A FOGGY LIFE
personal true story (by Ezequiel Coutinho)
aims to bring about improvements
in the treatment of the mental diseased people
and end once and for all unnecessary pain
that may affect people
in treatment in mental hospitals.
It also aims to inform
in order to finish
all sort of misconception.
A HISTORIA REAL DE
UM HOMEM QUE PASSA
POR TRES HOSPITAIS PSIQUIATRICOS
E SE DEPARA COM PRECONCEITOS,
DISCRIMINACOES, INDIFERENCA E
METODOS ARCAICOS DE TRATAMENTO.
IN A BIG HOUSEAll that he knows is that he's a being and he's in some enclosed place. Where is he? Is it a dream? It can't be real! Everybody is wearing white. Is he in heaven? There's a man who sits in a large table, a stately table. Is that man God Himself who is there to judge his sins? There are doors in the place, therefore it's a house. When he looks out of the windows he realizes he's in a very big house, a building. But he can access only some rooms and walk in a corridor of about 10 meters. But he thinks he's locked away, for they don't let him go to the doors. He wants to know who he is. He doesn't know anybody there.
But people called him by his name. That reminded him that he had a family. That couldn't be heaven at all. There were nasty people. Anyway he still had the hope that it was a dream. At night he fell out of bed on purpose, as if trying to wake up from the nightmare. There came a memory from his childhood. He used to fell out of bed on purpose in order to escape bad dreams. But that didn't work now. Soon he read on his sheets, PSYCHIATRIC CENTER. He had to give in to reality. He was put away in a nuthouse.
But, anyway, why? What had he done? Maybe he had been a guy with mental disorders throughout all of his life. Maybe his family was hiding that reality from him all his life. If he was mentally ill he didn't know what he used to do. His life had been full madness. Hell! He should have known better! People always said he was crazy! But he thought they didn't mean it. He thought they were kidding.
Therefore everything that he thought he knew was illusion, in his life he had always been wrong. Hell! They had put him away! He didn't know exactly why. But that's clear. He's mad!
People had put him there but they hadn't told him why. He had to find out for himself where he was. And they brought him drugs and told him to take them. He said he didn't have any pain so he wanted to know what were the drugs for. They told him to shut up and take them or they would lose their patience. He didn't want to be beaten, so he obeyed. After all they very violent.
The women were nicer in that place. He realized that the women who wore white were kinder than the men that wore white. The women in white even gave him oatmeals, more than one time, sometimes they even gave him two, three cups at a time. The man in white insulted him all the time. Sometimes those men didn't let him have lunch, or dinner. After some time he learned that he was locked in a mental hospital and that the white dressed people were nurses and doctors and the like. But in the beginning, when he didn't even remember he had a family he thought that the women were there to discipline him, whereas the men were there to punish him, to make him pay for some sin.
TABULA RASAIn the beginning it was chaos and darkness. It's a kind of rebirth. He's in a place. He doesn't even know why he's in there. He's completely confused: he doesn't know his stock, he doesn't know whether he's alive or dead. He doesn't know whether he's male or female. Maybe he's neither one, nor the other. Maybe he's an angel. Or a devil. It's a restart. It's a kind of rebirth, because he's a tabula rasa all over again. Since people talk to him he gets to know his own name. His name is the opening of the great gap of his past...
Since people called him by a name he got to know his family name. And, though he didn't know why he was locked, he had memories of a long time ago. After all, he had little notion of the time. He could hardly tell whether it's ten in the morning or three in the afternoon. He was not allowed to see the sun.
The memories he had were from his childhood, adolescence and the beginning of his adulthood. As if there was a pause in his memory. He couldn't remember recent events. From his name came the other memories. His name gave him an identity. The identity linked him to other people. Some of those people in white questioned him about his family. How many brothers and sisters did he have?
"Do you have a father?" They were trying him. He hesitated, but answered all the questions.
As his relatives came to visit him his memories returned. At first he could hardly speak to them. It was trying, difficult. They gave him memories, for they said, "I'm this, I'm that." or "I did this. I did that."
There was a moment when one of the beautiful girls who worked there started asking about their seizures.
"Why were you hospitalized?", "Why are you here?" The inpatients That were there with him told their cases:
"I beat my mother.", said one, "I broke my whole house down!"
When she turned toward him and asked about his case he just shrugged and said, "I don't know. Could you tell me?"
She smiled and asked, "you don't remember what you did?" He shook his head, wondering what had happened. "When your relatives come visit you ask them about it.", advised she.
Therefore he was anxious for his family to come and tell him his story. The story of his seizure. When his family came the same woman reminded him of asking about his seizure. So he did. One of his brothers told him, "You were very aggressive." The mention of aggressive referred him to another little memory. Well, his left shin was bandaged. A sign of aggression. His aggression? Well, he could remember his throwing himself into something that broke into small pieces of glass and then flowed as water. But his brother was very brief, very concise. He just said, "Stephen, you were very aggressive." Nothing more than that. Therefore he could have done many an aggression, many a violence. It was eating him. He had to know what he had done. Was it serious? The hang-ups piled up.
Later two of the women who worked there talked about him. One of the women was the one who asked about his story.
"So you don't remember how you got here?", when he shook his head she went on, "Do you remember how you got that bruise on your shin?"
"Yes, I do.", answered he.
"Of course", she teased, "it was painful. We always remember the pain. That we can't forget." They grinned ironically. He smirked back. But he knew he didn't remind of any pain. Because the physical pain can't be compared to psychic pain. He didn't remind of pain on his shin, however he did remember the pain inside his head. The real pain.
MEMORIES IN THE MEMORIESAt first he couldn't even remember the time they carried him about the hospital, when they had caught him and were taking him for treatment. Somehow those close memories had been erased. Those memories from a short time ago began to take shape when his brother Hezekiah said, "you were very aggressive." But those were isolated memories. Memories apart. "Aggressive" called to mind that moment. He was being taken to a stretcher. He was completely tied. His clothes were full of blood. Then his worst fears crossed his mind. He must have committed some violence. Maybe he'd killed somebody. Otherwise why would he be tied like a beast and carried like a sack of potatoes?
He had always been an excellent fighter. he had notions of Kung Fu, Ju Jitsu, Karate, techniques of Ninjas... He could easily kill a person. All of his life he had feared that someday he might lose control.
"Put him there", said one of the men. They threw him onto the stretcher with no care. As usual, there was a pause in his memories. Next thing he remembered was when he felt a little pang on his left shin. He didn't know what was happening, therefore he started moving his legs up and down, so that the pain and discomfort went away. Then he saw the man in white (this time he didn't have memories, but his mind wasn't confused and he knew for sure it might be a doctor or a nurse). The nurse frowned and grumbled to a firefighter that was by his side, "you see?" The firefighter got the message and started shouting with extreme violence, "Down with your legs! Come on! Down with your legs!" Stephen didn't want to be beaten, then he lay his legs.
At a certain moment the man in white demanded, "Come on! Say what you have done! Quickly!" All he could say was, "I don't know... I don't remember!" in a very feeble voice. Then his brother said, "he can't remember. He took the injection just now."
Later he asked again, "Where am I?"
"You're in the right place.", answered one of the man in white. This time, gently. That was an indirect answer, so Stephen tried again, "Is it an asylum?"
"It's a hospital", answered the man, as if he was teaching Latin in high school.
"Hospital.", echoed Stephen in a Spanish accent, to which the man said, as if he was a teacher, "Is that the correct way of speaking? Speak correctly. Come on. Hos-pi-tal."
"Hospital.", repeated Stephen, now correctly.
EMERGENCY!Psychiatric Center D. Pedro II. An asylum located in a tranquil neighborhood called Engenho de Dentro. Nobody had told Stephen those things. He read them on the covers. Now his mind drifted back to some breakfast tables. He could hardly see things. He saw everything in a very strong, pale white. He couldn't distinguish, define anything. Of that moment he could remember no face at all. All he could remember were voices. Violent, aggressive, voices. screaming all the time. But the screaming came, specially, from the people who worked there.
That was the beginning of the confusion. He couldn't see clearly, the staff shouted at the inpatients, all the time. They shouted, "You sit here, hell!"
"You mustn't take that!"
"Eat quickly, come on!"
He and his companions were being taken for breakfast. He couldn't see right, he hardly could stay upright. He felt as if his mind was leaving his body. And the voices were shrieking. At that moment he still had some reason left. He still could talk, but people there didn't believe that. They treated him as an irrational, inferior creature. Him and his companions. If he went in one direction they screamed, "Stop! You can't go there!" He didn't know where he was, he was shooed all the time, he had trouble seeing things... Because all that he started giving way to illusions. After all, nobody told him what was happening, therefore he started to cook up his own story in his mind. Was he dead, in a limbo, maybe?
Later he learned that was the emergency of the "hospital".
TWIN BROTHERSNobody wanted to talk to him, therefore he assumed it was because of the language. People didn't speak to him in Portuguese there, so he thought that maybe he should change languages. The people in white passed by him and ignored him. Ignorance and indifference made the confusion grow more and more. Therefore he began to speak in English.
He didn't even take notice of the moment he was taken from the emergency of the hospital to another wing. The confusion in his mind grew and grew incessantly. There was a guy there that spoke to him. He spoke with difficulty, therefore Stephen could hardly understand: "Ve'll be dransferred!"
He was always calling Stephen's attention to the windows, where they could see ambulances coming and going. The guy was always saying to Stephen, "Ve'll be dransferred!" Stephen told him he could not understand. In spite of Stephen's growing delirium the guy insisted so much that Stephen understood that he was trying to say, "We'll be transferred!"
At that moment Stephen was trying to build some explanation that wasn't given by any of the white people there. So he fantasized that he was in Heaven, surrounded by angels in white, superior people, perfumed people who didn't talk to sinners like him, maybe he was in a maternity ward and he was the spirit of a baby who was about to be born. Many convenient, pleasant, options. Palliatives.
In a place where nobody talked to him, nobody considered him human, the guy did. The guy almost brought him to reality when he said, "We've gotta talk to so-and-so about our transfer." The guy took him to a certain door and said, "We've gotta wait for so-and-so." The guy paced before the door impatiently, and Stephen did the same, mimicking him. Both of them with their hands behind their backs. But they never got to talk to nobody. The people in white ignored them. they talked but to one another.
Stephen thought, "This guy speaks indistinctly. Maybe he's from another country. Maybe he's trying to speak Portuguese. But maybe I'm from his country! That's why the people in white don't speak to us!" So he started to speak in English to the guy. The guy giggled, smiled and tried to cut it.
All the time he led Stephen to the windows, to see the ambulances, coming and going. When the guy said, "We'll be transferred", Stephen thought, "Will we be born? Will we be transferred to a world of level people? A world where everybody talked to everyone without differences?"
One day the guy tried to drag Stephen with him, by saying, again, "We'll be transferred, now!", but Stephen refused to follow him. No matter what happened, he didn't get to see the guy there anymore.
ADONIS: THE GAY GODIn the first confusing days of Stephen in the Psychiatric Center D. Pedro II, when he noticed he was surrounded by white people, his creative imagination made him think they were doctors from God, heavenly doctors. So he thought they would cleanse him. Purify him. He thought they would treat his teeth. He thought his body would be completely purified. When he noticed that he was constipated he thought right away, "they made me so perfect that now I don't defecate anymore. Now I'm a saint. Saints don't defecate."
First he was in the emergency. One day, maybe. Then he went to another place. And now he was in the last place of his stay in the Psychiatric Center.
He was confused. Confused about many things. When he got there he found himself surrounded by women. They looked at him with great interest and curiosity. In his opinion, they were old women, spinsters. They said things to him, but he couldn't fully understand. He was confused about the language. At a time one of them, maybe the pregnant one, asked him, "Are you gay?"
"Yes, I am.", he answered. for in his mind "gay" meant, "someone from another country", and everything was so strange that maybe he was from another country.
In another moment a guy who identified himself as a psychologist trainee asked him about the voices. What did the voices say? But he heard no voice! He told that to the psychologist, who was puzzled at it. And the psychologist wanted to know what made him do the things he did. He asked if there was a kind of impulse. The man had a nice smell and a beautiful neck, just like the other beautiful girl who had talked to him. It was so good that he felt like biting her neck. And the guy gave him the same sensation, so he told him, "Sometimes I feel like biting people. You, for example, I would like to bite you."
"But why do you want to hurt people biting them? Why so?"
Stephen was amazed at that, for he didn't want to hurt anyone. That would be only for pleasure.
For him sexual lust was to no blame. After all, there are gods that inspire sex. Gods such as Eros, the very god of love, who reminds us of sex. What about Adonis? The beauty of the god was somewhat effeminate, which won the love of Venus, the goddess of love! Indeed, sex is alive and kicking in the world of the gods! Stephen borrowed Sidney's paper and watched the girls that were pictured in papers. There was a room in the Psychiatric Center in which many magazines and papers could be found. Sometimes he saw beautiful girls in the magazines and he took the pages with them and went to the bathroom in order to masturbate.
LACK OF AFFECTIONOnce Alice asked for a kiss. He gave her a peck on the cheek and she complained, "Kiss me in the mouth, like adult people do." Stephen proceeded to do just that. They kept that habit of mouth-kissing for a few days and then Stephen found himself in love with Catarina.
The other day Stephen talked with Dolores and a black girl who worked there. Dolores asked him about his mental condition and finally she said, "There's nothing wrong with you. Do you have a girlfriend?"
When he answered that he didn't she went on, "That's the reason. Your problem is lack of affection.", diagnosed she, "You gotta get yourself a girlfriend."
Then he immediately looked at the black girl, who was very beautiful, and asked, "Do you wanna be my girlfriend?"
She answered, a little surprised, "No!"
Dona Dolores laughed and said, "You gotta find a girlfriend outside when you're discharged. Not here."
One day he was late for the medication of the night and he was summoned by the female nurse. He was confused by the strange treatment he got (nice from the women and rude from the men). On account of that he was always asking himself, "Who am I?"
Therefore he created a way of address to that moment, so he said to the female nurse, "God Stephen is here!" the nurse smiled and said, "Don't say that my dear, for it delays your discharge..."
