The insanity didn’t just run in my family. It had ambled through, taking time to know each of us personally. My brother with his schizophrenia, my mother with her addictions, and I the bipolar middle child completed a holy trinity of chaos.
This brain had obdurately refused to recalibrate after years of therapy and medications. Even the shock sessions did nothing to abate its mulishness.
It had its own mantra “My choice!”
I was committed to an asylum a month ago. My anhedonia was infective and dangerous, the ‘others’ had lamented.
These dictators here decide the state of my mind. If I am too chirpy, they tone me down citing ‘mania’. If I am too low, they give me uppers citing ‘depression’. They plan my activities and my menu without asking me.
So I write down my mantra on their walls. My Choice.
Now they refuse to lend me pens and crayons.
I am to sit with others in a ‘group’ therapy and paint the mandalas already sketched out for me. I repeat my mantra to myself: You have a choice. Decide your colours.
“Too dark.” The coach shakes his head after a glance at my sheet.
“The pills make me restless at night,” I tell the doctor who visits once a week. She never glances up and scribbles. “It is the lowest possible dose. I am adding some sleep medication as well. The nurse said you cut yourself again last night.”
“The medicine makes my insides all dry.” My words slur as I try to fight through the medicament induced nebula inside my head.
“Cut down on his outdoor times.” She notes on my clipboard, citing “Danger to self.”
“I have a choice,” I feel angry at being disregarded.
Was I too loud? I am not sure. The next I know; I am surrounded by five people. Two take my hands, two tilt me onto a table. I am tied up and fixed to a bed.
“I do not want this. Its my choice.” I slur more till they force open my mouth and make me swallow a syrup. As my eyes get heavier, something inside keeps shrieking. No one else hears it.
A week later
I carefully place the tablet under my tongue and pretend to swallow. Once the bored attendant moves on to the next patient, I add it to a growing pile stacked under my sink.
I am going to make the moment count. They will see.
My hands tremble, but I feel high, like never before.
“My choice,” I repeat aloud leaning on the wall. I swallowed all the fourteen tablets at once and waited till I was sure it was too late to pump them out. As a welcome numbness settles over me, I squint, savagely rapturous at their shocked faces. Wait till they find what I scribbled on the bathroom walls incriminating them!
“My life. My choice.” I chant.
Then all goes quiet.
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