What are you running from.
Sanity Is Not My Friend
By Georgia Willis
I sat in a circle of white plastic chairs, the bright sunlight filtered in through the imposing glass windows trying to brighten a sad clinical room. The other patients and I sat there listening to the drawl of the doctor who tried to coax us into speaking. This was my first group meeting; of what I knew would be many. I had just been diagnosed with… well does it matter? For the next few weeks I would be stuck in here until someone decided whether I was safe to be in the community. I sat there in my fluffy grey robe squinting in the sunlight as actual crazy people bumbled around me, while nurses in their stark white lab coats monitored the room for disturbances. The doctor called on me and I shook my head. Not today. Another man, three seats to my left sat up straight as the doctor looked at him. Sighing the doctor called on the man. I sat amazed watching this man as he spoke with such zeal about the most ridiculous things, that he truly believed. When he was done he sat back in exhaustion, as if the tale had been a marathon. As the doctor moved on I looked at the man, who grinned mischievously and winked at me. Startled I turned from him and pretended to listen to the others around me.
When group finally finished, and the doctor toddled off to try to save the mind of yet another doomed patient, the man who had winked at me walked straight up to me determination on his face.
“My name is Wally, as in Polly Wally!” he exclaimed grinning.
“That’s great” I mumbled turning away, he grabbed my arm gently and leaned in to whisper in my ear
“You think I’m nuts don’t you? Good, that’s exactly what I want people to think” still grinning, he winked at me and walked off yelling at a nearby nurse for levitating without permission.
Over the next few days I observed Wally, and decided that for all his crazy talk and grandeur he was like me, sane. But for some reason, he just pretended not to be. I couldn’t understand. Why on earth would anyone want to stay in a place that regulated everything, and took away most of your rights? It took a few days more before I got him alone to ask. I looked in his pale brown eyes and saw pain.
“Kid, my story is a pretty sad one. But this place, where I have a roof over my head and three square meals and where I can say or do anything I want without being judged, well it’s a good story end to have.”
When I questioned him further, stating that surely there was a better way for him, where he didn’t have to be labeled and drugged. But he shook his head.
“I’m running away from my past, and this is where I’ve chosen to hide, in a place surrounded by labels that will keep me safe from things I’d rather not confront at the moment. Look around you, most of the people here are running from one thing or another, whether it be the voices in their head or the life that they used to live, or even from their own sanity.” He stopped then and looked at me,
“Think about the reason you’re here, what are you running from hmm? Now think, would you like to be out there in the real world dealing with that crap? Or would you rather be in here safe from expectations, because as a crazy person, the only expectation on you, is to be crazy, and that’s not hard in a world that views difference as insanity.”
He wandered off then, leaving me standing there unsure of what to say or do. He was right though in a way, I had had a breakdown and been sent here to recuperate, I was running from the life I hated, and as much as I resented being here, being labeled, I actually kind of relished it knowing that here, for once in my life I was not being judged.