THE APPLE OF THE WITCH
One day Stephen's mother came to visit him at the Psychiatric Center. She brought him something. Since the visiting hours were always after lunch he started eating apples as a dessert. He ate three apples or so. John the Baptist, who had the bad reputation of asking things from other inpatients' families, asked for an apple, which he promptly got. The visiting hours finished, his mother went away and the night came, supper time. He was eating that delicious food, tasting all that he could. (it was a lot of food, one person could hardly eat all that!) But, all of a sudden, his tongue didn't respond when he was eating some meat. His tongue seemed to be alive. It was waving out of control, just like a snake!
John the Baptist and other patients saw his agony and cried for help. At a moment his tongue could not be controlled by him, at all. Soon came a man in white (a nurse, certainly) and Stephen said, beseechingly, with a great effort, "Help me, doctor!" The man carried along a syringe. Stephen thought he was going to give an injection in his tongue, but fortunately it was in the arm. The man wouldn't talk to him. Wouldn't explain what had happened. Stephen had to throw away all the food, because the medication didn't work right away and he couldn't eat. Stephen tried to ask the man what was wrong with him, but the man treated him as if he was irrational.
"Don't follow me!", said the professional, trying not to be harsh, but being harsh, because Stephen wasn't irrational. He could understand what was going on, up to a certain extent. The professional didn't tell Stephen about his condition, but one of the inpatients told Stephen, "You were impregnated."Stephen had never heard the term before. The diagnosis was given by one of Stephen's companions. And, later on, Stephen found out it was accurate, correct.
John the Baptist said to Stephen, "That was the apples that that woman gave to you. I went ill too. I think she's a witch."
"Hey! That was my mother! Don't stretch it!..."
After that Stephen had a strange kind of trauma. Dread of apples. He could eat apples no more! Two years later or so he found out for sure that impregnation was caused by overdose of psychiatric drugs. Only then he gathered up courage to eat apple again.
TAKING A STOCK OF EVERYTHINGBy the time Stephen was leaving the Psychiatric Center D. Pedro II he considered everything that he had lived there. He thought it over. He remembered that when he got there he wasn't having hallucinations. Then he wondered if it was the effect of the drugs. After all, the more they gave him drugs, the more confused he got. Had the drugs the power to make him forget? He couldn't remember his first seizure clearly. He could only remember some parts of it, like flashes.
"I wonder if the psychiatric drugs got to make the mentally ill people forget what they did in order to make the recovery easier." He thought.
But what about the bad treatment? Why did most of the people working in and for the hospital had to shout at people? Tie people? Weren't firemen supposed to fight fire and protect the civilians? Why were they attacking mentally ill people? Up to that moment he had admired firemen. He tried to keep his admiration for those professionals. He had to admit that his psychiatrist, the nutritionist, the psychologists and the trainees had a different behavior. They were superficial, but they tried to be kind. Their kindness was splashed with fear. And they seemed to think that mentally ill people couldn't understand things clearly. They seemed to think people with mental disorders couldn't discern. In spite of all that, they weren't aggressive like the nurses and the firemen, for instance.
Then, in his mind, Stephen tried to excuse the nurses and the firemen this way, "Well, they don't have higher education like the psychiatrists, the nutritionists and psychologists. Surely a fireman is instructed to be rude, macho. Firemen and nurses don't have higher education, or else they would have good manners. Some of them probably don't even have taken Elementary School." After all, Stephen hadn't completed Elementary School and had much more etiquette than they...
And what could he say about the medication? They gave him medication, but they never explained to him what was that for. As if it was a secret. He felt different, weird. Firstly he could hardly see. Everything was too white. There was a lady, psychologist, maybe, who spoke to him. He could hardly define her face. But she was so beautiful that he took great pains just to see her face. And he had to praise her beauty. Were his eye problems side effects of the psychiatric drugs? The doctors wouldn't tell. The main problem was: up to the present day he is not sure if the lady that spoke to him was for real or just hallucination.
What about the rapist and the deaf guy? Were they for real or just hallucination? His condition had been confused and strange. And the doctors gave the impression that they wouldn't throw any light on it. Again, were the problems in his sight caused by the drugs they gave to him there? That was scary. He was a twenty-two-year-old guy, but he felt as if he was sixty years older. He got no kicks from the things he used to like to do. He asked his brother for comic books, for he couldn't get much pleasure from a crime story book that he had asked before. His sight was pretty bad, he couldn't see right, he could hardly read. He couldn't help thinking he would need glasses, this time it was essential. Food and sleep (at night only) were his only pleasures.
Why the professionals of that hospital didn't take their patients seriously? At a time Stephen kept taking off the bandages someone had put on his shin. And there was a bald guy that was always shouting at him on account of that. Maybe he couldn't see that Stephen didn't remember the moment he was hurt, and was trying to find out what was going on. When Stephen got rid of the bandage he could see the injury, he could see the stitches. The guy said that he had put the bandages himself, but later Stephen remembered that the bandage was put in another place.
The bald guy was always there, sometimes smiling at Stephen, sometimes shouting.
The bald guy shouted, "Go to bed. You keep messing things! If you don't have nothing good to do, just go sleep!" And that reminded Stephen of the way people told the dogs to go sleep when they were bothering. But he seemed concerned about the injury and checked it with great care. At a time he gave Polvidine to Stephen and told him to shower himself and wash the injury with the substance, which the guy said that was soap and medication at the same time. at that time Stephen didn't know Polvidine. He felt that he was being bamboozled by the bald guy, but he obeyed. Later, when he could see things without all the confusion of the beginning, he couldn't find the bald guy there anymore. If wondered if such a guy had really existed. Maybe he was a ghost. Or a hallucination. He couldn't be sure. Stephen was sure of just one thing: whether that guy was a real person, whether he was a ghost or a hallucination, he was surely trying to bamboozle Stephen. Yeah. Trying to confuse Stephen. That's for sure!
NOTE: When Stephen left the Psychiatric Center D. Pedro II he realized that his reflexes were affected, and what people said came to his brains a little bit delayed. Of course, that was one more reason for people not to shout at him!...
ON THE WAY HOMENow there was he: happily leaving that prison! Stephen stayed in the Psychiatric Center for eleven days. An eternity. Now he could see that place from a better angle: on the way out! Just like he had thought. The Psychiatric Center was a little town inside the neighborhood Engenho de Dentro. Inside the tall fence of the Psychiatric Center D. Pedro II many buildings could be seen, plus houses in the back, streets, pharmacies (of course!), squares, car entrance and a yard for cars to be parked in, a kind of parking lot. All of the buildings were for the different inpatients of the hospital. Some inpatients could walk freely (without supervision) in the streets of the Psychiatric Center. Stephen himself had remained most of the time limited by the walls of his infirmary. They had let him out of the building twice. First they had taken him, Stephen,
and some companions for a walk... Within the fence of the Psychiatric Center, of course! At that moment he walked with Dolores, John the Baptist, Catarina and other companions. They were in the streets of the Psychiatric Center, but... Under strict surveillance! They had to be close together, they couldn't go to far... And it was curious, for they were very, very far from the possibility of getting lost!...
Some companions of Stephen's had left the Psychiatric Center first. Sidney, for example. The female nurse even said that they had been unfair to him for forgetting about his discharge. That happened because Sidney was too quiet, resigned, perhaps. And John the Baptist's girlfriend had left a few days before too. And that, of course, caused Stephen to request his discharge with much more energy. The nurses were very aggressive when Stephen asked about his discharge. As usual. But the psychologist gave him hope, behaving with much more humanity.
The second time he had the opportunity of going out of the building and into the streets of the Psychiatric Center was to have a haircut. He was accompanied by Marcia and by the two girls that had talked to him in the past, the ones that asked about the injury on his shin. Yes. They had a Barber's shop right in the premises of the psychiatric Center.
Then he finally left that damn place! Freedom! He would have to go to a kind of meeting there a few days later. And he went. It was the Via de Egresso. there he heard mentally ill people speaking of their cases for the first time. And there were people with mental disorders in his family however. But they had never talked about it. He knew that one uncle had serious mental disorders and was in and out of the mental hospitals continuously. But when he left the Psychiatric Center he got to know about many other cases!
One aunt, the grandma, a sister-in-law, a cousin, another uncle and even a sister!... How was it possible? They simply had never talked about those cases. Why? A-ha! They were ashamed of it! People don't say, "I'm mentally ill", rather they say, "I have nerve disorder."
It's less shocking, it's less humiliating. He already knew about the case of his uncle Cry-Baby just because it was very evident. The poor bearded man had frequent seizures. Often he was on the streets speaking like a politician or maybe a backbiter. Always complaining. ALL THE NEIGHBORHOOD KNEW ABOUT HIS MADNESS!!! The madness of his uncle just couldn't be hidden.
Well, in the Via de Egresso people spoke about their madness. The relatives always spoke more than the patients. One military man said that he had stayed out of psychiatric Institutions for fifteen or so. He had relapsed this time, but he was confident for the future. There was a patient that walked with a crutch. Her relative talked about her constant seizures. Would he have constant seizures? Would he suffer worse injuries? He, and his mother spoke little. Almost nothing. (His brother Zacchaeus was there too, and didn't speak either.)
WELL BEFORE THE FIRST GREAT SEIZURE...When Stephen returned to his house in the neighborhood Guadalupe, in the city Rio de Janeiro, He felt like he was from another planet. Mars, maybe? No. Mars is the planet of war. He prefers Venus, the planet of love. He was taken by surprise when he saw the glass of the door of his house, broken on the lower part. he couldn't help thinking that he had done it. He could scarcely remember the glass breaking, but he couldn't remember details. He didn't know it was the front door. Or a door at all. He asked one of his brothers about it and got the answer to a question whose answer he knew for sure, but was afraid of facing it. He saw traces of blood all over the place. His blood. He had broken that glass. As he got into the house, memories came. Days before. Well before his first great seizure.
All he wanted from life was simplicity. Stephen was a guy that was always falling in love with everything. Different from most people, he thought that health was more important than appearances. Therefore he worked out, avoiding exercise at night, for he knew that could take away sleep, and he thought that sleep is essential to life. At a time he fell in love with German and English. For this he changed his whole life. He moved out from his childhood house, a house that he had for himself. He moved out into another house, just to learn languages more easily. One could say that he gave his house to get knowledge. He was exchanging the love he had for his house for a greater love: the German language, the language of Adolf Hitler. He fell in love head over heel with German. It was fascinating!
Soon enough he grew interested in other languages, namely Spanish and finally French. Much later he became interested in Italian simply because an Australian girl to whom he talked told him she just could speak her mother tongue (English) and Italian, which he didn't speak at all... up to that moment. In the beginning English was just an amusing pastime. The language he was really studying was German. In the beginning it a very basic, rudimentary English and he spoke sporadically. But his brothers seemed to be jealous. Jealousy and envy began when they saw he was taking his studies seriously. One of them was always trying to find fault with his pronunciation in an envious way. The other said, "Now you're important. You're speaking English and everything..."
All he could say was that each one of the people on earth speaks, at least, one language. Language is commonplace, said Stephen. Everyone speaks. It's no sign of importance. His sister didn't believe that he could speak English well without paying a lot of money.
But, apart from his brothers-german and sister-german, many other people showed the same disbelief and envy. His ex-classmates, now many grades ahead of him (he had left school in the seventh grade, Elementary School), gaped in increasing disbelief, his work-mates derided and insulted him, for they couldn't believe. All that because of English, for even when he spoke German they thought it was English. So he thought he had better not let them know about German and the other languages!... That would spare him a lot of trouble! That would protect him of a lot of envy!
He was amazed at some poor people, who were full of vain ambitions and pretended to be humble. They would suggest that his earnest passion for English (they didn't know about the other languages, which made him really talk to foreign people was the action of a show-off.
"Poor people. They don't know what passion is all about!" Thought Stephen.
Passion moved his life. That's why he didn't care about rank and saw no importance in money. Passion was the fuel. Speaking of which there was a girl who worked with him. She was the most beautiful girl that he ever knew...
THE BRIDE OF COPACABANAIn Stephen's mind Carmelin was the sexiest girl he ever knew. (There was a cousin of Stephen's that Stephen considered sexier than Carmelin, but cousin doesn't count!) He got to know that girl when he started working in the drugstore of mister Ferdinand's. Mister Ferdinand's drugstore was in Copacabana, Rio. Carmelin was born and raised there, in Copacabana. Stephen and Carmelin were very young when they met each other for the first time. She was fourteen years old and he was one year her junior. In the beginning she seemed to be cold, indifferent and, somewhat, sulky. But as time went by and they became intimate she proved to be a warm, passionate girl. She had been dating the same guy seven years or so, therefore they wound up getting engaged. Stephen did not regret it. After all, he didn't want to get married, ever. And although she was engaged she felt the same way he did. She always said she wanted no marriage...
PASSIONS VERSUS PAINSThen one day Stephen went for a visit to his friends at Mr. Oswald's pharmacy. Much to his surprise the pharmacy had gone bankrupt. All of its employees went to other pharmacies. At a time Mr. Ferdinand had three pharmacies in partnership with Mr. Oswald. Two pharmacies in Copacabana and one in the center of town. Then the pharmacy under the command of Mr. Oswald failed. On account of that Mary went to the center of town's pharmacy while Carmelin should return to the remaining pharmacy in Copacabana in which she worked before. The other companions were torn apart the same way. Stephen had last talked to Carmelin in the pharmacy that failed. He went to the oldest pharmacy talked to people there, but he didn't want to let that strong feeling show, after all, she was a bride. People could misread him. Therefore he didn't ask about her that time.
But a few days later he couldn't resist anymore and he asked about her. Mr. Ferdinand was taken by surprise. His face changed. His eyes went red and he said, "She's dead."
But how could Stephen believe it? She was healthy. She didn't smoke, she exercised, ate right... she could not have fallen ill, for she definitely had healthy habits. Therefore Stephen wanted to know from Mr. Ferdinand how she had died.
"She got killed in a robbery." Impossible, improbable. She was bright. She would never act rashly in an armed robbery. She would never argue or fight against a thief. Stephen knew that for sure, for he had been in a bank robbery situation with her.
