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starchild
April 2nd, 2014, 11:29 PM
Memories of Beauty & Madness
Gabrielle B-G



A Split Mind or Splintered Reality

Prologue:

Schizophrenia is an illness that can cause any normal person to lose touch with reality. Schizophrenia might affect as many as 1 in 100 people, and 2.2 million percent of the U.S. population. It is a heart-breaking, soul crushing, brain shattering mental disorder. There is no known cause as of yet for schizophrenia. In my opinion, poverty only adds to the lack of treatment available to a person with this condition, and can exacerbate the symptoms.
There have been several great movies focused on schizophrenia survivors. "A Beautiful Mind" is one such movie. It portrays the adult life of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who was afflicted with schizophrenia. "The Soloist" is another great movie which is also a true story based on Nathaniel Ayers, a great violinist who lost a potentially bright future to this cruel disease of the mind.
Here is a list I have gathered of more movies:Through a Glass Dakly, Donnie Darko, The Snake Pit (1948, Lilith (1964), The Fisher King (1991), Benny and Joon (1993), Pi (1998, Girl Interrupted, One Flew over the Cukoo’s Nest, (Which isn’t at all like the book it was based off of, but still a good movie), Angel Baby, Revolution #9 (2001), Shutter Island (2010) and many more to come. Here is a list of movies that center around Bipolar disorder. Silver Linings Playbook being one of my all time favorites.

Splendor in the Grass (1961)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
Manic (2001)
The Hours (2002)
The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005)
Michael Clayton (2007)
Mr. Jones (1993)
Observe and Report (2009)
The Informant! (2009)
The Big C (TV series) (2010)
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
OC87 (2010)
Dad's in Heaven with Nixon (2010)
Union Square (2011)
Aarohanam (2012)
3 (2012)
Homeland (TV) (2012)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Of Two Minds (2012)

I have schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: schizoaffective, and I can tell you first-hand it is not easy to live with, but it is manageable with financial and motivational support. Some will still believe those afflicted can "pull themselves up by the boot-straps" and carry on, but this is nearly impossible without our much needed support.
My first experiences began when I was about fourteen years of age--I resonated with goths and outcasts, I hated society, and I felt withdrawn and depressed. It manifested in the most of subtle ways to everyone else, and even to me--I began manically dreaming about being other people, and the future. I would fantasize about my fictional worlds and experiences so obsessively that I almost began to believe they were real.

It may have began as my attempted escapism, but I believe there were other factors. I was highly intelligent. I was chosen by a teacher to take the SAT for Johns Hopkins the next year, and then would take road trip to UCSC in California studying civil rights for the summer through their program. The road trip with my mom was wonderful and one of my best memories. I remember trying to meditate on the cliffs of Mt. Zion in Utah, telling mom I couldn't shut my mind off. She tried to help me focus, but it was pretty much impossible to stop the rambling in my head. Eventually, at boarding school in Ohio, I had my breakdown. I was taken home and it took about one year to figure things out and get back to high school. Eventually, I dropped out of HS and got a GED. This may have been better in the long run, I had time to figure things out. I even took a poetry class at Naropa in Boulder Colorado.

So now that I have finally figured out that I have to take medication at all costs, I am doing much better. I'm still in college and working toward my B.A. in mass communications. Though the road is not easy, I have family and friends to help me along the way.I still wonder about the similarities and differences between some mental illnesses. For instance, as a child I would have had more of the attention hyperactivity and Aspergers traits. As a teen I had more of the bipolar and compulsive traits. Currently I am diagnosed with schizo-affective and adhd. But, the labels don't really matter as much as getting the correct treatment and medications.

I believe that in the future the labels should be based more on current symptoms and lifestyle than anything else. For instance, I could have been a number of definitive labels. because at the onset I had various symptoms due to the illness that didn't fit one category. To me, schizo-affective is still a form of schizophrenia. Even though my doctors think I am not quite suffering from "schizophrenia" it all pretty much depends on the treatment and care you receive.
I do hope that more humanistic and therapy oriented models come out in the near future for people with schizophrenia and bipolar. My therapist has said I would be good as a counselor, because I understand the illness and could help people recover. Of course, therapy alone cannot treat schizophrenia. I now realize this because of how trying to help my mother has failed many times. In the state of West Virginia, it is nearly impossible to get someone forced treatment for a mental illness as an adult. In some ways, I'm glad my parents had the resources to get me into treatment when I was a teenager, because if I had been an adult it wouldn't have been possible. I would be disabled.

I had a very happy childhood, I do not think stress was the reason I became mentally ill. My parents spoiled me in some ways, took me to art museums, libraries, and gave me unconditional love. They are not the reason I became ill, and I would never blame them. My parents have given me the best support they could possibly give. Thankfully, my brother hasn't shown signs of a mental illness and I am hoping that eventually he starts seeing a therapist to cope with things. He is only nineteen, and I wish he never goes through what I went through to get better and live a good life.

Chapter One: Memories

When I was little I remember asking my mom about God. She smiled and said, “God is kind of like Santa Clause.” I envisioned myself standing next to a big jolly man staring into a snow-globe that overlooked the world below. I told God that my parents looked so happy. He told me I could come down from the clouds for a while to learn about life, and that I had to learn about the dark and the light in everything. God said that I would have a happy life for a very long time, but it would not always be this way. He also told me that every single snowflake is unique.

