Thursday, 20 September 2012
House of the Mad, House of the Dead
I've just done a 90-minute stint down the mental institution. I can barely face that place, the atmosphere is so sour. The atmosphere in the grounds is intensely green, fresh and restful, like most mental hospitals. It's only back in the wards that sheer barely-controlled chaos reigns. Last night Pinky phoned me from the secure unit, where she was only dumped because they had no other beds. Screaming and yelling in the background. That's a big reason why I didn't wanna go into a ward last year when I really was crazy. Because the mania fluctuated a lot, giving me relatively lucid periods, when I was well aware that if I did go in, I would be by far the most mental person on the ward. There were times when I literally could not keep myself quiet and yelled every syllable (and it was just broken-off syllables, not words) that swirled round my brains. Mental nurses are usually so tired and jaded they would probably affect to consider such behaviour attention-grabbing. Even though I only usually did it when I was totally alone and my mind at its most unfocused. Having somebody there at least gave some direction to my scattered, racing, totally disjointed consciousness.
If you're wondering why I keep on mentioning this it's because I want closure. There never is any closure. I don't understand what happend. Or why. What it means, where it's going. Or for what reason...
And that was the very worst thing: I lost my reason in the most literal way, in that I was unable to think anything through. If I tried to, I would get lost in a multiplicity of related ideas, that exploded into starsbursts, all glittering with countless new concepts until I was lost in a whirl of dazzling irrelevance. It was like tripping on a psychedelic drug that affected the intellect rather than the senses. Though I was hallucinating as well, I tended either to hear voices, usually from the ceiling, that said irrelevant things. Or isolated visuals would appear, like furniture that materialized from nowhere only to fade into space again, just as rapidly.
One time I decided I "wanted to watch television" where there was no television. So I just stared at a blank wall, and right on cue vivid abstract patterns and cartoon figures burst forth.
See: you don't need drugs to be tripping!
I can't remember how I got on to this train of thought, except that I have just been on that mental unit (that is VISITING) and the whole place was doing my head in, until they decided yesterday without warning to ship all the most disturbed patients to different parts of the building. Which caused weeping and screaming and all kinds of chaos, by all accounts. Two people in there have burns from setting themselves on fire.
It's very depressing when I think about it. So I avoid doing so. I have just finished Christopher Ciccone's Life With My Sister Madonna and am now reading Dostoyevsky's House of the Dead, about life in a pre-Communist era Siberian labour camp. That's the only benefit I get from feeling a bit depressed: my concentration span actually increases noticably!
Illustrated: this is exactly the type of thing you may well see when tripping on LSD (nothing at all like visuals from a manic episode, which tend to consist of voices, funny noises, words in capital letters shooting out of the walls and actual hallucinated objects (and some say they see people), if they do happen at all...