St. Cosmas and Damian Mental Institution, patient number 488094. Letter found on desk after h su i . Th lo wa s i f es an more no es were f und id e i er d s
In a place like this you've got to be clever.
You've got to think about the way you think, and you've got to think about the way they want you to think. Measure the differences. If there are no differences, it will take more acting; you can defend your sanity to the very end, bound to a stiff bed with metal clamps, screaming till your tonsils bleed as they attach the electric shock device-- or you can admit to yourself that they are hellbent on you being mad. You cannot change their mind. The more you try to prove you're well, the more they will call you crazy.
So do not try to come off as sane. Only as less mad. That's something they'll believe in. That the illness has only slightly effected you, and their burtal and cold form of caretaking is helping you in very small portions. Even if it is a blatant lie.
That is what I'm doing.
We're all brainsick in our own rite, we all eventually suffer from dementias, as the human brain is not a perfected machine by any measure; we are set up to fail. We all have certain delusions and denials. I personally never judged myself worthy of being thrown in and shut up in a hospital, but what's done is done. I like to think it's a survival mechanism for them at least. If you have the ability to realize what insanity is, if you can identify it and put it in a madhouse, surely you yourself are sane, right?
I'm sure some of them think that way, although I'm also sure very many of them are wrong. In fact several of the nurses here seem like they'd do well from a bit of time in solitary confinement. Want to see mad, look at the doctors. Comparing wolves to pups.
And I am the Coyote of the bunch.
Coyote Van de Brand, that is.
I arrived here shivering and sopping wet, my shoulder gripped between the steely fingers of an unnamed nurse, as if I would try to flee. Where would I run to? The hospital sits miles out of the way of any city, on the top of a tall lopsided hill.
I had blonde hair almost to my waist, which they chopped off fairly early on because, "Other patients might try and grab it." and "We don't want you hanging yourself with it, now do we?" as if the notion had even entered my mind.
They took my dresses and handed me three sets of stiff, off-white uniforms. Two were long-sleeved shirts and pants, and the other was a short-sleeved shirt and shorts. Not very flattering to the feminine figure, but then again, who would look at me here? No one fancies a mad girl.
For some reason, that made it easier.
At least I would not be judged here. I was a loon like the rest of them. Just one of the lot. I would not have to care about the way I dressed, the way I spoke, the way I walked. I would not have to force smiles and pleasantries and pretend I was interested in other people's lives, I could yawn without a polite hand over my mouth. I could laugh abrasively if I wished. I would not be judged.
What a stupid thought.
It was quite the opposite, as I earlier explained.
The doctors are constantly judging you. Of course I did not realize that at first, and so I took one step forward and thirty steps back. But then I learned. You have to, or you will stay in a place like that forever.
You have to learn its clockwork. You have to study its anatomy.
And I did. I have. I am.
I never truly desired a career, never cared to be a professional at anything. And now I have found myself an expert mental patient. Funny.
I hope the steps I'm taking will eventually take me through the exit.
For now, it is a work in progress.
Coyote Van de Brand