As a child I would tie my shoelaces and think about God, and I would walk down the stairs and contemplate the universe. I walked around the neighborhood acting like a tomboy, sometimes feeling very alone in my little world. After awhile what seemed like just three blocks became five blocks and became fifteen million journeys in one instant. I would dream of visiting other places and the wind and trees would call to me. I never heard voices or angry beings, but God talked to me in the trees and the wind and the flowers. It was my way to embrace the unknown, the things I misunderstood.

Come to my Universe, and let the colors and shapes move you as if you’re in a trance; distant voices will guide you into their own dimensions with different ways of seeing. Be wary of the demonic delusions that can give you anything you want, but also everything you fear. Use your imagination, but don't let it kill you with questions and unsolved riddles. Let it free you. Let it make you believe you can fly, because maybe someday you will.

This is the world God left behind—to us. It is his strange archaic painting, it breathes life to us, it leaves us crying and hungry for more at the same time. Oh, and then there you are—embracing everything in your innocence as the statues of people continue to weave around you...growing up with twisted Biblical stories of snakes and spiderwebs, switching bodies for scary adult versions of themselves. They wait in line for the next sacrificial big hit.

And still, no one knows the real you; no one may ever know that strange girl in the corner, the shy one who didn't speak up loud enough for anyone to hear. But now that everyone tells you to take these pills because insanity is not an option, a smug depression settles over your twisted little happy world; You'll repeat their mantra to yourself as the skies turn grayer and your skin itches with anxiety and rage. What is it that you feel anymore?

With your head down, not wanting to meet anyone's gaze, you walk on. Not that they were looking anyways. You continue with a sort of awkward strife. The sun burns for you in the midst of this entire struggle; being a disciple of insanity, you twist concepts to your own fancy. You can make it how you please, this is your cursed disease.

I’m trapped on this planet, earth.. A little girl who wonders, “Why do people die? What will there be leftover after everything is written? What will be left of you when you leave here?” Most people paid no mind as they continued on to nowhere."She isn't there," they think to themselves. So you invent your new world all the better, because you know the secret to life.

Once, before the coffee and the cigarettes, before the magic of adventure and the pain of sorrow, there was a place where we were all the same. We believed in something, but then we lost our way home. Everyone had to be somewhere beneath the surface. Everyone had to bare their knives and shred at our last hopes of coexistence, and then came God's final curse of Schizophrenia. It was about how we refused to love. We could not be defenseless; so that we would learn how badly we needed to know this was no longer our Universe. Woe is the disciple of insanity, the sacrificially broken and minds stolen.

This is an attempt at creating a story of the metamorphosis. This is how the crazy little girl recreated herself and defied all odds. The story begins in the present, as the writer begins to paint a vivid fairy tale of her life. She sits here upon her turquoise couch in the living-room. She is listening, watching as the dog scratches at her flees and then plops down onto the huge doggie bed, and she is listening. Her mind gives in to the memories. I wish I could somehow scribble down these colors, make a picture book of my whole story and then never erase it, never let it dissolve on the tongue of your disciples. I wish I could just hold the pencil in my hand and scribble a whole universe onto these walls. For though they feel along the passages in the ever present ‘now’, I am still thinking about a place long before.

Let me bring you into a time that is all too familiar to me. It was all nothing but a red sort of darkness. I remember him smiling at me, overcome with such a joy at seeing his first child born. I cried without knowing whether they were tears of sorrow or joy, which made me cry all the more. I remember it so clearly, being a little ball curled in my father's arms and being carried through the rain up the stairs of a building. I remember smells and colors. Then I remember the faces, and comments. "She has such gorgeous blue eyes!” I was nearly six months old when I began wording sentences only four year olds could conjure. I talked a lot, too much. I remember sitting at the table and pretending to be an adult because it made me feel responsible and beyond what I was to them. When I was so home, so far away from the rest of the world, I made my own world to kill time. But I truly wanted to stay young forever.

When my mom had been ready to give birth to me, my dad had to rush her to the hospital. It was very icy and snowy that year. He had to break the door open just to get in the driver's side. All the way to the hospital he had to hold onto the door to keep it from flying open. I was born on January the thirteenth in nineteen eighty-nine.
We used to go lots of places after my family decided to move to Pittsburgh; for me there was always something to do. I remember my dad would take me on walks through the park. When I was four years old I used to sit on the stairway of the castle shaped apartment and admire the stained glass window with a slight crack in it. I felt a pity for the crack in the window, and yet it let the light stream into the stairwell like in a fantasy world.

We had neighbors who yelled a lot. I didn't like them using the word "shut up" which wasn't allowed in the house. "shut up" was a bad word according to my parents. I was four years old then, and in April my little brother was born. I remember the day clearly. I was at the apartment with my aunt as she was babysitting me. We got a call from my dad who told us to come there fast. I have an image of when we first reached the birthing place where mom was. My dad opened up the door and had a look of both surprise and urgency. He told us to hurry up and come in. Inside, everyone was beaming, and I named a cabbage patch kid after my brother.

