Author Topic: Conversations from hell  (Read 18442 times)

P3nT4gR4m

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Conversations from hell
« on: June 03, 2010, 06:32:50 pm »
Thanks to Hawk - your Life of Nobody Series has inspired me to put some of my own memories down for posterity. Dunno if I'll have enough for a book but what the hey, maybe somebody will find my stupid ass life interesting regardless

No.1: Danny

Danny was a quiet guy. Tall, long hair, looked fed up with life. He wore faded jeans and a teeshirt and spent most of his day wandering around in his bare feet, listening to his walkman. He wasn't very sociable but he wasn't aggressive either. If you tapped him on the shoulder he'd take his headphones off and talk to you.

Now and again we spoke but the conversations were generally fairly one-sided affairs. His response to pretty much any line of enquiry was usually monosyllabic or thereabouts. You'd say hi to him in the morning and you'd get a nod back or maybe the staff would ask you to give him a shout at dinnertime or when the meds trolley was parked up and doing business.

I was really fucked off this one day. Like a lot of the walking damned, I spent a fair percentage of my time trying to figure out how I was going to get out of the fucking place. Today was one of them. Once a week we'd have a review meeting with our shrink. A day or so before these sessions the plans would revolve around trying to think of the perfect thing to say to her to get the section lifted. Other times, like today, the plans would be more desperate - how to create a distraction, how to smash the reinforced windows, which direction to run...

I was patrolling the ward, looking for weak spots, a door left ajar, a loose tile in the false ceiling, a fire alarm button that the staff couldn't see me setting off, somewhere to hide... The medication didn't help. Shit they had me on right then made it hard enough to walk, let alone run. In all probability that was at least part of the reason they had me on it in the first place. Fuckers were smart and my head was mince. It was a hiding to nowhere but there was fuck all much else to do, aside from chain smoke so there I was.

I saw Danny walking toward me down the main corridor. "I need to get out of here." I told him. Desperately hoping for some input. I was asking Danny, that's how desperate I was.

"I know a way out." He replied.

"show me." I begged.

"Wait in the day room." He instructed.

So there I was, sitting in the day-room, no more than ten minutes later when the panic alarm went off. The buttons were dotted all around the ward and linked to a big board in the nurse station which informed the staff where the backup was required. Half a dozen nursing staff went tanking down the corridor that led to the dormitories, closely followed by most of the patients, eager to see what all the fuss was about.

By the time we got there one of the charge nurses was stood in the door to the men's dorm-room, blocking our entrance. His presence really wasn't required, tho. Nobody was in much of a hurry to get past him, once they'd seen the mess in there. They were strapping big Danny to a gurney. He was leaving in a fucking hurry but what looked like most of his blood was staying for a while, the majority was clinging to the bedsheets or running down onto the floor but some of it had sprayed onto the walls and some had even managed to hit the ceiling. Danny hadn't just opened his wrists, he'd dug a hole in his neck as well. Fucker meant business.

The staff looked more like abattoir workers by the time they wheeled him past us and away to the infirmary. He was back a few hours later wearing three sets of bandages and the vacant expression of the heavily medicated but he didn't bed down in the main dorm for a while. Danny was on suicide watch, in his own private room for what turned out to be the third time that year.

I've often wondered just how much was my fault but I reckon I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I'm pretty sure Danny was headed down that corridor to do just what he did, with or without my interruption. I'm also pretty sure he'd eventually have managed to off himself. That wasn't one of those cry for help little scratches. He showed me the scars a week or so later, the fresh ones all but lost against countless older wounds. Danny was getting out, no doubt about that. It was just a matter of time.

There were times afterwards, when the depressions were tearing my fucking soul apart that I envied his resolve, When I resented with all my heart the fact that I was too much of a pussy to do what he found so easy and I wished more than anything for the courage to just hack away at my veins or swallow a bottle of pills or anything to escape the fucking pain but it wasn't to be.

Most of the time, tho, I'm glad about that.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2010, 08:19:17 am by P3nT4gR4m »
I'm up to my arse in Brexit Numpties, but I want more.  Target-rich environments are the new sexy.
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Nephew Twiddleton

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2010, 06:37:50 pm »
Thanks to Hawk - your Life of Nobody Series has inspired me to put some of my own memories down for posterity. Dunno if I'll have enough for a book but what the hey, maybe somebody will find my stupid ass life interesting regardless

No.1: Danny

Danny was a quiet guy. Tall, long hair, looked fed up with life. He wore faded jeans and a teeshirt and spent most of his day wandering around in his bare feet, listening to his walkman. He wasn't very sociable but he wasn't aggressive either. If you tapped him on the shoulder he'd take his headphones off and talk to you.

Now and again we spoke but the conversations were generally pretty one-sided. His response to pretty much any line of enquiry was usually monosyllabic or thereabouts. You'd say hi to him in the morning and you'd get a nod back or maybe the staff would ask you to give him a shout at dinnertime or when the meds trolley was parked up and doing business.

