ALBANY PSYCHIATRIC CENTER, ALBANY, NEW YORK-DAY
July 16, 2017
Woke up today hoping that what happened last night was just a nightmare that faded away like the ones before. Instead reality blinded me with bright white walls. I’m in an isolated room where no outside light can filter. These four white walls stare at me, not a picture in sight. The only furniture in the room is a black desk with a chair and a bed. My head is on the opposite side of where it should be and all I could do is stare at the ceiling and get lost in the events that just happen to get me here.
WELLS MANOR, ALBANY NEW YORK, LAST NIGHT
“They’re not real….they’re not real….just wake up…. just wake up… It’s all in your head.” I opened my eyes to see a dark figure in front of me and yelled, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? WHAT DO YOU WANT?” On the other side of the door I could hear my brother shout, “Lacie what’s going on? Open the door and talk to me!” All the blood rushed to my head and all I could hear was the pounding of my heart.
No one would believe me if I told them what has been going on ever since I was little, so I’ve always kept it to myself by writing about it. Now everyone is going to think I’m insane for just thinking I saw something that wasn’t the norm. Why now have they come out of my dreams? Did I fall asleep? Am I dreaming?
I felt a tear drop down my face before the flood of anxiety hit. “Open the door Lace! Tell me what’s going on?” he pounded at the door. Finally kicking it open Devin tried to pull me in his arms but I thought it was one of the shadows grabbing at me, so I started flailing my arms. “Open your eyes! Lacie! Open your eyes! It’s me Devin!” I kept swinging hoping to leave a mark or something, but the next swing was blocked and he threw me on the bed forcing me to look at him. “What’s going on? What happened?”, he asked breathlessly searching for answers I couldn’t give him. My eyes became wider as I saw one right behind him, but by the time Devin jumped around it disappeared.
He walked around the room looking through my closet, bathroom, and even outside the window as I sat on my bed in a catatonic state. “I don’t see anyone Lace. What did you see? Talk to me”, he sighed frustrated at the fact that he couldn’t help. Trying to shake the images of murky shadows from my mind, I covered my ears and started humming. I felt Devin scoop me up, making me feel even more helpless and pathetic than I did before.
In the grand living room the works of Rembrandt, van Gogh, and Monet snickered at the sight of me like they knew I was just as crazy as they were. Mary, the maid, wrapped me up in a blanket and brought me a cup of tea. I couldn’t look either of them in the eyes so I concentrated on the flames in the fireplace instead. Devin walked into the room, his jaw clenched tight and his eyes low, after getting off the phone with the family psychiatrist. He sat by my side with a million questions in his head, but he could see that I wasn’t ready to give any answers. Instead we just sat, the silence dancing between us.
I could tell that he was assessing my body language as soon as he stepped through the door. I could only imagine what’s going through his mind about my emotional stability. “Hello Lacie, how are we feeling today?”, he was talking to me like I was a 3 year old. I took my focus back to the fire. His rebuttal was pulling out his pad and taking “notes”. “You gave your brother quiet a scare. Can you tell me what you saw in your room?”, he paused looking from Devin to me, “You’re brother said you were yelling at someone, but when he came in there was no one. Was there someone in your room?” He was staring at me so sternly like he was trying to pull the thoughts out of my brain, but I couldn’t tell him….not yet.
“She hasn’t said anything since I brought her down Dr. Hartnet,” Devin chimed in when he realized I wasn’t going to budge. The doctor’s bald head slowly turned to Devin, “It seems like she’s in shock. She looks spooked and in order to get to the bottom of this I’ll need to bring her in for some testing.” I flinched when he said that and he continued to write down his accusations as if I were a science project. Devin and Dr. Hartnet walked into another room thinking that I wouldn’t be able to hear them. I’m “crazy” not deaf.
“It’s that serious? Are you sure she’s just not having a bad day?”, he asked once they got out of the room. Dr. Hartnet flipped open his notepad and stated, “By the way she’s resisting talking about it, her body language, and the fact that you didn’t see anything, she needs to be brought it. We have to see what is going on in her head to diagnosis the problem.” Looking at the calendar and trying to buy more time Devin replied, “Well my parents won’t be home for another couple of days. I tried to call them earlier but their phones went straight to voicemail.” Dr. Hartnet nodded and they both headed to the door. Taking one last look at me like I was a circus freak he instructed, “Well as soon as you get a hold of them have them give me a call.”
I heard the click of the door and saw Devin and Mary making their way back to me. Looking into my tea I said “I didn’t want to talk to him….I’m not crazy I swear. It’s just no one would believe me if I told them what I’d seen and I don’t want to end up in the loony bin,” I looked up at that moment and pleaded, “Please don’t let that happen to me.” A tear rolled down my cheek as Devin embraced me, protecting me from the world and whispered, “Everything will be okay. You’re just going to have to open up to us.” Taking a deep breathe I stammered, “I…I can’t Dev….not yet.”
ALBANY PSYCHIATRIC CENTER, ALBANY, NEW YORK-PRESENT DAY: EARLIER
With our parents being out of the country Devin was the only one who could take me for my “tests”. All I could think about is how that word alone makes me feel like a lab rat. We’ve been here all morning at the Albany Psychiatric Center. I’ve been studying Dr. Hartnet’s office. There are dark wood cabinets, an OCD organized desk, and The Rorschach test, aka ink blot tests, as artwork hanging on the white walls. In my mind the best word to describe it was “sterile”. Devin hasn’t stopped pacing since we got here. He’s more nervous than I am considering the fact that I’ve been sitting here quietly waiting for my results. My body stiffened as the doorknob clicked.
“Okay Miss. Wells, Thank you for your patience,” Dr. Hartnet came stone faced into the room. Noticing my brother he called, “Devin please have a seat.” He snapped out of his jittery state and calmly said “I’m good, just lay it on us. Is she gonna be okay?” I looked straight at Dr. Hartnet this time and cut him off, “Before you tell me that I’m clinically insane. I’d like to just say I didn’t need test results to tell me so. I’ve been seeing these shadow things for a while now, but this was the first time they were present while I was awake. I figured it was just nightmares…Is it possible to see something so many times that you start to think it’s real?” Devin’s eyebrows peaked because this was the first time I mentioned anything about last night.
“The mind is a very complicated thing Lacie. Trauma is usually what sets off something like you’re experiencing to happen, but you haven’t been in any accidents or lost anyone close to you. So I’m not sure what is triggering these “shadow things” you’ve been seeing,” Dr. Hartnet’s strong voice explained. I rolled my eyes and thought, as if I didn’t know that already. Devin finally took a seat, putting his hand on my shoulder he asked, “Lace, why haven’t you said anything before?” I voice was meek, “Because I knew once I did…. I’d end up here.” My eyes shifted toward my lap. That’s when I felt the room closing in on me and the floor started to spin.
Here’s what I’ve been working on…any thoughts?