Life was grand for a long time. In preschool I had a great time making walls out of fake bricks before everyone knocked them over, but I never liked kindergarten that much. My teacher had blond hair that stuck out on either side. She was always taking off points and putting me in "time out" for being late or defending friends. There's not much I have to say about Kindergarten. In the first grade I took part in the school plays which were a great distraction. I had a lot of lead roles. For some reason, this pitted me against everyone else.

When I had started to become friends with the "Weird theater kids" everyone else just figured I was weird too. I went to a Catholic school and had a teacher who was a nun. She was stricter with me because I became "slow" at math...but it wasn't just that, it was the stress at home from my parents constantly fighting and the pain it caused me to see them hurting each other. The fondest memories come later on, when I was seven years old. By then I was an ambitious girl who wanted to be a singer and a dancer. I was always looking for an adventure as well. I often times acted like a tom-boy: watching power rangers and playing with toy cars. I also loved going on hikes in the woods and climbing hills.

I made up names for places, and in the section of Pittsburgh we lived in had buildings that were over two-hundred years old. There was an even more realistic castle there, with a terrace; I would go up onto the roof and over-look the world from above. I was always off in my own separate world and i liked to write stories. I was the mother of two dollies, Samantha and Kelly. Kelly was a Christmas present. She was one of those new born dolls that could eat and wore a diaper. I took to her as if she were the real thing. I practically believed she was alive.

Sometimes I was so slow going down the stairs that all the other kids would rush by me calling me names. I remember when my dad first walked me to my school in the beginning of first grade. I would run down the long steep hill which led to our house until I got to the stop sign, swung around it three times to gain balance, and then took a left on 13th street toward the catholic elementary school. Nearing the end of second grade was when things started to fall apart.

My mom was sleeping hours on end. I would come into her room wanting to cheer her up and to do something like we once did. We used to do so many things; she was the one who nourished my imagination so much. We had big art projects, anything I could think of we created. My dad would always take me to museums and libraries. He often brought me presents when he got home from work at U.S. Steel as a computer programmer. I thought constantly. I was somewhat mature for being in the second grade, considering that I had thought I would be so mature just to realize I was still so young. I tried to explain my thoughts to my friends to no avail.

I still walked to school in the second grade. It wasn't a very long walk but I loved walking. I wasn't going to go to the third grade at the Catholic School, because at the time my parents weren't getting along too well and my dad threatened divorce. They fought a lot about bills, spending money, and I always tried to stop them by putting myself in the middle of it Then they would get mad at me. This turned into a never-ending cycle for me, they got mad. I tried to get them to stop fighting, and then they would say they were only "having a discussion" and not an argument. Well it was a very loud and angry "discussion".

Our house was made of stone and built in the days of pioneers. I always went over to an adult neighbor’s house to play darts when I was bored. I beat her at darts and she said I had a really good eye. I think my talent scared her, as she was the one who taught me. I don't know what caused my mom's depression. It might have been influenced by a number of factors, she had gained weight after the pregnancy and her feet always hurt from a muscle condition that runs on her side of the family. My parents were fighting all the time and her feet really hurt. But mom just wasn't the same. She wouldn't wake up even after I shook her repeatedly. I talked to God and I talked to trees. I had a friend in the neighborhood and our parents didn't get along. His mother thought I was a bad influence on him and told my mother that she didn't want us playing together anymore after I had convinced him to run away with me when our parents came to get us. When he described some morbid things about her and she overheard, she thought I had somehow told him to say those things. Mom saw a doctor who prescribed her Phentermine which would help her weight alongside of Prozac for depression. I remember seeing the bottle of pills and thinking of it as wrong, that she shouldn't take them.

I saw them as the evil things that were ruining her life. Things started getting scary. Mom was very emotional and not making any sense. She would tell me stories about things that had happened to her in her childhood. She was venting all of these suppressed memories that I thought were real. She didn't know that they weren't. Jim, who she was supposed to marry, was banished from the family by her parents and she was meant to find Jim. He was her true love.

I also have a memory of a story, but she confused me about it because she often changed her stories in an instant. One day her father had made her a cherry pie to bring to school and she had forgotten to take it with her. In one instance I remember she said he got mad at her about it and beat her with a belt. And at another instance he had come all the way to school just to bring her the cherry pie. She had a special box were she had all her special items. She told me that when she was little she had set out a whole selection of pictures down and then suddenly the pictures started flying around the room. "What did your mom say?" I asked

"Well she screamed...they didn't believe me...they didn't believe it was magic." Magic was everywhere, it was my childhood, and now it had become something else to me. Something evil, twisted, it was as if I had become lost as I would stare out the window, wishing to escape this torment. What was going on? Was it the my fault? Had I upset her? Did she love me anymore? My parents were fighting about everything and dad didn't know she was sick...he didn't know it was because of all the pills that she wasn't making any sense. I prayed for them not to get a divorce. I was sitting in the living room as she stood in the doorway and suddenly announced "I'm going out."

"Where are you going?" I asked innocently.

"I'm going to fight bad guys." She said and I knew I had to be strong for her, so that the bad guys wouldn't get her.

The thing is that I remember dad had been saying that she was doing just that, going to fight bad guys. She ended up at a bus station and then was taken to some hospital and stayed there for what seemed like forever.

