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avestHom
October 16th, 2016, 06:17 PM
Looking for your honest criticism, though harsh and direct. I'd particularly like to know if this is the best time to engage in the life of the main character?


It’s been half an hour that I’m sitting in this room, and on my mind there is only one question. What to speak of when I see the psychiatrist? I’ll ask her why I haven’t gone to college for the past two weeks. Or I’ll ask her why I’ve been different since childhood, when spent my time looking for the answer to a question, with my room filled with the noise of my siblings playing outside. I’d want to go to play, but only after finding the answer, which would take me days sometimes.
The sound of laughter comes from the other side of the door. It opens and the patient comes out. It’s my turn now.
I enter the door, not knowing it would lead to my insanity.
“Please have a seat,” the psychiatrist says, without raising her head.
There is only one chair. I sit there, feeling I’m not received with respect.
“How can I help you Mr…?” she asks. She’s very polite now, with her tone telling me she has a kind heart.
“iDas,” I say.
She writes something on a paper, perhaps my name, which makes me realize we’re not even. Here I am a patient and she’s a psychiatrist.
“How can I help you Mr. iDas?” she asks.
“I,” I pause. I want to ask her why don’t I see a meaning in the universe, or why am I not interested in or concerned about life and the world. But these are questions she’d not be interested in or concerned about; she’s a psychiatrist, not a philosopher.
“Mr. iDas,” she says.
I look up to see she’s waiting for my answer. “I don’t enjoy life,” I tell her.
“So you’re depressed,” she says.
“No!” I cry to show her that I know what depression is and what psychology is. “I go out with friends. I eat. I drink. And I do what they call fun. But I don’t enjoy.”
“How long has it been?”
“Six months.”
“Why didn’t you come earlier?”
“Because I didn’t believe in science,” I reply, feeling proud to say this.
Hearing this, she puts her pen down, and her eyes gleam. She rises and frantically looks for something among the books on the shelves behind her. The excitement in her manner reminds me of one of my childhood days. That day, I’d been reading a book since morning. Obsessed, I hadn’t eaten or drunk till night. At last it was midnight when I finished it. Suddenly I was excited and my sleep was gone. I had learned something new from it. Jumping up like a tiger, I rushed into the attic attached to my room. I found a book I had kept in secret and turned page after page till I arrived at a page with my handwritten date at the end of it. It read:
And as I said earlier, be eager and fond of knowledge and patient and have a light soul, and be an early-riser, and wakeful at night, and greedy in reading, and persistent in work, and consistent in your quest for wisdom. Also, in your pursuit, be shameless and self-indulgent, and have your books and pens and other means always ready, and never be satisfied with imitation, and don't let a day turn into night till you learn something new, and if you own these characteristics, soon you’ll become a remarkable human being of your time.
I put my finger on the word remarkable to feel it, the word I want to define me, my life, and my purpose of existence.
“What do you see here?” I hear. I raise my eyes and see she’s opened a book before me.
It’s if a child had been playing with colors on these pages.
“Umm, a tiger,” I say, waiting for her to tell me if I’m right.
She doesn’t say anything. Instead she turns the page. “And on this page?”
The next page is like another child playing with colors.
“A penguin,” I say. “No, a dragon.”
She turns pages in hurry and notes my answers as if she’s becoming more and more sure about what she’s found. What it might be? She’s not willing to tell.
“I’ll give you prescription for a week,” she says at last. “But you have to promise that you’ll come back to me next week.”
“Why?” I ask her. Why would somebody not come to the psychiatrist for another session, unless he is weird or psycho? “Because,” she says. “The problem with people like you is that they don’t come back to the doctor. And they don’t take their medicines.”
Could that much be wrong with me? I feel my heart filling with anticipation. “Is it depression?” I ask. It might be. Depressed people are bored and they commit suicide.
“No,” she says. “It’s not depression. It’s schizophrenia.”
My heart sinks when I hear it’s not depression. But then this new word, I’ve never heard it before. To me the word is as unknown as the word energy to a cavehuman. But hearing it, I am suddenly as joyous as Archimedes when he found buoyancy. I even imagine him at the moment he left his bath naked and ran shouting like a madman. I want to do the same and run out of this little room. But I won’t, because I’m not naked. Instead I look at the lady and ask, “How do you spell it?”
“S. C. H….”
I might forget it. “Could you write it on a paper?” I jump in. “I want to read about it on Wikipedia.”
“Of course.”
I want to ask more, but I see the lady is serious and formal. However, when she gives me the prescription I ask one last question. “Will I get better in three months?”
“Maybe,” she says. I want to cry like a wolf, at the thought that I’d get better. I’d once again enjoy life, enjoy hanging out with friends, and enjoy talking to them for hours.
When I get out, I light a cigarette to celebrate. I feel I’ve have been looking for this day all life, for the day when I’d find out why I am somewhat different from others. This might be just that day. This word, schizophrenia, might answer the question I had been looking for since childhood: why am I so much obsessed with books and reading?
Back home, the first thing I do is put some music on my laptop. Without music I fear, because I hear noises in my head. Then I open my dictionary to look up for the word schizophrenia.
It says a person with schizophrenia doesn’t know the line between reality and fantasy.
No, I tell myself. I step away from my computer. Did I just read that a person with schizophrenia doesn’t know the line between reality and fantasy? I might.
I take a deep breath and step forward to face it. I read it again. A person with schizophrenia may completely withdraw from the reality and society into delusion and fantasy.
I once again take a deep breath and look around my room to see if this is the reality. My heart is beating faster, and I’m breathing shorter, while I don’t know if the moment is a reality or a fantasy.
I then suddenly feel I don’t want to do anything, but to sleep. I lay on my bed, not willing to wake up for a long time. As I feel light and my eyes blurs, I remember that something far greater has happened to me; two weeks ago.
It was as usual as any hot evening of Delhi. I and my friend Bahaw were going home after a movie. My plan was to study for the next day’s exam. We were on a highway, when I saw people sleeping on the sidewalk. I was so affected morally that all of a sudden I felt as if the universe was stopped for a moment. At that moment I couldn’t breathe, and the only things telling me it wasn’t a dream but a reality was the air blowing on my face and the harsh noise of the rickshaw.
I didn’t know what it was. But I was no more myself. I felt I had been in a great mistake, in a great dream, in a great delusion, in a cave. I had come out now, to see the reality; and it was different.
The night and the life were alien to me. Where have I come from? Why have I come here? And where am I going? I didn’t have an answer.