I was really fucked off this one day. Like a lot of the walking damned, I spent a fair percentage of my time trying to figure out how I was going to get out of the fucking place. Today was one of them. Once a week we'd have a review meeting with our shrink. A day or so before these sessions the plans would revolve around trying to think of the perfect thing to say to her to get the section lifted. Other times, like today, the plans would be more desperate - how to create a distraction, how to smash the reinforced windows, which direction to run...

I was patrolling the ward, looking for weak spots, a door left ajar, a loose tile in the false ceiling, a fire alarm button that the staff couldn't see me setting off, somewhere to hide... The medication didn't help. Shit they had me on right then made it hard enough to walk, let alone run. In all probability that was at least part of the reason they had me on it in the first place. Fuckers were smart and my head was mince. It was a hiding to nowhere but there was fuck all much else to do, aside from chain smoke so there I was.

I saw Danny walking toward me down the main corridor. "I need to get out of here." I told him. Desperately hoping for some input. I was asking Danny, that's how desperate I was.

"I know a way out." He replied.

"show me." I begged.

"Wait in the day room." He instructed.

So there I was, sitting in the day-room, no more than ten minutes later when the panic alarm went off. The buttons were dotted all around the ward and linked to a big board in the nurse station which informed the staff where the backup was required. Half a dozen nursing staff went tanking down the corridor that led to the dormitories, closely followed by most of the patients, eager to see what all the fuss was about.

By the time we got there one of the charge nurses was stood in the door to the men's dorm-room, blocking our entrance. His presence really wasn't required, tho. Nobody was in much of a hurry to get past him, once they'd seen the mess in there. They were strapping big Danny to a gurney. He was leaving in a fucking hurry but what looked like most of his blood was staying for a while, the majority was clinging to the bedsheets or running down onto the floor but some of it had sprayed onto the walls and some had even managed to hit the ceiling. Danny hadn't just opened his wrists, he'd dug a hole in his neck as well. Fucker meant business.

The staff looked more like abattoir workers by the time they wheeled him past us and away to the infirmary. He was back a few hours later wearing three sets of bandages and the vacant expression of the heavily medicated but he didn't bed down in the main dorm for a while. Danny was on suicide watch, in his own private room for what turned out to be the third time that year.

I've often wondered just how much was my fault but I reckon I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I'm pretty sure Danny was headed down that corridor to do just what he did, with or without my interruption. I'm also pretty sure he'd eventually have managed to off himself. That wasn't one of those cry for help little scratches. He showed me the scars a week or so later, the fresh ones all but lost against countless older wounds. Danny was getting out, no doubt about that. It was just a matter of time.

There were times afterwards, when the depressions were tearing my fucking soul apart that I envied his resolve, When I resented with all my heart the fact that I was too much of a pussy to do what he found so easy and I wished more than anything for the courage to just hack away at my veins or swallow a bottle of pills or anything to escape the fucking pain but it wasn't to be.

Most of the time, tho, I'm glad about that.


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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2010, 06:45:29 pm »
Damn Pent. I bet it hurt to write that.

P3nT4gR4m

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2010, 06:50:21 pm »
Not really. I dealt with this shit years ago. Now it's just recollection.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2010, 06:51:26 pm »
Not really. I dealt with this shit years ago. Now it's just recollection.

That's still a hell of an experience.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2010, 07:07:41 pm »
This was gut-wrenching to read AND really well-written.  

I loved this, Pent.  Looking forward to the next installment.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 07:21:25 pm by Nurse Rhizome »
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2010, 07:29:30 pm »
No.2: Julie

Julie was a real sweet little thing. Sixteen, seventeen. Couple of years younger than me at the time. She had dark hair and a quiet nature and way too much pain in her eyes for someone so young. Like a lot of my fellow damned I never knew much about her life outside the ward. You'd get to know most peoples friends and family from visits and you pick up little snippets of their world here and there but very few people had much to say about before. Now weighed far too heavily on the mind.

Julie used to fidget real hard. She'd sit on a chair and bounce her legs fast as hell, like she was trying to run on the spot but with her feet nailed to the floor. She'd sit like that for hours on end. I asked her about it one time. "why do you do that Julie?"

"I dunno, it just feels better." She told me.

Fair enough. Certainly wasn't the strangest thing I'd seen in there.

Julie wasn't exactly the life and soul of the party when I met her but she didn't seem to be on any kind of major downer either. In fact, out of everyone else in the ward, she seemed like one of the most balanced. I couldn't help wondering what was wrong with her but that's the one question you do not ask. Even crazy people somehow seem to instinctively know and obey this unwritten rule. Different if someone wants to talk about it but until then it's taboo.

A couple of weeks after I first arrived we started to notice a change in Julie. It was subtle at first, she seemed irritable, snappy. More and more, as the days went on, her face got less friendly. From easy to talk to, right through - don't fuck with me, eventually settling on - keep the hell away.

She stopped with the fidgeting too. Funny thing is when I'd first noticed it, it used to bug me but then I guess I got used to it, it was just Julie and then, suddenly, it was just gone and it somehow wasn't Julie any more. It was a husk, like an empty shell with all the Julie sucked out of it. She just sat there, still as a corpse and stared into space through dull brown eyes that used to sparkle.