We moved into my grandma's house on my dad's side. I always asked about her, "When is mom coming back? Where is she?" Dad said that she was at a hospital because she wasn’t well. I didn’t know what was wrong with her. So I would ask and ask. He said she was away and that she was sick and needed to get better.

"Your mom is sick." He would tell me. “But she’ll be coming home. I just don’t know when.”

"But when will she come home?" I would ask. "When she’s ready," Dad would say reassuringly. Finally, in a few weeks we got to visit mom where she was in the hospital. I never knew why she was there until I had my own crisis at seventeen.

She used to sing to us before bed.

My brother was her teddy-bear and I was her sunshine. She had written a letter to me and handed it to me when I visited along with an angel penny. She told me on the letter how much she loved me. At the end of the letter she quoted the song, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine." she looked bright and happy. She was sitting in a yellow seat and beaming to see us. Then finally, we all went home.

(This is a non-fictional excerpt of my novel and account of being hospitalized.)

Chapter Two: Seventeen Stitches

It was a nice day with a crisp blue sky. Well, nice for everyone else. Not for me. I got out of the car and shut it behind me. I didn’t know what to say, so I just followed them. I didn't think there was a legitimate reason to be at the ER for breaking a cup. So as my parents led me down the sidewalk I began to feel more and more nauseous. They just didn't understand how their anger affected me. Maybe I hadn't really been paranoid after-all. Yet I thought maybe they would arrest me for my freak out. This had to be a joke; I knew they could not arrest me for it. I had committed no crime. I also knew that this would not be what you under normal circumstances even call an episode of crazy.

I thought I had completely recovered. I had overcome this all on my own. I also had a lot of things going on inside me that you couldn't just shove aside. It was the accumulated snowball of everything I had been through and when all that got tossed aside, the wreckage of my very being became the object of another practical joke. "This is what crazy looks like!" I smiled and I laughed. "This is crazy!" "Look! Look! Is this what you wanted to see? Am I crazy now?" I was angry. I took my mother’s little piece of china and threw it onto the floor. Then it smashed into a million tiny pieces. I had decided that I didn't need therapy about a year before my angry “episode”.
Sometimes I wonder if I was just too beaten down and tired out to combat my own demons. When being patronized and pushed into a corner, you aren't really given a choice what to think. When your parents tell you if you don’t smile and behave, that they’ll lock you up, it isn’t exactly pleasant. Of course, I had a record: Fifteen and boarding school. A year prior to this my psychiatrist said that since I thought I was better and I wanted off the meds it was my choice, so she closed the book and out I went. But that freedom didn't last very long.

I am entering the hospital lobby, awaiting treatment, meds, the stretcher where I will be strapped onto, possibly drugged up now, and who knows where the hell they will take me this time? Who knows what rights might be taken away from me while in there? I wasn't suicidal, I wasn't angry, no it was worse...I was starving for something…maybe understanding. But what would it matter? I knew I was ok. In the lobby, I sat there and waited. The silence felt surreal and uncanny to me. It was too quiet for comfort. People were mesmerized by the television set protruding overhead from the wall. I sat next to my mom, who wasn’t really saying anything--caught up in her own inner dimension. It was so disturbing to me. I felt like I was out of place, out of time.

I recall that I used the bathroom in the ER. I felt normal, I felt OK. I walked up to the doors and tried to leave. I pleaded with them, practically begging to go home. “I’m ok, see? I’m not sick.” I said. But no one listened. Maybe they were blind to the fact that I wasn't...they chose my father's words over his seventeen year old daughter's, of course. Of course, about five security guards came and stood in front of the exit doors then led me through the rooms in the Emergency Doors to where I wouldn't be seen. In the waiting room, they made me sit on this couch staring up into the vents for six hours that seemed to last an eternity.

Where am I going?

My thoughts kept spinning, spinning and disappearing into these ideas of what I was going to be put through in one of those mental wards. Even though I felt terrified...I began to stare up at the vents, intuitively. It felt as though a secret source had told me to look up into the vents. Would this become some sort of coping mechanism...what a shitty way to lose my mind.

"You're going to the hospital" He had said. I hid in the pine trees for an hour until I saw his car pulling up. I am fine, I thought...fine for the first time in a long time and now, here they are, ready to take me away…

There I was, sitting in the emergency room next to mom waiting for the nothing. I was staring straight ahead into the nothing. There was a sign on the wall with instructions on the different stages of washing your hands and it seemed ridiculous to me. Would that be irrational? None of it was paranoia. It just all felt incredulous and wrong. The whole thing was making me feel nervously ill. Everyone seemed so blind. Didn't they know they were all a part of the plan: to be brainwashed mindless consumers warehoused inside surveillance hospitals? That's what all the newspaper and magazine clippings were pointing to in the large mural on my bedroom wall.

Why am I here? What the hell did I do and why can’t I just get out of here? My fears started to accumulate. Anxieties after anxieties were passing through my mind of what was going to be done to me at the hospital. I had not had a positive experience in the time I had been in the hospital in the past. In fact, it was a source of my PTSD. But now, even my parents were acting as if this was my punishment. Isolation and rape.
What a medicine for prescribed insanity! And so I shifted my focus from the sign on the wall about washing hands to the doors of the Emergency Room. The kind of doors you can't open from the insides.

