Written by Vosot Ikeida and Tellurienne
Vosot Ikeida : A Japanese hikikomori, 55 years old.
Tellurienne : A French hikikomori, 38 years old.
...Continued from Round 4
Hikikomori and Psychiatry
Vosot: Even after moving to Burgundy, did you continue living with your parents until now?
Tellurienne: No. A year later, my father found an apartment for me in Donzy, and I started living alone at the age of 29, although my parents often visited me even after that. Then, five years later, I moved to Cosne sur Loire where I live now.
Vosot: Your living alone went well?
Tellurienne: Not really. In 2010, again on my own initiative, I went to see a psychiatric nurse at the psychological health center of the city. We sought a solution together, and I started therapy and took medication for anxiety. I also did several stays in a psychiatric hospital, and it was very difficult. But little by little, I started to get better.
Vosot: I am glad to hear that your meeting with psychiatric care went well after all. I have not yet met such a good psychiatrist who understands a hikikomori. My psychiatrist is said to be a very famous expert about the group therapy in Japan, but he does not understand me, what I am as a patient, as a human. In reality, the patient community that is the group for his therapy has become a horrible battlefield for patients against patients, or a patient against the psychiatrist.
Several patients have been driven to suicide by the psychiatrist's words, but their deaths did not become even social accidents or incidents, because all that happened in the closed treatment relationship, and no evidence is left. That is also because they didn't have any family who could report what had happened in the psychiatry, to the society after they died.
The normal people in the society would take the side of the psychiatrist without knowing the reality, because of his authority. Me, I was hurt and exhausted so much by his psychiatry, who is supposed to cure me originally.
Tellurienne: It's terrible to hear it. Yes, in my case, it is going well. I appreciate for the two things, that I have been recognized as a psychic disabled person, and that I can receive financial support for the reason. I have made progress by now, but I am still a hikikomorie. I continue to seek for supports.
Vosot: Speaking of support, in France you can receive the RSA(*1) from the age of 25, but how did you survive until that age?
*1. RSA : Revenu de Solidarité Active. Publich financial support. One of the social welfare systems in France.
Tellurienne: Until I was 25, I was financially dependent on my parents. They gave me a little money when I asked them. They never refused my asking. After 25, I received the RSA, and I lived with 350 € per month, for some years. For reference, the average income from work in France is about 1200 €. I also made sales on the internet, mainly video games. I went out at night to post packets.
Vosot: Can I ask you for your current income to survive?
Tellurienne: Now it's been three years that I'm recognized a psychic disabled, so I do not receive the RSA anymore, because it is not compatible with my new income. So, my financial income right now is exactly like this;
810.89 (*a) + 218.00 (*b)
= 1028.89 € =1265.54 $ par month
*a; MDPH: Maison Des Personnes Handicapées. Pension for the disabled people.
603 (*c) + 376 (*d)
= 980.00 € =1205.40 $ par month
*c: The part of social welfare for "Assistance for living". Originally JPY 80,160.
*d: The part of social welfare for "Assistance for housing". Originally JPY 50,000.
Support pour Hikikomori
Vosot: Apart from the financial income, what do you expect from "support" for hikikomoris?
Tellurienne: I have been always ashamed of being a hikikomorie, so I hid my problems and made everybody think as if I was fine. When they tried to help me, I pushed them away. After several years, I lost all my friends who got tired with me, and I lost several members of my family, for example, my father died last year.
Vosot: I'm sorry to hear that. I guess you've suffered a lot.
Now and Future
Vosot: What would you like to say to other hikikomoris, the parents of hikikomori, or the people who are concerned about hikikomori problem?
Tellurienne: I would like to tell other hikikomoris that they need to think about their future and about their beloved ones. I know that, for some of us, it is very difficult to imagine the future with optimism. But we can not stay being a hikikomori all life, because we hurt ourselves and our beloved ones. I think it takes a lot of courage and patience to get by. It is important not to skip the steps. To become aware of our condition is to advance step by step.
Vosot: In my opinion, I think one can stay being a hikikomori even all life, but anyway, what would you say to the parents of hikikomori?
Tellurienne: I would like to tell the parents; Do not give up on your children and please be patient and understanding. Do not hesitate together to ask for help and support from professionals or associations. It is a serious problem for me to be a hikikomorie. It sometimes takes a lot of time to get better and to reconcile with the society in which we find one's place to live.
Vosot: Now, what would you desire for yourself?
Tellurienne: I would just like to have a quiet peace, like to continue to live alone without seeing anyone, and do everything I want to lock myself up at home. There is this part of me that likes to be a hikikomorie.
On the other hand, I would also like to have a normal life, even if I know it may be a little late at 38 years old. But still I would like to have a new home, a family, a job, resume my studies ... I have a lot of ideas but not enough energy. Although I have made progress, I remain pessimistic about the future.
To the Japanese version of this article
To the French version of this article