Schapelle: ‘I was out of my mind’

 

CONVICTED drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has opened up in her first live interview since her high-profile release from a notorious prison in Bali, Indonesia.

Appearing with her sister Mercedes on the Kyle and Jackie O show on Wednesday to promote the release of her updated memoir My Story, Corby described her struggle with mental illness while behind bars and how she became "catatonic" soon after the death of her father Mick in 2008.

"I was out of my mind, literally for about four years," she said.

"I couldn't even speak. People would have to massage my feet and hands because they would cramp. I was in such a hell in my mind, it's really hard to go back to to write … Sorry, I'm going to cry."

Fighting back tears, Corby hit out at critics who "accuse me of faking this".

"Mental illness is real. If I could have lived without mental illness, my mind would be so much better," she said.

"It started a few months after my dad died. It was like a (triple) whammy - dad died, my final appeal came through negative then my mum's partner died as well. I became a complete fruit loop."

Corby said she was "like a zombie".

"I couldn't even move, people would handfeed me and I couldn't swallow; they had to put water down my throat," she said.

She recalled how psychiatrist Jonathan Phillips came over from Australia to see her.

"He said to Mercedes he's never experienced looking at someone in a catatonic state, because he'd never experienced that before he didn't know if I would come out of that," she said.

"I kind of spoke to him at the time but I was listening to the birds chirping and I thought the birds were telling me to stop talking. I thought he was Mr Squiggle. The birds were telling me, 'You can't let them know anything.'"

Corby said despite her mental state she remembered everything that happened, "especially my visions, I have flashbacks quite badly".

 

She described getting in trouble with prison guards a number of times.

In one instance, she was discovered crawling through the ceiling looking for "ducks", and in other and she was caught with a Nokia mobile phone and put in solitary confinement for three weeks.

The latter incident caused her to develop a phobia of talking on phones, meaning she can now only speak via video chat.

She revealed she was still with her Sumatran boyfriend, who runs a stand-up paddle shop in Bali, but that she only sees him once a year. He doesn't want to move to Australia and Corby is "not ready" to return.

"He doesn't want to move here, he loves his life, he's really busy. I'm allowed (to go back), I'm not black-listed, but I'm not ready," she said. "I don't want to be looking over my shoulder, I want to enjoy myself and just live."

Corby was convicted of smuggling cannabis into Indonesia in May, 2005, after the drugs were found in her boogie board bag.

She was sentenced to 20 years by the Denpasar District Court and went to Kerobokan Prison.

After a failed appeal, Corby petitioned Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for clemency due to mental illness.

She was later released on parole in February 2014, before being deported from Indonesia and returned to Australia on May 27, 2017.

She said she was no longer upset that people thought she was guilty.

"It doesn't upset me, people are entitled to their opinions," she said.

"They're never going to say it to my face, but there are a lot of people who have a second uncle who worked with a friend who was the cousin of somebody who definitely knows I did it. I just walk away. I don't need to live my life defending myself … I've got some really dedicated supporters."

Asked what surprised her most about re-entering modern society after more than a decade behind bars, Corby said she noticed "there was a lot of plastic in the supermarkets".

"Everything is wrapped up. You want to buy a carrot and it's wrapped in plastic, styrofoam, all this plastic," she said. "And then they take the plastic bags away, but it's still in the fruit-and-veg section. It's full of plastic, so I don't get it."

frank.chung@news.com.au



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