Sunday, 1 March 2015

Very Loud

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2015

My thoughts are very loud -- very loud indeed. My thoughts have been very loud -- mind bogglingly so at times -- for as long as I can remember. These very loud thoughts -- voices really -- I have always been able to distinguish from the imaginary voices that only I am able to hear. I first began hearing them at the age of twenty-one, these latter voices always talking simultaneously in a soft choir-like effect. But unlike my own personal, loud thoughts/voices this choir has always been very positive and upbeat. Inspiring a bit of window shopping, or some comfort food, maybe an iced tea, or giving a fleeting epiphany about the nature of Reality, anything to cheer me up when the sadness gets too much. You try living out here, a squat your only filthy home.
     But though these constant voices are always kind, my initial discovery of them landed me pretty quickly in Rozella Psychiatric Hospital, distraught to the point of yearning, stretching bodily contortions. I have no recollection of how this first admission to Rozella, near the heart of Sydney, came about but I do remember that my fracturing mind made it to there just in time. And in a week, unbelievably, I had more or less completely recovered from this episode of legal insanity - caused by my amphetamine abuse since the age of twenty-three. I am now aged almost twenty-five.  I slept through most of that first week, putting my mind back together piece by piece. And on the seventh evening of this first admission I was taken off Level 1 Care, where a nurse had to be with me at all times. And, yes, it was at all times.
     I eventually learned that I was involuntarily scheduled to remain in Rozella Psychiatric Hospital. I had no choice. I was locked in the nuthouse. Man, I needed a smoke then, some choice heady pot.
     You’d think that since it was illicit drugs that caused my insanity that I’d naturally avoid them. The trouble with schizophrenics like me is that sometimes simple messages like that just don’t get through. It took me years and years and years to grow out of pot, to recognise it really is a poison to me. But back then, on the evening of learning that I was scheduled for ten weeks, at the end of my second week of recovery, I had got together a select few patients, some of whom I’d already smoked with, to partake of a fifty of the good ganja, pot. I had sneaked out for the ganja. The nurses always keep track of the scheduled patients and the times they couldn’t find me I lied that I was having a sleep amongst some bushes. But they always looked doubtful when I told them this, virtually sure that I had been out to score some pot. Thus, I had my regular welfare payments, rent and food paid, lots of free time, so it was only natural that I spend that extra money and time in partying with my fellow thoughtful patients. Not too loudly though, and not too obviously.
     This didn’t mean that the hospitals nurses were stupid, they knew that the opulent, rambling grounds were home to my parties but they had no proof. And such wonderful parties! Just with people so completely original where it mattered, people too mentally ill to care what you thought of them. And the parties looked to last eternally. Until they busted me with a freshly bought fifty. The ball was now firmly in their court.
     Rozella was quite generous, telling me they wouldn’t report me to the police if I stopped inveigling others into my serious ganja habit. Naturally I agreed.
     The solution to this new barrier to a naturally fun loving nature like my own I was easily able to solve: I’ll shout the others alcohol instead, Dianne specifically asking for some port last night.
     Need I say again that the hospital nurses weren’t stupid? They could smell my liquor from the other side of that magnificent park. Also, need I say that my first admission to Rozella Psychiatric Hospital resulted in them evicting me? Yes indeed.  Eight days before I could legally leave of my own free will. But I loved the grounds so much that I kept returning there, getting the usual crew together to revel, revelling under the stars for the simple reason of revelling under the stars. I slept during the day, bored, and intoxicated. It was great.
     Great for the voices too, their often laughing choir making me ticklish. Great, initially. But the voices soon grew bored of the constant merriment, vaguely feeling that I was manipulating these helpless patients. But we all had a good time, didn’t we? The voices were unsure and let me know with the odd curt remark, always managing to point out that I was simply being unreasonable in partying with Dianne, Dean, Cathy, and Tom. I should really be partying back in this squat, partying indeed with the real world, not the unwell world. I should also not be poisoning the unwell world.
     ‘Well, let’s compromise,’ I said to the voices, for some reason myself always feeling the need to party, ‘I’ll go to Rozella less.’
     ‘Deal!’ said the voices.
    
