I demand of myself to fight for every memory of my own life I can identify, to write it all down for when I’m an old, forgetful man, and take responsibility for it all. I’m in assisted living, and am here to stay. Why is it such an issue with me, you’d like to know? I’ve spent much of my life, sitting within four walls trying to forget my life, I’ve finally institutionalized myself.
I’ve built my own trap. I got to be here. That’s what killed Brooks, Brooks, in Shawshank Redemption, was institutionalization. If he could have only found a way back to Shawshank, he would have been alright, but he was too much of an old man to commit another felony. That’s the truth. Even Red needed Andy’s help to survive. That’s why Red went the whole way to Mexico.
My choice is was what it was. I fess up to it right here and now. Needing the group gathering at meal times, someone to cook and clean up, it’s part of the process of the whole I need. Needing others to clean up for me and physically help me to take a shower, because I am an extreme fall risk, is what institutionalization is. This paper is referred to as an inventory step.
I do another thorough inventory step, right here and now, call it what you may.
The institutions I refer to were state and private mental hospitals, where I regularly sought asylum throughout my days in young adulthood, whether my emergencies were real or imagined, I had them all by myself at times. The hospitals didn’t come get me, I went to them. I mean isolation chambers sometimes too. Between that and TV blaring, in at least one room all day.
I suffer from a chronic chemical imbalance in my brain.
Believe you me, I’ve been suffering a long time. A long term masochist. I was in an ER one time, and the MD woke me up on the gurney, demanding to know what I was doing in His ER? My condition has frequently been unmistakable like that. That man was a good doctor, knew his business. This darned chemical imbalance requires medication adjustment regularly.
He was just being as smart-Alec. Have been diagnosed with a memory disorder recently, cowers me. I consider the epilepsy and the chronic schizo-affective disorder, I can piece my life together tolerably, but I never knew my brain damage was going to catch up to me so young, the way it has. I’m going to have to accept this right along with the rest of it.
Took enough of some very dangerous recreational chemicals in my flower child days, got trouble to look forward to, and some significant memory issues degenerating in my speech, already started. I didn’t realize it would sneak up on me like this. I’ve mistreated my own body and mind very badly, till I finally quit doing so. That smart mouth doctor thought me a bum.
Doctors tell me the condition I have now will only get worse. My speech will only become more confused, because I’ll only remember a long time ago in my life. I’ll have no recent memories. That bites the rind, to think I won’t be qualified to answer doctor’s background questions about me. The probably suspect memory issues from the get go.
I was a drinker and user of recreational chemicals, not to mention a compulsive chain smoker.
I didn’t get loaded because of the Young People’s Movement of the 60’s, 70’s. I wanted to forget a trauma from childhood. I’d tell you the story, but it would get me in a bad mood all day. Haven’t had breakfast yet. Getting wasted was my own weapon against that memory. I can remember that trauma any ole time now. Now that I’m straight long enough.
I get a few childhood and young adulthood memories, that’s about it. I have trouble keeping track of what I’m trying to tell someone verbally, which is one of the reasons I enjoy writing so much. When I’ve got it all down in my text editor, I can always look back or forward. Can’t do that whenever I’m talking. Some tell me my memory issues are transparent, but I don’t know.
My wonderful baby sister ran away to Oregon, because she couldn’t stand to watch the way I was destroying myself. She loves me that much. She made a life for herself out there, got a husband, stepchild, granddaughters. She dug in deep the West Coast, to get away from me trying to destroy myself. She says it was too painful to stay home. Wrenches my heart out.
By the time I stopped doing all that to myself, she was already dug in.
I’m responsible myself, for loosing my baby sister. I did that, like I did brain damage. I drove recklessly enough to hit several windshields with my own skull. I took mind-destroying chemicals on purpose and with intent. It’s my responsibility. I fess up. I take responsibility for my own illness and my own recovery, whatever recovery is possible at this late date.
No one took me to an institution half as much as I took myself. Not my brother or anyone. I’m institutionalized, and need to be in assisted living or some place institutional, because it’s the only place I understand. This place has rules, whatever they are. I don’t know, but I understand the polarity between staff and residents. I don’t need to be told, because my heart tells me.
I’m responsible to God for my temple, which I am responsible for this eye condition, by my own hand. Nobody put me in this position but me. I did this to myself, trying to neutralize my memory, being too lazy to light up the room when I used the computer. It’s understandable to me, but that does not negate my state of responsibility for my own actions.
Hopefully, more of my memory will come back to me, I don’t know the prognosis.
If no one wants to read what I write, well OK. I have too much noise in my head to shut up my writing. Do I want to sell my writing, well OK, but I’m not writing for that. I must drivel out of my own thinking, till I have what it says, written down on virtual paper, like any writer does. Besides, I can concentrate in writing better that I can in Life.
There are other new diagnoses. Epilepsy. Osteoporosis. I have fallen twice, once in 2010, and then twice in 2013. I turned up with too much brain damage, to ultimately expect temporary memory loss, as I age, in 2013. Moreover, I have a problem with my walking, due to falling and braking bones, from malnutrition as a child. The malnutrition in childhood was my decision too.
Can’t blame all this on my mother or father.
She cooked. I stayed away. How do I like them apples? Merry Christmas. Why on earth? Mom tried, you know. Dad was a monster. His chemical imbalance produced violence when I was a kid. It is a genetically inherited disorder. Mom thought she was obligated to stay with the monster, while we all got beaten, even her.
We left after Dad deserted us. Went to Grandma’s. I was thirteen. I’m trying to tell you why I’m crazy, ma’am. I inherited schizophrenia from Dad genetically, like all three of my siblings. Two of them function OK. Lee and I are totally nuzoid. I’m never going to pass on schizo-affective disorder to my own kids, Robynn. I take responsibility for that much.
That poor girl in NC’s named Mary. She rocked my world too, like you’ve done. There was only that one other time I knew without looking that a woman, that she was one of my great ones. I wasn’t looking, because I was in an institution, half way out of my mind on mescaline. I’ve never met you, Robynn, but I can tell all this about you. Yes, my sister told me to get to know you.
Maybe people don’t like to read someone else’s life. This is a gift to one, wonderful lady. You tell me you live in Wyoming, that you’ve got a husband. OK. You can think about giving me your phone number some time. Women never use them, but you can reach me at 757.466.5154. I’ll never remember that number, Ma’am. Leave a message, I’m screening.
Maybe there are those who cannot appreciate what I have to say. God bless you, and may you recall regularly, what you had for lunch, in the evening, for many years into your future. I cannot. I remember what I’m writing, with more alacrity for a shorter period. I am likely to be talking, and forget where I am in what I’m saying, as well as where I am geographically.
I can recall university as a young man, and I’m hoping my traumatic childhood will become more immediate for me, in general, as my MD suggests. Why do I want to remember trauma, you ask? There was a long time I tried, with a will and intent, to kill my memory, overwhelming myself with recreational chemicals. Now, there are all the helpers I need.
I am not afraid to remember anymore. My own life has sanctity enough to me now, and a with long term abstinence and facing what I can. I have embraced my memory, now wishing my history to return. Whether it can, or will, or not, I have no clue. In college, where I finally got my degree, I was taught to seek publication. Here I am, with a will and a way.