Tuesday, January 22, 2008

That lady

So, as I was inching away to move towards the Human resource, with the wind blowing towards my back... I saw this lady who was sitting next to me back a couple weeks ago on one of my benches...

She might have forgotten me but I remember her.

I gave her a smile and she past me by.

Then, I thought of her when I got back home.

"It must have been hard."
So I thought.

(When I paused, I said to myself... since I got that word called psychotic in my profile... such seem to make me obligated to throw in something more contextual than simply the mentioning. lol)

There are many things in life I do not want to look back to too closely--- simply due to the reinvocation of the affective collateral damages.

Heartache for instance is something I have blah blah blah about yesterday.... and something many of us could relate to.

The constant gossips and the negative comments people make about you and right in your face.... some of you might have that experience before but some could hear it all day long, all night long and all the time, essentially.

That lady, when she mentioned, "sometimes you just want to hate people."

By referencing to my own "empirical" experiences, I know what she spoke of.

It could be true because, despite of the fact that, other than I am crazy by default, I appear normal to bystanders.

It is because I was born late, my condition was late onset, and, the atypical anti-psychotic drugs work for me. And, perhaps, my studies in psychology have also helped.

I would not know where I would be shall I have been born 10 years earlier and with early unset.

There are other people who are not as lucky as I am.

That lady, for instance, and two of my uncles.

These two uncles of mine passed away in recent years both would have had a bright future shall they have not been hit by early onset schizophrenia either in the teens or in early 20s.

They had been treated with the older generations of anti psychotic drugs and had to deal with the severe side effects that came with the treatment.

Growing up, I had always felt sort of scared of them.... simply because I knew they were schizophrenics.... they were somehow strange... and it felt as if they were not there even if they were.

I, then, went to study psychology in the college and I did my internship in one of the major psychiatric institute in Taipei.

There, I saw many more resemblance of my uncles' scenarios and I saw another generation of patients...

Some of the luckier ones could go on living their lives as medical doctors and teachers except for the inevitable episodes that occurs here and there and get them hospitalized now and again.

Then, I went abroad.

In Vancouver, I continued to volunteer in the psychiatric ward for many a year... and there... I saw people come and people go and some comes back a few times more...

Until, in 2001, I think, after a triggering event where someone said I would be bang bang bang if I go to Harlem, I started to find people talking about me and looking at me everywhere... (although any other event might have been that trigger.. )

I was so very afraid to be in the public because I could not understand, "Why can't they leave me along?" and "Why do they have to make comments about me?"

They called me the bar girl everywhere I go.
(and, for me, today, I would say, ya, thank you, me thy bar girl... lol)

"Why don't they look at what I have done and what I have worked on?" I often thought.

They tried to hurt people I cared for.

"Attack me all you want but please leave the others alone."

There were always positive and negative comments about me...

The way they looked at me.

The things I heard.

All the temptation to react and, to myself I said, react shall I not because the day shall come when the storm will pass and all me forget.

But, react not is an art.

It is some form of art I have yet mastered not to this day.

All that I was capable of doing was to not cause a scene on the street like what we sometimes see my fellow psychotics do.

What was inside was the constant process of feeling hurt, the repression of manifesting that sentiment of being hurt, and the constant dealing of my ego boosted by complements and the consequential downing events.

It was a tiring process and I suppose this is the reason why the condition would just continue to spiral down without treatment.

I could not understand how they knew each every step I took and each every thought I had.

Eventually, after all the research I have done, I sort of got it figured out... there are surveillance cameras everywhere, including each every city block. They might be able to train the audio recording devices so as to record only my speech somehow. Spyware are readily available to check each every keystroke I make on the computer. The thinking process involves brain waves and they might have figured out a way to encode it and have my thoughts simultaneously decoded. Wireless networks are readily available and that is how information gets transmitted.... and many many more thoughts along the same trend... and I figure you have gotten a gist of it...

How could I hear them...

I was telepathic... based on what I heard.

I know.

To myself I said.

It was a process I did not want to look back to.

Perhaps, I was blessed by this natural instinct of reacting not--- due to the cultural background.

Perhaps, it was actually a curse since actual action might have led to earlier treatment. In any case, 7 years later, it doesn't really matter whether the institutionalization is voluntary or not.

