take a look behind me.
"People are staying away from the benches "as they wait for their bus.
"Tony likes to cross his legs and spread out his arms "across the bench.
"He is the master of that bench.
"As far as he's concerned, "he's just waiting for the bus, the next bus that never seems to come."
(Stefan speaks indistinctly) That Tony, I wonder what happened to Tony is what I'm saying.
And one of my biggest psychological fears is becoming homeless.
STEFAN: Are you writing an essay or a book?
- A bunch of different small stories that create a bigger picture.
- Kind of like an anthology, no?
- Yeah, an anthology, that's, that's a good word.
- Even with an anthology, you've got to piece them all together.
- Yeah, that's the hard part.
(both laughing) GINA: He's very attached to the story of the Tony.
Now when you meet people in the street... (crying): I know these people, they don't become homeless because they're lazy or frail.
They have some story nobody know.
Almost every six month, he was in and out of the hospital.
He go to different hospital, every doctor can prescribe him absolutely different medication.
And, new medication, he's like new person.
He attacked me couple of time.
He just hug me and he try to break my neck.
Just for minute.
He said, "Mom, I love you.
I don't know why I'm doing that."
(pan sizzling) ♪ DANIEL: I was homeless for years.
Like, I used to sleep on the train, all night long.
♪ That's when you see how people really feel about you.
People don't even want to be around.
They look at 'em and turn their nose up.
♪ My schizophrenia, it's kind of like you in a maze, trying to figure your way out to the end of it, but you never do.
You always make that wrong turn.
Not knowing what's real and what's not.
And you know you're not gonna get out of it, but you're still walking through it like it's all good, like everything's a-okay, but it's really not.
♪ I got diagnosed with schizophrenia after I got arrested, but I been hearing voices for a while, since I was a little kid.
When I wasn't on medication, it was rough.
I don't ever want to go down that road again.
♪ (birds twittering) WOMAN (on speaker): Daniel Brown, Claude Ventura.
DANIEL: Let's go, 'cause they're calling me right now to come take my meds.
(man shouting) (Daniel chuckles) Come on...
I think this one's broken.
Yeah, this one's broken.
Damn, they're always breaking.
(voiceover): Living here for the past year, it's a big adjustment.
MAN: What's going on?
DANIEL: Nothing, that elevator over there is broken.
- What's she doing with the camera?
- She's not watching you, she's watching me.
- (shouting incoherently) - (chuckling softly) - I can't do anything!
DANIEL: I'm actually moving out of here in about a month.
The mental health court got me into a housing program, so I can get an apartment.
But I had to live in a nursing home first.
So everything is looking up for me.
(hip-hop music playing on phone) Y'all can't squish up like this!
(elevator bell dings) Yeah, it ain't gonna close, Beverly, ain't no room for... (elevator bell dings) (voiceover): It's like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
(hip-hop music playing faintly, telephone ringing in distance) (exhales): Thank you.
(lighter clicks) (exhales) BRIGITTE: In Jamaica, they blend the whole thing.
DANIEL: With the skin and all?
- That'd give it some grit.
- No sodas.
Me and Danny are both diabetic, so we kinda have to be careful.
DANIEL: I visit my sister every weekend.
In a way, she raised me, so I'm real close with my sister.
Makes it easier if you wash the dishes as you go.
My sister taught me that.
(laughs) BRIGITTE: Okay, so we just waiting now for everything to pop.
DANIEL: I found a crib in Cicero, I went and looked at it.
They said I should sign the lease in, like, two more weeks.
- I'm very happy for you and I'm proud of you.
You know, that, that means a lot to me.
So how much longer is it gonna be, about a half-hour?
BRIGITTE: No drinking!
JOEY: Yeah, no, yeah, no substance at all.
BRIGITTE: No turnin' up.
(Daniel laughs) No turnin' up!
JOEY: This has jerk sauce on it?
JOEY: So amazing.
(Daniel laughs) DANIEL: I love my weekends.
That's your family.
They have your best interests at heart.
BRIGITTE: Go ahead.
All right, that's good.
(Daniel laughs) BRIGITTE: Mm-hmm.
JOEY: Wow, he just eats.
DANIEL: I didn't even get none.
(laughs) You hungry, Margaret?
- All right, we're gonna hook you up, too.
(laughing) (birds twittering) Yeah, and this is it.
I'm living here with my boyfriend.
This is my room in here.
It's kind of... cluttered.
Prior to getting arrested, I had a three-bedroom apartment.
It was beautiful.
I was the caregiver for my four children, who were all staying with me.
When I got to jail, the oldest two, they had to move out.
I winded up losing custody of both of my smaller children.
(child shouts) ANGELA: Yes, hello, I called 30 minutes ago.
I needed an officer to escort my child out.
(woman speaks on phone) - Yes.
And I've been waiting for 30 minutes.
They told me to look, be on the lookout.
I haven't seen anyone pull up yet.
Right now, I'm in front of, um, my ex's house, and I'm waiting on the police to get here.