Those doors are prison doors. They are prison doors for the sick, I thought to myself. What kind of doors will they have at this place I'm going?

People kept rushing in and out in and out of those doors, and no one knew me, no one saw me. No, I was so invisible to all the doctors and security guards and medics and nurses and my parents and my friends at home who didn't really even know me. Brainless.

It was a deafening sort of feeling. It was completely deafening. I was helpless. At seventeen there was no way they were going to acknowledge my intelligence. At seventeen I was going to be reduced to the level of an infantile six year old. But everyone there was dead to me, because everyone there was walking past and no one even saw what was going on.

Well, in times like these when you find yourself in a state of utter isolation and desperation...you may think it's over. in due time the memory does come rushing back. The memory will play out before your eyes, this beautiful movie; it's the movie of your life. "Can't they see that I am not crazy?! I'm not out of control, no violent maniacal behaviors, no screaming, and no goofy conversations with myself or am I seeing green aliens? What the heck is the matter with me? I didn't do anything that was wrong! I'm not a drug addict, I don't do anything wrong at all. I'm practically perfect!"

I'm just sitting here and I am waiting and for what? I just want to go home, or even just out of this hellhole. Guess what? They’re not even going to let me leave the building. I'm seventeen, for fucks sakes! You can't just keep me here. Yeah, I may be crazy but that doesn't mean I'm clinically insane! Why the hell are they putting me through all this...what reason do they have to lock me up?

I wanted to get better, like I was, ok so maybe I don’t know what that means anymore. But this is a punishment. I am being punished for being sick. And because I'm not acknowledging that I am sick I am being punished...that's all it ever felt like to me.

Now my thoughts are racing. But I just go back to staring at the poster on the wall. Step 2. Rinse with Warm Water. So, that's how they'll do it. That’s how it'll happen to me, I think to myself.

I see most of the people in the waiting room are watching Martha Stuart's Cooking Show on the television set. Suddenly my eyes avert to the tv and become transfixed there. I begin imagining what happens in that place. What's going to happen to me?
It begins to become perfectly clear to me. I know what's going to happen now.

I will come back out through these same two revolving doors a completely new person. I will be perfectly organized and utterly brainwashed to love Martha Stuart. I can see it now...I begin to have these skits in my head. I am put before a television screen, the screen is blank, my ears are ringing, I can't comprehend anything but what they tell me is real.

I am responsive to their treatment. So I watch the television screen and Martha Stuart is there and as the rest of the world just washes away, all that's left is the buzzing. Yes, that's what they will do...they will force me to watch Martha Stuart over and over again.

After waiting for six hours just to figure out if I was going to be put in hell or limbo, I walked into the ambulance, sat down and told the person next to me all about it. When we got to the hospital, I looked up at the big brick building and could only feel my stomach churning. This place looked like a prison, for sure.

They took me in through the entrance into the hospital. This is where they are going to do strange experiments with my head. I don't want to go inside. I can see blue curtains hiding people...people that have been taken hostage like me, but more likely the unluckier ones.

Who knows, maybe I'll make it out alive. They make me get onto a stretcher because it is still their policy; and then they wheel me up the elevator and I just give an odd smirk to everyone. I feel ridiculous and the whole experience feels so patronizing. That was when I thought I was normal. Then I was admitted and led in through the doors. I started to feel better, although still kind of disassociated from all this stress.

Maybe they will try to help me? There are no strange scientists hiding behind these blue curtains or metal bars. But all I want is to be left alone. A sense of calm settles down over me and I feel like I am safe once again. I am to meet with an older woman with blondish hair who fills out paperwork and a questionnaire.

"Have you ever used drugs?" The thin old lady asked in a flat voice.

"No. I've never used drugs. I don't even drink alcohol."

"So no drug history, no alcohol abuse hmm," she said as if surprised.

And then the old blond meets with my parents to discover how I've been breaking all their dishes and throwing temper tantrums. The list goes on and on and I guess according to their list of transgressions, I should be drowned because I am a witch. In fact I have no history of anything at all, other than breaking a couple dishes.

I'm taken down to the hospital's cafe area by two orderlies. One woman gets me a juice box while the other watches over my shoulder. I am waiting to see a doctor for a physical. Just then, the orderlies come and take me to my bedroom. I crawl into bed. It feels so quiet and peaceful in there that I begin to fall asleep, but then they come get me to take an IQ test, that I assume I did a good job on. A guy pulls out a stethoscope and measures my heartbeat. Finally, I flop down to let my body relax upon the small hard bed. As I lay in my tiny bed I stared up at the vents in the ceiling.

Once again I'm staring into the ceiling, but now I'm completely in the dark, scared, and alone with my mind. I begin to think I can hear people outside whispering about me and my fate--

"Oh, she is a Schizophrenic."

"Do you know what they do with people like them?"

"It’s execution for her..."

"This is so wrong...so terrible."

"Well I tried to argue with the cops."

"I tried to tell them that she seemed fine to me..."

“She’s a schizophrenic!”

