Shared Journal Entry #3

August 30, 2009

I lie in bed reading a novel about the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. I read the same paragraph over and over again unable to concentrate. My mind will not settle long enough for me to get some sleep. I look around me to the four white washed walls that are as blank as I am. We are not allowed to decorate in this place that is my temporary home. It must remain as empty as the people that pass through on the road to sanity.

It is well past midnight and right outside the bolted window all I can see is darkness. The lights from buildings and the flicker of headlights are visible only through the rod iron mesh meant to keep me in, keep me safe from myself. The mesh makes the outside world look as if it is caught in a fisherman’s net, trapped, unable to escape. The truth is that I am the one trapped and unable to move. Still I think of escaping into the darkness beyond my barricaded window.

Even in the darkness I can sense new life forming. Trees pushing through the black earth, rising above the green grass until their branches bloom and breathe. Even the branches know there is nowhere to go but up toward the sky, toward freedom. In this moment I envy those trees. I envy their path to the heaven of the sky. I envy the seeds they sow, that bloom into beautiful buds that grow fearlessly. I envy their right to exist when all my rights have been taken away, when my feet are strapped to a metal bed frame making freedom impossible.

I look to my left to see sound proof, bullet proof, unbreakable glass. Still, I hear the cries for help and the violent rattle of chains and I am reminded— Although the sun is starting to rise over my right shoulder, insanity waits for me over my left. As night turns to day and the sky goes from black to morning’s indigo I remember I am not outside these four walls where freedom lives and my right to exist is unquestioned. Instead I am in a dimly lit, locked room, strapped to a bed, on 24-hour observation in the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit on the hospital’s tenth floor.


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