My ex, we share our daughter together.
But my son is not his, and he's had him since I got arrested.
And today, he was told that he had no jurisdiction over my child.
BYRNE: I just can't imagine how it feels after all this time.
- I'm glad.
I'm glad I'm getting my baby boy back.
I hate that so much time went by.
I don't know how his memory is going to be of me.
It's gonna be probably a traumatic experience for him to be escorted out by the police.
It says, "Michael has no legal relationship with Anthony."
OFFICER: And it doesn't specify whether Anthony needs to be returned to you.
- Oh, no, but he's aware of it, he's aware of it.
OFFICER: How'd he even get the kid that's not his?
- Because I got arrested last year.
OFFICER: How long did you serve?
- About eight-and-a-half months.
OFFICER: Is he home now?
- Yeah, he's home.
OFFICER: How do you know?
- Because at court, we spoke, we spoke, and he knew...
I told him I was coming at 5:00.
OFFICER: Hopefully the agreement you guys you had in court was, was... You know, he sticks up to his end of it.
We can't force a kid out of there.
- So, you've gotta take a deep breath, relax.
(birds twittering) ♪ (birds twittering) ♪ What's taking them so long?
(crying): Oh, where's my baby?
(groans) ♪ ♪ Thank you, officer.
(sweetly): Hi, Anthony!
OFFICER: Okay, where...
Okay, hold on, hold on, hold on.
Which car is he going in?
- Oh, you know what?
I'll catch the bus, officer.
Margaret, I'm just going to catch the bus.
OFFICER: You have to have him in a car seat, all right?
- Okay, I'll catch, I'll catch the bus.
- All the family in there was very fond of him and they were real nice.
- He had no legal jurisdiction.
- All right.
Hopefully everything works out for him.
BYRNE: Are you going to be okay?
- Will you check in with me and let me know how you're doing?
- Yes, absolutely.
♪ (sweetly): Come here, Anthony.
♪ (birds twittering) BYRNE: Whose turn is it?
(picks up checker): Yay, a free pass.
- Or is it?
(slides checker) - (playfully): Oh, no, I am so scared.
(moves checker) - So do you remember the time when I was in the hospital?
- Yeah, that stunk.
- Were you ever scared?
- I think I was scared.
- Maybe worried a teensy bit, but things that they told me was not true exactly.
- I remember I missed you.
- Mm, yeah.
(chuckling): I just wanted to go back home.
I mean, I can take care of myself.
- I mean, you're only 13.
- Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere.
(checker moves) BYRNE: I was diagnosed when I was 14 with major depression and suicidal tendencies, anxiety.
♪ My 30s were the roughest years for me.
I don't know why.
I think it was hard being a single parent.
♪ I want to go to sleep again.
BYRNE: But at that point, I knew, if I didn't get it together, I'll lose my kid.
- And stop filming me.
(people calling and talking in background) - Cool, a Super Mario DC!
♪ BYRNE: And honestly, I didn't know how to exist.
(off-camera): Do you want a hug?
(voiceover): 'Cause it was so painful.
♪ But it's gotten a lot, it's gotten easier, so... ♪ (laughs) Doesn't the mom look so tired with her baggy eyes?
- Hm... - I think that's middle-age-hood right there.
There's your plain, plain food.
- You're plain!
- I didn't teach her to eat this way, she just decided.
(voiceover): That's what you risk.
You risk losing your kid if you're a single parent.
Because everything falls apart.
And, um, I don't know how to talk about that.
♪ I don't know what else I can say.
Except I'm breaking out in hives.
(sighs heavily) You know, I'd just like to say, I hate talking about this.
I hate it, it makes me sad.
And this is what I've been asking them to do.
So... ♪ (toothbrush whirring) (water running) DANIEL: Today I'll be graduating from the mental health court program.
After two years in the program, you graduate and get off probation.
LAUREN EDIDIN: Welcome, everyone.
The goal of mental health court is to stabilize individuals, to help them find long-term housing and set up counseling needs.
Our program also helps participants find jobs, receive job training... DANIEL: I chose mental health court over regular probation so I could get the help that I needed.
Get my medication and stuff.
- You're gonna do great.
I am so proud of you, Delouis.
DANIEL: Judge Edidin is more of a helping judge to get yourself on track.
She don't just want to slam you, but she will.
But for the most part, she wants to help.
EDIDIN: Daniel Brown.
(applause) Daniel, he never wanted to miss court.
So much so, that one day, he walked six hours in the cold because he didn't want to miss court.
He didn't want a violation.
Is there anything you'd like to say, Daniel?
- No, I'd just like the certificate, it'd make me happy.
- Okay, you got a certificate, and it made you happy.
(applause) - Thank you.
- You're welcome.
EDIDIN: Stay with your treatment plan and stay sober.
Even a beer.
That is the most important thing for you, because that is what gets you off track.
You're gonna do great.
- Yes, I am.
- I'm so proud of you.
- Thank you.
