The doctors, even the other patients, they don't understand what it is to be so empty inside, to feel fucking hollow like all your insides have been scooped out. To them I'm delusional, and hell, maybe I really am. It doesn't change the fact that they have to shoot me up with dosages of drugs that would be fatal to a normal person, and still there's no change.
Seems like I never sleep any more, but I'm never quite awake either. I'm just drifting in limbo, in a netherworld of indistinct shapes and distant voices. In the early hours of the morning, when you've been lying in bed for an eternity trying to sleep, your muscles start to creak and groan and twist. Of course we're not allowed out of bed after lights out, so I usually end up spending the night in four points after I fit again. Arms and legs bound, immobile: that just makes it worse. Sometimes they gag me so they don 't have to hear me sob and scream and beg. It's illegal, I think, but who's gonna tell? They used to give me more drugs, to help me sleep, but they didn 't work either. After a while even Morphine became useless.
When things do become clear, I remember what it was I retreated from in the first place. All the expectations, the responsibilities. Sometimes it's just easier to let loose, go wild. Really, it's easy. All you have to do is never look any further than the next step: don't think about what might lie further down the line. Just a little step, inching over that invisible line that keeps moving back and forth, so you're never quite sure if you have reached the point of no return. Self rationalisation is a fantastic thing; you convince yourself you're doing fine, everything will work out. It always does doesn't it? Until you betray your friends, deny your calling, dive headlong into the abyss. When you hit bottom, finally realise where you are - well, it's too late.
The Doctors here have three ways of treating patients. The first is the golden rule of psychiatry - 'medicate, medicate, medicate'. When that fails, they start talking to you. All the time, every day: in groups or alone. You can't escape it, it's worse than the restraints at night.
"Tell me how you feel about that?"
"What do you think of your parents?
"Were you abused as a child?"
"Why don't you tell me what the problem is?"
Sometimes you wonder if any of them actually went to medical school. Maybe they just picked up a book of cod - psychology clichés one rainy afternoon. They learnt pretty quick what not to mention around me though. I'm still not sure what to think about her, but she's too good for them to drag out my memories of her, parade them in front of class. I know one thing though - wherever she is, she forgives me. Maybe that's the worst of all; I don't deserve forgiveness.
Nearly forgot about treatment three - it tends to have that effect on people. I'm pretty vague much of the time, and after a bit of the old 'Edison Medicine' I can barely remember my name. They don't tell me when I'm scheduled for ECT - or maybe they do and I forget - but I can always tell anyway. They stop my medication a day before, and give me Atropine intravenously. It makes all your muscles relax, so that you don't injure yourself when you're convulsing. That's the idea anyway. Once again, Slayer physiology works against me, and it's less than wholly effective. It doesn't stop them going through with it though.
Through my electric shock induced haze they tell me today is special. I've got a visitor - they won't say who. They don't seem too happy about it
though: there are more orderlies than patients in here, and some even have those taser / cattle prod things that riot police use. They must be worried I'll cause a scene. As if I have the energy.
When they let her through the security door, it's as if I'm suddenly afflicted with tunnel vision. All I can see is her, blonde hair shining like a halo. I don't even realise I've got up until the first orderly tackles me. I brush him aside, but they all pile in on me. Then she's there, negligently tossing aside hospital staff until she can wrap me in her arms. I sob into her shoulder, years of emotion breaking free.
"Buffy.""Shush." She kisses the top of my head and strokes my back. Buffy. Finally she came.