1. Insanity

I kick the walls again, as if they were made out of the anxiety that keeps me in this squared room. Maybe, if I kick hard enough the walls will collapse and with them my anxiety. I could be free. I taste the words smiling and start hitting the wall. I could drift around in a forest without a real purpose, and make little bouquets of bright flowers and sunlight, only surrounded by singing birds. I laugh at the idea and give the wall a hard kick.

He could come. The thought brings shivers down my spine and it prickles under my skin. If I was free, He would come. I have to sit down. The bed. I have a good view from here. I can see everything. There’s the sink, the door, the bed. Blue and white colored bed linen. I’m shaking. The window is behind me. I only have one window. It’s my connection to the world outside. “The real world” as Christian calls it with a dreamy gaze. I snort. Who says their world is more real than mine?

The common spaces and the other’s rooms are all painted in cheerful colors. Mine is neutral and white. Christian said: “Why choose white? White has no personality… White gives you no joy”. I said: “Why choose cheerful colors? Do you know anyone in here who’s happy? At least my white admits to not giving you joy. Your cheerful colors all pretend to be happy. When did pretending to be happy ever make anyone happy? You do know the difference in pretending and true happiness right?” I said the last thing a bit too loud and aggressive and Christian started crying. A nurse who had been playing a quiet game of Ludo with Anabell said something calmly, putting a hand on hers. Then the nurse got up from the chair and started walking towards Christian and me. Christian was still sobbing when she put the same hand on his shoulder as she had had on Anabell’s hand. She talked to him quietly without any feelings shown in her face and Christian suddenly stopped sobbing and wiped away his tears as he walked towards the sofa at the window in the other end of the room. The nurse told me to follow her. She led me into one of the therapy rooms down the long, emerald green hall in silence. She opened the door for me and I stared at the two chairs that were only separated by a table. There is no clock in this room. This is the room where Rebecca flipped out. The therapist had talked about her children and out of frustration Rebecca had ripped the clock off the wall and started hitting herself with it. The nurse had called for help, as they always do. The same night Rebecca had been strapped to her bed.

“Come inside” the nurse said and smiled at me even though her eyes showed no sign of emotion. I went inside and sat down. She told me that I had to keep in mind that Christian was especially fragile, since he had started taking a new medicine. That I had to be more careful choosing my words when speaking to him. “Just until his body has gotten used to the new medicine” she pointed out. She kept talking and explaining and I pretended to listen and understand.

I stretch my arm before me. It’s still shaking. I take a deep breath and concentrate as much as I possibly can on keeping my arm still. It’s useless. I hit the wall hard with my fist. Fuck. My hand starts pounding and a little drop of blood runs rapidly down the back of my hand as if it was in a rush. As if it couldn’t color the way to my wrist fast enough. Why such a hurry? I lay down on the bed and my head starts spinning. I have a hard time breathing even though I concentrate. I should have stuck to the plan – I should have listened to them: “The pills will help you. You’ll get a glass with one pill every evening before bedtime. It’s very important that you take it”. The doctor had put a little package on the table. “Seroquel 400mg” it had said. “As I said before”, the doctor continued, clearly tired of having repeated himself to hundreds of patients over the years: “the pill will come to you in a little plastic cup along with a glass of water. We’ll start you on 50mg and slowly increase the medicine as we find it appropriate. Inside the package is a paper listing the side effects. You might want to read it. Remember to take the pill”.
“Why don’t you just give me a package like this one?” I said while carelessly going over the side effects. Increase of weight. Since He left me, I couldn’t care less about my appearance. He would never come back after all. Dry mouth, insomnia, dizziness, head ache. The words meant nothing to me.

