I’ve got plenty to share about my own time in the mental hospital. But today I thought I’d share with you someone I met. He was without a doubt the most interesting person I met when I was there, and I wish I’d written down more of the conversations we shared. The entries are a little disjointed, but I think they paint the picture well enough.
I have made my first contact with a fellow inmate. What a doozy! Jordan, 19, habitual inmate who apparently has been bouncing back and forth between rehab centers and psych facilities since he was 16. He told me that he had come here straight from a rehab facility, and that he likely cycle straight back to that facility once they got his depression under control.
He is both tragic and interesting. He walks the halls (“I like to pace”) with a nonchalant air, and he’s always willing to share his insider’s knowledge of how these places work. “Just take your meds, that makes them happy,” he said to me, and “Don’t stay in your room all day, because then they lock you out, and if you’v got a roommate he gets locked out too, and then he’s pissed at you.” He’s too young to be so wise about this sort of place.
Listening to him talk, he doesn’t see much of a future for himself. He’s three classes shy of his high school diploma,which he swears he will finish when he gets out and detoxes. But he didn’t seem to have much conviction.
I need to get out of here. Being a perpetual inmate like Jordan would just suck. So glad my insanity is acute, not chronic!
Jordan’s hands shake. I had to pour his coffee for him. Poor kid.
As John and I talked, Jordan came into the room. He revealed to us that he has been pocketing his pills, intending to pop two days’ worth at once to “get all fucked up.”
Poor kid. Jordan is genuinely likable, funny, and generous (he gave me a piece of candy yesterday because “You look like you need a sweet”). It’s a shame that he’s such a junkie. As age 19 no less! I hope his rehab does some good for him.
Like I said, I wish I’d written down more. He was definitely a character, and one of the few people I met in there whose fate I’d be curious to know in the future. As a writer, I’m always collecting ideas from real life that someday might make it into a work of fiction. I’m almost sure that some version of Jordan will appear in something I write, someday.