They were making a deposit with Mr. Oswald. In a bank in Nossa Senhora Copacabana Street. Close to Djalma Ulrich Street. They had to go to the second floor to give the money to the manager. While they waited upstairs they couldn't know what was going on downstairs. Then there was a sort of disturbance. An employee of the bank whispered something to Mr. Oswald, which made him very agitated.
He whispered now to Carmelin, "There's a robbery going on in the bank."
Mr. Oswald as well as Carmelin and Stephen were carrying packets with the profit of the pharmacy. Then he took the money from Carmelin and, turned to Stephen and said, "Put all the money in your personal bag and be discreet and they won't think that you're carrying a lot of money. If we give it to the manager now the robber might take it away."
Of course. Stephen was black, wore ragged clothes. No thief on earth would ever think he was carrying such a large amount of money with him. Stephen used to carry his bag along wherever he went, for he was always bringing books along with him, which he read while he was to wait.
In tension Stephen waited for the robbers to come upstairs. Soon a dark armed man came giving off a great show of bravado. He span the gun round his finger and gave orders menacingly. Strangely enough Carmelin showed calm countenance. She was easy, not worried at all. In fact, she was the most calm person around. Well, everything worked out well. The bank robbery failed and nobody got hurt. Everything wound up swell. Or almost swell. For one of the robbers was shot and probably died (the loss of human life is never good)
From what Stephen saw of Carmelin he was sure she wouldn't give reasons to a robber to kill her. It was too shocking, so he went home to cry. Yes to cry. When his old dad died he felt no urge to cry. When his uncle cry-baby suspiciously died in a mental institution Stephen was deeply revolted, but no tear was shed. Even when his childhood friend Fabio drowned in the pool no sadness was aroused in him as to make him cry. Perhaps the stupid killing of Carmelin was something different. Maybe he loved that girl more than he loved his own father and uncle. The fact is, he cried non-stop for a long time.
"I'M OK, I'M ALL RIGHT..."Stephen was put away in the mental institution on May 26th in the year 1999 and he was released on June 7th, 1999. Stephen felt strange. Really strange. He couldn't see the enjoyment of life. He couldn't get pleasure from the things he used to love. And he was already feeling this way back when he was in the mental institution. When his mother visited him one day she asked if he was OK and he replied, "I'm all right, but I'm a little sleepy." His mother said, "It's because of the medication. It makes you feel this way."
The people of the mental institution insisted on saying that the treatment would bring incredible results if all the medications were taken correctly. They insisted that a person under treatment could lead a perfectly normal life. So Stephen trusted in the statements of the professionals of the mental institution and he kept saying to everybody, "I'm OK, I'm all right."
Unconsciously he really meant to say, "I'm not hurting people the way they told me I did. You can come closer now." Because mentally he was feeling pretty bad. He could get no kicks out of work-out sessions, nor from reading and studying, things he used to love. Was that normal life?
The only pleasures for him were food, watching television and sleeping, but he could sleep only at night. And he had trouble masticating the food, for the movements of his mouth, as well as all his body, were pretty slow, sluggish.
When he urinated he noticed that he had to wait for some seconds, almost a minute, for the urine to start to come out. He masturbated every now and then, and he noticed that he had to wait for some time to get a full erection too. Normal?
THE FOOL ON THE PILLStephen was trying to remember what he had done in his seizure. He was trying to find sense in what people said he did.
"Why have I hit you?" Asked Stephen to his brother Hezekiah.
"I don't know!" Answered Hezekiah, "I had agreed with something you said and out of the blue you started beating me."
And Stephen chuckled and said, "Out of the blue? Surely there's an explanation. Why would I do that?"
And Stephen kept on asking, "What did I say in the seizure?"
And Hezekiah simply said, "Nonsense, meaninglessness. You didn't know what you were saying. It was full madness."
When Stephen questioned his brother-in-law about it, he said, "Why do you want to remember that, Stephen? It's past. Forget about it, man."
His brother Hezekiah, his sister and his brother-in-law had witnessed the seizure. Stephen wondered why they were so reluctant to talk about it. As his memories came he started understanding why. He had attempted to kiss his brother. That was one of the first memories. On account of that he tried to relive what happened in his mind.
"I think I remember how was it," said he to his brother, "I tried to kiss you and then I tried to kiss our sister and then our brother-in-law!"
"No. you didn't try to kiss our sister and our brother-in-law."
Since he couldn't understand what had urged him to kiss his own brother he considered that it might have been a demon that had taken him. Then he started going to a protestant temple. maybe the priests could help to heal him from all his dismay. Maybe God could bring back his love for life. Maybe. He thought that he had bizarre thoughts on sex. He had more than thirty magazines on lesbian love. He threw them all away.
It had always been easier for him to learn by himself, but people seemed to think it was impossible to learn alone. After his seizure he began to agree with everyone and started to think that it was impossible to learn by oneself and that he was obsessed when he thought he could learn without a teacher. But almost everything he knew he had learned by himself... that meant that his life was full of delusions and obsessions.That meant that he was too conceited. he thought he knew different subjects, but in fact he didn't know anything. Mental illness had made him believe that he knew, but he didn't.
Before his psychiatric seizure Stephen wouldn't let people know he spoke other languages than English and Portuguese (as French, Spanish, German). And he would never mention that he had deduced the pronunciation of many languages even without hearing a word of them and without the slightest hint on how those languages should be pronounced. He wouldn't say a thing about it, because he had learned through reading books on psychology to know what kind of reaction he should expect from people. He believed that people always believed that it is impossible to learn by oneself. Let alone deduce how an unknown language should be pronounced! If he let them know it they would say that he was too proud, conceited. A foolish know-it-all!!
But after his psychiatric seizure he could see the truth. Stephen was pretentious. A pretentious paranoid. A mentally unstable person who believed he could talk to foreign people (the gringos) from all over the world. When he talked to an Englishman, for example, his work companions clucked over his pretentious moods. One of his companions even tried to communicate with the Englishman through gestures.
"Ignore him! He's crazy!"
Before his seizure Stephen thought they were people limited by misconceptions, and in his troubled mind he found it strange that people wouldn't believe one could learn by oneself. Sickly he thought, "If one can think alone, one can learn alone."
But after his psychiatric seizure he could clearly see that he was a sick man, a pretentious show-off. People pitied him, for all his acquaintances knew he had always been mentally unstable. he never felt that he was showing off all the time. Quite the contrary. He believed that he didn't want to expose himself. But after his psychiatric seizure he had to admit that a proud person like him usually doesn't realize how sick and pretentious his personality is, and can only see the truth under appropriate treatment.
THE LAST TO KNOWHis brother Zacchaeus said to Stephen he shouldn't have studied so much.
"Too much study leads to insanity." Said Zacchaeus.
Hezekiah said that Stephen should go to the parties and really enjoy life. "Before the seizures you never went to the parties, you never did the things everyone does." Stephen was always trying to find a reasonable explanation to his lack of interest in life, lack of interest in the things he used to love. He was twenty-two years old. Well, people always spoke about the changes that comes when one gets old. He was getting old. That would explain why exercising gave him no pleasure. And working out was even more difficult on account of the injury on his shin. But he tried and tried, time and again.
"I can get no fun in reading and studying languages like I did in the past," said Stephen to Hezekiah, "Do you think I read and studied obsessively and that's why I don't seem to enjoy it now that the obsession is gone?"
"Well, maybe." Replied his brother Hezekiah. Stephen wasn't really worried about anything and he had no reason to be depressed, but yet he could see no motivation to do the things he once loved. He wanted to do the things, but when he got to it he could see no excitement.
In spite of the injury on his shin he was physically all right. Sure there were the physiological problems. He drooled all the time, he had trouble evacuating, his eyes couldn't bear bright lights, he had trouble urinating and to have an erection too (as mentioned above). He could do all the body movements, but apparently his reflexes were compromised. His body was somewhat rigid, but he believed it was imperceptible. but his siblings helped him crossing the street. They aided him in the simplest things such as getting up and putting on a shirt.
When his mother and he went to the ophthalmologist she asked his mother, "Does he have stomach problems?"
According to his mother the ophthalmologist asked that on account of his breath. Stephen noticed that she talked to his mother as if he wasn't there and when she gave him directions for his eyes examination she shouted at him as if he couldn't hear. And he really noticed that it took some time for words spoken to come to his perception.
His sister once commented, "That's funny. Stephen walks like a robot. His body is rigid. The inpatients in the hospital walked just like he walks. It must be a side effect of the medication for mental illness."
Stephen wanted to believe that he wasn't so bad, but he had to face the facts. Even when he tried to study he had a headache...
YIN YANGNow Stephen's mother tried to make up for the time she had stayed away from her son. She accompanied him to the church and everything. But when he wanted to take showers she instructed him to leave the door unlocked. Stephen didn't like it, but obeyed, because he knew that his mother might be worried about his well-being. What was she afraid of?
Once his sister talked to his mother and to him about his mental conditions.
"He had been acting strangely for quite some time. I think that the person goes crazy before the manifestation of the seizure." Said she, "Days before he had stayed in the bathroom for such a long time that I got to knock at the door and asked him if he was all right."
And she finally asked Stephen, "What were you doing there for such a long time?"
Stephen wouldn't answer that question. He wouldn't dare out of shame. For he was masturbating in the middle of delusions of grandeur. He masturbated non-stop for a long, long time, for sex is a sign of force, strength, power!
And Stephen faced himself in the bathroom's mirror and grinned sickly. And in his madness he felt that he was standing on a line between good and evil. Good needed evil and evil needed good. But there should be balance. If good was in excess there should be no force, but if evil was in excess there would be madness and lack of control. Balance between good and evil was the way to have the right level of power!! Just like in Yin Yang, balance was necessary for perfection, and a mistake might be fatal. Power to defeat death and bring back his dear friend that had been murdered.
EUREKA!When Stephen was lying in the mental hospital bed completely confused he looked at the doctor and at his brother Hezekiah. It was shocking that the doctor talked to his brother, but... Ignored him completely! Now, out of the hospital, Stephen questioned his brother.
"My brother, why did you say to the doctor that I talked to myself? You know that I've always talked to myself to study languages."
His brother was disconcerted and said, "But right before your psychiatric seizure it was different. You acted sometimes as if there was nobody around and said strange things such as, 'I found it!', and in other times you acted normally."
Yes. Stephen talked to himself in order to acquire fluency in languages. He never gave a damn what people thought about him. He grew up reading comic books in the middle of street and he laughed and giggled without any embarrassment when he saw something funny in it. People said to him, "Are you crazy? Are you laughing to yourself?"
And he said, "I'm laughing at the comic book."
People said, "You crazy. Nobody laughs alone."
Stephen wondered, "I don't understand. They don't see the fun of the joke when they're alone? That's strange. I won't be able to do that!"
DEFENSELESSStephen was afraid of himself because he thought he might have a seizure and hurt people. At the same time he couldn't trust his physical capacities to fend for himself. He had found out from his brother Hezekiah that he was aggressive and that two firemen had a lot of trouble to tie him down.
"But two men cannot tie one man down." Said he accordingly to his martial knowledge.
"But it can be done with the right moves." Argued his brother.
And they had said that he had kicked the door. That's very aggressive! He was aggressive in his madness, but defenseless. His relatives had said that he had tried to resist the firemen. But he couldn't help thinking that it would be impossible for two firemen to catch him if he hadn't let them. And if he was aggressive, much less. Martial arts can be very harmful. If they caught him and his martial art it meant that his martial art wouldn't protect (defend) him in a moment of danger. He was defenseless.
On account of that the following happened. One night Stephen was sleeping on the sofa of the living-room when someone approached in the darkness. That someone stopped. He couldn't identify who was it. It could be anyone. And this time he was afraid of men, of devils and of ghosts too. Finally he was a complete coward. Defenseless in the sofa. He kind of whimpered. Then the person got closer.
"Calm down, calm down..." It was his brother Hezekiah who lulled him like one lulls a baby.
But he was defenseless specially because the psychiatric drugs left him sluggish. Completely sluggish. Coming to the conclusion that those drugs were hard on him he complained about it to his brother Hezekiah.
"These drugs make me feel old. I can't eat right, my mouth is always full of saliva. I drool all the time and I can hardly speak!
"Just have a little bit of patience."
But Stephen said, "You have no idea how I'm feeling. It's as if I were living in a black and white TV. It's as if I wasn't living, but vegetating."
In the beginning he used to kid about his own condition. As time went by he pleaded with his family, more and more.
But his brother said, "Don't you worry. You'll get used to the medication and will feel better. Just wait patiently." And Stephen waited. And waited. And waited, but he just got worse.
"My brother, it's unbearable! I can't take it. It must be worse than death. I've been waiting for improvement, but it never gets better!" Complained Stephen.
"Well, we took you out of the hospital. At least it must be better among your relatives." Replied his brother Hezekiah.
"It should be. I thought it would be. There's no pleasure in my life." Said Stephen.
In fact, the family was important. He needed someone to talk to, therefore he waited for each member of his family in every tedious day.
"And you see the prescription? It says, 'Don't stop taking the medication. Even if there are some complaints.'"
MARRY MARY... BOW YOUR HEAD (HUMILIATING WAY)Stephen couldn't masticate because the movements of his mouth wouldn't follow his brains. He wanted to masticate quickly, but his mouth moved really slow. On account of that he had trouble eating solid food. He couldn't eat rice, nor meat, for instance. The only way to eat food that was hard to chew was by swallowing. And he had been taught that it's important to masticate the food. It's important to break the food with the teeth in order to have a good digestion. And when he complained about it his sister volunteered to prepare mashed potatoes for him to eat. It was edible and tasty.
Stephen's sister said to him once, "When you were in the hospital you were so sick that you said you wanted to marry Mary." She laughed. "Would you really do that?"
Stephen wouldn't answer that. He knew he wasn't crazy when he said he would marry his work companion Mary. She was beautiful and sexy. What's the problem if he married her? What he said about Mary wasn't even an impulse. there was a reason. People had told him that he had gone insane because he hadn't had a sexual partner. Therefore he considered that he had lost his mind because he had never done what people advised him.