(people talking in background) GROUP: ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ ♪ Happy birthday, dear Dimitar ♪ ♪ Happy birthday to you DIMITAR: Cha-cha-cha!
STEFAN: Make a wish.
STEFAN: Now, if you're a good boy, it comes true.
MAN: Just you here or you got roommates?
- No, I live with my mother.
So you guys are moving in together, huh?
- That's awesome.
- It's exciting, yeah.
- That's awesome.
That's, like, a next step right there.
♪ (computer keys clicking) Me and my mom, we live by the airport.
These planes are reminding me that all these people are moving.
And I need to get on the move.
(cellphone chimes) (text sends) (cellphone chimes) (text sends) ♪ Finishing this book means that I'll be able to leave something behind.
I want my life to mean something.
(Dimitar laughs) Think about it.
DIMITAR: I self-published.
It went by really quick.
I submitted it two weeks ago.
STEFAN: I didn't think it was going to be that fast, though.
DIMITAR: I did have to pay a fee.
I paid $900.
STEFAN: You can write.
I mean, you have a talent.
♪ MAN (on phone): Now, when you were over with, you know, AmeriFreight, what kind of products were they shipping?
- Mostly food products.
I'm very good at cold-calling.
- The average for the first year is right around the $75k range.
Any problems with passing a drug test, criminal background check, anything like that?
No, nothing like that.
Everything is clear.
(call ends) - (laughing): That was good.
But they might see that I have a record.
Hopefully I don't go manic when I go back to work and start, like, thinking the robot's after me.
Because the robots are after me sometimes.
(water spraying) (car dryer starts in background) ANGELA: I was a preschool teacher before I got arrested.
Being a teacher was my joy.
I love being around children.
- (talking softly) - Well, then, just wet 'em.
I'm gonna fill you up a little bucket.
And then you just scrub them down and rinse them.
(voiceover): After I graduate the mental health program, eventually, my record will be expunged, and I'll be able to find employment that I enjoy.
(Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" playing on radio) (birds twittering) ANTHONY: Let me see that.
- You want me to be Spider-Man.
(voiceover, laughing): It's been busy.
I've been doing a lot of free things with him, like taking him to the beach, to the zoo.
(hisses out air playfully) Uh-oh.
What happened to Captain America?
You gotta do it soft, or you're gonna break it.
(laughs): Okay, ready?
- Tape them.
(music playing in background) - Hey.
- How you doing?
- Good, how are you?
- Where the cigarettes, Ang?
ANGELA: I don't have none.
(voiceover): I just want to be able to raise my child in a better atmosphere.
(birds twittering) DAVID: Today, we're gonna do some applications for housing.
Like, how much are you making a month now?
- Probably $800.
- It keeps saying your income is too low.
- What, they got an income limit on low-income housing?
- Yeah, it's too low, I don't know... - Hm.
- All right, these are the public housing sites, a bunch of them.
Gone, gone... ♪ ANGELA: What are you cooking, Anthony?
(voiceover): I got diagnosed with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychotic disorder.
As a child, I was bounced around from foster home to foster home.
It crushed me.
Made me feel I couldn't trust too many people.
EDIDIN: You know, Angela, you are so strong.
And you have come so far.
You've done a lot to help people throughout your life.
Now you need to accept some of that from us.
(cellphone chimes) (text sends) ANGELA: It'd have probably been easier to be in the regular probation.
EDIDIN: How are you, Angela?
- I'm good, how are you this morning?
(voiceover): I wouldn't have to report as much.
EDIDIN: Hi, Angela, how are you?
ANGELA: Instead, with this mental health program, it's just a lot of dictating, do this, do that.
I've been working since I was 17.
I'm able to take care of myself.
I'm not trying to receive a handout.
I just want to move on.
EDIDIN: I'm gonna see you April 6.
You have a good day, okay?
- All right, you, too.
- All right, I'll see you November 3.
- All right, bye-bye.
EDIDIN: I look forward to seeing you on June 22.
(cellphone chimes) (text sends) See you back here September 14.
- Okay, Angela?
Only thing I look forward to from this program is graduation time.
♪ I just feel so much older.
Like, I'm only in my 30s, and I feel just, like.
retirement age, I don't know.
NEKIA: How you feel?
DANIEL: I'm excited.
- I'm gonna miss you.
- I feel you-- I am, too.
- You don't feel me, 'cause I'm gonna be calling.
- Oh, oh, all right.
(laughing) (voiceover): I've done it, finished up probation.
Went through the process of here, of going through, dealing with these crazy people.
Now I get to get my own apartment.
I don't need this no more.
(laughing) NEKIA: He's going from being heavily monitored to independent.
There are residents that just aren't ready, they aren't.
They leave and they return within three to four months.
- So Angela may have issues with employment and housing in the future.
But I feel like, as long as she's on her meds, there won't be as big of a barrier.
EDIDIN: Mentally, she really wants to graduate.
Would there still be a way to assist her with housing after?