I can still see them digging outside my window. That must be where they bury all the dead bodies. That must be what they do with crazy people like us, with people like me. I couldn't wait to wake up and it would have all been just a dream.


Dear Journal,
Why are they changing the medicine already? What the hell? I'm a paranoid schizophrenic? Am I really a paranoid schizophrenic? Why? They treat me like I’m not really here at all anyways! How can I not be paranoid? No one speaks with me. Should I try to act more irrational just so they think I'm agreeable? I guess so. I am afraid that the medicine will be too hard on me…like I’m afraid it’ll make me get worse…but they don’t listen…
Last night I had a dream about a doctor, he was trying to explain to some people that a blood test had shown a significant decrease in his white blood cells. He said that the damage could be fatal but the other doctors wouldn't listen. He wanted to release the information to the patient but they said it wasn't necessary.

When I finally got up to permission to go outside, one of the Councilors took us out of the hospital at around nine o clock. So we sat in the front of the hospital and she told us some creepy stuff about someone who committed suicide in the boy’s ward. She bothered me and I got scared and asked to go back inside after I couldn't stand it. I was still paranoid. Here we were out in the open late at night in front of the giant hospital like talking about suicide like it meant nothing.

One morning just as I had suspected a nurse came in and gave me some pills to take with the threat of an injection. I took the pills and that's when all the shit started.
That's when I began to think I was getting advice from Angelina Jolie. She would tell me how to fix up my clothes. I heard her voice inside of me and it was like I was becoming a part of her. Not only was I thinking like her, I was also acting like her. For awhile it was her or me. Finally glaring into the mirror in my room I said NO to Angelina Jolie and went back to myself. I couldn't understand her anymore. She was growing angrier and angrier. Maybe I should have let Angelina Jolie win....maybe then I would still be....someone brave like her. I was busy tearing up my shirts and making them into different tank tops. I was losing weight and was happy with the way I felt in them. I ended up with something that looked more or less like a noose. It was a bunch of pant leg strips and clothes tied around it but it made the perfect noose in my opinion. I looked at it....then I walked into the halls and threw it away. No one said anything. What needed to be said?

Of course I was getting help. I had the medications that were being fed to me daily. No longer did I have a fear of the med-dispenser man or the nurses. I no longer feared them even though I knew secretly that a little piece inside of me was going to have to burst to get this medicine working

I listened to the voices that started after I took 180 mgs of Geodon. They told me things. “Eat lots of grains with your pills; it's hard on your stomach.”

“Watch out for him. Why are you standing in the window? The rapists will see you...”

And one that surprised me the most was when they got upset. "What! You're not going to get follow-up!" "Look at her!" And unfortunately I was the only one who could understand them, what they meant, could hear them.

Dear Journal,
I am in a torture chamber; I can't pretend to be happy like they want me to. Everyone needs to fake it. In six months I'll be out on my own, get an apartment, going to college. Fuck school anyways...fuck it all in general. I like the way they treat me like I’m a flipped out fourteen year old despite everything that I try to do. I'm going to keep on writing. I don't even have an eraser.

I must be a saint for doing this: a "schizophrenic"...and one who cannot "control" a certain behavior deemed as inappropriate such “abusive to her mother” and “breaks things all the time”… and apparently…screaming all day and every day about all things and everything… reverse psychology...here….Mind Control.

What's the difference? Control my mind- order me around and tell me who I am… the isolation here is driving me insane. I don't have a choice…do I? I don't have choice. I don't have the right to refuse “treatment”. Are they trying to get me to lose my mind? Set up a session and I'll confess all of my sins! Don't pretend I'm the one who's being secretive- that’s another lie. I'm smart, but it seems that everywhere I go...I try really hard but I just seem to do everything on accident.

I’m aware of everything- you’re all completely insane!
Maybe I'm lucky... I could have ended up in a million different places.

I was on the verge of a breakdown in the waiting room- I was handled by six security guards. Were they trying to trip me out? I just had no choice in the matter. And all over a fight.
Once I walked in those doors, I wasn't allowed to go back out. I tried to walk out, then they got security to take me away so that no one could see me.

I think it was the same exact waiting room I was in three years ago, after trying to kill myself. Now it's a slight miscommunication. See, a broken piece of china isn't abuse- its shattered glass...I know the difference between shattered glass and a shattered psyche. They're repeatedly telling me I'm psychotic. They say this over and over and over again, but how come they can’t prove it to me?

I had a lot of blood drawn. I've never had that done before. It left a yellow bruise on my left arm where it was accidentally done twice. They took like four bottles- my hands went white and limp. They felt slippery; I was worried they’d never feel the same again. I must be a scientific experiment.
They'll sell my particles to clone manufacturers.

Being kept in here like this is so wrong. I was forced into this place, by crazy fucks. It's funny because all I did was go insane. I broke an antique…a three inch cup…and then my mom must've compressed charges against me, saying that I was “screaming at her every day.” But that's a lie! I mean a total lie! It’s the absolute reverse! It's either that she's delirious or it's some farfetched exaggeration. Not like she exaggerates!

