A story of a man's psychiatric case file...
By Clyde Joseph
He came to me to gain control of himself. All I had to do was help him by leading the way. But he died two days ago, so now I have to move on. You see, if I could describe myself I would love to tell you that I am an angel— an angel sent by God himself to help those who don’t see the light. I would love to tell you that I am a savior for those who weep and cry at night. But he died two days ago, so now I have to move on. I am a psychiatrist, one like many others; and just like things that happen everyday, my purpose in life was being carried forth.
The patient arrived, knocked on my door, came inside and took a seat by the chair—but he did not sit in the chair. He sat on the freshly polished wooden floor. I observed his appearance: he wore a dirt covered jacket and trousers that looked as if they had not been washed since they were bought; but when I looked at his face it seemed as if he thought I would tell him to leave, to go away, just like many must have told him before. But I did not say a word. All I did was observe. He wanted my help and so with a reserve in my voice, I finally spoke. I told him his beard was neatly trimmed and smiled—the typical hollow grin many therapists give their patients before beginning their "therapy." I finally drew my breath and asked him why he was here and to my surprise the man smiled. I did not like that smirk—and perhaps that's what he thought as well. Maybe I had become accustomed to the usual meaningless laughter of society. His smile was much too genuine for me, had too much emotion for me to handle, but this was my purpose; I had to help him.
He asked me why we were living and breathing, a satisfaction of being a loved child of society; even after knowing how everything will end. He asked me why we have to work; maybe It was to gain a stable status in society and the way people look at us. He asked me why we had to be involved with marriage and why we had to die—too many questions for one man; but this was my purpose—I had to help him. I told him we were here because we were meant to be; we work because that is one of our many purposes; we marry because a partner in life makes the journey easier; and we die because all things come to an end at some point. Good answers—it's what I read in my books, it's what I was told to recite to every patient that asked me those questions. Why, then, did he not look satisfied with the answers? Maybe his dilemma was different. I asked him if he feared death, and for the first time in my life I despised someone. The man told me he did not fear death.
The man spoke. “We live to die.” The first time in my systematized life, I could not tell my patient otherwise. I could not tell him he was wrong even though he was—I know he was. Death enslaves us day by day, but why should that truth be told? We come to this world empty handed, and we leave empty handed; but why should that truth be told? The man finally took a seat in the chair and began to speak to me about a chapter from his life; stories of his mother and his abused childhood. He told me she burnt his hands for crushing the neighbor's pet's skull. He told me that she burnt his feet for gutting the rabbit in the field. He looked so lonely, all he needed was to be led. He needed to be fed the reality of life: I had to do it. What did it matter if his mind did not function the way society demanded it?
It seemed to me as if the man was a traveler. He was on a quest for salvation from his inner demons. Later, he told me that he had given up his desire to understand his soul any further, and after what seemed like an eternity of silence he took out a pistol from his jacket and ended his life.
Blood stained the freshly polished wood floor: the smell of anarchy, death, and execution.
He died two days ago, and I know now that he did not understand himself anymore than I recognize myself. Now you would say that there are no spirits and that there are no hauntings in this world. But I tell you...I see him when I sleep; I see him when I wake; even now I see him. He tells me I had to help him. He tells me that I failed him. He was different. He was me.
I scratch my beard too often now; I do not keep it neatly trimmed as I once did. It has been two days since I killed the psychiatrist, so now I have to move on..........