Jamboree
October 20th, 2016, 02:40 PM
Hey avestHom,

I have never been to a psychiatrist so I don't know the procress they go through but would they really be able to diagnose the condition that quickly? Also I would imagine they would rather talk to the patient for a while longer rather than just give the person a prescription and send them on their way. Surely there have to be different forms of schizophrenia and differing ways to treat it? I know very little on the subject in truth so I do not know.

Is this a piece of flash fiction or part of a wider story? If it is the latter then some more description would be needed. We know very little about the psychiatrist except that she is a woman. What does she look like, dress like, how does she speak? These are things that I think that you should include anyway even if this is a flash fiction piece because we, the reader, need more details to help build the scene in our minds. Information on the room and the protagonist as well are important. we don't even have an idea of how old either of the characters are.

Description may be lacking across the story. That said, the internal voice of our protagonist is very strong. We can hear his thoughts and emotions very clearly and it is well laid out for the reader to understand. The dialogue also works well, it feels natural for how the character would speak and interrupt the pyschiatrist. His speech is very sudden and rushed through at points and that seems to fit well with his personality.

If this is a flash fiction piece then I could see it working even better if you build the scene a little more at the start. Try to mix the dialogue and internal voice up a little bit, they come in separate blocks at the moment. Then add a little more interaction between the 2 characters and finish the way it does. I like the ending if it is a piece of flash fiction.

The night and the life were alien to me. Where have I come from? Why have I come here? And where am I going? I didn’t have an answer. perhaps one final summary sentence would round that off even better. 'Now I do.' is all it may need.

If it is the start of a story (I can't see it coming part way through in truth) then you could take this is multiple directions and I would be intrigued to read more to see if he does go back to the woman to seek more help or tries to strive out on his own. The protagonist is interesting and has a fascinating internal voice so I would be interested in seeing where he ends up.

Hope this helps,

Jam