“ Don’t worry, this won’t hurt a bit.”

That is what doctors usually say when they are about to inject someone, or do surgery. Dr. Guzman never told me anything like that, for my problem didn’t need any medicine—because there weren’t any.

It was one of those psychotherapy sessions that I dreaded most. Each session was a marking of my lunacy, so I tended to disagree to Dr. Guzman’s coaxing.

On one occasion, I even slammed my hand on his table, eventually scathing my palm with a spike receipt holder he used to pile his bills on. I often find myself triggered into a morbid trance like that one. For me, it was a regular thing, but for him it was an illness. Schizophrenia, he called it.

I didn’t realize that it was a bad thing. I thought it was awesome that I would regularly go into an alternate dimension and come back to reality where things would suddenly be out of order. I thought it was just second nature, that it was just fine.

But after I found out about this “sickness” I started hating this unprecedented feeling enveloping my head, like there was this some kind of paranoid insect controlling my judgment, my actions, and my emotions. It made me feel uncomfortable. And worst of all, it made me feel unsafe. For months, I watched the clock until I could gleem sunrise through my curtains. I couldn’t sleep at night, because I, in some way, had pictured that my best friend would come into my room in the middle of the night, holding a chainsaw that would cut me down to pieces. It was tough to have lost trust with a person you can hand your soul over to, knowing that they won’t even let a fly lay one of its disgusting `1legs on it. Those images popping in my head every now and then spelled fragility to me. I became weak.

Vatican official coming

But somehow, I also felt strong. On my tenth birthday, I climbed the roof of our home, screaming that I would protect the innocent and would rid the world of evil. I thought that I had superhuman powers. I thought that I had the power to control the clouds. As I waved my hands across the slowly dimming horizon, the white cottons above would drag along. But everyone else would know what really made the clouds move. I even jumped off the roof, knowing that God had granted me the gift of flight as a pigeon’s poop dropped on my head. I landed side first, breaking my hip bone. I cursed the ground, punching it a few times before I felt the pain.

I had always found myself at the other end of the normal spectrum, even at the tender age of 12. After attempting to strangle my brother to death and cut the tail off a kitten, my father knew this was beyond childish behavior. Before matters got any worse, I was sent to the Mt. Carmel Asylum, which became my home for the next few years. It took only three months for my family to completely disregard my existence. It took me a while to understand, and for months I kept on thinking: “Why are they blaming me?”

Although the asylum was mostly painted white, it wasn’t enough to mask its identity. Above the room were pipelines infested with rats, some of which fell on my bed sometimes. The pipes’ dripping sounds drove the guy in the next room even more insane, he was eventually transferred to another room where the lights flickered constantly, giving it an eerie feel reminiscent of those in ghost movies. In Mt. Carmel, however, the patients were the lost souls haunting the premises.

Street art pioneers pursue 'alternative' expressions

In a place between dream and reality, I saw myself standing in front of a wall, painting until my work looked stunningly vibrant. It made me feel content—who knew art could be so relaxing to someone like me? By the time I snapped out of my reverie, blood was gushing from my wrist as it smeared on a pillowcase.

A time of uncertainty, I’m sure. Ironic, isn’t it? There was a time I kicked my nurse because I had this gut feeling that it was a burglar wearing a mask of my nurse’s face. Now I know that it was surely her. Well, that was after I tore half her face off.

How was it possible that I did all these things and would eventually forget it? My doctor claimed that it was never my fault, but I had grown so tired of blaming it on my subconscious.

“The truth lies,” I told myself, even when I knew that it was far off from reality. Every bit of sanity left in me would leak out if this went on.

I wanted to fix everything and be normal, however social dictates define it. I did everything in my own strength to stop those unwanted urges, and it was hard, so very hard to mentally challenge myself. It was practically having a skirmish game inside my head when I would try to remain calm and sane.

An instance I can recall clearly was when I was writing on a piece of paper in the art and recreations room in the asylum. I was talking to the pencil. But I knew pencils couldn’t talk. It was impossible. The pencil, on the other hand insisted that it was some form of new technology that Japanese scientists had created. They had given it the knowledge to speak. Dumbfounded as I was, I tried not to believe, but the pencil made a good argument.

A master in perpetual bloom

Poor little spoon and fork which I hid under my bed. Those two would daily sing the demons to sleep that haunt my cell. I had to throw them away. It was one stage of me trying to get better. But now I’d have to sleep with demons playing chess in the corner. And I have to admit, they were pretty good at it. Beat me every time. Maybe that was why I had spoon and fork sing them to sleep—so I could cheat and win.

After all the psychological exhaustion, I thought to myself that I had enough. It felt like a war inside my head where I was the villain who started it all, and at the same time, the hero who ended it.

Dr. Guzman assured me it would end. I believed him. I knew that he could take this all away in a snap, and it wouldn’t “even hurt a bit.” For all I could remember during that last session, a glinting piece of pointed metal was shining a few meters away from me.

I found myself not being held down by gravity. I loved that feeling, like there was nothing but tranquility, like life was merely a cruel shadow following me. There was no pain or fear—just me flowing through the tide of time, or maybe lack thereof.

In my alternate universe, the spike receipt holder that once scathed my palm was locked in the doctor’s left eye socket.


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