And Stephen had decided to tell people things he hadn't had the courage to tell before. And he had read comic books, as well as movies, soap operas and many works of fiction in which mentally diseased people were considered dangerous, false, phony. In fiction all the villains had some psychiatric trouble. Therefore Stephen had concluded that he should say all that was in his mind (for in his madness he might talk too much anyway). That would help recover from his illness. He concluded that madness had come to him as a punishment.
On account of that when he met Mr. Ferdinand who had fired him a short time before his psychiatric seizure he humbly said, "You were right all the time and I was always wrong, Mr. Ferdinand."
And because of that he would do what he would have never done in other circumstances. He asked his job back - before the psychiatric seizure he would never have asked for his job, for he thought that was humiliation to beg for a job. But now he thought that humiliation would be good to his health.
Stephen had gone to Copacabana to get some glasses. He had concluded that he couldn't see right. Then his mother took him there and he asked her to drop by in the pharmacy of Mr. Ferdinand's (who wound up paying for the glasses) that was near.
"Shortsightedness is a symptom of mental illness." Said she to Stephen.
Later on Stephen concluded that the glasses hadn't helped him much. His sight was kind of blurred, but the glasses wouldn't help him. And later he would find out that it was side effect of the psychiatric drugs.
DISCRIMINATION AND OBLIVIONIt's funny that some mentally diseased people aren't so aggressive as Stephen." That's what Stephen's sister said once.
"Uncle Cry-baby, for instance, when he was ill he just talked too much, and didn't hurt anyone," concluded she.
That did hurt Stephen. His relatives kept saying over and over again that he hit his brother, but they never said that Stephen cried, "I love you" repeatedly at the top of his lungs. Stephen himself had to mention it. And Stephen had to remind them of the moment he attempted to kiss his brother, because they only spoke of how aggressive he was and that he said meaningless things, foolish things (such as 'I love you'?) But they completely omitted Stephen's strange sexual behavior at that time of psychiatric seizure.
Zacchaeus was always by Stephen's side following him around and taking him to places. Stephen noticed that he was always close by helping. But so much that sometimes it irritated Stephen! Zacchaeus found it profitable to take Stephen to their aunt who had been affected with mental disease too and could help Stephen with her experience.
Zacchaeus took Stephen to the house of one their cousins and they talked about mental illness. The cousin spoke about her own experience, for she had suffered a psychiatric seizure too. And then she commented worriedly, awfully, "It must have been terrible with Stephen. Specially because Stephen fights Karate and stuff."
At those words Stephen regretted bitterly to have once studied martial arts. For Stephen believed that one studied martial arts to self-defense and not to attack people. If only he knew that one day he would lose control he would never have studied martial arts at all.
Amazed at the way people began to consider him incompetent and unreliable to lead his own life Stephen tried to talk about it with his brother Hezekiah.
"How do you think I feel when I know that Mr. Ferdinand only let me work for him if you and Zacchaeus were held responsible for my actions? Does he think I'm gonna break his drugstore? I thought I was taking the medication to prevent it. What's the medication for anyway? How am I going to have a normal life again, like the doctors said I could? That's sheer absurdity! that's not normal at all! What if I decided to get married? Would I have to ask for the permission of my relatives? Have I become a little kid all over again?"
His brother Hezekiah only poured cold water.
"You will always have someone responsible for you. That's the way it's got to be. For instance, I'm the one who signed the papers for you to have your release from the mental hospital."
In other words Hezekiah meant to say that Stephen was under his responsibility and it would be that way forever. Stephen thought about it with regret.
"You got to face the that and get on with your life," sentenced his brother.
IN MENTALLY SICKNESS...As time went by Stephen believed that he was a mentally diseased person who was being cured by the medication. And Stephen tried to believe in things that he would never have believed before. He said that the nurses that had shouted at him were very nice people, for instance. And he said that he loved his family all the time, which he had never said before. Once his sister stated, "That's funny... Stephen says that he needs his family, but he had never said that before and was always isolated from the family."
When Stephen's mother and sister took him to take off his stitches from his shin Stephen thought about the mentally ill people that he had seen walking on the streets always with someone, because mentally ill people were too irresponsible to walk alone. He thought about those want ads which read, "Mentally ill person wanted, dressed such-and-such..."
And he had to face the fact that now he was an irresponsible mentally ill person. Before his seizure when he looked at mentally ill people who were treated like children he thought, "Their heads must be sheer confusion! They don't know anything about life."
But now he himself was a mentally ill person and he had thoughts that he considered coherent. But he was mentally ill! He thought he was coherent, but his thoughts were perverse, sick, distorted! He thanked God that they had found his madness before he killed somebody! Now he could get treatment and people would be safe. Now when he saw another mentally diseased person he considered him or her a brother or a sister. And his worried mother said that she should have taken him to check his mental state when he was a child.
"Things would have been much better."
Yes. Stephen believed that he could recover from his mental disease.
THE CHRISTIAN BOYOut of the Psychiatric Center D. Pedro II Stephen considered that maybe he was being punished for his sins. Maybe it was because he left the right path, which is, the religion. He had left the church and started reading pornography. And now those pornographic mags had made a sick rapist out of him. Not to mention the fact that he read the bible too and disagreed with many things irreverently.
But in the far past he was different. In his childhood he was a christian boy. He went to the church very often. He attended the services for pleasure. He dreamed of the day in which he would marry a woman as beautiful as those he saw on TV and that would be a fair woman. He always wanted to talk to God and he looked at the sky and felt a power so strong, so good and so complacent that he believed that came from God, he believed that power was God itself. He believed that the power of nature was moving along very fairly and that power would never err. That was God. A God that surely healed people like no human medication could. He knew that because once he had had an earache and the priest prayed and anointed him and he was healed right away! That was the God that his mother had introduced to him.
But his older siblings introduced things to him too. They talked races, for instance. They said that people that came from Paraiba (Paraiba is a state in northern Brazil, contrasted to Rio, southern) drooled all the time. Not to mention that they considered those that came from Paraiba stupid people. When they wanted to insult someone they used an insult that they considered worse than saying "stupid!" or "fool!" or "idiot!" The worst curse for them was "Paraiba! You Paraiba!" And Stephen thought they were right. And to make things worse their neighbors were... Paraibas.
Once Stephen was pissing on a tree like all little boy did and the little girl of the Paraiba neighbors saw him and smiled and teased. She was beautiful. Very, very, very beautiful. But she was Paraiba She might drool all the time, thought Stephen. And as to the way she was looking at him... it was a sin!
"Away from me, devil!" Cried the Christian Stephen. The girl just laughed and he had to run away. And his siblings showed discrimination towards black people too.
But even at school the other boys bullied Stephen. In the street there was a certain boy that cast stones at Stephen... as if Stephen was too strange to walk in the streets! As if Stephen was some kind of monster! When young Stephen realized that he would never find the perfect woman to marry he called off the idea of marriage. That wasn't for him. He'd rather appreciate the beauty of the women, but without any compromise. But now he had gone mad and some people seemed to believe it was because of lack of sex. He didn't want to marry now, but he would. They had said that in his madness he had hurt people. He didn't want to hurt people anymore and he would do anything to avoid his psychiatric seizure. Even put up with a nagging wife and go to the boring church services with his mother. All that he needed was church, religion. Stephen almost cried when he threw his pornographic mags away. He had to do it! It was diabolical and drove him crazy!
When Stephen was released from the psychiatric center his brother Zacchaeus bought a blanket for him. And his siblings laughed at the madness of his uncle Cry-baby too. All the neighborhood laughed. And when they grew older the misconceptions grew too. His siblings insulted each other and called one another, "sissy!", "faggot!" and so on.
When Stephen was released from the psychiatric center his brother Zacchaeus bought a blanket for him. On that blanket it read "Paraiba". Maybe that was predestination. They considered Paraibas inferior beings and now Stephen was under a blanket that signaled... Paraiba. In his seizure Stephen had felt as if he was all that people despised: gay, Paraiba, mad... He even thought that those words were synonym.
SCRIBBLES (THE KEY MEMORY)Now Stephen was by himself in the Guadalupe house. He watched his scribbles, the things he had written in the very day of his psychiatric seizure. Names, signs, crosses and noughts that he had scribbled right before his seizure. Those things remembered him that his dear friend Carmelin was dead. And now, much to his terror he could remember serious things he did in the moment of the seizure. He went look for his mother right away, tearfully. He told her about the righteous girl that had been murdered in a shooting between a robber and a policeman. He told that was why he had done such strange things. He believed that anything that happened to him would be bearable, for he was alive and he wasn't very worthy. But his friend had a great character, she was fair. Surely the world would be a better place if he had gone and she stayed in this world. Because of that he had done those strange things in his psychiatric seizure.
Surely there were worse things he did in his seizure that had other serious cause. Of course his inconvenient sexual behavior in the seizure had another cause. He knew that for sure. Now he could remember his inconvenient sexual behavior clearly, but he wouldn't tell the details of it to his mother. He just spoke about the moment he tried to kiss his brother Hezekiah. He didn't want to make her sad, nor embarrass her, nor terrify her.
Now he could understand the strange things that his brother Hezekiah said.
"You were very brave through your mental illness. You were very brave in your psychiatric seizure. You were very courageous. You got to do what you want to do." Said Hezekiah.
"Look, I'm not gay."
If Hezekiah found that Stephen's inconvenient sexual behavior was brave Hezekiah might be thinking. Stephen knew that his inconvenient sexual behavior was caused by the remembrance of the sexual abuse. that he had suffered in his childhood. Nightmares of invading sexual organs haunted his nights for a long time. Surely after what they did to him in his childhood he became well-informed. Before the sexual abuse he didn't even know about sex. He thought that children were born when a man kissed a woman too much. Afterwards he read so much about it that he almost became a specialist.
He knew about hymen, clitoris, glans, G spot, prepuce, perineum, etc. before and better than any boy older than him. Better than many adults. Stephen knew by sheer deduction that oral sex led to AIDS years before that it had ever been mentioned by the scientists. And, of course, he knew that the sexual abuse might bring him psychological problems. Like his mother predicted when she learned about the sexual abuse and said, "That mustn't be done!! That mustn't be done to a child. That makes the child grow to be a sissy!"
Well the person that suffered sexual abuse wouldn't exactly and fatally be a sissy, sure as hell the person might have psychological problems.
And Stephen knew that the anus was an erogenous zone both to men and women. Both to heterosexual and homosexual. Which meant that homosexual as well as heterosexual might have sexual pleasure in the anus. That meant that men and women equally could get sexual satisfaction by stimulation in the anus.
Why did he like? Because the anus is also a source of pleasure. He does it unconsciously victim to the dirty tricks of those older boys. And he might have some kind of anal mycosis, what would stimulate those relations the more. A medical consultation would be worthwhile, as well as a psychological consultation.
Columnist Joao Bidu from the Brazilian magazine Guia Astral from November 1993
THE FIRST GREAT SEIZUREStephen was afflicted inside, the corruption of the world surrounded him. The corruption of his ex-boss (Mister Ferdinand), the corruption of the police and the criminals who had killed his dearest. He wished that corrupt world came to an end right away. If the world ended he would be able to see his friend again.
He was at home brooding about the violent death of his friend Carmelin, and because he had been fired again. Mister Ferdinand had fired him because he boldly refused to take part in an illegal activity. Stephen's being was divided between a great hatred and desire of destruction and vengeance against the corrupt system which had killed his friend, and at the same time he was touched by the love that his friend inspired.
The loving inspiration made him want to share his linguistic achievements with other people, among those his brother Hezekiah. He was studying languages and thinking of how he could pass his knowledge on. So a part of him was full of hatred and other part of him was full of loving desire to share his knowledge.
In order to have his vengeance he would do anything. Even sell his soul to the devil. He didn't believe everything in the bible, but he read it, because he knew that Moses and all the prophets were wise people and maybe they had found some kind of magic trick to work their miracles and created God to be a sort of magic Talisman, a mark. Then God didn't really existed, but it was convenient for it attracted followers, mystery and respect to the prophets.
So he worked trying to find more and more about the magic secrets of the prophets and he knew they were based on language, so he proceeded to try linguistic combinations in his researches. He made a mixture of linguistic, biblical and even mathematical combinations. Then he came across the mention of the number of the Beast (666). Just for curiosity he used mathematical tests in order to see whether he had the number of the Beast. Strangely enough he did have the number of the Beast. Mathematically he was the Beast.
The researches went on. Then he concluded that there could be no Beast, unless it was Christ. Jesus created the Beast when he mentioned it in the New Testament. So the Beast was Jesus. Jesus had created the Beast to absorb all the evil of the world.
So the Beast was a cover for Christ. The Beast would swallow the evil, and explode it! And finally he would turn into Jesus and build a world of goodness and perfection. The year 2000 was coming. The period believed to be the end of the times. Very convenient. In his plans Stephen decided to try anything, to risk anything. He stopped exercising for he thought that body capacities were useless in his war against corruption. At a certain time he thought that if he defeated sleep he would be stronger.
So he fought against sleep with all his strength! He felt a great urge to , but he fought bravely. And finally his efforts bore their fruits. Sleep went away forever. That was a victory! But there were some consequences. There were too many languages in his mind, too many words. Sometimes he couldn't understand what people around him were saying. Their words came as foreign words.
All those words in his mind, all that knowledge had become painful. Burdensome. He tried to resort to his brother Hezekiah, who said, "I'm going on a trip.", to which Stephen replied, "bon voyage!"
Later on those problems were vanquished, he didn't sleep anymore, and he planned. Finally he realized that he could use the powers from hell to good purposes. But it was a great temptation, for the sons of evil can get all the pleasures of the world, all the lust, all the sex. and maybe this world could be transformed into a world of free sex, available sex. But the good thoughts brought by the remembrance of Carmelin made him ponder.
All that time he masturbated, for sex is a form of a power. And by the third day without sleep he was listening to radio and watching porn video at the same time. But the hatred could no longer exist, for Carmelin was a symbol of love. So he surrendered to love. He thought of all the women he had cherished tender love for. And he thought of Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. and their defense of peace and love. He thought of all the people who had died for the love of mankind.
And he remembered that he had never told Carmelin how much he loved her. In the future he should tell all the people how much they meant to him. How much he loved them. Love was the solution. Love was the answer. And he had to start right away. So he started shouting: "I love you! I love you! I love you!"
