“Mean Voice” 01.05.24

Trauma stops time. We are forever held captive, despite our many travels around the sun. Eleven years ago, my life was frozen.

I understand that memories can be distorted, but some of them are never forgotten.

March 6th, 2013

I panicked. I called my best friend and really scared her; she thought that my distress was due to a car accident, or something more tangible. My dad came upstairs to my bedroom and spoke to her through my phone; he told her I was alright. My meds were off and I was manic. My doctor couldn’t be reached. I packed a bag.

They administered shots before I was admitted to the hospital. They took away my stuffed animal, my books, and my Birkenstocks. They told me I could keep my hoodie, but had to cut the strings. I did.

The kitchen was closed when I arrived, and I had not eaten dinner. I tried to take a shower, but was told it wasn’t “shower time.” I did not sleep.

March 7th, 2013

In the morning, I ate breakfast with strangers. I was in pain, as I had a shot of Zyprexa (antipsychotic) moments before. I had refused oral medication.

My sketch book was allowed, as were my colored pencils; that was my outlet. Shrouded in my hoodie, I disappeared in a corner; my imagination granted me solitude and means to escape.

March 14th, 2013

I continued to refuse oral medication, so my condition worsened. The orderlies tasked with administering shots in vulnerable spots on my body became wary of me. At that time, I was hostile, and had steadily honed not only my body, but my words into weapons.

March 14th, 2013: Lunch

The strangers I dined with on that first night quickly became my best friends. There was; however, a problem. I had begun to black out frequently. I was punished often, for offenses I couldn’t recall. Randomly, I stood and spouted terrible things about my fellows. I would then snap out of it and sit down, observing astonished faces. Shortly thereafter, I was carted off to eat lunch alone.

Friday, January 5th, 2024

Throughout the last decade, I have been painting, writing, drawing, coloring, and studying. These activities have aided my healing process. Released from psychiatric facilities across the country, I built a life based on study and creative outlets to cope with persistent issues and side-effects. My illness progressed and I now have trouble with my short-term memory. I tell stories and repeat myself. I strive to push these tales out in order to move on, much to the dismay of those close to me (people who have heard them countless times). The details are hazy.

I hear voices within my mind. They do not approach me audibly. My voices are peaceful and friendly, but there is a darkness inside me I cannot control in my own voice. Sometimes the “blackout voice” emerges, though I mean no harm. It surfaces unbidden. I know a lot about mental illness, especially my own, but I do not know everything. If you run across this voice, please know that I mean no offense, and that I am actively working to harness this obstacle.