And, then, one day, I went to see my psychiatrist at the time.

I spoke of all the good things and bad things they say about me. All the promises and the downfalls.

All these and those and how this is making me really stressed out and how I am trying hard to cope.

"Those are delusions."
My psychiatrist who was treating me for depression said.

"The government has gotten to him and that' why he has to say so."

I walked out of the building, noticing a guy on the other side of the street spying on me.

And, all around town, everyone knows that I might be psychotic... and all the things I do and I think of are but a manifestation of my psychosis.

The story could go on and on and I am not even sure the consequential sequence of the events any more...

The only thing I knew was...

That night I got home.

I pulled out that beloved book of mine...

The Handbook of Psychopathology.

I looked for the keyword-- telepathy.... of course, under the psychotic related section and associated with keywords such as hallucinations and delusions etc etc...

I tried to make fun about it with a neighbor who used to be a good friend of mine.

Yet, that night, when I was trying to sleep, I tossed and turned and I just could not fall asleep....

6 floors under, on the street, I heard each every word they speak, so clearly, about me.

I went knocking on the door of my neighbor, asking whether I could crash on the floor...

I asked her, "Could you hear them on the street?"

"Ya, they so loud."

It was the second day, when another friend of mine and I bumped into each other on the street and together had a cup of coffee, I started noticing that I could not help but turned to those people coming out of the chapel where there was a wedding.

I tried my best to ignore them and to focus on this friend of mine.

Yet, it was tough.

I later went to the computer lab.

I was writing up a report for a marketing study.

However, the radio playing in the next room was too distracting to me... because they just won't stop talking about me and what I was doing... and, of course, their new found gossip about my inability to write has something to do with the plausible psychosis and how telepathy is linked to psychosis… and blah blah blah…

For an hour or 2, I could not even finish typing a sentence or so.

At some point, I went to the door and put my ear by the door...

I had thought that the guy forgot to turn if off...

Yet, inside, it was quite. No sound at all.

Outside, I froze.... the radio is still on.

I collected my stuffs... and, that afternoon, I eventually brought myself to the hospital.

To them I said, "I need to be institutionalized. I am losing my concentration."

And, I know, I have told you the later part before.

It was that early evening when I was in ER and when they were trying to find me a bed upstairs...

I begged the ER doctor...

"Please help me. I need my cognition."

At a point, concentrate could I not.

And, regardless how many times I was told...

It was not until months and months later did I finally understand...

There was never any illusion...

All were delusions when that once-upon-a-time so very compact system finally started to melt down like the iceberg under the sun...

And, those are hallucinations... the voices that allow me to concentrate not...

And, I live on... somehow... my concentration to collect and my cognition to regain...

And, I looked back... and, how hard was it to say... "How could I be one of them?"

Yes, I have been taught to be empathic all these years and I could look through the conventional views... but, "How could I be one of them?"

It just can not be me because I am not psychotic and I can not be psychotic!

(and it is more than tough and, in recollection, it still cut like a knife--- and ok... too many heavy metal songs I listened to... 8-x)

Yet, that was a point of no return because, once you cross the line, there is no way back... and you just have to keep on moving on...

As I continue to live, I felt the sense of guilt growing stronger and stronger within me...

How I had once be so very-- maybe you could call unkind to my uncles-- and I thought to myself... shall ignorance be a bless, my ignorance and the consequential reaction might have been my worst sin...

And, this is partially the reason why---
for them, to myself I said
I shall live
their unfulfilled talents and life to appeal
for them me and people alike
to speak

And, this is why, when I got home, I thought to myself....

"It must be tough..."

For the lady and everyone else, including me myself.

I know that kind of feeling but I also know--- be the negative comments she perceives real or not, her personal experiences I understand not.

P.S. And where were my parents?

They were with me each every step though they were in Taiwan and I was in New York City. So I disappeared for a week or two and claimed to my family that I went for a trip. When I finally went home late that summer, one day, my mom-- and it must have taken her a lot of courage to ask this question-- my mom asked me whether I was delusional.

I did not want to lie and I said yes. In effect, I went to the hospital (club meds as I would it call).

My mom told me that both my parents were suspecting it. Yet, they knew if I need help, I would somehow be able to get the help I need to help myself.

Now you know why it must be hard to be my parents...

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