I've lost all faith in mental health in general. It's all games and guessing in this place. People won't get the facts straight: you're a “schizophrenic”, you got in a fight with your parents- your parents are in charge then they lock you up...anyways-oh yea- well my parents have been threatening to kick me out of the house on a day to day basis…they tell me to smile and behave or I’ll be sent to the hospital…they I’m the one who pulled down the fire alarm from the ceiling…when I didn’t!

I'll go home and I won't have anything...why? Because I don't have anyone to be anything to. I don't have anyone else to take me anywhere else and I don't have any other way to get anywhere. I'm not sure if I've lost weight but I did lose faith-so that's enough damage.
The other girls here are meaning to me…I’m being harassed by the whole god damn world! I'm an alien. I've never been a human, just a weirdo and maybe that's how everyone wants to see me. I could get a face lift, and then I wouldn't look like this anymore. But I won't, I like myself to an extent. I'm thinking about what to do. Here. I want to see a doctor, but I never seem to have any time to. They're always away. My social worker is gone. He quit. My mom takes too long to get here, all I need is better parents, and I think I'll go live with Sam.

Dear Journal,
I won't be visiting Sam this summer like we had planned who forgot that I'm supposed to be her best friend. She spent her summer with my replacement. I’m not in the picture anymore. So I've been ditched. But I've been meditating…. Nobody else really does anything here.

I can become extremely loose in the joints but the next day I'll go right back to the way I was before. Not only do I have a mood problem, been put on an anti-biotic, feel nauseous, and need to shave, but there's absolutely no way to talk to anyone around here. I have so much free time all I can do right now is writing. I’m writing right now in my room, even though that's against the rules. I just sit in the tiny cafeteria and watch them quietly taking notes in a glass room…how exciting…

There's no way to socialize at all here. This isn't a week at boot camp but it’s a week in hell where the doctors are God. I just want to look at a list of medications and pick one. Maybe I need to treat my apathy. What a place for someone like me who is bright and articulate- with a slight brain imbalance or deficiency. These places should understand people like they're supposed to.

My brain imbalance isn't really so much a reflection on your behavior but on the way your brain was put together. In here, it's like it's a sickness and almost treated as if you can help it- like you're making it happen for whatever reason- like you’ve been misbehaving...it's like it's your fault. It’s like you're being punished for it. On top of that, they treat you like you’re younger than you are.

Why blame someone for having an incurable illness? For having something like diabetes? Why keep on guessing which type of diabetes they have, type 2? Hmmm why keep waiting until it's too late. Just keep guessing until they go into diabetic shock. In two months I would not be here!

Get real; I could have one illness in a million. I haven't really been diagnosed: it was an assumption. If I'm going to get a normal brain, treat me like a normal human being. Or was that not the intention? I'm kind of sensitive, and so having people talk to me this way...it's like I have to defend my positive aspects against my bad ones like you’re "paranoid"…they're just telling me over and over, “you're a schizophrenic”, “you're paranoid”, “you have to take medication”...until it really isn't like you have a choice. I want compensation for my pain and suffering. I'm anxious and I’m cold and I want to stop taking these fucking head pills.

I push myself too hard to be beautiful. This councilor told me as a patient I don't even have a say as to whether or not I'm psychotic. She said, “You may not even remember things correctly, and even this conversation will come out skewed in your memories- and your real memories will be completely different than you perceive them. Only the doctor, who'll prescribe you medication so you can think clearly and know what’s what, can tell you what’s actually happened.” I was astonished by her implications. I said I'd never heard of such a thing, and I was scared because I didn't want a doctor controlling my memories. Shortly there-after they attempted to do just that. I stood up and told everyone I was better and walked to the doors and pushed them, falling backwards into the reality and disillusioned by my situation. This was marked as a violent episode, and I was told in a separate room about how I had violently screamed and yelled and maybe I even kicked over chairs and threw food in people's faces. It was a lie. They can do that?

They tell me I'm crazy and all I have to say is that I'm as sane as I think I am. The counselor told me that I'll always be this way- that it's not my choice. I'll gradually lose my mind if I'm not losing it already. I am losing my fucking mind, remember? None of my "points" matter. None of this really matters. They've kept me down on the behavioral observation level for three days despite my behavior which hasn't been observed. Why does this always happen to me? I've been absolutely perfect! I have done all my chores and everything. Despite that this is immoral; it should be illegal...it's like slavery. I'm being kept here against my will. It's wrong. I still want a puppy and I'll get one once I find a new home. I'll move in with Sam or someone. Apparently I talk in circles, I guess I’m supposed to forget point C and focus on point A and not go backwards to point B.

I want a happier better family. Why can't I be adopted? My Realization-I think I verbalize my thoughts, and maybe that's why I have so much trouble thinking. I think to myself all the time but it takes so much energy. I've trained myself this way. If only I could formulate my thoughts into code words or something. It's just that I habitually "hear" myself think; not everyone can do that...can they? I mean, hear, like a voice- your own voice. I need to improve my memory.

Maybe the sounds are made from audible vibrations formed by the cilia? But no, then again, you can't see dreams! Ok, then how can I HEAR these thoughts? All I know is that I somehow can create a sound in my mind and hear it. It's the same with everything else. I just recreate it. Maybe I'm not doing this right. I need therapy, not drugs, not this. I'm at boot camp for weirdos. You can't see a sound but they come from the same place as a thought...the head...arg! This is the doctor's job! What the fuck?