One day the nursing staff came over to her, picked her up off the seat she was in and plonked her in a wheelchair then wheeled her right out of the ward. It struck me as unusual but, back then, very little held my attention for long and I'd soon forgotten about it.

My attention was unwavering, however when, later that evening, they wheeled her back in. Julie was back! Not the hollow shell Julie they'd taken away but the old Julie. Her eyes were bright again and she was fidgeting but something still wasn't quite right. It was a different fidget. For one thing it was sporadic, it came and went and it seemed to move through her whole body like a little earthquake before passing.

A bunch of us went over to say hello, welcome back. Julie was smiling at us but it seemed a bit forced. She was smiling through the pain that kept racking her body in tremors. She was putting on a brave face but she was fooling no one. If you can't fool a lunatic then either your brave face aint brave enough or your pain is too obvious to cover up.

"What happened to you Julie?"

She showed us one of the electrode patches she'd kept as a souvenir

"ECT."
« Last Edit: June 04, 2010, 08:24:48 am by P3nT4gR4m »
I'm up to my arse in Brexit Numpties, but I want more.  Target-rich environments are the new sexy.
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walking the fine line line between genius and batshit fucking crazy

"computation is a pattern in the spacetime arrangement of particles, and itís not the particles but the pattern that really matters! Matter doesnít matter." -- Max Tegmark

P3nT4gR4m

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2010, 07:29:59 pm »
Okay, gotta admit - that hurt a bit. I really liked Julie  :cry:
I'm up to my arse in Brexit Numpties, but I want more.  Target-rich environments are the new sexy.
Not actually a meat product.
Ass-Kicking & Foot-Stomping Ancient Master of SHIT FUCK FUCK FUCK
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High Altitude Haggis-Filled Sex Bucket From Beyond Time and Space.
Internet Monkey Person of Filthy and Immoral Pygmy-Porn Wart Contagion
Octomom Auxillary Heat Exchanger Repairman
walking the fine line line between genius and batshit fucking crazy

"computation is a pattern in the spacetime arrangement of particles, and itís not the particles but the pattern that really matters! Matter doesnít matter." -- Max Tegmark

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2010, 07:38:37 pm »
Jesus. Shock therapy? Are you fucking serious?

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2010, 07:46:14 pm »
I'm going out of my way not to make any of the important details up. It was a long time ago and some of the conversations might not be verbatim but yeah - little Julie had the bit between her teeth for sure. Like I said - it's a painful memory.
I'm up to my arse in Brexit Numpties, but I want more.  Target-rich environments are the new sexy.
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Ass-Kicking & Foot-Stomping Ancient Master of SHIT FUCK FUCK FUCK
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Octomom Auxillary Heat Exchanger Repairman
walking the fine line line between genius and batshit fucking crazy

"computation is a pattern in the spacetime arrangement of particles, and itís not the particles but the pattern that really matters! Matter doesnít matter." -- Max Tegmark

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2010, 08:11:16 pm »
I never doubted you, I guess I just thought that crap went out in the '60's.

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2010, 08:26:28 pm »
I never doubted you, I guess I just thought that crap went out in the '60's.

Still happens.  It looks less gruesome these days and supposedly isn't as painful, but it has a number of advocates.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2010, 08:54:15 pm »
I never doubted you, I guess I just thought that crap went out in the '60's.

EoC's right.  As far as I know, it's still used for post-partum (sp?) depression, anorexia and according to a study done by the group MindFreedom, it's actually on the rise.  It used to be standard for Alzheimer's as well, which is pretty fucked up... As one of the main justifications for ECT is that it's supposed to erase the memory (presumably, it'll just target the 'bad' ones).  As for it being less painful, the point is still to induce a grand mal seizure, so 'supposedly' is the right word, I think.

A friend of mine (who got ECT for 'gender identity disorder' in the 80s) explained that it's fear and punishment treatment, and told me that his therapist actually referred to it as "a mental spanking."  I got into allying with a psychiatric survivor group a few years back, and in a literature review I worked up for them, found the exact same language used by other people studying ECT.

Her eyes were bright again and she was fidgeting but something still wasn't quite right. It was a different fidget. For one thing it was sporadic, it came and went and it seemed to move through her whole body like a little earthquake before passing.

I got a bit sick reading this part, guessing what was coming.

Brilliant writing, imo.  Frustrating, intimate and precise.  I'm going to send my gentfriend a link to this thread, if you don't mind, Pent.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2010, 08:59:53 pm »
Modern psychiatry hasn't advanced much past the stage of drilling holes in the skull to let the demons escape. Their understanding is far too "black-box" to be useful for anything more than relieving symptoms.
I'm up to my arse in Brexit Numpties, but I want more.  Target-rich environments are the new sexy.
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Octomom Auxillary Heat Exchanger Repairman
walking the fine line line between genius and batshit fucking crazy

"computation is a pattern in the spacetime arrangement of particles, and itís not the particles but the pattern that really matters! Matter doesnít matter." -- Max Tegmark

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2010, 09:03:08 pm »
Good god. This makes me sick. How utterly barbaric.

Pent, I am glad you are sharing.