Breaking Free

Breaking Free

A Chapter by Amy

During Cassie's absense, the group have a talk about the hospital, and make some decisions without her...

I wake up after half an hour, according to the clock on the table next to me. It's four thirty in the afternoon, which means Nuts is still out. We aren't allowed to go and see sedated people, which is a shame, because I know she likes me singing to her. If I was allowed, I'd go an hug her and sing to her, to stop her being scared. She's always scared when she sees needles, because she knows that they mean she's going to go to sleep, which she hates almost as much as me.

Nuts isn't Nuts real name. We don't really know what it is. When she arrived, Crooked Nose (another nurse) told us her name, but we forgot it, because we didn't talk to her at first. That was because she was screaming, like earlier. She gets scared of things, Vi tells us. Not real things, that most people can see with their eyes, but things she thinks she can see. Nuts is Schizophrenic and has Visual and Auditory Hallucinations. She has another sort of Hallucination, but I can't remmeber the proper name for it. She thinks things are touching her, as well as talking to her. I think this must be very scary, which is why I try my best not to get angry with her when she does odd things, like taking all the duvets off all our beds and curling up in the corner and then being sick on them all.

Nuts isn't a little baby, like you might expect from all the screaming. I don't think they even have little babies in this hospital, because you're never properly crazy until you're at least four. Nuts is fourteen, and has been here three weeks. I arrived one day before her, but got sedated, because of trying to escape. That means I woke up as she was arriving, which was Very Scary with capital letters. I could hear lots of screaming, and I thought it was my nightmares at first, but it wasn't and it wouldn't go away. That's when I realized that I was with lots of crazy people, properly crazy people. That, I worked out, means that I must be properly crazy as well, which isn't a very appealing thought. I screamed lots because I was scared and I had to be sedated, at the same time as Nuts did.

I am the second oldest on the ward. I am also the third youngest, and I am sixteen and dead in the middle. Finn and Melissa are both seventeen, although Melissa is older by Three Months, which gives her the right to boss everyone else around. We mainly let her, because of her Need For Control, and because she has good ideas and is very clever. Nuts and Jasper are both fourteen, and Chris is fifteen. We aren't sure of Nuts birthday, but Jasper didn't want to be the youngest, so we said that Nuts was. I don't know what Jasper would do if he was the youngest. It would probably make him have one of his Panic Attacks, because he hates change. That's why he's here. His parents got divorced, and his Daddy remarried, which meant he had to start at a normal school after being homeschooled all his life. Then he started growing a School Phobia and bunked off every day. When they tried to make him go to school, he went nuts -like Nuts- and attacked everyone and threw chairs around the room.

He got sent here because of that. I think it's silly. He goes to school here, on the ward, so he might as well go to a normal school and not have to be crazy. We all have our own lessons, two hours a day, and we have them in the therapy room. It's a very nice room, big, with red carpets and light blue walls. There are chairs in there, but Vi has pushed them all to one side, because she thinks they make it too much like a school environment. We sit on the floor or on cushions instead. Vi is what my Daddy would call a crackpot shrink, but I'm not allowed to not see her. I told her that my Daddy would say that, and she laughed, and asked what I thought about her. I wasn't really sure, so I stopped talking.

Anyway, it is Pointless moving all the chairs, because our tutors move them all back anyway and look annoyed when they have to do it. I don't think they like teaching us Crazy Kids, because they always seem nervous around us, like they think we are going to attack them or start screaming. We are usually well behaved. Nuts doesn't have lessons, so there isn't usually any screaming, except from Jasper when his lady teacher tried to make him do maths. That's the lesson he went ballistic in at school, apparently, and it makes him have Panic Attacks and Unpleasant Flashbacks. I think that he should Belt Up and Get On With It, but Vi wouldn't agree. She likes to do things very carefully and quietly, something that would annoy my Daddy. It annoys me as well, but I don't tell her that.

