This so-called ‘hospital’ is no environment conducive to that needed for recovery, of whatever ails you, unless it be a severe case of sanity out of which you require snapping. The nurses test me with that which they know is beyond my comprehension, and relish in the punishment they then afford me; there seems to be no control here, no governance, no code of conduct laid down by an independent body; we who dwell here are unknown to the outside world, yet I can quite easily see that if their eyes were to be opened, they would not be at all happy about it….not with regards to our condition you understand, but rather the fact that they were now aware of so unsavoury a revelation, the blissful ignorance of which could then never be regained.
I attempt constantly to do as I’m bid; my quest thwarted at every turn by the change of rules and a logic with which my drug befuddled brain simply cannot keep up; my confusion inevitably leads to irritability, which in turn gives way to anger, but my fate is sealed long before my voice begins to rise, or my fists begin to swing……they want me out-of-the-way, tied down in a recuperation chamber….but first they must have cause; so they test, and I fail, and I am tied down in a recuperation chamber; an inevitable conclusion to any course of action I may take, including no action, for a refusal to participate in the test shows an unwillingness to co-operate, and threats to common law must be dealt with…..the tieing down in a recuperation chamber.
I initially thought that my detention was sound judgement made by those with authority on such matters, and when they told me that I was being tied down because of my behaviour, they were right; I have changed my mind….I have not changed my mind; I have changed my opinion, I like my mind, it is mine, and what goes on in there is not an abomination just because a person in a white coat says it is; if you don’t understand then you’re a fucking idiot who’s in the wrong profession…..but I think that you do understand, I think that you understand perfectly well, and when I think about what brought me here I verge on tears; the unfounded fear, that a simple question regarding something that in common thought is seen as ‘out of the ordinary’ will inevitably lead to a violent bloodbath, is enough for people to be given carte blanche to lock a fellow human away against their will, and to try to ‘cure’ them of their ‘unsound meanderings’ and ‘prospective criminality’. It is wrong that I am here. Your diagnosis is based on a flawed premise; a generalisation that punishes the innocent and misinforms those whom you profess to protect….I said all this to the doctor……I was tied down in a recuperation chamber…….
I think I am mad; but it is you who have made me so; I used to have dreams of fields and flowers, of soft buildings that housed smiles and laughter; last month I dreamt of spiders; I was ‘recuperating’ when they started abseiling from the ceiling, they thudded onto my exposed body and began to eat it…..one stalked along my chest, up my neck, over my lips, towards my left eye; it forced open my lids, it started to scratch at my cornea; I could feel the fine tissue rupture and my aqueous humour sluice through the fissure; I felt it lay its eggs……I screamed…..I screamed and screamed and screamed; I couldn’t speak for the next three days; not through shock, but through the damage I’d caused my throat whilst screaming. This, apparently, was a sign that I’d regressed – regressed to what, I couldn’t fathom; I’d never been at this point before in my life so how the fuck could I go ‘back’ there – my drug intake required elevating.
I cannot stay here. I haven’t the strength of mind to fight my predicament, nor the presence of it to slip out the other side a productive member of a once-loved society. They refuse to rid me of my memories; those of a happy existence, the knowledge that I was once fully functioning; an explorer, a son, a lover; I didn’t know it all and I never professed to, I just found it hard to believe in certain things I was told were true, and conversely I was convinced I had it right about others labelled false. I asked questions which got me in to trouble, and I think now I would rather have kept my mouth shut and towed the line….I have never known fear like this; it is capable of ridding me of any principle whatsoever…I can draw a thousand of the cutest puppies in the world during my sessions, but if I continue to wake up in the middle of the night clawing at my own flesh, I’m not convincing anybody.
I wonder if this will be the last thing anyone hears of me….I’ve envisioned many times making a run for it, heaving some solid object out of the window and swiftly following after, sticking a pencil through my throat, smashing my head against a wall….what if I failed…..in what abominable condition would I find myself then? A pathetic, caged shit with a smashed-in skull. An experiment that those in the white coats could only dream of….I wonder what it is they do dream of….how easy they find it to sleep….I hope they sleep well, and dream nicely; for all involved to have the visions that beset my sorry soul, a bleaker more hopeless place I would know there cannot be. What do they say when they get home? Am I spoken of over dinner? Am I known to a blonde woman called Mary? Is there a piece of me, as I am now, that lives outside these walls? A nugget of being that may find its way to someone I love, someone I knew long ago, passed from random person to random person, as a disturbing anecdote about a patient of Mary’s husband, you know, the doctor who works at the nuthouse? Do I reside in the air between husband and wife; a thick veil of blame and recrimination, am I the work that has kept them from having a proper relationship, one that they deserve, one that she was promised? I could be; it’s not inconceivable; I can imagine that he doesn’t really care; his work is frightfully important to him, it consumes him, and I have often thought that it’s because he thinks he’s wrong. People will find out about this place and discover the barbarity of mind and body, and he as the main doctor will have the finger pointed squarely at him; his legacy and name will be soiled forever more; his gift to society will repulse the receiver; his dream of immortality will be one of hatred and revulsion rather than love and respect; and so he needs his breakthrough, he needs his end to justify his means, and at present it eludes him………………..and his wife? how does she deal with the barrier? the one she had more than an inkling would be raised when she married the handsome, driven, idealistic medical student? She takes lovers. Not copious amounts, not gratuitously, but she’s had a few over the years, ranging from her husband’s boss down to the gardener; a formal, muted, wittolic affair designed to annoy stiff lips and loosen chatter from within them, to the animalistic rut; an intrinsic need that could be toyed with, goaded, denied, and finally satiated….she’d read about it, heard about it; money, big houses, holidays, absent husband, but not a problem for a swelling libido; more a problem for those who don’t take into account how rising levels of pity, knaw and bleed into hate; how the initial freedom allowed by an uncaring husband slowly turns into a reflection of the self – if the man who married you doesn’t care what you do, just what exactly is your worth?