DEPRESSING MEDICATIONIn the first days out of the psychiatric center Stephen searched through his books and he saw some notes on his dear friend Carmelin, which he had written in the very day he was put away in the hospital. And he cried again for his dead friend. And more memories came to him. He reminded of the moment he rubbed his ass on his brother's body. The memories were dispersed, but they were there. He could remember that his thoughts in the seizure were all based on the desire to show that he really loved everyone and wanted to share his linguistic knowledge with his brother Hezekiah and do some kind of ritual in order to bring his friend Carmelin back. But there were many things that he didn't recall.
At the hospital his brother had emphasized that Stephen thought that he was god, said meaningless things and was very aggressive. Because of that Stephen feared lest that he had seriously tried to injure somebody. Within those memories surely he did crazy things, but he hadn't done anything contrary to his nature. But what about the things he couldn't remember? Was he dangerous in those moments?
As said before, Stephen's brother exaggerated his aggressiveness and omitted the sexual facts, probably out of shyness, terror, shame... He had made Stephen look so different that Stephen believed that a demon had taken his body during the psychiatric seizure. On account of that he had started to go to the protestant temple when he left the mental hospital. But there was no reason for him to go there anymore, for now he was sure that his indisposition was side effect of his medication and no prayer would heal him and the only demon in his body was an overdosage of psychiatric medication.
The induction of depression by antipsychotic medication is controversial. Irrespective of medication, schizophrenic patients often have affective swings: suicide is at least 50 times more common among schizophrenic patients than among the general population. It is thus difficult to disentangle any association with antipsychotic medication, but the current consensus seems to exonerate antipsychotic drugs in this regard.
Overdosage of antipsychotic medication is not usually life-endangering except in children. The two main problems are cardiac arrhythmias and parkinsonian rigidity of the respiratory muscles. Bizarre neurological syndromes may occur, especially in children.
Extracted from Introduction to Psychopharmacology by Malcolm Lader
DREADFUL BEASTStephen's first days out of the mental hospital were marked by terror for himself, a dread for himself. He told his brother Hezekiah that he was terrified, for he had calculated and found that he had the number of the beast. He had spent his whole life saying that corrupt people must die and go to hell.
He had said to his friend Carmelin, "I hate that band! They sing pornographic music to children!" He spoke about a pop band that was a smash at the time. "The world would be a better place if they died."
And Carmelin replied, "Hey, they're good! I like their music. They're funny." A short time later all the components of the band died in an accident. The following day Stephen came to the pharmacy in which he worked hummingly, exulting at the death of those he considered evil. Carmelin and Mary talked about their sad decease when a joyful Stephen passed along.
"You're happy because the band is dead, aren't you, Stephen?" Said Carmelin with her tender, sound voice and welcoming, lovely smile.
"Me?" Replied Stephen ironically, "Perish the thought! I'd never be glad about such a tragedy!..."
Ironically destiny played a trick on him. A few months later Stephen came to know that his friend Carmelin had died in the middle of a shooting between a robber and a policeman. Of course, that aroused a greater hatred in his heart, a deadly hatred. That made him desire more and more the death of all those that he considered evil or useless to mankind.
And now the calculation had told him he was the beast, someone predestined to hurt people and do evil things. This time he was the villain. Someone predestined by God to be sent to hell. And this time he believed he deserved hell. "It serves you right." Said he to himself. But he thought, "I admit I'm bad, but why would God predestine someone to hell?" Thought he with great sadness.
But in the very night of his seizure he was faced with a flush of pure, irreproachable love when he thought of Carmelin. All the ideas about the beast went away. For he knew that love would wash the world like the flood of Noah's times. But now Hezekiah consoled him, "Come. Come. You're not the beast..."
BRAINWASH!Stephen was alone at home in the afternoon when someone rang the doorbell. It was a woman who worked with the government. She was there to put the substance in the water in order to kill the larvae of the harmful mosquito known as dengue. This mosquito infests Brazil especially in summer and kills thousands of people. When she finished her work she looked at Stephen with great pity and compassion and asked, “Are you OK? Do you want some help?”
Stephen said, “no, I'm OK.” but he had seen pity in the eyes of people who didn't know so many times after his psychiatric seizure.
The last straw was one night when his mouth salivated more and more non-stop. Then his tongue couldn't be controlled. It went rigid and made it difficult for him to close his mouth. His tongue seemed to be alive moving itself in Stephen's mouth as if it was a snake. It was impossible for Stephen to stay like that. Then he complained to his mother who resorted to many things, but after a while Stephen realized that water alleviated his situation a little bit. But he wouldn't be able to bear a living tongue in his mouth for long.
Then his mother decided to take him to the psychiatric Center D. Pedro II to get some help.
”I won't let you there I'll just talk to the doctor in order to stop that.”
Then his mother waved to a bus and explained to the driver, “He's sick. He's gotta see a doctor!”
On seeing his condition the driver let them on the bus free. That was one of the longest trips in Stephen's life. His mother had brought along with her a bottle of water; because they knew it could alleviate him. He swigged the water during all the trip. People looked at him puzzled at his disease. Desperate he wondered, “What kind of disease is it that makes my tongue waggle?”
This way he returned to the psychiatric center and they were referred to the emergency room and they gave him an injection. But Stephen was sure that had happened because of too much medication and he said so to the doctor. The doctor said he would get used to the drugs. Stephen's tongue was back to normal with the injection. But the strange side effects persisted and Stephen kept complaining. Was he OK with so many side effects? Side effects such as urinary hesitancy, constipation... Could anybody be all right? My last hospitalization was in the last year (2002). I was hospitalized in the Christmas day and in the New Year day in Humaita, in Jacarepagua. I spent the Carnival there too, hospitalized, and I only was discharged a week later. In Christmas and New Year the lady nurse turned on the radio and we began to listen to music through the radio. That was good. Past midnight there was fireworks in the New Year's celebration, some place near the hospital. I've already spent two New Year's eve hospitalized. My physician was Doctor Ricardo de Carvalho. He was a good physician, not only he as well as the whole staff of the Hospital of Humaita. I was discharged in the last week of Carnival.
I drew some drawings in the occupational therapy. I made hampers out of ice-cream sticks, I made ash-trays out of ice-cream sticks, I made nightshades out of paper and cardboard. I bathed in the pool of the hospital, played soccer in the soccer field in the soccer tournaments. In one of those tournaments we got the second place and we won a medal and a trophy. I felt good playing soccer. Plus, every morning I worked in the hospital plantation and I watered the lettuce, the passion tree, the tree of green grapes, and the grapes were big and sweet. After we watered the plantation we, along with our occupational therapist doctor Eliane and her colleagues, ate lettuce with salt. That was tasty. We also ate jake fruit and green grapes.
When Christmas and New Year's Eve came - in the two years in which I was last hospitalized - there was Christmas party and New Year's Eve party. It was good. There was also a Carnival Party, a ball. We danced in that Carnival ball. It was good. I liked it. And after Carnival, as I said before, I was discharged. I forgot to tell that I helped the nurses giving medication to the inpatients. There was also the birthday party which was in the last Sunday each month. I liked it. It was good.
I took every kind of medication, except Haloperidol. I took Fernegan and another medication which I don’t remember the name by now. And I felt good with the medication. In the past I was hospitalized more often. It was because of my neighbor who disturbed me and it looked like he was in my body. I got real nervous and started throwing stones at his house. Nowadays it doesn't happen to me anymore, nowadays he doesn't disturb me anymore.
Francisco Luiz Monteiro – User of the Center of Psychosocial Attention Rubens Correa – Iraja – Jornal Scap March / April 2003 – Jornal Scap was the paper of the workshop of the Center of Psychosocial Attention.
HERE COMES THE SUNHezekiah, Stephen's brother, heard his growing complaints and accompanied him to the psychiatric center in order to tell the doctor about the side effects again. It was July 13th, 1999, Tuesday. Before the complaints all that the doctor said was that the medication would be adjusted at the appointment with the doctor of Herculano Pinheiro's hospital. Then the doctor explained that, “This medication, Fernegan, is to stop the side effects of Haloperidol, which is the most important medication. In order to alleviate his (Stephen's) situation I'll suspend the four pills of Fernegan that he was taking daily. Now he'll only take two pills of Haloperidol in the morning, one Haloperidol at night along with half a pill of Chlorpromazine. Stephen felt a great relief, but then the doctor went on, “But I'll prescribe another medication to contain the side effects of Haloperidol that can't be suspended.”
The doctor prescribed Akineton. One pill in the morning, one pill in the night. And Stephen regretted that the doctor didn't suspend any pill of Haloperidol, because he suspected that was the drug that made him consider suicide as a way out. It seemed to be evident that three Haloperidol pills (5mg each) was too much, but the doctors refused to suspend some of it. Haloperidol was the villain. The first days with the new drug Akineton brought hope to Stephen. But soon he realized that there was no difference at all. And he was determined to refuse that, even if he had to kill himself to escape that torturing drug. Then he waited for the appointment with the doctor at the Herculano Pinheiro Hospital. When the day of the appointment came he got know doctor S.A. She made some changes in his medication that really made him feel better. Here comes the sun!...
"HAS ALL MY LIFE BEEN FULL MADNESS?"When Stephen recalled the first key memories he concluded that in his psychiatric seizure deep inside he knew what he was doing. He knew he had gone to extremes, but he knew there was a reason. He was motivated by his indignation and revolt before the murder of his dearest friend Carmelin. He knew he was revolted against the creator, God and all heavenly creatures for having taken her away. He was revolted against the coward police and the coward criminal that had directly or indirectly caused her death.
And after the seizure Stephen knew that, for those reasons, he WOULD HAVE DONE THOSE CRAZY THINGS ALL OVER AGAIN, for the crazy things he had done were according to his way of life, all those crazy things were according to his personal resolution and even doped by psychiatric drugs there was nothing that could make him think that he wouldn't have done all that over again before all that injustice.
And more, when the first days of his release went out he couldn't help thinking that he really knew a great deal about linguistics and stuff, but he was aware that was a symptom of his madness and he should try to control that. But that was clearly there. He was convinced that he knew all those subjects and very well! That was megalomania, mental illness. But that was what he had been all of his life. Dear Lord. He had to face the facts. He would have done everything he did in his psychiatric seizure all over again. The megalomania was inside of him. The same megalomania he felt all his life before the psychiatric seizure. Then he wondered, "HAS ALL MY LIFE BEEN FULL MADNESS?"
Later on he met his first female psychiatrist, doctor S.A.B. And she said, "Take your medication right. It will keep your thoughts in order." He looked at her inquisitively and tried to hide the mixture of irony and surprise that he felt while he thought, "Is she saying that the drugs control my thoughts? Is this magic?" In other occasion doctor S.A.B., said, "Your medication will be thus. If you relapse I will raise it."
Stephen looked at her and asked, "What is a relapse at all?"
She looked back at him with a trifle of hesitation, "Well, it's when you do something strange." Stephen's life had been anything but common. He worked out and ran unusual distances. He ran from the neighborhood Guadalupe to Meyer very often (about three times a week). Seldom he ran from Guadalupe to the Center of Rio (Central), passing through many neighborhoods such as Deodoro, Madureira, Cascadura, Triagem, Sao Cristovao, etc. and now, after the seizure, what if he runs in the streets like that? Would they put him away?
"What is considered strange to medicine?"
"What you did in your seizure for instance. Anything out of the ordinary is madness. If you take your clothes off in the middle of the street you're mad." She raised an eyebrow and moved her hand dramatically to emphasize. "If you think you're god you're mad."
"In my madness I started to say 'I love you' to everyone. To say 'I love you' is madness?", questioned Stephen.
Somewhat irritated the doctor replied, "In excess, it is."
And Stephen kept his questions. "But if a person takes his or her clothes off couldn't he or she be a show-off trying to get attention, instead of simply mad or mentally ill?"
The good-natured doctor was losing her patience over those questions...
SEEKING FOR ORIENTATION AND GUIDANCEOut of the psychiatric center Stephen was feeling very guilty. In the psychiatric center the nurses screamed at him all the time as if he had done something horrible. The women who worked there had asked to him and to other patients, "What have you done to be here in the hospital?"
The inpatients stated their cases as if they were telling their misdeeds.
"I beat my mother."
"I broke down my own house..."
And the professionals of the psychiatric center never said, "What happened to you? What caused your hospitalization?"
They always asked, "What have you done?"
Then Stephen had done things that weren't correct and he was hospitalized because of that. Because of his dangerous irresponsibility. Although he could hardly remember what had happened in the seizure, he questioned his family about it every now and then. When he saw the broken glass and the house more memories came. And when his brother Hezekiah told his version of the story memories came much clearer. And he even noticed that his brother didn't mention the sexual part. His brother Hezekiah didn't tell about the moment in which Stephen rubbed himself against Hezekiah's body, moaning sensually. Probably Hezekiah omitted out of shyness. Stephen had to push him even to tell about the kiss attempt.
When his sister told him that his bite was so violent that had left marks on the neck of his brother Hezekiah that had stayed there for days Stephen knew that was exaggeration since he could remember the feelings involved and his memories told him clearly that was a lovebite, something bizarre, but sexual, meant no harm, but some bizarre sexual achievement. If there were marks that was casual.When Stephen questioned about the violent, aggressive procedure of the people that brought him to the hospital Hezekiah said, "For your own safety you had to be tied down. You were very violent." But his brother contradicted himself when he said that the firemen talked to Stephen sometime before tying him down and he said that Stephen was sitting in the sofa, reading and he talked to the firemen. (and didn't try to attack them!!) It was evident that he wasn't so harmful and aggressive as they had cooked up.
Stephen could remember clearly the punches he gave on his brother. Clearly he meant no harm, clearly he wanted to surprise his brother, instead. (Moreover Stephen was a martial artist and his punches would surely lame or kill his brother if he meant any harm) Evidently Hezekiah preferred to emphasize on the aggressiveness and harmfulness of Stephen and he avoided mentioning the sexual facts of the case. Stephen could see that Hezekiah was exaggerating the aggressiveness and hiding the bizarre sexual facts. Stephen could remember some things clearly, but there were many other things he couldn't remember at all. So he wondered at why Hezekiah was omitting things. Were there worse things Stephen had done to other people that he couldn't recall? If there were maybe he would never know since he could clearly see that Hezekiah and his brother-in-law were omitting things he remembered. What about things he couldn't remember?