Because it is almost five o'clock, I get up and head to the dayroom, to see what has been destroyed in my absense. Even if I am crazy, like the others, I think I am the least crazy. They all do silly things, like Melissa and her not eating, or Jasper and his School Phobia. I am sensible, because I walk away when people do stupid things, like plotting escapades in the dayroom because Nuts got sedated. I walk in and the chattering that was previously humming through the door stops, making me feel like I'm either a complete social pariah or a nurse. They have changed positions, I notice, and it surprises me. We don't usually sit close to each other. The closest we get is sitting on the sofa, like Chris and Finn and I earlier. That level of closeness means our arms and legs are just touching, side by side. But everyone is squished together, sitting in a tight circle in the centre of the room. They are facing inwards, making me feel completly excluded, because there is nowhere for me to join the circle.

The circle goes like this, starting from nearest me: Melissa, Finn, Chris and Jasper. It's a very small circle, really, because I'm not in it. I don't think Nuts would be in it if she was here, because she really hates being touched, and prefers to curl up in the corner and cry instead of sitting and talking with the rest of us. "Um...everything okay?" I ask, feeling like I should break the silence.

The others look around at each other, as if they are thinking about the answer to my question. This makes me feel Very Scared and Sick, and I want to scream because I'm scared that they've decided that they don't like me. Have they decided to not talk to me? I try and think Why they would have done that, but can't come up with anything, not really.

Five agonising seconds go by, and I stare unblinkingly at Chris. The others have all twisted around to face me, but he is directly opposite and does not have to move. He is my closest friend, I suppose, because we talk quite a lot and sometimes have interesting conversations, despite him doing stupid things. If anyone is going to break the silence, it should be him. And it is.

Interesting. During my absense, it appears that Chris has taken over the role of leadership. We don't have an official leader, someone that tells us what to do, but Finn and Melissa are in charge. They don't really boss us around, but when they speak -often if it's Melissa, not often for Finn- we all listen. I'm not sure why.

"We should tell her," Chris says, infuriatingly. Now I know there is something that they should tell me, but I don't know what it is. I glare at him, his stony face remaining impassive. Finn is the only one that doesn't nod at his suggestion of telling me a Secret. We all look at him, and he shrugs. "I don't know if we can trust her, but go ahead."

Finn can't trust me? I stare at him. Why not? I've never told the nurses on them, like Jasper did when Melissa was hiding her food (which was A Relapse and it won't happen again). I've never given them any reason to not trust me. But they don't. It is awfully tempting to shout something along the lines of 'I didn't want to know, anyway!' and run out. However, it is hard to storm away from a group of people when you share a room with all of them. We'd all have to face each other eventually.

Chris shakes his head. "We can trust her." He moves backwards and the others follow his movement, edging away to make a gap for me in the circle. I sit down gratefully, between Chris and Jasper, feeling included and happy again.
"So...what's the big secret?" I ask, now desperate to know. There is another long pause, and I resist the urge to throttle Chris until he tells me. "Oh, come on, you can't just not tell me!"
"She's right," Melissa says. Chris opens his mouth to speak and she gives him A Look, making him close it again. Melissa likes talking. "You've got to promise not to tell anybody, okay?"

I nod obediently. "I promise. There's nobody to tell, anyway, is there?"
She ignores me and continues, leaning closer and lowering her voice as if she suspects that people are listening to our conversation. In a normal setting, that would be considered paranoid. Here, it is a necessary precaution. There is a moments pause when I cannot bear the anticipation, before she speaks, carefully.

"We're going to get out of here. The hospital. And we're all going, even Nuts."

© 2010 Amy

Author's Note

Not so sure about this. It seems to drag on a bit; any advice or critique would be much appreciated. Thanks! <3

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Added on October 24, 2010
Last Updated on October 24, 2010
Tags: psychiatric hospital, mental illness, anorexic, anorexia, anorexia nervosa, schizophrenia, schizophrenic, teenagers, the misfits



Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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