*

I must say that I was surprised when our core group, the two Ds, Cathy, and Tom, was whittled down to just one person: Cathy. She returned home yesterday, the hospital finally finding the right mix of meds for a bipolar disorder that seemed to be triggered by ordinary nutrients.
     So here I sit, getting stoned, alone. Writing. You, kind reader, are undoubtedly asking me why I just don’t hand myself into Rozella Hospital and get help with my housing, just fake being crazy, talk to some voices, no problem, they’ll help me. Because I like my freedom, the main reason why I have chosen to live this homeless life. Besides, I’ve already just tried and they told me I was unwelcome there, being such a bad influence.
     And so, after meeting such kind people as the mentally ill, I can’t really make friends any more on the outside of hospital, with ‘normal’ people and their dominating agendas. But since I’m now not allowed to make friends with those open, generous and good people on the inside of hospital, who can I make friends with?
     Well, really, as I remain here thinking, it’s the mentally ill that are the more worthwhile, simply interested in feeling good, no agenda, no malice, and honestly hoping everyone else will feel as good as they do.
     Still, all that glitters isn’t gold. I could well get another party clique going, if I really wanted to, but what’s the point? They’ll all return home again and here I’ll be left alone and smoking by myself in the soothing vales of Rozella Psychiatric Hospital.
    
*

I’ve got one more trick up my sleeve: I’m going to check myself into the Rozella Admission Office here, just beyond this small group of trees and beg them to help me with my voices. I’ll swear to them that I’ll keep my drugs to myself, and if I even blow one person out I’ll agree to leave quietly and never return to haunt their lives. It should work. And I do need help with these voices, good as they are. I’ll try now; wish me luck!

*

Well, they let me in. To my woe. They took everything off of me, except this notebook and a pencil, and I had to do some real fast talking to keep the pencil, a sharp object. No cigarettes, no lighter, no phone, no books. I’m soon to be taken to the locked ward. I had to swear, when they were considering admitting me, literally, upon a Bible, that I would not tempt the other patients as I am inadvertently wont to do.  If I didn’t swear I would be kicked back out onto the streets again and refused admission. Give me peace for now, kind reader, I’ll let you know in the morning how I spend tonight.

*


It’s nice having friends: Cathy is back in hospital and having learned I arrived back here a few days ago has brought me in a joint. I’ll save it for the last smoke of the day, before bed. She’s just come into some money and has set aside a good amount to shout me and a few friends of my choice. I’ll let her bring the people, these so-called nutty people in whom I can casually see my own peaceful aspirations in. And when this new party clique naturally dissolves I’ll begin another. Cheers! 

~

If you've been enjoying Denis' stories here his previous such stories, from September 2013 to February 2015, are also available as a Kindle book, Amongst the Ways of God, at http://amzn.to/1IcruuX, which also includes several completely new ones. You may also enjoy his debut novel, This Mirror in Me, which tells the story of how Tonia achieves her life's fundamental aim of having her home as a social hub, by staring at herself in the mirror. It is also available as a Kindle book at http://amzn.to/1gXGF9h.  Denis also has a short non-fiction book available, King Street Blues, which is an encouraging tale of Denis' willfully chosen five years of homelessness in the inner cities of Sydney and Melbourne. It too is available as a Kindle book at http://amzn.to/1xwiVGb. If you don't have a Kindle you can download the Kindle app for free onto your smartphone, tablet, or computer through your local app store.

     

6 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the story very much. We subscribed to your blog and look forward to hearing more from you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Enjoyed the story very much. We subscribed to your blog and look forward to hearing more from you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, Four Corners, I really enjoyed writing the story. It is a fictionalised account of my many, many admissions into Rozelle Psychiatric Hospital, here in Sydney.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, Aline, 'amusing' has been the general consensus. The story is based upon actual events.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also like your stories, Aline, which are usually exotic in some way.

      Delete