At some point everything becomes clear. That doesn’t necessarily mean a good clear, but fact is preferred over fiction when you’re locked up in a mental ward. Again. And it’s snowing out–and worse–it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re thirtieth birthday is coming and you’re little girl must be looking for you. It’s all you can do to decipher the shell-shocked woman-child looking back at you in the tin mirror bolted to the wall above your sink. Here you get your own sink because this time, this trip into the bin, they knew it was much more serious than they had originally thought, and your “security” was upgraded. You have a thought you would usually have–that the upgrade only makes you feel more nuts–but at this point, you don’t feel nuts. You are nuts. I say to myself ‘I’m clinically insane’ and for a moment I believe it’s something to smile about. When the leading psychiatrist told me on New Year’s Day morning that I was clinically psychotic and suffering from complex PTSD, I thought about my mind–clearly–for a second, and I imagined a blue and orange brain-scan image showing clouds of sick. Then I slipped back into the room , in and out of dissociating, and the yellow walls were much too close and I could taste rubber in my mouth and then the hyper-arousal–the flashback coming. My clarity is gone. I need drugs. I need chemicals to help me this is too much–and I dart across the sitting room to the glassed in cage the nurses sit in eating Christmas cookies; Nurse Jo knows me well by now, she knows I’m too embarrassed to say anything; I inch towards the far left window near the hall to my room, she casually looks up and I give her the look and point to my room. Like I don’t want people here to think I need help. God I’m an idiot sometimes.
Nurse Jo always followed with a heated blanket, Seroquel, and fact sheets. As I laid there sucking in air and crying like I imagine I must’ve when I was a little girl, feeling blindfolds on me and blood on my cheeks, hot and sticky and too real, Nurse Jo would shut off the lights and tell me to squeeze the blanket as she calmly, almost like a drifting story, read aloud the facts of trauma and sexual abuse and post-traumatic-stress disorder. I liked facts. They neatly fit into my head, massaging my brain.