Surely Stephen talked to his family because he could never talk to the professionals of the hospital. The nurses were always shouting at the patients. The psychiatrist seldom talked to any patient and seemed to be so indifferent that the patient would rather talk to himself. And the trainees and psychologists counselled and questioned the patients and gave advices, but they never answered their questions and they talked so much that they rarely let the patients talk.
MISCONCEPTION AND DISCRIMINATION IN THE PSYCHIATRIC RECOVERYIn the beginning of his psychiatric treatment Stephen was so engaged in it that he asked his family to always remind him of the medication and to take him to doctor S.A if there was some symptom. In short, to prevent relapse, for his family said he was aggressive in his seizure and he was afraid of being so violent as to kill someone. But, as time went by, he noticed some things that resembled misconception instead of care. His sister said, "It's funny... some mentally ill people aren't so aggressive as Stephen. Some mentally ill people don't beat, don't attack. Uncle Cry-baby was calm in his madness. People who underwent or had undergone psychiatric treatment were biased against other people who underwent psychiatric treatment!
Offensive jokes about about mentally ill people were very common. When someone did something foolish it was said, "Have you taken your medication?", in an insulting allusion to the psychiatric drugs. Gay people complained about offensive jokes on the gay community. Black people abhorred offensive jokes on black people. But mentally diseased people didn't complain about jokes on mentally ill people, because they always hid that they underwent psychiatric treatment. Then instead of protesting against the offensive jokes, they laughed, too, so that nobody suspected about their own mental diseases.
Evidently his own relatives looked at him suspiciously when he left the Psychiatric Center, since they didn't know what to expect from Stephen. Doctor Jaderson should have talked to his family about him, but he didn't know anything about his patients himself! The doctor seldom got close to his patients, he scarcely talked to his patients. How would he get to know them? By miracle? The patient John the Baptist knocked on the doctor's office like one knocks on Heaven's doors!
"Doctor! Doctor! Talk to me!",cried John the Baptist.
The doctor didn't. But the nurses did. The nurses did reproach John the Baptist. Reproach never lacked the patients.
When doctor S.A. from Maternity Ward Herculano Pinheiro said that the medication would order Stephen's thoughts he was faced with two horrible possibilities. To order the thoughts the medication should be magic, witchcraft, for thoughts are part of a person's personality. For a psychiatric drug to have the power to order them up it's got to be magic, because what can change thoughts, can distort the free will.. The other possibility was that all that drugs could do was make people heavy and tired and doctor S.A. avoided the subject. That's what was bugging Stephen.
ELVIS' DOUBLEAfter one month or so enclosed in the mental hospital named Santa Edwiges Stephen was discharged, but hospitalized again in the same day after a serious relapse! He was taken again to the emergency of the Psychiatric Center D. Pedro II. At that time Stephen was very confused. Soon a certain inpatient was put in charge of Stephen to guide him through the corridors, stairs, elevators and buildings of the Psychiatric Center. Actually that inpatient was leading him to the wing in which he would spend his second hospitalization in the Psychiatric Center D. Pedro II. Now in a different wing.
The friendly inmate led Stephen to the elevator that took them to the floor in which was the wing where Stephen would be kept. The guy was very hairy, with long hair, hair on the chest and a flabby belly. That guy reminded Stephen of Elvis Presley in the last days of his life.
Suddenly the guy said, "But I already knew you. You were hospitalized in Sepetiba with me, remember?"
Stephen Strained to remember and finally concluded, doubtfully, "I think I remember. You were hospitalized with me in Santa Edwiges (a mental hospital in the neighborhood Sepetiba). But you disappeared from that hospital suddenly...", said Stephen thoughtfully.
"I ran away from that shit! At night I jumped over the wall and ran away through the beach." Said he excited with his own adventure. "But when I got home my family hospitalized me here again right away." Concluded he.
"Now I remember. You're the guy that told the other fellow there to be a man and stop letting guys fuck him in the ass." Remembered Stephen.
That Elvis' double and Stephen became great friends. Stephen noticed some peculiarities in his hairy friend. At that time Stephen was very drowsy because of the medication and could hardly eat. But his friend was very active and ate with great appetite and took much, much more medication than Stephen! Once Stephen and other inmates (namely Muquico, Leandro and Leonardo) were in one of those contests of vanity. Each one of them was trying to prove that he did more push-ups than the others and therefore was the toughest. No one of them could do more than twenty. Stephen knew that usually he did thirty, but, apparently the medication made him physically weaker, something really weird. When the Elvis's double saw that he exclaimed, "You buncha losers! I can do twice as much as you can!"
The Elvis'double was in his forties, and Stephen and the other guys were all much younger. Stephen was twenty-four. Muquico, Leandro and Leonardo were all aged from twenty to twenty-three. When they heard what the Elvis' double said they all laughed in contempt and disbelief and they called him bluff. But the Elvis' double lay on the floor on his front and did one, two, three..., ten..., twenty..., thirty..., forty push-ups! Everyone gaped in amazement! The Elvis double had done forty push-ups with great ease! And he walked away with contempt and still teasing everyone.
"Buncha losers! Pushovers!
"Your belly is a liar."That's what Stephen told his dear friend, with a smile.
"why do you say so?" Asked the Elvis double chuckling.
"Because your belly is giant, but you can do more push-ups than any one of us. (Stephen thought that the belly was supposed to hinder it, but he was wrong) I'd never believe that someone with such a big belly could have such a great performance. Your belly fooled me completely." Concluded Stephen.
But stephen observed that that friend of his was really a compulsive liar. First he told Stephen that he was an English teacher. Then he told Stephen that it was his brother that was an English teacher. but his friend was really surprising. Once Stephen asked him about the pronunciation of the name "Lisa".
"Is it Lee-zah or Lie-zah?" Asked Stephen.
"It depends," his friend answered pausingly and thoughtfully, "Just think of the English name Elisabeth. When it's with an 's' the pronunciation is Lee-zah. Remember the name E-li-sa-beth, which is written with an 's' too. But when it's with a 'z' the pronunciation is Lie-zah. In this case remember the name Liza (Minnelli), which is written with a 'z' and is pronounced Lie-zah. Just bear those things in mind and you'll have no problem."
that was the best explanation Stephen had ever heard.
The Elvis double was a compulsive liar, but was sincere at heart. And Stephen trusted in him on account of that.
Stephen asked once, "Tell me when I have bad breath, so that I can brush my teeth, all right?"
His friend was always there, always faithful, telling him what others wouldn't tell.
HOTTIE!Many beautiful women passed through that wing of the Psychiatric Center, but no one called Stephen's attention more than that dark-skinned girl. She was a social worker and she was unique. She was the only one. When she passed along she left a luxury, hypnotic, delicious smell. Every now and then he said to her, "you're so beautiful today."The snub-nosed girl thanked quietly. He couldn't resist her, and bowed every time she passed along. He coudn't help trying to talk to her. Once he thought that maybe he had pushed a bit too much and went into her office in order to excuse himself. But that girl was very impatient and fidgety when he was around, and she cried with irritation, "Get out! Get out of here!" And he obeyed. He wanted to provoke that beauty, but never distress her...
Stephen always called her a "little girl". One day one of the male nurses asked Stephen, "How old are you?"
"I'm twenty-four.", answered Stephen.
"I think that's her age too. I think you shouldn't call her a 'little girl' since she's as old as you."
Stephen Thought that maybe the male nurse was right and the girl took offense when she heard him call her that way. But in his mind he meant no offense. He called her that way because she was a little beauty, irresistible...
But one day came there a certain psychologist that changed the whole story. She was extremely beautiful and sexy. When she passed by Stephen the first time Stephen couldn't help crying out loud, "Hottie! Wonderful lady! Hottie! Cutey!"
The lady psychologist passed along proudly and when Stephen was trying to remember other names to praise that beautiful lady one of the nurses grabbed his arm and said threatening, "You can't say that! You gotta respect people!"
The guy was so emphatic that Stephen was compelled to excuse himself. But deep inside he thought that nurse was jealous...
One day that psychologist approached him to talk. Stephen was a bit uncomfortable, nervous and embarrassed, for he had seen that that psychologist was a tough lady, and she really demanded respect.
"My name is doctor Lucyanne!" She had said to one of the inpatients that addressed her improperly. But she was kind to Stephen.
"One day we'll have a talk." Said she. Stephen waited eagerly for that talk that never came, for soon he was discharged from the hospital.
PERFECT MENWell before Stephen's psychiatric seizure people already called him crazy. They emphatically said he was crazy when he forgot something out of distraction. They said he was crazy when he heatedly protested against something.
"You're too nervous!Go take your medication!"
But he didn't take any medication at the time! What would the medication do to him? Would it cure his distraction? Would it make him mild and resigned like a lamb? When he lost his mind he became savage, like an animal. ("Id" is how Freud called our primitive animal nature. The Id's got socially reprehensible tendencies. it's savage! The "Superego" is the contrary, the opposite of the "Id". The Superego keeps the moral ideas. Then there's a big fight between the Id and the Superego. And there's the "Ego". The Ego is the balance, the reason, it is our rational self which tries to resolve the fight between the savage Id and the moralist Superego. And when the Ego can't resolve this conflict the person becomes mentally ill!)
When Stephen complained about medication and the way the nurses treated diseased people in the mental hospitals his brother Hezekiah said, "Now it's better, much better. In the past mentally ill people were put to death." (Yes, indeed. Mentally ill people were put to the death and the first doctor who protested against was the Greek Hippocrates, who lived and died before the Christian Era (born in the 460 b.c) Many, many centuries later another doctor showed initiative against maltreatment. This time it was Philippe Pinel who, during, the French Revolution, removed the chains from the patients of a Paris hospital called Bicetre. People called that "Pinel's Humane Attitude".
Definition of "humane", accordingly to the dictionaries: Having what are considered the best qualities of mankind; kind, tender, merciful, etc.Definition of its opposite, "savage": pertaining to the forest (such as wild animals); remote from human improvements. Uncultivated, untamed, fierce; cruel, pitiless; inhuman; brutal.In short, human and humane are manlike. Savage is animalish, animality. The Ego's got the humane characteristics. The id's got the animal characteristics. When a man is sane the Ego predominates! And when a man is insane the Id predominates!
When a man is mad he's like a wild animal, savage! The Id is the animal inside the man. The madness! The Ego is the controlled man, the merciful man. The perfect man. The Ego is the control inside the man, the perfect moral. For too much moral is madness too. And the Superego is too moralist. Religion is moralist. This litany is for you to understand why people are sent to nuthouses.
Stephen couldn't help seeing the sheer hypocrisy of the treatment of mental diseases. When his brother said, "Now it's better. Much better.", he didn't know the whole story. Or maybe he didn't want to know. In his madness Stephen was like a wild animal and, therefore he was tied down and put away. A perfect man called other perfect men to tie him down. Him, the wild man, wild as an animal. But the wild animals don't kill their own species. They only kill for food. Or to protect their offspring. And most importantly, wild animals don't premeditate to kill.
But the perfect men are above all things. They create death penalties to kill other men, they create perfect laws to kill and imprison other men. When perfect men kill they do it to protect the good. But if the enemies of the perfect men kill they are animals. Whoever don't follow the perfect laws go to jail, but the perfect men created mental diseases to explain the wild diseases of the criminal men. A perfect man wouldn't kill without good reason. So they defined some outlaw murderers as paranoiacs. Hitler was a paranoiac, said the perfect men. Serial killers were considered psychopaths (now it's sociopath, the new term). In short, paranoiacs and sociopaths are mentally diseased, but they keep control in their disease. They feel pleasure and relief in the evil and their views are distorted, say the perfect men. They have delusions of grandeur and delusions of persecution, too. They need mental treatment (that's what the perfect men say, thought Stephen).
THE SCHIZOPHRENICThe psychiatrists had never talked about diagnosis to Stephen. As a matter of fact they scarcely talked, with the exception of doctor S.A.B. . They barely got close to their patients. Stephen read about psychiatry, but he didn't know about his own diagnosis. He only got to know that he was schizophrenic when he asked for a certificate to doctor M.T in order to get a bus pass. When he finally saw his diagnosis on the certificate he felt alleviated and happy to know the truth.
"So I'm schizophrenic", asked Stephen excitedly.
The psychiatrist was disconcerted, "Well, I had to put this in the diagnosis for you to get the bus pass, but it doesn't mean anything."
Stephen was happy to know a bit more about his so-called disease. But when he talked about it to his brother Hezekiah, Hezekiah said, "Of course you're not schizophrenic. I mean, you yourself said once that schizophrenia is a generic name for many mental diseases."
Stephen could see that they found schizophrenia terrible and they tried to excuse themselves and reassure Stephen, because they thought that worried him. It's schizophrenia. A disease. A diagnosis. What's the problem? Contrarily to what they thought Stephen was happy to know that he was schizophrenic.
A few days later doctor M. talked to another man. He called Stephen and introduced, "Stephen, this is doctor N.S. He'll be taking over and will be your new doctor, 'cause I'm leaving this service. Doctor N., Stephen is very bright. He speaks many languages, draws comic strips to the paper of the Psychosocial Center of Attention..."
Doctor N. asked, "Parla italiano?"
"Un poco.", answered Stephen, awkwardly.
PARANOIA ABOUT PARANOIAAnd as time went by Stephen studied psychiatry, more and more. And he couldn't help seeing a certain mental disease that he undoubtedly related to. The symptoms and complications of that disease were almost a description of him. When he read in an old encyclopedia by Schifferes the description of that mental disease he felt as if they were describing him. It read, "Paranoia is very much like schizophrenia, if not a form of it. The victim imagines that other people are out to kill, poison, or otherwise persecute him. Or he may believe that he is God, Napoleon, or Christ. Paranoia is less common than schizophrenia (...), the victim suffers from delusions and hallucinations. Adolf Hitler was a paranoid."
that was clearly depicting the way Stephen felt in his psychiatric seizures! Though he felt a little angry, ashamed, and hurt, there was no that he acted and thought like a paranoid in his psychiatric seizures. In his psychiatric seizures he didn't imagine that people were out to kill just because in his delusions of grandeur he was never afraid of death and he thought he was too tough. But in his second great seizure he was afraid of taking psychiatric drugs, because he feared that it could poison his mind and make the witch doctors control him.
