Get These Off Me!
Finding yourself in a mental hospital makes you think your life’s ended, you have it the worst. That, until you look around and meet other patients. Then maybe you’ll feel better with a hint of guilt.
I had a mental breakdown after escaping an abusive relationship with my boyfriend, sorry, now it’s ex-boyfriend, the doctors and nurses make sure I remember it correctly. After overdosing painkillers, I ended up as an inpatient for undefined time. Thinking that I might spend this hell knows how long time productively, I gave in to the medication and let the doctors trying to fix me. Not that I was broken, they said. Yeah, then why I’m even here?
Anyway, I took my meds, I went to group, I did everything required. Despite my best efforts at the moment, it seemed like I’m not getting better, what’s more, as time went by, I felt myself reaching new layers of hell.
One day I was especially goofy when I went to my group session right after breakfast. I couldn’t eat a bite, even though today’s meal was pancakes with maple syrup; my throat just seemed extremely tight. Our mentor of course, pointed it out right away, bringing all attention to me. Great. I somehow dodged all her questions and she let it slide in a few minutes.
I’m sure everyone has worse days, waking up just like that, like on that day you’re expecting the four horsemen of the apocalypse to knock on your door and leash hell upon Earth. We all handle it differently; as for me, I incline to turn silent and suffer in peace. Others just scream. I sometimes hear them on the corridor or during free-time. I don’t mind it, if it helps them, let them be. However that day as I was wondering how many shitty days one can endure during a period of lifetime, I thought I’ve seen every coping mechanism, every worse state, every ugly outbreak of every mad mind; I suddenly learned I was wrong.
Karin was talking about her progress about dealing with her twin’s death. Poor woman, she and her sister has been by each other’s side since conception, and a few months ago police officers shot Sheila while she went grocery shopping. Karin let her go alone, and ever since that day she’s been self-destructive, blaming herself, saying she should’ve gone with her, like always. But she hadn’t felt well, so she stayed at home. Damn, I get her, I’d feel awful too. But now she said she feels better. I hoped it’s not just the meds talking. Karin showed a fade smile, but instantly froze as everyone in the group.
Inhuman screams came from the room next door, and soon it was followed by staff yelling. The whole cacophony seemed to get louder, making me shiver as realization hit: they were getting closer and closer.
The mentor jumped up and ran to the door, looking outside through the small windows on it. A few of us followed her, and I hate to admit it, but my morbid curiosity got the better of me: I found myself standing at the door too, looking at the small crowd on the corridor.
Nurses and doctors in white formed a circle around someone, trying to calm and to overpower them. The person in the middle shrieked, punched and kicked, putting up a fight that needed seven opponents to make it fair.
Then we saw red. More yelling, red tainting the white uniforms, screams and cries that haunt me still. Our mentor was just as confused as we were frightened, but she held herself together just enough to appear only slightly disturbed and she made sure we don’t go outside and remain calm. She was just about to turn to us and lead us back to our seats when I got a glimpse of the person bleeding, and the shouting formed the words ‘Get these off me!’. It was… The person was tearing down their breasts off their own body with bare hands. Even the short nails dig into the skin and flesh like blades. The screaming continued but my vision blurred. I was escorted back to my seat and the next thing I noticed is a nurse coming into the room after who knows how much time, whispering to the mentor and leaving.
Then she explained. She said that in her opinion it’s better if she informs us rather than leaving us to our imagination and gossips.
The patient in the corridor is a trans man, driven kinda crazy by society and his own family. He weren’t allowed transition, because his parents believed that he’s mentally ill. What we witnessed was one of his worse moments.