The doctor cleared his throat and lowered his voice: “We take certain reservations, considering our patients fragile state… We’ve had certain cases…” I looked up from the curled paper and into his eyes which looked part worried and part annoyed. I knew he was thinking something like: “Why can’t you just take the pills, when I say that it’s best”. Instead he said: “Our patients’ pasts sometimes get in the way of their judgment, when it comes to their own wellbeing”. His eyes flickered and searched for a place to rest. At last, he decided to let them rest on the clock and continued: “I’m sure it won’t be the case with you. You seem like a reasonable young woman…” He stopped and looked at me, as if he hadn’t realized until this moment that I was here. He cleared his throat again and for the first time he seemed sincere: “Just… Remember to take the pills.” I wanted to ask further, act like I didn’t understand what he had meant with “their own wellbeing”. Ask how he could know that in certain cases, suicide wasn’t the best option. Ask if he would rather be strapped to a bed with drool down his chin and a guard who could only leave his side, when a new guard was standing by his bed ready to take replace the first guard. But I gave up. I nodded silently. Pushed the package back to him and signed the papers. He started talking about doses and I pretended to listen and, nonetheless, care.

It’s just a matter of time. I know they’ll come. Any time now. I made too many noises, kicking the wall. They’ll talk to me in their pedagogical tones. If I remain silent, they might leave me alone soon. If I resist, I’ll no longer be allowed to take my pills on my own. Anabell next door isn’t. Anabell gets injections. Because she refuses to take the pills. It’s for her own good, the doctors say, but Anabell doesn’t believe them. It must be hard to believe that being strapped to a bed that isn’t yours, being medicated against your will and not be allowed to have visitors is for “your own wellbeing”. Is it possible to stay sane under these conditions? Is there even a chance to become sane or is insanity a one way street? You may enter with your sanity, but it will be torn from you and you’ll never leave. You can look back all that you want and try to figure out how you ended up here. But you’ll never leave. They should tell that to the therapists and the psychiatrists. Replace the colorful brochures with smiling people and hands holding each other, with a dark brochure entitled: “So now you’re here”.

Stop shivering, I whisper to my hands.
Stop shivering, I whisper to my legs.
Stop shivering, I whisper no longer knowing who I’m talking to.
No one listens.
Stop shivering.

Then it happens. I can hear their little white shoes run over the cold linoleum floor. Hear how each step brings them closer to me. Behind me the door opens up and in storm white uniformed nurses for my rescue. To save me from myself. I remain completely still in my corner and whisper: Do not touch me. I mean it: Do not touch me. A male nurse takes tentative steps towards me. I stare at him with crazy eyes. Stare at his kind and conciliatory face that smiles strained to me. Stare at the deep wrinkle in his forehead which looks out of place in his otherwise young face. I stare at him with crazy eyes. Do not come closer. But his legs slowly move under the white fabric. His white shoes come closer and closer. He kneels in front of me and looks into my eyes. I'm trying to send him the look. The look all of us insane people know. The look that gets you hospitalized and the look that keeps you here. The corners of his mouth curl slightly and form a pitying smile. One of those "Let's talk about it" smiles. He gently lays a hand on my shoulder and although it’s well intentioned, it feels cold and clammy. Feels like His hand. Then I snap. I’m no longer in my body. I no longer exist. I no longer have control over anything. I scream all that I can. What I scream and whether it’s actual words, sentences that make sense, I don’t know. I just scream until I can’t anymore. There are many hands around me now. They grab me tightly. Trying to hold me down, but I keep twisting. He is inside my body and I need to get him out. It itches everywhere. I have to get him out.

The nurses say something to me. Volatile, superficial words that catch my ear but don’t enter. Then one of them takes out the injection and I think of his blade. His knife against my throat. I can’t breathe and partially hyperventilate, partially scream. I feel something wet upon my cheek. Am I crying? I feel a little pinch and all I can hear now is my own scream. Hear how it - like my body, descends, calms down. Turns into a whisper. Darkness surrounds me. Good darkness. Darkness without Him. Actually, they saved me from Him. My body is filled with cotton, but he isn’t here anymore. I'm slowly slipping into a warm night and wrap myself in my apathy. Love is unlabeled insanity.
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