Crazy people don't know they are crazy
| A fluorescent light hummed above me, filling the small room with a blinding light. My eyes burned but I made no move to rub them. If I did, she might notice a new gash I'd added to my collection.
"Do you feel safe here, Will?"
I hugged myself, hiding the angry red scars that ran down my forearms. The psychiatrist sighed and repeated her question.
"Why does everyone keep asking me that?" Irritation salted my words. "What am I supposed to be safe from? The other patients?" I could feel a killer headache coming, my eyes throbbing from the painful light above.
"Do you feel like they are a threat?" Dr. Santaya regarded me carefully, her spectacles reflecting the light above. Then she tilted her head and the glasses slid down a fraction of an inch, revealing piercing brown eyes which burrowed beneath my skin.
I shuddered, an insect beneath her microscope.
My chest tightened as the imaginary glass slides pressed against me. I avoided her gaze and focused on the table between us. A manila folder lay open, my medical history neatly detailed in several pages.
"No, Will. I think you know the answer to that question."
She tapped a sheet of paper that held my diagnosis. MAJOR DEPRESSION/SUICIDAL IDEATIONS
The slides were crushing me. My head pounded, the droning hum from the light buzzed in my ears. I grimaced as the words were pulled from my lips. "No. I don't feel safe."
Dr. Santaya leaned forward, eyes gleaming with triumph. "Because...?" She prodded.
I slumped in my chair, defeated. "Because I still have urges to self-harm." Every patient cracked before Dr. Santaya, she had the uncanny ability of getting inside your head and dissecting thoughts with surgical precision.
"Do you plan to continue self-harming?" And I was back under the microscope again.
Mercifully, her cell phone buzzed. Frowning at the interruption, Dr. Santaya glanced at the screen. "I'm afraid we will have to cut our session short. I'd better not see any new scars tomorrow Will, I would hate to put you in restraints."
I began to stammer out a response but she waved me out of the room.
Dumbly, I wandered back to the common area.
"Rough session, eh?" Chris grinned from the couch, where he was eating a yogurt and watching TV. I plopped down next to him. "I don't want to talk about it." I groaned and rubbed my weary eyes.
"Mmm! I almuff fohgut!" He pointed at me with his spoon and swallowed his mouthful. "Susie was looking for you."
Lazily, I watched commercials for prescription medication flash on the TV screen and listened with half an ear. "Oh yeah? What about?"
Chris frowned thoughtfully. "She wouldn't say. Looked pretty upset though, I'd check on her if I were you."
With a sigh, I struggled up from my comfortable position and scanned my surroundings. If Susie wasn't here, she would most likely be in the cafeteria or her room. It wasn't a big place and we weren't allowed outside the wing without supervision.
"Guess I'll see what's wrong now." I stood up, stretching leisurely.
"Tread lightly," Chris warned. "I think her schizophrenia is flaring up again."
I found Susie curled up against the window, chewing her nails. "It's happening again..." She muttered as I approached. "Everything okay, Suz?" I asked tentatively.
Raven hair tumbled around her as she shook her head. "No, it's not okay. The ambulance came back. I saw it!"
Eyes wild, she caught me in a hopeless gaze. "Well, it is a hospital." I said carefully.
"Don't be a smartass." Susie narrowed her eyes and brushed hair away from her face. "They are going to take someone again, just you watch! They- they are going to move someone and then everyone is going to forget and say I'm crazy but I'm not crazy!"
Chris was right, her schizophrenia was definitely flaring up again. Patiently, I listened to her ramble on.
"How come people moved from BH1 to BH2 never come back, right? You can call up and ask for them but they don't exist! They-they just don't exist and-and-and it's going to happen to one of us I just know it!"
I sat next to her and smiled sadly. "Maybe they are getting discharged, Suz. The people are leaving because they got better, that's why you can't find them in the hospital."
She shook her head and bit her nails even harder. "No, no, no you aren't listening!"
"What if I'm right though?" I watched her shoulders tense.
"You just think it's all in my head, don't you?" Susie glared at me defiantly. "I can prove it! Don't take the green pill, that's how they do it. How they make you forget..."
I was treading on thin ice, so I decided to play along. "What do you think they are doing then? What's the big secret."
She shivered and hugged herself. "Organ transplants. My uncle needed a liver and there was no wait-list at this hospital. One of the best they say but it's a lie. They just keep us here like-like a farm and pick us when they need something, you know?"
Before I could response, the intercom buzzed. "Lights out will begin in ten minutes. Please line up to receive your medication."
"The green pill." She whispered. "Keep it under your tongue and spit it out later."
Maybe it was something in her eyes, but those words haunted me as I waited in line. When my turn came, I looked in the little cup they handed me with confusion. Sure enough, there was a green pill. Had they switched my medication? I could have sworn my normal dose was white...
When I spat it out in the safety of my room, I studied the strange drug. It had markings on it, but it was impossible to make out any letters or numbers. I knew I was taking Lithium, so what was this?
After stashing it under my mattress, I crawled into bed. Questions rattled in my head as I listened to my roommate's machine wheeze. Eventually, I fell into an dreamless sleep.
The next morning, I waited for my breakfast tray and sat next to Chris. "Morning, sunshine! Rough night?" He said through a mouthful of scrambled eggs.
"Eh... I've had better." I sniffed and stared at my pancakes blearily. "Have you seen Susie?" Chris coughed, spraying me with bits of egg. "Susie?" He frowned in confusion. "Who's that?"
Suddenly, I wasn't tired anymore.
I stood up, knocking my tray to the floor. Eggs scattered, toast flew, pancakes flopped as I rushed out of the cafeteria and raced toward Susie's room.
"Will!" Chris called out in the distance, but I ignored him. I rounded the corner and stopped in the doorway.
An empty bed with neatly folded sheets lay before me. "She was right." I muttered.
Behind me, Chris panted as he finally caught up. "Dude..." He gasped. "What's got into you?" I told him everything. "It's the green pill, don't you see? That's how they do it, make us forget somehow, I-I don't know how they do it but it's true! Susie was here for three months, don't you remember?!"
He slowly backed away from me, shaking his head.
"You're talking crazy man..."
Two aides brushed past him and walked towards me. Behind them came Dr. Santaya, smiling humorlessly. "Sorry you have to see this, Chris. Will is having another of his delusions."
They took hold of me as I screamed bloody murder. "I'm not crazy! IT'S TRUE! IT'S ALL TRUE-" A syringe plunged into my neck and the world grew fuzzy.
"Do you feel safe now, Will?" Dr. Santaya cooed as I lolled helplessly. "We'll take good care of you."