He was the last person I saw as they put me to sleep; I was terrified, they were going to crawl through my dreams. My days as of late had been incredibly disturbed, I was seeing things, hearing voices, and my sanity I could not be assured, not so sure. My doctor, Mr. Celephelump, advised me of this certain procedure, where they could place me into an induced coma, and intrude upon my rapid thoughts of delusions, grandeur and paranoia. For my nightmares had shifted into my daydreams, they were not separated, nothing was what it was meant to seem, and the images which terrified me into the night continued on existing in daylight, a shadowy corner here, a creaking there, a BUMP, goes the fright in my day and night.
As you can imagine, I was not so certain of these proposed intrusions, I wanted to keep some of my thoughts private, the embarrassing ones, the special ones, the private ones. Would they like their thoughts being read like a book, how would they take the endless openings into their minds, allowing others a firm, scrutinising look? I expressed my concerns with the doctor; he simply laughed all of them away.
“Why, dear Penny, there is nothing to worry about, we will not use these thoughts against you,” he said with a smile. Under my breath, I muttered, “You may.” Thankfully though, he didn’t catch wind of my apparent insolence, and explaining the process again to me, yet more thoroughly, I understood that I had little choice in the matter of this. Because I was so out of control, unable to take care of myself properly – why, I was eating toast only thrice a week as my weekly meals because I couldn’t manage my finances – I was addicted to buying cigarettes, alcohol free beer, and full cream and flavoured milks – my mind was spinning all the time, bouncing off the walls, it seemed I was crazy, without even a sip of my favourite richest strength dessert wine.
My alcoholism had been the trigger of my mental downfall, and that was why I now only consumed alcohol free beer, I thought of this solution it would fix me, all in all. But it didn’t, my thoughts centred around how gravity was the answer to everything, how a burning bush that I would light meant the created reference and celebration of Biblical story telling, and my little toy dolls, who I played with giving cups of tea every night, despite the fact I was now thirty two and no longer five, I would talk with the sweet girls well into the morning after midnight. I exercised fervently every morning, to wipe the sweat away with glee, weight dripping off me with every moment, then once home, I’d dehydrate myself further and set my heart racing with a teacup loaded with five bags of tea. Such utter chaos was in my land, visibly by my doctor when we finally did meet, that he was so very severe and concerned that he must enter my dreams.
“You will be fine,” he finished off, “Allow me to make an official time, we can book in for two weeks from now, at a quarter past nine. Please fast from midnight onwards, only a small amount of water permitted, and come in relaxing clothes, with an overnight bag of several changes of outfits. You may need to stay more than one night, but we shall see, from your dreams, what will become of them.”
With a presented hand to shake, I formally took his hand, wondering what would happen when they viewed all my secretive, locked away dreams that presently only I could command to come at hand. How embarrassing would this be, if they could view my exact hopes and dreams, when I was but a patient who couldn’t even take care of herself, needing others to decode my heaven sent thoughts and dreams? How could I help it if I had taken the available clues and figured out my true identity, the one which was forced upon me as I grew, as a wee embryo, a little baby inside, I was bound for greatness, this my middle name did decide.
I was given the name of my great grandmother, we had never had the chance to ever meet, yet when I was taken to her former home by my father, the streets and surrounding courts and roads were the words I used into my dramatically written screenplay scenes. Astounded, I asked my father how did I know these strange otherwise unknown words, had I been here before, for if not, this was all rather untoward. With a twinkle in his eye, he shook his head and said to me, “Darling Penny, you are special,” then he fell silent, that was all he would explain to me. I found it rather peculiar, if you were to ask me.
Then came the date for the dream crawling, I had been dreading it for the two weeks, my stomach had been perpetually churning. What if they saw, the being they didn’t realise or understand who I was truly was, my great grandmother’s soul transported within me, living now upon the Earth with me, rather than resting in the sparkling stars? They would, have and did call me delusional enough for the thoughts I stupidly shared, the ones which I possessed, wanting to be honest, truthful, forthcoming, as they required me to be, no less, because my mental health team apparently only wanted what was right for me, but now I wasn’t so sure, and of these hospital grounds I wished to leave. It was too dangerous here, I was already easily enough read like a book, what would it mean to give the final, private details, my true identity could never be accepted, and the notion that I was incredibly unwell would be spoken of with great concern, again and again. This treating team shouldn’t treat this way. They should simply leave me be.
And the Doctor was the last person who I saw as I slipped into my dreams, falling, flailing, helplessly trying to keep my head above the pool of consciousness, paddling despite failing in every manner, I would sink further, it would seem. And then blackness, an overwhelming silence, and there was nothing, nothing like I had ever known it. But I could feel an icky sensation of someone filing through my thoughts, as though they were arranged carefully in a cabinet, from A to B, to C to D, each pull making me feel tenser and more taut. Instead of being able to unwind in the murky scene, I felt myself angering, agitation growing within.
“Ah ha, we’ve found it!” I heard my Doctor call triumphantly. An exiting motion, a sliding sound, and apparently this meant the selected memory was freed. I suddenly felt emptier, like something was missing, something important, something that couldn’t again be derived, its former presence within me was so potent. It was an original, and saddeningly, I realised that a part of me was no longer alive. I fought now, I kicked and screamed to be freed from the deepening darkness, and swimming desperately to the surface, I broke the air of consciousness with my gasping breaths.
“Penny? Penny? Are you okay?” my doctor called from far away.
“How dare you?!” I seethed, grabbing the small folder he held in his hidden hands, attempting to keep my eyes at bay. I ripped open the paper and what did I see? The details of my great grandmother’s life: her name, her birth date, certificate, her portrait, staring right back at me.
“You disgust me!” I spat, and with that I launched a physical attack, but the other medical staff were ready, within seconds they firmly held me back. But my heart was frantically beating, the adrenaline keeping me still ready, I was panting and flailing and groaning, why wouldn’t they leave me alone now? Deeply concentrating, as I closed my eyes, I reabsorbed Great Grandmother’s facts, taking in her details, her knowledge, her love, her life, and now once more she was again close to and within me, Penny and Great Grandmama together, our names intersected so freely.
Never again would I trust this doctor, and his treating team, I wasn’t ill, I was blessed and enlightened, and this could have all ended in a terrifying dream. Where I would have lost all sense of the layering of who I was, and who I was born to be, my family member’s soul atop of mine, providing me love and protection, and additional creative energy. I avoided all members of the medical professional of psychiatry from here on in. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust them, I simply didn’t want to be treated for something that I felt belonged within me. Eccentrics and dual lives aside, I was happy with who I was, am, and who I have always been.
© 2019 Alice Well Art. Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.