Published by Bill Braga in Memories, Psychology, Psychiatry, Shamanism
I woke up not knowing where I was. In fact, I realized that I had not been conscious of myself for some time. Some fleeting, disconnected memories, nothing to help me understand what had happened. I was in a room with two empty beds. I slept on a mattress on the floor beside the two beds. There was a bathroom, a closet. Surely I was not in a prison or a hospital. Little did I know that it was a cross between. I saw that the television from my old room was there, and the DVD player also. But I was somewhat dazed. My body felt heavy. I tried to walk, my legs weighed tons. I went to the bathroom. A shower can sometimes help revive a defunct man, or semi-defunct, which is how I felt. No improvements. What the devil had they done to me and what had I done to deserve to be in that deplorable state?
While I sat there lost in reverie, the door opened and there appeared a girl, friendly and dressed in white. “Good morning, did you sleep well?” the girl asked. She had not yet realized that I was fully conscious and gave a start at my outraged reaction. I asked where I was, who she was and how to get out of there. She then after realizing the gravity of the situation asked me to wait a moment, that she would bring someone capable of explaining the situation.
A man arrived dressed all in white, around fifty years old with a serious air and countenance. I began to get disoriented, talking and asking questions nonstop, saying that I wanted to get out of there, wanting news from my family. I felt abandoned, in a strange place, with my body weighed down and having difficulty rationalizing. I could hardly put together phrases and thoughts. He observed my reactions patiently, waiting for the opportune moment to intervene. At the “right time”, he started to explain to me. He said that I was feeling that way due to some medication, but there’s no need to get agitated. I was there because it was the best thing for me, everyone wanted to help me, and in fact it was my family who brought me to that clinic. In the end, he said that I was required to take a medication to calm me down. When I mentioned refusal he said that if I didn’t take the medication willingly that it would be given via injection again.
This was a storm of information in my mind. Sure, I was never the most common of people, I even had a few psychological-psychiatric problems, but to be put in a psychiatric clinic? It was alot for me to understand. And I didn’t remember the reasons, I didn’t remember what I did, I only felt a tremendous sleepiness. The Idea of the injection seemed like a trauma. I panicked and decided to take the half a dozen pills. I asked the doctor, Doctor Lucas, to properly explain to me, I needed to understand. He said that I would understand just as soon as I had my appointment with him, which was soon, but for now he needed to attend to the other patients. The nurse, Valeria, the one who spent the nights ensuring my sleep, also sent me to bed, telling me to be calm, that she would make me remember everything. Warmly, she said that if I needed her she would be by my side.
In any normal situation I would have been touched by the sweetness and affection of her voice, but immediately after I discovered that I had been admitted into the hospital, without even knowing what problem I had and with incredible low synapses, the feeling of being alone in that room startled me. Loneliness is something very frightening when we are ungrounded. It is the logic of abandon. We don’t feel human, we feel like a problem. A problem that no one seems to want to deal with, not the doctors, the nurses, or family. With great mental strain I began to wonder where my family might be. Would they have abandoned me there simply hoping that I would be cured? Of what evil I did not yet know. I had a girlfriend, that I did remember. Could she have given consent to this absurd decision, to abandon me there with only God knows what species of lunatics? I thought of my youngest brother. He must understand even less than I about everything, however I am already old enough to have some idea. He must be in distress! He must be an ally to get me out of that situation. But how do I get in contact with him? I saw that my cell phone was in the nightstand. I thought about calling someone, my father, my mother, my brothers, my grandparents, someone would have to give me a plausible explanation. I decided to see what else there was in that prison-bedroom.
In the refrigerator there were grape juices and yogurts. Someone who knew my taste well had left them there for me. If they had left a beer, I would’ve opened it on the spot. But all those medications probably wouldn’t let me enjoy the pleasures of alcohol anyway. On the nightstand was a book of poetry by Vinicius de Moraes. That book sparked a series of memories that outlined everything that had happened. Together with the book was my Playstation Portable. An avalanche went tumbling down my mind… Too much information at the same time, I couldn’t absorb it all so I decided to take another shower. Not even half an hour had gone by since my first. The amount of showers was a sign. An indication that I was about to discover something.
During the long shower, a storm of memories and ideas went through my mind, a brainstorm, and it continued accelerating even with the sluggishness of my brain, probably from the effect of all the medication. A trip to Rio de Janeiro. Juiz de Fora and after. A party, the insomnia, the girlfriend and the unfaithful thoughts, the inspirational muse. Fragments of my own history that, even though they puzzled me they also brought some sense to the situation. I was then interrupted from my internal exorcism. My mother appeared in the doorway. What a relief. I wasn’t totally abandoned. Maybe she would help me connect the links of my fragmented memory. To weave a web of meaning from this experience, even if only so I could help them help me.
I saw a look of great affliction in my mother’s eyes. She noticed that I was now taking showers with my shorts on again. She was to tell me to stop doing that in the next few moments. Still dripping wet I gave her a loving hug. It had never been so good to see her. The emotion and affection of our meeting revived all hopes of that sad and mistreated look on her face. She embraced me, and at being bombarded with questions, held the tears that insisted to drop out of her eyes, to try and explain to me, in the calmest way possible, the reasons for the attitudes that she took, why she admitted me there.
It wasn’t an easy talk. Even though I had found some lost memories, they still were lacking in logic; they didn’t seem to me like causes of psychological illness. In reality, I always took myself as Mr. Right, even though I didn’t remember as much as half of what occurred. Besides this, I still had an aggressive and condemning attitude, still wondering how she was capable of doing that to me, to leave me there, alone, stuck in the middle of a bunch of crazies. Did she believe that I was like the others? Drug addicts, schizophrenics, maniacs or depressives? She tried to maneuver, trying to bring me back to reality, invoking my memories, some of my attitudes. Even so everything was confused to me. It still is today. Even after all this time, some questions remain unanswered. Maybe I will never find the answers. But sometimes the questions matter more than the answers. It is the questions that motivate us, answers may stagnate us. And at that moment, when I thought I had my conscience back, all I wanted was to ask for answers. But it wasn’t the time yet, nor did I have the adequate person to suit me. I realized this and I saw that I soon would be leaving, I asked about my brothers, about my girlfriend, my father. All were well, worried, but well. They came to visit me whenever possible, my friends too. It was a lullaby to my heart. I wasn’t alone in that inhospitible place afterall. It was a passing thing, I imagined that I was well and healthy, and that soon I would revisit everyone, everything would be back in place. Little did I know of the obstacles and trials that still awaited me. As the poet says it’s the rocks in the road that make the way worthwhile.
I began to restore in my mind what had happened. In reality I tried to seek my Self out, to restore the identity that had been fractured. I was barely twenty-three years old at this time.