Chapter 4: Steam From the Warped Cogs of my Brain
They wake us up every morning at five. They tell us that receiving charity doesn’t mean that we can be lazy. Yet they still force us to squander every moment of our day.
We are handed clothes. Those who are too confused to even get dressed are yanked in every direction as the nurses roughly pull them into the clothes. We do not get a change of clothes every day. Instead we are repeatedly given the same garments for up to a month.
Breakfast is equally ugly. It goes without saying that the food is virtually inedible. A thick slice of what is supposed to be bread, and a thin tea (or possibly soup) with a green tinge is served. If you don’t get to the table quickly enough your food will have already been stolen. No cutlery is provided, so we have to eat clumsily, like animals.
Twenty minutes later, finished or not, we are led into the day room. The walls and floor are kept a shimmering white (by the patient workforce, not the staff of course) and there are two wooden benches that run the entire corridor. We are expected to sit on these benches for three hours, until our work day begins. If anyone makes a noise during this time they are liable to get a slap from a nurse.
At ten the nurses walk down the corridor, assigning a job to each patient. This could be anything from scrubbing the floor to making and mending clothes. The more trustworthy among us are assigned to doing odd-jobs for the staff. For example- the staff wailed with excitement when they realised a hairdresser had been placed on our ward as they could get their hair styled for free. After the jobs another cup of “tea” is handed out. Then we are told to stand in line and are taken out for a walk around the building. It has frequently occurred to me that this would be the best time to escape; yet I have to carefully plan any attempt, as if I was caught I would likely to be sent to a far grimmer ward. A ward of babbling patients in straitjackets. The ward in question is easily identified as an unholy stink emanates from it. I doubt the patients inside are permitted to wash, or be freed from their restraints to relieve themselves.
Following the walk we are again told to wait on the two long benches, until supper, and then we are sent to bed. At bed time we are each locked into our own sparse cell.
The staff who subject us to all this evidently don’t see us a human beings. It is as if we are an entirely different species-“Lunatic”.