- If she wants to continue seeing us, she's, you know, more than welcome to.
EDIDIN: Angela, she is a survivor.
Is there anything you'd like to say?
- I want to say thank you for giving me this opportunity to be in the mental health court program.
- You are welcome.
(applause) DANIEL: I feel pretty good.
It's cozy, nice and small, perfect size for me.
DIMITAR: When I was incarcerated, those weeks left a lasting mark on my psyche.
I understand I broke the social contract, but people with mental illness don't belong in jail.
(applause) It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
♪ DIMITAR: Cheers.
♪ (cars passing) (Dimitar cawing) DIMITAR: I've been, uh, sleeping a lot.
Doing some drugs.
Induces little manias for me.
When you're depressed, times moves by very slow, very, very slow.
(lighter clicking) I actually had two court cases.
I was doing very well in the mental health court.
But I ended up doing cocaine.
And that triggered mania.
And I took a car and I busted through the fence of this power plant.
♪ Right after I graduated from mental health court, I pled guilty in my other case and got another probation.
GINA: How did the court go?
DIMITAR: 30 hours of community service and $7,000 in restitution, and, uh...
I, like, it's gonna get expunged.
I may serve a full sentence if I violate.
Two to five years.
Eventually, you have to face all those staring eyes that wonder how your week went.
It was hard and uneventful, unless you count the fact that I figured out a way to end it all.
Painless and clean.
How can I consider my accomplishments with the court system accomplishments at all?
Does anyone need punishment so severe that it has to lead to suicidal thoughts?
BYRNE: Tell me about the job.
- I went to the interview and, uh, I got hired, and then they let me go because of the background check.
It comes up as a felony.
♪ (crying) I wrote a whole (muted) book, nobody looked at it.
I need a mania to get me out of the slump.
♪ BYRNE: Depression to me is a lack of connecting.
You can see and hear things, but you can't really... feel anything.
It's like being in a fog.
(device screeching) (off-camera): Do you see this?
(voiceover): You realize sometimes you can retreat into a place where you can't come back from.
(wind whipping) (off-camera): Do you think we'll make it through?
♪ (cellphone chimes) (text sent) BYRNE: I was relieved.
Because I know it can get so bad you could lose your life, even if that wasn't really your intention.
DANIEL: It's going pretty well.
It's quiet-- I like that.
I'm making curry chicken.
We're gonna put this in the fridge, let it marinate up.
BYRNE: You keep your house clean.
I'd rather do it quick then it all get too overwhelming, and you'd be sitting just, just overtaken by the dirt and filth.
This is my house.
(TV playing in background) See how the rice pop out?
This cooking thing is exhilarating, especially when you do it right.
You don't even have to taste it too much, just a little bit.
You can just look at it and just know.
I have to check in every week to keep my apartment.
WOMAN: Tell me the name of the medication, how many milligrams, and how many you're taking.
DANIEL: Risperidone, one milligram, I'm taking seven of them.
Hydroxyzine, that's two times a day.
25 milligrams, I'm taking 14.
- Is this your SSI income?
How much do you spend on groceries?
- Um, $40 a week.
♪ (voiceover): I pay about $240 a month in rent and the program covers the rest.
Astrovanten, 20 milligrams, seven of them I'm taking.
- Do you need to buy clothes?
- Yeah, I would like to get some shoes.
- How much?
(blood pressure monitor pumping) Metformin, 1,000 milligrams, I believe.
And, uh, twice a day.
- Here you go.
Do you have a wallet?
- Nah, it's cool.
I have, like, the pocket, it has one part, and then it's another pocket inside of the pocket.
NURSE: 150 over 70.
Blood pressure's kind of high.
DANIEL: This is aspirin.
Glipizide, lisinopril, and this is the iron.
♪ (music playing over loudspeaker) BYRNE: Tell me what you're looking for.
- I don't know, whatever sticks out to me.
(voiceover): I went to school for fashion design.
I wanted to be a shoe designer.
I didn't make it, couldn't finish it out.
But I had a lot of jobs-- Jewel Osco, Best Buy.
I want to work, but if I work too many hours or I make too much money, they could take my benefits away, and that'd be messed up, because I'd be back to square one.
(on-camera): I like them.
I'mma get these.
CASHIER: $71.98-- $28.02.
DANIEL: Thank you.
(car radio playing) GROUP: ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ Happy birthday to Anthony ♪ Happy birthday to you ANGELA: Oh, my goodness!
(applauding) All right.
You have some tools, Anthony.
- Do you want me to open it for you?
ANTHONY: Open it!
ANGELA: You have some Hulk Smash gloves and some handcuffs, like the police have.
And some crayons!
These are the gifts for your birthday.
(door intercom ringing) It's Gregory.
Would you like a piece of cake?
- It's a lot of books in here.
You need to read up on your history, you hear me?
(Anthony exclaiming) ANGELA: Now, come over here so I can do your hair, okay?
- ...tomorrow night.
- Yeah, I'll do your hair.