He thought that the doctors were sorcerers who wanted him to be a slave, and they wanted to control him. Completely. He didn't really think he was god, but someone very powerful and bright. In the seizures he said that he was god because people wanted to believe in someone incredible to do things to their lives. And Stephen simply took advantage of it!... But he really believed that he had incredible, unusual brains, that could be useful to mankind. Sheer paranoia, undoubtedly.
Fascinated at his discovery he mentioned it to his brother Hezekiah who said, "You yourself said that schizophrenia is a generic term for many mental diseases. Surely you're not paranoid.", said he, trying to console, but ignoring that he was unconsciously showing disgust and contempt towards paranoids, and even to schizophrenics. Otherwise why would he try so hard to convince Stephen that he wasn't schizophrenic, nor paranoid? What was he, after all? Wouldn't Stephen be a nice guy if he was paranoid? Stephen thought paranoia was a disease that could affect anyone. And this time paranoia had affected Stephen. What's so wrong about it?
THE GREATEST COWARDStephen could hardly be a psychopath just because he couldn't remember some things from his psychiatric seizure. That was a temporary loss of control which psychopaths didn't suffer. Psychopaths had more self-control than paranoids and schizophrenics were considered to have no control at all. Though Stephen's mind remained logical in his psychiatric seizure he clearly gave way to too much enthusiasm and euphoria. Contrarily the psychopaths controlled their emotions remarkably well.
Anyway Stephen could be greatly perilous to society if he wasn't given the correct treatment with the correct medication. And sure as hell he was wrongly diagnosed. Stephen knew about his own intelligence, but he wasn't proud of it. He knew it was there, but it was controversial, for he was never interested in showing his intelligence to get any advantages in life, because he believed it was purposeless. And his intelligence couldn't make up for his love of pleasure and easiness. He wouldn't make any effort, unless it gave instantaneous pleasure and satisfaction and kept him away from unnecessary trouble. In short, he would avoid tedious math and trying subjects. He himself was the laziest person he ever knew.
He had trouble following tedious subjects, controversially he quickly noticed and understood complicated matters if there was challenge. And he did it much faster than teachers, professors and doctors, but only when there was some exciting, puzzling detail. In such occasions he was even despisable towards masters and doctors who he considered slow on the uptake. And he had a terrible characteristic. he himself had always been, by far, the most coward he could have seen. In his childhood he ran from younger boys, crying. In his teenage days he ran from Judas dummies(a traditional dummy that people make in a period of the year, representing the traitor Judas from the bible). Such as a chicken that he started learning martial arts because he was afraid of being beaten. And his intelligence told him that martial arts would be a fair advantage. So coward as to use the martial arts on people who didn't know how to fight(in his teenage days).
PSYCHOPATH, SOCIOPATH... OR SIMPLY PATHOS?Stephen noticed something even more scary about his self-diagnosis. The delusions of grandeur that he felt in his moments of psychiatric seizure persisted in the lucid moments. In the psychiatric seizure he thought he had a remarkable mind. Surely that was a delusion of grandeur, but the same thought continued in his moments of lucidity. Then he came to the conclusion that his mind was twisted, so damaged that medication couldn't help it much.
Moreover, in his memories of the psychiatric seizure he could remember his thoughts clearly. He could remember that he had a powerful intelligence, an incredible intelligence, which was trying the nature. But that wasn't against his nature. He remembered what he did in the seizure and he concluded that he was too bold, but logical and reasonable. He was despisable towards people and filled with enthusiasm because of his discoveries, which after the psychiatric seizures he concluded, that were really very profitable and impressive and mathematically correct.
Well, that was really frightening. He felt that his mind was really something, and could prove it mathematically and logically. He knew that people considered what he had said nonsense, but he remembered that there was sense in it. And the very intelligent mind of his could clearly see that technically his mind might be sick, distorted. But what about some things he couldn't remember from the seizures? What about what Hezekiah said about his being aggressive? Maybe he couldn't remember exactly those moments in which he was dangerously aggressive and out of control. So out of control as to forget...
Stephen knew that when he felt that his mind was too incredible it was a delusion of grandeur. He couldn't disguise the feeling, but he could face the truth. Anyway he knew that mathematically his mind was really amazing, so amazing that it could be dangerous if his disease controlled him. Specially because he knew that his mind remained logical and intelligent in the middle of madness, therefore dangerous...
And he had to face another possibility. From the papers he wrote in his madness, Stephen could know for sure that he was aware of what he did in his psychiatric seizure. That meant that he got lost in delusions of grandeur in his madness and, in those moments, could kill people. Like a psychopath (now the term for it is sociopath). A psychopath was believed to be intelligent, just like Stephen. The psychopaths were considered unable to tell the right from the wrong. Just like Stephen, who thought that everyone was alike and no one deserved punishment, but education for correction, and that sex should be free and was to no blame. Then why discard the possibility that he himself might be a psychopath?
HOW DO THEY TREAT THE CRIMINALLY INSANE?Stephen didn't know how they treated people who were diagnosed with paranoia. He didn't know what kind of medication they gave to psychopaths. Were psychopaths kept in jail, always, or they could walk in the streets even when the doctors knew they were psychopaths? Paranoids and psychopaths might have done some thing wrong, but they were human like any other person and deserved fair treatment and the right to a social life.
Stephen knew that maybe he was a psychopath or a paranoid, for surely he had been misdiagnosed. Then he should tell the doctor more about his seizures, provide details to help the doctor give a correct diagnosis. He knew that he avoided talking freely to health professionals before, because he didn't trust them. But he knew he should do it. now or someday he could get completely lost in the delusions and kill people.
However Stephen was afraid of the medication they might prescribe to him depending on the diagnosis. In his first seizure his medication had mentally tortured him, a chemical torture. He didn't want to face that again. What if he was too dangerous to live in society? What if they decided to put him away? That was terrible and he wasn't brave enough to spend a lifetime in a mental hospital! No. That wouldn't happen. He would protest and fight for the right to walk freely and have quality of life. And he had to tell the doctor about his point of view and about his real feelings! Sure there was the risk of facing strong medication or hospitalization, however that would be better than to face the pain of murdering someone in a moment of madness.
THE MIND OF A MENTALLY ILL MANIt was the month August, the year 2003 in the CAPS (Psychosocial Center of Attention) Rubens Correa. Doctor M.T. had already left the CAPS and doctor N. had come to replace him. Now Stephen had vowed to be more open and frank to the psychiatrists in order to stay away from committing any crime in his seizures. He had greeted the psychiatrist N., who called him to talk. It was late in the afternoon (about 4 PM) and the CAPS was almost empty.
The psychiatrist asked that Stephen talked about his seizures. Stephen proceeded to do just that. He was more open and uninhibited. This time he clearly expressed that in his seizures he felt vigorous, powerful, like a god, and even told the psychiatrist that in his second seizure he went out to the street singing out loud, "I am the God almighty!" (And it was extremely humiliating and shameful for him to admit that he felt like a god, a superior being)
Doctor N. was white, middle height, late thirties, wore glasses. He was more extroverted, less formal and less clerical compared to doctor M.T. But, on the other hand, he spoke in a tone, by far, more careful and milder than doctor M. However doctor N. was much less involved in the activities of the patients of the CAPS than doctor M.T. was.
Stephen explained to doctor N. that he had been in and out of three mental hospitals, in four different environments, many wings... But Stephen said that he had two great seizures, because all the other seizures were consequential, relapses of smaller importance and impact.
"Stephen, I read in your medical file that you took your clothes off in the middle of the street. Why so?", asked doctor N.
"When did I do that? I never took my clothes off in the middle of the streets. Not that I remember...", replied Stephen, really surprised.
"Well, it's here," said doctor N. When the psychiatrist gave some particulars Stephen could finally remember.
"Ah, I see! But I didn't take my clothes off. I just showed off my naked ass.", said Stephen giggling.
"But why?", asked the psychiatrist in a very mild voice.
"You know, it's a kind of protest,", said Stephen amused at himself, "Like the Americans do when they say, 'kiss my ass!'"
"Did you hear voices that told you do those things?", asked the doctor, now with a genuine curiosity.
"No, never.", replied Stephen dryly.
"Stephen, in one of those moments didn't you feel downcast?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Downcast, down in the dumps, disheartened to do things. Hadn't you felt that way in one of your seizures?"
"Ah, I see! No!", Stephen wondered at that weird question and answered, "Never. I've always been very active."
"And how was your sex drive in the periods of the psychiatric seizures?"
Doctor N. asked that question out of a sudden, abruptly, though with a grin that intended to be casual. Of course that surprised Stephen, who hesitated for a moment.
WHAT'S SEX GOT TO DO WITH IT?Stephen appraised doctor N. puzzled and thought, "What's sex got to do with it? Why is this psychiatrist asking about my sex drive?"
And finally Stephen answered, "It depends. Sometimes it (the sex drive) was very strong."
"Were you very horny in your second great seizure?"
"No. Not exactly. I was really horny in my first great psychiatric seizure."
Then the psychiatrist asked a question that Stephen didn't understand. Therefore doctor N. repeated with more energy, "You touched your cock a lot, didn't you? Touch your cock!", He said that again, "What's the problem with 'cock'? It's natural, man!", said he grinning and trying to sound casual, but showing a little nervousness.
"Of course I did. I don't see any problem in it."
Stephen noticed that he tried to sound natural and unsophisticated, but his words were completely strange. No man said, 'Touch the cock", men usually said, "Jerk off, "Jack off" or "Wank". That's what common people said.
Stephen noticed something in the questions of the psychiatrist N. He asked about sex when there was no need. But Stephen noticed that he always asked looking for extremes.
"Was your sex drive strong in such occasion? And in the other occasion? Was it weaker?"
He wanted to know whether Stephen felt down in the dumps, especially when Stephen said that in the seizures he felt in the peak of excitement, like a mighty god. Stephen talked about his euphoria and never about depression, because that was the way he felt. But Stephen noticed clearly that the psychiatrist had already set his mind that he had depression and wanted to give him that diagnosis, no matter how. Stephen knew that the medication for it was Lithium. Stephen had said to the psychiatrist that he remembered the most important things from the psychiatric seizures. But the psychiatrist asked strange questions involved in too many details that Stephen admitted that he couldn't answer, since he had vowed to be frank. Then the psychiatrist took advantage of it to come up with a reason to call the family.
"Stephen, you don't remember," said he smirking, "Therefore I'll have to call one of your relatives.", said the clever psychiatrist, still trying to sound liberal, but the liberal mask of the psychiatrist had dropped. He would call the family because he didn't believe a mentally ill patient. Stephen always said that the doctors didn't take the psychiatric patients seriously and never let them talk, therefore the psychiatrist N. tried to sound liberal and modern. But only what the family said was taken into account. The psychiatrist was disappointed because what Stephen said didn't fit in his puzzle. Stephen realized that from the first time the psychiatrist saw Stephen he couldn't believe Stephen was a schizophrenic.
"Call that brother of yours or your mother.", said the psychiatrist. That had confirmed to Stephen that their diagnosis were based on misjudgments and that what the patients said didn't matter to them.
"Maybe we'll have to change your medication," concluded doctor N., always trying look liberal.
UNDER PRESSUREStephen and his mother went to talk to doctor N. , who received them in the administration office of the Psychosocial Center of Attention (CAPS). She told that she didn't see the first great psychiatric seizure, but she had witnessed Stephen's worst seizure, according to her. Apparently the doctor wanted to cross-examine in order to find out if Stephen had said something wrong, lied, or omitted something from his own history, which, by the the way, he had volunteered to tell. Just like a second-hand detective, thought Stephen.
Doctor N. said all over again the questions he had asked Stephen a couple of days ago as if he had never asked them to him before. Always like a second-hand detective and always disregarding what Stephen said.
"Has Stephen ever been low, sad, unwilling to do things?"
The mother looked at Stephen and said, "Well, not exactly. But sometimes he didn't go to work and stayed in bed till late."
Respectfully she asked for Stephen's confirmation, "Isn't that right Stephen?"
Stephen nodded in agreement, but protested, "But it was laziness and not depression!"
Moreover Stephen thought and considered that a job that he didn't like, for in his opinion it was involved in corruption.
The psychiatrist's attention was drawn by the moment Stephen had been released from the Casa de Repouso Santa Edwiges, the mental hospital where Stephen had been put after his second great seizure. He was released and suffered another seizure in the same day. He asked more and more from Stephen's mother in order to get more particulars about that terrifying seizure.
"I think that was his worst seizure.", said Stephen's mother.
Swiftly the psychiatrist asked about the moment in which Stephen took his clothes off in the middle of the street (to show off his ass). Doctor N. wanted to know what Stephen said in that moment. Apparently he wasn't satisfied when Stephen's mother said, "said silly things, garbage. He teased everybody."
"Did he speak of sex?", pushed the psychiatrist.
"Yes," answered Stephen's mother nervously, embarrassed.
Then the psychiatrist asked something that Stephen found inconvenient and irrelevant, "Sex with men or women?"
"Well, women." Answered his mother reluctant, sweating cold. Finally under the pressure of the psychiatrist she admitted, "Women and men too." the psychiatrist clearly rejoiced at it, but Stephen was surprised, for he couldn't remind of any man he wanted to have sex with.
After those unpleasant questions, Stephen's mother told the psychiatrist that she couldn't answer anymore, for she was sick, suffering from high-blood pressure. Therefore she was referred to the infirmary. Then doctor N. told them to call the brother Hezekiah to make his statement, to complete the statement. And finally she went home.
DREADFUL MEMORIES (FREUD EXPLAINS)At home, in the neighborhood Pavuna, Stephen questioned his mother in order to know more about that seizure. After all, he wanted to know more about what he said when he was released from his second hospitalization and relapsed in the same day. If he had spoken about sex with some man he would like to know what man was that. He had no idea, for he had never wanted to have sexual intercourse with men.
