[Don’t be too hard on yourself, 763 words, Genre: Experimental]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
Now there’s crazy, y’know ‘craz-ee’. Everyone says that they’re crazy, but then there are those who are mentally ill. To embrace your faults is one thing, they are part of you, they will never leave you, they define you, they are who you are. To embrace your mental illness or disability is another thing entirely. It’s kind of like embracing the loss of a leg and somehow twisting it, to see it as a benefit. Now Jake hadn’t lost a leg or anything like that. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. This meant from time to time he would be caught up in a trail of disturbing and shattered thoughts, with mild hallucinations. He was not as a severe case as many are and was among those who are deemed as highly functional. From time to time he would see spots of colour as little dots would appear if he concentrated on a particular object for too long. A faint feeling in the head often accompanied these minor hallucinations. More often than not these hallucinations were due to dehydration rather than from the illness he suffered from. He would power through these minor bouts. However, these were not the most disturbing elements of the illness. He would often find himself living in a world where paranoid thoughts became a reality.
Jake was having one of those moments now. Whilst sitting in a classroom dedicated to his latest ambition, to become a personal trainer. The class was a mature group and had none of the disfigured elements of youth. The youth that was lost with its personal goals that focussed on their own pleasure. There was something lost in the gap of generations, a responsibility to the human endeavour. Perhaps the majority just hadn’t matured as of yet. Perhaps this was a misrepresentation. Perhaps Jake was just a bitter individual. It had Jake calling all the peers of his generation ‘cunts’ inside his head. It was not necessarily the case, it could have been that Jake had a predisposition to being an arsehole and the biggest telltale sign of an arsehole is that they think everyone else is an arsehole. This caused Jake to treat people like arseholes, which in fact made him the arsehole. Now, this group was different. They were a grouping of organized mature individuals, with age comes wisdom and many other life tools.
It was the second week and as he sat there listening to his teacher deliver a spiel of information, his mind twisted and contorted. A ring of fire developed around the teacher’s head and Jake retreated inside his head, making sure not to give away any telltale signs of what he was experiencing. A torrent of fear seized him as he came into a belief that all those around him were going to turn on him. Turn on him and produce unseen tools for bludgeoning his skull. A hammer, maybe some gardening shears to stab into his chest, any household instrument that could be used to extinguish his life. And then like that it was gone, the fear receded. He was back in the classroom taking notes.
On the train ride home, he found himself thinking of the possibilities of other worlds. He had caught a glimpse of hell, a sick and sordid existence where he would be a victim of persecution. Maybe he had just been daydreaming, pretty fucked up thing to daydream about, but each to their own. Jake had accepted this as part of himself, the illness that he suffered from. He had twisted it, integrating it into his personality. Some would call him delusional for having done so. Favourable acquaintances would comment that he was an interesting individual for having done so. Initially, he took it as a compliment, however, he was slowly coming to realise that ‘interesting’ was a polite statement, where they really meant ‘too fucked to comprehend’.
He found himself between trains, he walked out of the station to smoke a cigarette. It came up to the last train of the evening, but he would be there to catch it. As he sat on the park bench outside the train station he stared at the black pavement of the sidewalk smoking his cigarette. A newspaper caught up in the wind, shuffled across the cement and ended up in his field of vision. The paper blew open, revealing a page with a headline that read, ‘I learnt my lesson to not be too hard on myself’. He didn’t read the article, but figured it was a pretty good lesson to learn.