I had a graduation when I got off probation, Nadia.
I don't know if you knew that I was on probation.
- Yeah, I heard, I know about that.
- And I graduated, they had a celebration, and David said something to me.
- What'd he say?
- He said, continue to take my medication, like I'm some type of crazy, lunatic, deranged person.
And I just looked at him, but I really wanted to just read him.
- I thought you were gonna say slap.
I would've slapped him.
- No, no.
And you know I keep it honest with you, Nadia.
I, I self-medicate.
I self-medicate, you know what I do.
BYRNE: You've got all four kids in one place.
And these are the light of my lives.
I love 'em, and I go hard for mine.
(chuckling): And y'all know it.
I know I've been a little tough... NADIA: Greg.
- But I just try and keep you on your toes.
♪ (police radio running) ANGELA: I tossed my keys down the sewer, but I rent a room in here.
Could I have went to a domestic shelter?
You're damn right I could have.
I'm downstairs-- open the door, please.
I am that light.
That light bright, baby.
And this is Junior, my roommate.
World, say hello to Junior.
Turn around, shine the light on him.
He's supposed to be my husband if he get it together.
BYRNE: How long has she been this way?
- For, like, a couple of weeks.
ANGELA: You have nothing to worry about, Margaret.
You hear me?
You're my sister from a different mother, Margaret.
You hear me?
(phone ringing) - I love you.
JUNIOR: I gotta go to work.
(ringing continues) (ringing stops) ANGELA: And this is my little man.
And I'm missing him like crazy.
I lost custody of Anthony, and now he's at Michael's.
I wasn't gonna to take my son to school till after the New Year.
Junior called the police on me.
They're saying that I have a mental illness that's seriously impairing my ability to care for a child.
BYRNE: Do you think the mental health court helped you?
- When they prescribed the medications, I would go to Walgreens, fill it out.
Take 'em home.
But would I pop 'em?
- Did you save the medications?
- I got some.
- Will you show them to me?
ANGELA: When I had that accident, they tried to make me look like a fool.
I did nine months!
(on-camera): This is a map of the United States of America.
(voiceover): Then they put me on Risperdal.
(on-camera): These are the socks that I wear.
(voiceover): And I'm just detoxing off the PCP!
So now you done took me off this drug and you want to hook me to this?
I won't go!
I like this hat better.
BYRNE: And do you think it was the PCP that did it?
'Cause they said he fed it to me, but that wasn't the first time that I tried it.
And that's what they thought I was going to be, a statistic.
I showed them.
I was in the eighth grade, and I found out I was pregnant with D'Angelo, and they wanted to put me out.
But I wind-- I winded up getting my diploma.
I survived against the odds.
♪ BYRNE: I'm worried about you.
- I'm really worried about you.
- I'm a tough cookie.
- I know you are, but... - (hoarsely): Margaret, I'm here to tell you that I'm fine and there's nothing wrong with me.
I feel free.
I feel free.
I feel free.
(lighter clicks) (exhales): I feel free.
Freer than I ever been.
(car door closes) (keys jangling, signal beeps) BYRNE: Oh, my goodness.
(cellphone chimes) (text sent) (text sent) BYRNE: I think mental illness is often, from my experience, cyclical.
There's good periods, and then it comes back.
Whether it is not being on the right medication, not taking good care of yourself, or just giving in to this thing that you're always having to fight.
(cellphone chiming) (text sent) (cellphone chiming) (birds chittering) BYRNE: I mean, I think there was a time when I was overwhelmed with all of this.
And it was too much.
I was seeing a psychiatrist, being over-prescribed.
Changing medications all the time, and I ended up in the hospital.
Violet went to stay with my dad.
(dogs barking in distance) (cellphone chiming) (text sent) (cellphone chiming) ♪ (cellphone chiming) (text sent) (cellphone chiming) (text sent) (cellphone chiming) (cellphone chiming) (text sent) (cellphone chiming) (text sent) BYRNE: After I got out of the hospital, I started filming about a month later.
It was hard to go out.
I mean, honestly, if I was going to go out and see anybody, it would be them.
They were the people where I could ease back into the world.
I could just be around them, we didn't have to talk about it.
They just understood.
- (chuckling) (books crashing) BYRNE (laughing): Oh!
- (laughing): That was bound to happen.
- (groans) - Avalanche.
- I'm sorry.
- My books are alive.
- I'm sorry.
- For my move today, I'm going to pack only a few of the essentials, and then I'm going to get the rest of my stuff later.
Today I am moving out of my mom's apartment.
Mom... (speaking Bulgarian): ♪ (speaking Bulgarian): ♪ (door squeaks shut) (cars passing) DIMITAR: That's my window up there.
MARCIN: You're gonna have to get an air conditioner for your window, though.
- (sighs): Yeah.
- You actually got somewhere.
- Yeah, I got somewhere last night.
Well, not too far, but whatever.
Across, across the bar.
- Yeah, you did.
