Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Asylum

circa late 1990's

I am on a gurney and someone is pushing me very fast. The hospital lights above me are bright and the closed doubles doors are coming quickly. There is a loud crack each time my gurney slams into and opens these doors. Finally, the bed is still. I am in a room alone.

The nurse comes in and I want to ask her why I am here. I can't speak; I conclude that I am drugged. I try to sit up, but my hands and feet are buckled tightly to the sides of the bed. I try to squirm, but the nurse slaps me in the face. Hard. 

I am scared, no, I am terrified. I don't know what they are going to do to me. I have realized now that I am in an insane asylum. I have been committed, but I am not crazy. Am I? They have sedated me so that I will cooperate. 

What is she doing? My legs are being pulled apart like at the gynecologist's office. There is a click, and now I cannot put my legs back together. I have on a hospital gown and no panties. There are several young people in the room with lab coats and clipboards. They are med students. 

Oh my God, they are going to use my vagina to teach these students how to give an exam. I am a guinea pig. They each take turns inserting their fingers and various tools inside of me. I want to cry but the tears won't come. It doesn't hurt, but I can feel them moving around inside my body. I can tell each time a new student sits down to poke and prod. It is terrible. I am humiliated, defiled, and angry.

Finally it is over. They leave and the medication wears off. It is time for me to go talk to the resident shrink. I am so glad I am finally getting out of here. As soon as he finds out what the nurse and those med students did to me he will let me out for sure. He is going to be sympathetic, and he will let me cry in his arms. 

I am escorted to his office with bound hands. The doctor is a warm looking, 50-something man. He is balding and the hair that is left is all grey. His lab coat reminds me of the med students, but I quickly put that out of my mind so that I can concentrate on the real reason I am here - to tell him what they did to me. 

I am so eager to get it out that I am sure I am stumbling all over my words. I am crying hard as I give him the gruesome details of the incident. He nods and looks concerned as I tell my story, all the while he is writing on his clipboard. When I am finished I look up at him through tear-soaked eyes and he stops writing. He comes over and puts his arm around me as he walks me to the door. 

Outside his office, he hands me over to the guard. As I am escorted back to my room I hear the doctor over my shoulder either thinking out loud or talking to a colleague. I can't seem to turn my head enough to see him, so I simply listen. 

"Just like we thought, schizophrenia. Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic hallucinations. Fascinating."


This dream haunted me for a great many months. I had various recurring versions but this is the most detailed account in my sleep journal. I wish I had put a date on this one to isolate the time period so that I could understand what else was going on in my life at the time.

Clearly, this was my mind-body's way of trying to communicate to me what had happened in my childhood. I was violated. I was defiled. This was during a time when my mother was exhibiting many schizophrenic symptoms though without any formal diagnosis. It was many years before we put the pieces of her disorder together. And though I do not remember his precise words, I have some semblance of memory that my abuser used my mother's mental illness as a way to swear me to secrecy.

"No one would believe you if you told, your mom is crazy and they will think you are too."

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