When Stephen returned from changing clothes he found his mother and his brother Hezekiah talking and she was desperate, nervous, because of the questions Doctor N. had asked her.
Heatedly Hezekiah said, "A doctor can't ask such questions! He can't!"
That clearly showed that Hezekiah had omitted many things that he thought that a doctor "can't ask" in his previous statements to other physicians...
Their mother was desperate because of the pressure Stephen made to know more about the seizure.
"He says he remembers things, but he wants to know more about it." Said their mother.
"Like hell he remembers!", said Hezekiah, who didn't know that Stephen was close by and hearing what he was saying, which clearly showed that Hezekiah was concealing many things, and evidently didn't want Stephen to know more about the seizures. For fear, maybe? Fear of what?
Stephen could clearly see that Hezekiah clang to the hope that Stephen didn't remember. And their mother trembled at the memories. Hezekiah went to the fridge to get some drink and Stephen kept on pressing his mother for more details about that seizure. His mother said, "All right! I'm gonna tell you and Hezekiah exactly what you said in that seizure!"
Stephen wondered she wanted to tell his brother Hezekiah, who had nothing to do with it.
When Hezekiah came back their mother told them about Stephen's psychiatric seizure, "I'll tell you what you said, Stephen. Your pants were down and you put your hands there, doing this...", said she, trying to mimic the moment when Stephen diddled his asshole in a bizarre masturbation. Stephen remembered clearly. Hezekiah was shocked, but Stephen giggled and whistled with relief, for he hadn't spoken of sex with any man, as his mother had suggested to doctor N., but but he spoke of sex with his own brother. It was no surprise for him. It was nothing serious, thought Stephen. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Stephen had read Freudian texts and he knew for sure why he had acted like that. When he was a child (about ten years of age) he was a naive Christian boy who didn't know anything about sex. His older brothers, Zacchaeus and hezekiah, told him that sex was common and that everyone did it and that it was clever to do it, and they got to screw him. On account of that on his first great psychiatric seizure he rubbed his ass against his brother Hezekiah with sensuality. (Which Hezekiah never mentioned. In spite of Stephen's questioning, he wanted to omit that forever) Because of that his mother had to see his bizarre anal masturbation. All that was sequel of what had happened to him in his childhood.
As Stephen spoke about the talk he and his mother had had with doctor N. he told Hezekiah about his suspicions, "The doctor wants to put me on Lithium. It's evident from what he asked. The doctor earnestly believes that I have been depressive, but to the best of my recollection I've never been down in the dumps in my life. Quite the contrary. I've always been very active."
At that time Hezekiah agreed with Stephen. Stephen thought that the medication was all right, fine. There shouldn't be any change, for it might do more harm than good.
THE BIGWIG AND THE MADMANAgain at the Psychosocial Center of Attention, doctor N. led Hezekiah and Stephen up the stairs to the garden in the open. The psychiatrist repeated that he had called Hezekiah because Stephen couldn't remember some things, like the psychiatrist had used as a pretext. Stephen noticed that the psychiatrist didn't ask questions related to sex to Hezekiah. Stephen wondered why. Maybe doctor N. had asked those cruel questions to Stephen's mother just because it's more convenient and easy to ask them to an old lady and to a mentally diseased fellow than to a young man presumably normal.
Then a strange talk between the psychiatrist and Hezekiah began. Doctor N. asked questions about the second great seizure and Hezekiah answered based on the first great seizure, which was the only one of Stephen's psychiatric seizures which Hezekiah had witnessed. Stephen disguised his amusement before such ridiculous confusion!
When the psychiatrist clearly asked about the second psychiatric seizure, asking about particulars that he had heard from Stephen's mother Hezekiah finally admitted that he wasn't there and said, "In that seizure of his it was my brother-in-law who was at home and held and controlled Stephen...", said Hezekiah with Hesitation, but trying to look confident, acting as if Stephen wasn't there. Like a confident bigwig he acted as if Stephen couldn't help in his statement. Trying to seem important before Stephen, even if unconsciously. Stephen knew that Hezekiah wanted to believe that Stephen couldn't remember. Stephen was surprised. The statement was completely wrong, but Hezekiah wouldn't ask anything to Stephen! Stephen knew that the brother-in-law was away from that seizure, maybe hiding under some bed! Almost all of Hezekiah's answers were mechanical, but always trying to hide the hesitation of one who didn't know the answers for sure, but refused to admit it, and therefore answered wrongly. And specially because he would never ask anything to Stephen, who (he thought) couldn't remember anything. Never.
The psychiatrist asked about the seizures always trying to find some indication of depression there. Once Hezekiah said, "In his seizures he says things that aren't real and I think he knows they aren't real."
"How does he know? Does he read thoughts? Is he god?", thought Stephen. Though Hezekiah wouldn't ask anything to Stephen.
The psychiatrist asked his favorite question, "have you sometimes seen Stephen unwilling to do the things?"
Hezekiah hesitated and almost said "no", but doctor N. knew how to push and Hezekiah finally said "yes" in his usual mechanical way. Stephen protested saying that all the sadness he had felt in his life was normal, for everyone feels sadness and gladness. At his protests the psychiatrist threatened, "If you interrupt once more I'll have to ask you to go down."
The madman would go down.
THE MANIPULATOR, THE FOOL AND THE VERMINThe psychiatrist went on with his questioning. Stephen could see that he was always trying to find some sign that proved that Stephen was depressive.
"Can you say if in the moments of psychiatric seizure Stephen sat alone unwilling to talk to people?
"Yes.", answered Hezekiah, always like a puppet.
Sure as hell that was an irrelevant question, a dubious question, for, maybe Stephen sat to rest after a great agitation and didn't want to be disturbed while he relaxed. But Hezekiah was easily influenced. Hezekiah must have forgotten that he himself had told Stephen that sometimes he sat to read in his seizure (he didn't like to be interrupted in his reading, what's wrong with it?)
The only time Hezekiah answered without hesitation was when the psychiatrist asked, "Was he aggressive?"
"Yes.", answered he, as if that was the most important answer. All the answers of Hezekiah's pleased doctor N. greatly, for they were short and without the slightest argument. Contrarily to Stephen's "roundabout way", like to the psychiatrist used to say.
"What's your level of education?"
"I have completed high school.", answered Hezekiah.
"Well, that's good enough. Then you'll understand my question with ease.", said doctor N., "You have studied the Cartesian co-ordinates, haven't you?", the psychiatrist asked again.
"Oh, yes", answered Hezekiah, always like a robot.
"Ah, fine", went on the psychiatrist. He got to draw the Cartesian co-ordinates, which symbolized the phases of Stephen's life. After the psychiatrist's explanations and illustrations he said, "This question is very important. Your answer is essential, Hezekiah. Please, pay attention."
Doctor N. gave a brief explanation of the symptoms concerned. In his explanations he always tried to apply words which he believed that were simpler than the technical words. In order to explain about euphoria and melancholy (the two extremes, euphoria means elation and melancholy is its opposite) he tried to find ordinary words, but it only made things worse. He tried to explain that in some periods of the life of some people they are too sad, or too glad. Then he finally asked, "Before, well before Stephen had his seizures, since he was a little boy up to his first psychiatric seizure, can you say if Stephen's been too moody, or too sad in his life?"
Another pointless question, Stephen thought. Everybody's been moody sometimes in their lives. And Stephen was terrified. Was he trying to prove that Stephen had always been mentally ill? And that he could never be normal?
That was a question that Stephen should answer, but he wasn't allowed to speak. The psychiatrist had forbidden him of saying anything. Stephen would simply say that, besides the common moods, it was quite the contrary. He had always been stone-hearted. It was his life, but he wasn't permitted to answer. His brother Hezekiah answered, automatically, as he had always, "Yes", as if he was ashamed of saying that he couldn't answer, for he wasn't sure.
The psychiatrist was elated by that answer.
"Ah, you gonna take Lithium all right!"
This way doctor N. imposed the new diagnosis.Later he explained, "The drug that Stephen was taking (Risperidona) wasn't exactly wrong, but it's a palliative only, whereas Lithium is the right medication for it. It's the specific medication for it.", said he with enthusiasm. Then he explained that he had noticed that Stephen's first great psychiatric seizure had been in 1999 and his second great psychiatric seizure had been in 2001, and the current year was 2003.
"I had noticed that it took two years from the first to the second seizure. That's how it happens in his case! And if the seizures happen every two years Stephen might have another seizure exactly this year! But fortunately, now he'll take the right medication! Sometimes the seizures happen every two years, sometimes every three years, and so on. But with the right medication (Lithium). The interval between the seizures will be longer, and maybe there be no more seizure!", finished the doctor, with great enthusiasm.
When the interview was over doctor N. asked, "Is there anything wrong with what your brother said?"
"It's chronologically wrong.", said Stephen, referring to the lack of sense in what Hezekiah said, the order of the events, things that had never happened and that Hezekiah said that happened(when he said their brother-in-law had held Stephen in the second seizure, for example, which didn't happen), and the dates were all wrong.
"What's wrong? Let's check."
He repeated some of the questions, "Hezekiah, after how many days without sleep that Stephen suffered his psychiatric seizures?"
"Three days.", answered Hezekiah, always monosyllabic. The psychiatrist repeated the same question to Stephen, who repeated the same answer. The clever doctor only asked questions that he knew wouldn't compromise his diagnosis, and avoided questions that could raise doubts and controversies.
"You see? It's correct. There's nothing wrong with it."
Evidently Hezekiah knew that it was three days, because Stephen had told him about it many times, for usually Hezekiah never witnessed the beginning of the seizures, for he was always in some place else, maybe in some party, drinking and smoking. In that period he usually got home in the small hours. He was always lost in the booze and wouldn't care for such trifles.
MISCONCEPTION AND REPRESSION=MISDIAGNOSISSome patients of that psychiatrist underwent radical changes. Their seizures got worse and some patients that were under control before suffered really serious seizures. One of them, a beautiful lady, got lost in madness up to the present day, what ruined her beauty. Another man in his early forties complained about depressive effects (which Stephen assumed that were caused by too much Haloperidol, for he had experienced the same when he took Haloperidol first). Then man got another disease which led him to serious hospitalization and he never returned to the CAPS (Center of Psychosocial Attention) after that. Probably died. Doctor N. clearly fought for more democracy in his groups, and was very proficient at letting the group talk freely, in spite of the way he had suppressed Stephen in the case of the diagnosis. All the doctors did the same, or even worse. Though the medication he prescribed to his patients caused the strangest side effects ever seen, with tragic results. As Stephen had told doctor N., he knew that the psychiatrist wanted to put him on Lithium. But strangely enough he wasn't sure about the name in the diagnosis. He asked about it to the doctor, who told him that it was bipolar disorder.
Afterwards Stephen noticed that his brother Hezekiah always refused speaking of the seizures, always refused the memories. There could be no talk between them. Once Stephen tried to talk to him about the way Stephen looked to him before and after the seizures (like the psychiatrist had asked, and Hezekiah had answered mechanically, as usual). This time Hezekiah said, "Why don't you talk about it to your psychologist?"
In the following days Hezekiah clearly showed what he meant when he said that in the seizures "Stephen said things that weren't real and he knew about it."
When Stephen said things that Hezekiah didn't know, agree or believe Hezekiah played the good psychologist and said, "Look sometimes you say those things that you know aren't true..."
Stephen could see the misconception in it. And it clearly explained everything. Hezekiah said the things that generated Stephen's first diagnosis, which was wrong. After hearing and seeing Stephen the psychiatrist concluded that it was wrong, specially because he believed that Stephen was too good to be schizophrenic. Then doctor N. called Hezekiah, for the word of Stephen, a mentally ill person, couldn't be conclusive. Based on what Stephen heard Hezekiah say it was easy to know why the first diagnosis was wrong. Hezekiah's answers were very superficial, maybe artificial, since he never mentioned the moment in which Stephen rubbed his ass against him in a sexual way, and the like. Hezekiah shortened his answers to "yes" and "no", what couldn't reveal anything. Hezekiah seemed to want to omit the things forever.
And maybe even now there was another wrong diagnosis. But Stephen didn't mind. What's the difference? All that he really wanted from the drugs was the sleep for the night. If he could sleep all right there would be no problem. Otherwise he would complain. After all, now he knew for sure that the diagnoses were based on misconceptions.
Doctor N.'s misjudgments could be clearly seen when he compared Stephen to schizophrenic people who weren't in a good moment, and said that Stephen was more capable than them, because they were disabled by schizophrenia, and he just had bipolar disorder. Stephen didn't agree when he said that a person was incapable because of schizophrenia. Maybe when those schizophrenics got better he would change their diagnosis too. And Stephen could see that the doctor spoke that about talented people, people full of capabilities, whose the main problem was their diagnosis: schizophrenia. Sheer misconception.
When Stephen tried to talk with Hezekiah about misconception, for example, Hezekiah spoke as if it didn't exist and cut it short by saying, "Just live your life.", which Stephen could see that he really meant, "Just live my life.", for Hezekiah seemed to want to erase Stephen's past (by omitting things that happened in the seizure, for example). Sometimes Stephen said that he always did harmless things that some people considered mad, though it was normal to Stephen himself. But Hezekiah always repressed him by saying, "In the world things aren't this way. Forget it. Just live your life."
"That isn't my life", thought Stephen, "You must be longing for me to live your life, to live just like you, and not like myself."
"Shit, I caught him at it. Right there. In our bedroom. little kid going down on him like an oil pump, tears running down from his face the whole time. making little whimpering sounds. God, I'll never forget it. And they weren't sounds of pleasure, either. (...) Andrew grinned at me. He winked and then he made a fist with his other hand to let me know what would happen if I told. I stood there. (...) He said, 'You want a turn, Ryan? He's little, but he's gifted. Could suck the chrome off your kickstand.'"
"What would you do for me, then? Would you do her for me?"
"I--I don't know what that means."
"Would you fuck her?"
"Why would I do that?"
"Would you kill her for me?"
"Yes," Lavelle whispered."
"Would you suck for me?"
"Yes, yes, I--"
"Would lick a dead dog's ass for me?"
extracted from the book THE GRIM WEEPER, by Donald Whittington