You got kissed by the hottest girl in the bar, like, the hottest one that was in there.
And I'm, like, I'm kind of, like, really proud of you for getting this... - This far.
Thank you, man.
I like the place.
♪ (cellphone chiming) (phone ringing) (cellphone chiming) BYRNE: Yeah, I saw you called.
Wait, so, what are you smoking?
DIMITAR (on phone): Some synthetic white stuff, I don't even know it.
It could be anything, I don't know what it is.
It doesn't show up in your system, though.
(cellphone chiming) (phone ringing) BYRNE: Okay.
DIMITAR (on phone): Just today I got a "no trespassing" court order that I can't go to Chase anymore.
Because every morning I deposit, like, a couple of pennies or a quarter just so I can get some coffee.
- You just like to (muted) with people.
(cellphone chiming) (phone ringing) BYRNE: How are you doing?
DIMITAR (on phone): My landlord, George, got scared when he came in one day and saw all the drugs and all the cigarette butts.
The deal is, I gotta pack my (muted) and be out of here by the 13th.
- So where are you gonna go?
- I don't wanna go back, Margaret.
I don't wanna live with Gina.
(cellphone chiming) I don't know, I'm gonna go on the street or something.
(cellphone chiming) (texts sent) (text sent) (cellphone chiming) ♪ GINA: He stay two weeks in the hospital.
They said they'll relief him today, 1:00 p.m.
So I hope so he come straight home.
DIMITAR: Who said we can film here?
- Welcome, baby.
- Is she here?
- Come here.
(laughing) - We can't film here anymore, Margaret.
- He's surprised.
He don't know.
What are you wearing?
Oh, my God.
- What do you mean, what am I wearing?
You still in mania?
- Dimi... - Here's medication for ya.
- Not for me, for you.
- Yeah, you can take it, too.
- No-- yeah, sometime I need it.
(sighs) - I smoked part of the processor.
This is gonna hurt a little bit.
(taps) We'll call this the Margaret spot.
(tapping continues) (TV playing in background) (tapping and TV continue) ♪ ♪ (horns honking) (cellphone chiming) (text sent) (wind roaring) ♪ DIMITAR: I'm on the crisis unit.
(laughing): It's, it's, it's over.
It's over, it's really over.
Like, I smoked the CPU-- it's, it's ov... (crying) (crying silently) (weeping) (sniffles) (phone ringing) It's Mom.
(ringing stops) GINA: I just call you to hear your voice.
- Okay, you can talk, you can talk.
- I was cleaning your room and I was thinking that... - You were just wondering, you were just wondering what you can throw out next, right?
- You, you was never that bad.
Because you start doing thing you should no doing.
Besides yours mental condition.
- Whatever you do, do not smoke the computer.
♪ (exhales deeply) JENNY: I had your phone the last time you were in the hospital.
And that day you went, I was nervous.
I was, like... (breath shudders): ...Mom scared.
I had been coming up with a scheme.
Mom was gonna come and take Violet.
And Dad and I, we were gonna have the paramedics come take you involuntarily.
You had been talking about going into the hole.
You threw out the brand-new boxes of Fannie May down the garbage chute.
There was a bunch of them.
(laughing): There was, like, $100 of Fannie May.
But we didn't have to drag you off.
- You were going to.
- We were going to, because that's how bad it got.
And after Mom and I visited you at the hospital, I just started sobbing.
After, I don't know, it was maybe, like, a month of this, like, super-intense... Kind of became, like, a full-time job.
- I wanted you to quit your job.
- Oh, that's right.
Yeah, you wanted me to quit my job and take care of you for the next nine months.
- I don't like to think about it.
- I think you're doing better now than you ever have.
I'm glad that you trusted me.
I love you, Margaret.
But it all worked out.
- Thanks, Jenny.
♪ (voiceover): Jenny can recognize the things in me when maybe I can't recognize myself.
But it's hard when you're in that position to have to take care of somebody.
I asked a lot from her.
I think in those moments, it feels impossible.
It feels like, what is the solution?
You're trying and trying and trying, and it keeps happening over and over, and it's frustrating.
But it's like anything.
With persistence and time, change comes.
(chiming) I think it's important to have someone that keeps you accountable.
♪ DANIEL: Here's the refrigerator.
So you got food.
- Is that old or new?
- Nah, that's new.
That's chorizo and eggs.
- Oh, okay.
And your bathroom light works?
(switches clicking, fan running) Nothing broken, nothing... - No.
- How about we, you know, maybe sweep and mop, just a little bit?
- Uh... - You have dust there.
- What are those?
(voiceover): I don't like home visits.
They be all in your business.
But I deal with it, and I go through it, and I give 'em two thumbs ups, because hey, I'm that type of guy.
- I ate, though.
- At the drop-in center.
- Those are very high numbers.
Do you know the consequences of high blood sugars?
- Yeah, I know.
Uh... ♪ (voiceover): I just get real depressed after a while.
Doing the same old (muted) every day, in and out.