But of course, I could be wrong.
I have forgotten some of the feelings that go with my persisting memories; I can see myself sat at a table with friends and family, eating, drinking and making merry, and I know that it would have been enjoyable – that much is obvious – but I cannot feel the enjoyment, my heart does not even flutter, nor my mouth even start for a smile at an amusing recollection; I don’t know whether this is because something inside of me has died due to external forces, or down to my own subconscious repression of anything that may actually give me hope. For where would hope get me in a place like this? The closest one gets to leaving here even resembling a human being is as a dead one; no-one walks out of here……they merely get transported to another institution; they are leached from the building only to end up in other hospitals or homes for society’s forgotten.
I may not be able to smile about the past, but I seem more than capable of crying for the present.
I don’t quite know why I write this. It is not a lesson on how one should treat those who differ from society’s norm; though it may come across that way. It is not a confession. I have no great need to write, no great desire to have my thoughts put into words and then have them read by one person or a hundred. I see this as more of a small rebellion; against the doctors, the nurses, the orderlies, yes; but also against society; that big blob that has artificially evolved and doesn’t really understand itself, reaching the point where it knows not whether it’s the creator or the created. Spilling forth those who believe they know what is best…..well it is quite blatantly clear that they do not. They hammer forth ideas about notions thought to be bedrocks of our society, our way of life, our human essence, our rights and entitlements….we’ve given ourselves these things….they’re worth nothing….and they’re worth nothing in and of themselves; any twat can point out that the human race is nothing but a speck in the enormity of the universe, but they’re missing the point; they’re copping out, and using something relative like that is taking away what may turn out to be the genius, or the stupidity of our species; either way it’s a stubbornness that is distinctly human……….I don’t know anything. I have no answers. Or maybe I do. Maybe I’m one of the ones that if I thought hard enough about it all and managed to formulate an idea I could convince other people of this idea, and then have them spread this idea, and if they met anyone who didn’t agree with this idea we would say to them, “Ok, that’s fair enough, you’re entitled to your beliefs, have a nice day.” I wonder how far that would get; I read a book once where, using two characters, the author set out what may happen should one stumbled on the answer; the truth; the actual truth; how far would you go to get people to understand the actual, real, proper truth….pretty violently far as it turns out, so the guy who had the truth to give kept it to himself. I paraphrase. I think it was ‘One’ by Richard Bach….I think it doesn’t matter….would you like to know the answers if I had them? I’ve no idea why you would believe me; I’d have no qualms about telling you to fuck off with your made up shit.
I don’t know how long I could carry this on; the idea that my words could be read and inspire someone to do something positive for themselves or others gives me no strength whatsoever to endure this hell I’m in. Like I say, the fact that I can smuggle anything out of this place is just a small rebellion against those who hold me captive, but they need to know they’re being beaten – if only slightly – they need to find out…..I just don’t want to be here when they do. But I don’t trust the outside world to harbour me. There is something terribly wrong out there. I’ve found it very hard for quite some time now understanding the respect given to those in the positions of justice; the police, judges &c; a society that needs these people to protect it should by this very fact not be allowed them. I don’t know if this is right; in the same breath it feels completely wrong and completely right. The pride felt in a community’s police department in locking away all the baddies seems incongruous to me; the community’s focus appears wrong, but just saying that the ideal situation is to have no crime at all, and frown upon the people who are unable to prevent it is stupid to the point of pointless. I think it’s something else. I see it here. I see a pleasure taken in the very fact that there are some who need help. And I’ve seen an evolving arms race in the minds of the criminal and the detective; and the detective must always be on catch-up, because we’re all looking in the wrong direction; how a leaf flutters in the wind, rather than at how the seed is treated. But again, this gives no solution and helps nobody; I am unable to deal with life as it is and cannot fathom a way to change it either; I must learn to counteract the former, or discover the latter if I am to have any chance of survival.
I can do nothing here; I must leave. I will smuggle these last words out as soon as they are finished and make good my escape the following night, and pray for…..I shall not pray…..if Primo Levi could avoid it, then my tame hell certainly has no need for such recourse to a Kuhn’s prayer.