Dear Journal,
My handwriting sucks now. In my world I'd get to go everywhere I wanted...I'd also never die. I won't ever die, because my DNA will replicate. I'll just come back. That's what I want. I also want it to be a secret- so that nobody can destroy me. I wish I was worth something. I want to fall in love. Sometimes I even feel like I'm loved. Even here. I feel kind of terrible because of the way the other girls talk to me and treat me. Nobody respects me. I'm sick of all of this. Don't ask me to tell you how I feel! Because I'm empty, I don't feel anything...now they're going to up my dose of Geodon. I'm fine with it. I'll take the medication and not "refuse" or I'll go insane, I'll have a panic attack because of what they'll do to me! Why are they so demanding of someone who's in critical condition?

My doctor was really nice today, and she said she'll discharge me as soon as she can. The medication is fine. Though, I feel so on edge. I feel like my nerves have been tightened. The male staff can be kind of mean. There are three men on the staff. It's easier to remember them because they have short names. Also, because this is an all female adolescent unit. When I first got here, I kept thinking I was going to be executed- locked in a room and left there to die...I kept hearing- they put her on execution. I was so paranoid. Don’t know what the hell was going on.
Big Surprise! I'm having a harder time with my handwriting because of my lack of energy. This pill isn't good for me, but I'll take it because by choice is better than by force- like an injection- because if I refuse to talk or take any pills I'll be ruined. I need friends, friends that would miss me. Why don't I have friends? Why? Because of them.

I've been eating for comfort. From now on I'll only eat healthy food from the tray...fruit, cereal. Well, I'll starve.

This stuff can't be good for my diet. Maybe I'll lose weight! I must get in shape! No more sugary foods! In here, it's not obvious when all appetites are devoured by medicine. Hey body! Just filter this junk. Don't let it touch your precious mind. Spit it right out and get rid of it. Straight out, straight down and out...and forget the food.

Dear Journal, bipolar/schizophrenic

"Irrational"

I'm a bit on the fucked up side. Really feeling ignored...I started having tremors. This is new to me. Maybe I'm lucky; I could've been put in jail for an argument. I just want to talk to someone, anyone, to tell them what happened. But no one wants to talk to me. Now I'm just afraid. I've been punished for it, pushed around. Her feelings always came first. I'm really hungry. I think a voice just told me to cheer up. I never used to hear voices.

But I don't feel like cheering up, I feel alone, empty, manic, and lost to myself and lost to my soul. Help? Why can't anyone help me? I'm doing well. Getting "better", my Doctor woke me up and sat down next to me on my bed- then she saw the drool coming down my mouth so she said that I have to stay longer. I've been here since, Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday...Happy? So far I've been so peachy! I'm all white glittery smiles! A domesticated princess! Sick. I asked them what domesticated meant, because I heard it in my head after I was forced to take this Geodon. They wouldn’t tell me and acted uneasy, just like when I wrote my poem down on their admittance papers.

I'm Going Home, They're saying that I'm doing so much better, but I have no energy! I think my mind's been struggling with this new medication...or maybe I have. My body's been so zonked, tired, I could barely breath or move my mouth. Now all I want to do is run and run and run.

The staff don’t know what's going on inside you, period. You aren't even really allowed near them. What's the point of this? To stabilize me? I have realistic fears, why am I not allowed to be afraid? I've been domesticated just like an animal. This place is fucked up...Why I can’t be "irrational" it's a lot easier than barely breathing. People are starting to notice how crazy I'm getting, but now it's because I also have a mood disorder. One of the male staff people gave me a small book even though it's against the rules. It was the play, Romeo and Juliet. I gave it to my friend who needed it more than I did. At the time, I didn't know I would get the same label as hers later on. I also could tell the man was slightly hurt that I gave my keepsake to another patient.

30Drummer30
April 9th, 2014, 01:28 AM
I don't get why no one has commented on this. I thought it was beautiful. It was very very deep. If it was a full novel it would take me a long time to finish because I would have to reread passages a few different times. I cant completely relate to the this but the part you mentioned about divorce really touched me (that i can relate to). The line My brother was her teddy-bear and i was her sunshine. That was powerful and really touched me. Thanks for writing and putting this out there.

Trygve
April 19th, 2014, 12:02 AM
(This is a non-fictional excerpt of my novel and account of being hospitalized.)
Were you talking about the part that preceded this comment, or the part that came after it?


I had a very happy childhood, I do not think stress was the reason I became mentally ill.
It seems to me that the type of mental illness you are describing has to be organic, to some extent. Our bodies are, after all, just magnificent electro-chemical machines. One chemical messenger telling one gene to express itself in the wrong way at the wrong time can really throw a wrench in the works.


My mom was sleeping hours on end. I would come into her room wanting to cheer her up and to do something like we once did.
My daughter's depression was like this, and her mom and I were always trying to cheer her up and get her moving. That would have to be very confusing for a child who doesn't understand why a parent has changed.

In the last part, I felt like the narrator was probably unreliable. Whose description of events is accurate, hers, or her parents'? I could feel the attitudes and emotions rising and falling like a sine wave.

It was a very interesting read. Thanks for posting.