That's get boring.
I just want to be by myself all the time.
And I don't answer my phone.
That was the only thing that brings me joy-- drinking.
MAN: You gotta be here.
DANIEL: Okay, I'll be here tomorrow.
- (whispering): That's 'cause I hate that (muted) class.
BYRNE: What class is it?
- It's a drug class.
'Cause they know I smoke weed.
They tell me slow down if I can, but I be, like, "Yeah, all right."
♪ And then with me, sometimes, when I want to talk to somebody, I feel like it's gonna be a dumb conversation, so I just keep it to myself.
BYRNE: And what happens when you keep it to yourself?
DANIEL: It feels like you're all alone.
DOCTOR: Are you still smoking?
- That's bad.
Can we eventually stop?
- Okay, I'll try.
(people talking in background) BYRNE: How do you feel about them asking you all those questions?
I know how to talk, you know?
I don't be trippin'.
- What does that mean?
- I know how to finesse and maneuver, so I'll be straight.
- So you mean you're telling them what they want to hear.
But it's still truth in that (muted).
That's why my blood pressure be so high.
(phone ringing) (voiceover): It's him, it's good news.
Mm, mm... BYRNE: Who's that?
- Uh, my boy with them things.
- What things?
- X pills.
- You're taking X?
- Do you want me to stop filming?
- It's up to you-- I was gonna ask you, if I gave you gas money, would you take me?
- You worry me, you know?
You worry me.
- I'm glad you worry about me.
That lets me know you care.
- No, I'm not taking you.
- Why not?
- He ask me bring him shoes or some jacket.
He's already for one month in nursing home.
They're not allowed to have the string.
Two day ago, they transfer him to mental hospital.
I don't know what exactly happen.
And he was really hoping somebody go visit him there and whatever, but... nobody.
You're filming him, that's why you, you're around him.
We come to visit Dimitar Ivanov.
He's in mental unit.
♪ DIMITAR: I had some homicidal thoughts, and I was honest with the staff.
But, like, I was just testing my boundaries, just like with a substitute teacher.
GINA: One day I'll be tired, I'll die.
I'll give up on you, and I don't want to give up on you, but... BYRNE: So you think you'll be released tomorrow, they say?
DIMITAR: I think so.
GINA: Okay, we'll see.
♪ DIMITAR: Ta-da.
GINA (in Bulgarian): - (sighing): I did call.
- Let me see.
- You don't believe me?
GINA (in Bulgarian): DIMITAR (in Bulgarian): - (muttering) They discharge you?
What did they say?
- Why don't you call them and find out?
- They're supposed to call me.
- Why are they supposed to call you?
The paperwork is in the coat pocket behind you.
- (quietly): What are you thinking?
- Why do you want to know what I'm thinking?
Are you scared of me?
- Right now, or... - In general.
- Because you are acting... - Weird?
- Weird or crazy?
- I'm still your son.
- You are, I never stop loving you.
I never stop... trying to do something for you.
- Did you find the paperwork?
- Here, watch out.
Here's my discharge paperwork.
See, signed, signed by everybody.
- From hospital they don't call me to let me know, they just discharge him.
BYRNE: Do you have to go to work today?
- How do you feel about leaving him here?
- Not comfortable.
(hip-hop music playing loudly) (water running) (music continues in background) BYRNE: What are you doing?
- Profilaktika, profilaktika!
(music continues in background) (music stops) DIMITAR: We can sit on the couch for a minute and just, just unwind a little bit so I can go to sleep.
BYRNE: Yeah, you should go to sleep.
♪ ANGELA (on phone): I haven't been over my ten minutes.
No, I don't want to switch.
That phone works.
- Okay, are you recording?
I've been refusing medication because it's against my beliefs.
Istarted back smoking PCP, I came and I detoxed without the help of any chemicals to help me.
BYRNE: Did the court order today for you to take lithium?
- Yes, they did, Margaret, yes, they did.
And do you know how angry I was?
I was so angry, I actually told him, "(muted) him."
And of course, that made me look even more unstable, by me telling the judge, "(muted) him."
- But I'll talk to you later.
- Okay, call me again.
(call ends) I'm going to look for Daniel.
(text sent) I don't know where he is.
I'll go see if he's at his apartment.
I know he wouldn't mess that up.
(text sent) (text sent) (knocking) (text sent) (cellphone chiming) (text sent) Gonna write him a note.
You can look so ordinary, or you can appear to not have anything wrong with you.
And then when those times come, it's not pretty.
It's, it's something you want to look away from.
Probably with every sort of episode I've had, I've lost friends or colleagues.
I don't think we can look away from what's bad.
So why would I look away from them when they're going through the hardest time?
It's why there's people on the street, because everybody's looked away from them and said, "I can't."
♪ (Gina sighs) - So, I got a call from probation saying they threatened to violate me on three different things.
On, uh, not completing my substance abuse classes, not paying restitution, and, uh, not completing my community service.
- You don't have to think, you just have to do it.
(keys clatter) - No, I don't.
What's the point?
I can't get a job.
- What think you should do?
You should start going some classes.
- I'm not going to any classes.
(slamming objects) I'm not going to any (muted) classes.
GINA: See, all summer, he was in all these hospital.
So basically, he was not stable to, to go classes and stuff.
I don't think they care.
(cellphone chiming) - Uh, Daniel Brown.
(woman responds) I want some of these.
BYRNE: Will you tell me about when I couldn't find you?
DANIEL: Aw, man, I had lost my phone.
(muted) stole my phone, actually.
I lost my bus card and my keys.
(on-camera): And I want a cabbage.
(voiceover): Ended up staying with a friend, drinking.
(on-camera): All right.
(voiceover): But I always made it to my weekly appointments with my case worker so I wouldn't lose my apartment.
I finally told them I lost my keys, and they gave me an extra set.
- I know, in the beginning of this year, you know, you had some issues with just losing things and getting them stolen.
- How have you been with that?
- I've been working on it.
- I mean, you haven't told me anything recently, but... - Yeah, I've been doing better.
- (laughs): Okay.
- I've been doing much better.
- And then you gave your emergency keys to your nephew?
- Yeah, my nephew.
- Okay, I just want to make sure that, you know, you're taking care of yourself and staying safe.
BRIGITTE: He was drifting and getting off into trouble with the wrong people-- he know it.
We calling you, no answer.
Phone going straight to voicemail.
"Okay, we going over there;" I said, "Call the police "when you get there.
"I do not want to find my brother dead in the house.
And we went all over looking for him.
Then he just called one day out the blue.
Like, you don't do your family like that.
He crazy, though-- he's kinda off, you know that?
Like right now-- you see him?
Get quiet and still and just stare off into space.
Yeah, that's Daniel.
ANGELA: I called Junior and asked him could I rent a room.
Staying with a ex is hard.
BYRNE: So you aren't back together?
No, we're not back together.
They did give me a timeframe of custody over Anthony, and they gave me a year.
This is a letter that says the court has granted an expungement on these cases right here.
♪ So right now, I'm waiting on another psychological evaluation.
Every time I came into these hospitals, I was under the influence of PCP.
I'm realizing that I'm a different person while I'm abusing these drugs.
BYRNE: When do you feel like you really had this realization?
- The second time around losing my parental rights.
But I just realized I keep on falling to this same track.
- You look good.
- Thank you.
VIOLET: Um, what kind of meatballs are those?
BYRNE: Good meatballs made from chicken.
(voiceover): Success does not just look like one thing.
Success is a journey.
I'll say, filming with all of them is what made me go back to therapy.
I thought, "Well, if they are having to take care of themselves, then I also have to do the same."
DANIEL: I'm an ambassador for up here, so I'm gonna stay outside and sign people up for the Moving On program.
MAN: Oh, hey, I'm with it.
- Yeah, come on, I'll sign you up right now.
(voiceover): I work two days a month now as an ambassador for the program that helped me move out.
MAN: How long do you think it'll take to move?
- I've seen people get out of here in seven months.
All right, cool, I'm gonna turn this in to my boss.
Let me check my schedule, see if I have his new schedule.
- Nice to meet you, too.
- Nice to meet you, man.
- Hey, I'll sign up for sure.
- All right, Friday.
- All right.
♪ BYRNE: I see you looking over there.
- I know, that's where they at.
I ain't finna go over there.
- How come you're not going over there?
- 'Cause I don't feel like being around all that weed.
They got weed for me when I get back to Oak Park.
(voiceover): To myself, I'm, like, a success story.
I started out homeless, went and got a crib.
I've been on the bottom, and now I feel like I'm a part of the human being race.
- Can I call you chief?
- Yeah, you can call me chief.
DIMITAR: I decided to finish my probation requirements and complete my community service hours.
It was the only option left.
Although my mind is plagued, when I look deep down inside, I honestly find love, self-respect, and hope for the future.
I don't lose sleep over the crimes I committed.
I do over consequences.
Enlightenment is addicting.
I'm an addict.
♪ ANGELA: Now I actually feel like a whole totally different person.
It's been over a year since I've used any drugs.
Now I've been in therapy, you know, for about six months.
That actually seems to help, to be able to talk about my problems.
And frankly, there's nothing to be ashamed of.
I realize I'm not the only one who's been diagnosed with a mental health problem.
And people wouldn't feel so alone.
BYRNE: I think you are brave to tell your story.
I think I figured out that the things that I've worked so hard to hide don't need to be hidden.
That there's power in connecting.
They very much have been friends to me.
ANGELA: I'm just trying to just take one day at a time.
DANIEL: Every day, it's a struggle.
You don't ever know what the next day holds.
BYRNE: All of our days will continue on after this movie.
- It's gonna be okay, Mom, it's gonna be okay.
DIMITAR: Life sometimes is sad.
And sometimes it's chaotic.
But sometimes life is peachy.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