I don’t know what day it was or time all I know is I when I woke up my room was filled with flowers, I hate flowers they remind me of funerals, the person who put up those flowers in my room was very stupid and needed to be shot. I decided not to scream this time, acting and behaving like a crazy person in a mental institution was not helping my case I needed to act calm and collected and pretend to be fine, that was the only way I would ever see the light of day.
I must have sat for over thirty minutes waiting for someone to come and check on me, all I could hear were screams of my fellow crazy mates and they were driving me up the wall, if my hands were loose I would have put a pillow in my ears, the loud screams sounded like people were being murdered, I guess I wasn’t the only one who did not understand why they were there. After almost an hour of waiting, my door opened and someone came in. “ohhh, you are awake?” the nurse I had spoken to previously said appearing from the door. “I promise I won’t go crazy like I did yesterday.” I assured her, it’s funny how I kept mentioning crazy even though I tried very hard not to mention that word, I made a mental note to wipe that word out of my vocabulary. “It’s water under the bridge honey, that was days ago, I’ve even forgotten about it. “Days ago? Oh, God how strong is that bloody injection. I could have been here for years and not even know it, this place is hell. I want to go..” I stopped mid-sentence because I could see the nurse was about to call for the injection again. “I’m sorry, I’m just not used to being stuck in one place and not being able to do anything for myself.” The nurse told me this was for my own good and they took no joy in having me there, everyone wants you to get better if you start fighting again I’m going to have to use medicine to calm you down. I told her there will be no more tantrums coming from my side. While we were still talking someone came in with food, I ate like I had not eaten in years, who knows maybe I had not eaten in years, I shook my head trying to shake off the crazy thoughts.
The next few days, I behaved, asked few questions and made sure I threw no tantrums. I was behaving so well that my arms were freed as a reward for good behaviour but that meant that my door was locked because they thought I was going to run away, the place felt like prison. The nurse came to see me and told me that there was group therapy that afternoon as well as one on one sessions later with the therapist. I told her I was fine, and would be sitting this one out, “Again?” she had asked me the previous day and the day before that and each time I came up with an excuse, the only reason why I didn’t want to go was because I knew I was going to be asked questions and I had no answers and I honestly didn’t feel like sharing my problems with strangers especially since I had half the story, I had no idea where my family was or why I was put in a mental institution of all places, not even a public hospital because that was much better that the place I was in. “This is not a request, you are going to the group therapy session, otherwise how are you going to get better if all you do is sit in the room?” I looked at her and asked “what is wrong with me? You keep telling me that I am not well but I feel fine, in fact I have not felt this good in months.” That was a bit of an exaggeration but I needed to convince her that I was fine. “You are not fine, you tried to kill yourself, not once but a number of times.” At that point I was extremely confuse, why would I want to take myself out of life, why would I want to kill myself when life was such a beautiful thing and I had so much to leave for. “Why would I do that? I love myself too much to try and hurt myself.” A memory of a while ago came back to me where I was trying to drown myself in my mother’s bathroom, this was after Neo my son died which brought me to a realisation that my daughter must be dead if I had tried to kill myself, what else could have caused me so much pain that I felt like ending my life. I didn’t want to ask because I knew the answer would probably drive me back to crazy land. “Lesedi, we have spoken about this a number of times, do you remember the talk we had about your family?” ohhh shit, things were worse than I thought, I could not remember an important conversation that I had with the nurse about my family, maybe I had really lost my mind. “Okay I will go to the session” I said trying to get the nurse to get off my case and to stop her from giving me dirty stares.
In the afternoon a different nurse came to get me to take me to the bloody group sessions, I was really not looking forward to it but I needed to keep up the appearance of looking and feeling better and showing up for these silly meetings was going to work in my favour. I found a sit at the back little did I know that we were going to be told to bring our chairs to the front and make a circle. After everyone had settled down we were told to introduce ourselves, one of the people in the group said “again? We all know each other anyway.” The group leader said we needed to do it anyway. Everyone stood up one at a time and said their name, it felt like we were at AA Meeting, I also stood up and introduced myself. After we were done, the group leader asked who wanted to go first, and a lady who had been twitching her hands the whole time put her hand up and said she wanted to go first. “I’m ready to share my story. I have two kids and the father of my children is my own biological father, you see my father raped me and my sister from the age of thirteen I am now twenty one years old, I am currently pregnant with my third child.” She stopped and wiped tears of her face and said “I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, don’t feel sorry for me.” The group leader said to her “Do you want to continue with your story Melissa?” she nodded and said “I’m sure you are all wondering where my mother was when all this was happening, she was there, I somehow think she knew but choose to turn a blind eye, anyway one day my sister got fed up with all the shit my father was doing to us and she snapped and told my mother that our father raped us and the kids I had were his, I had taken my youngest to the park without telling anyone, when my mother heard the story she took a gun and shot my sister, then my father and then went to my room to look for me but unfortunately or fortunately I was not there and my oldest child had managed to hide inside the wardrobe when my mother couldn’t find me and my kids, I guess she couldn’t wait till we got home so she took her own life too” there was not a single dry eye in the room myself included, I knew I had problems but after hearing this lady’s story I knew my problems compared to hers were a drop in the ocean, I wanted to stand up and hug her and promise her that all will be well in the world, she just needed to be strong, but how could I tell her that when I was stuck with my own stupid little problems that I could not handle and was so weak and pathetic that I ended up in the looney bin, I felt so weak and useless after hearing the hell that this lady went through and she was still standing. I could not believe that at such a young age she had gone through so much, life truly does give some people crap. Someone asked Mellisa where her kids were now since she was in a mental institution, she said the social workers took her children from her because she was not working and had no way to support them. She said she moved in with her boyfriend who was very abuse and had beat her up before to a point where he had broken her ribs. I just thought when is this poor girl going to get a break in life, from one hell to another. Life was really not fair for her. She said she now suffered from major depression and bipolar and that is why she was there but fortunately for her because she was pregnant she could not be put on the hard medication that the rest of us were put on. She said her wish was to stay with all her kids and as soon as she got better she was going to do everything in her powers to find her kids and stay with all of them. This woman had every single thing in life against her yet she was determined to get life back on track, this lady was a fighter and I wanted to be like her. The group leader thanked her for speaking and said he was glad to see that she was making progress and was no longer talking about how she wished she was home when her mom shot everyone in the house, he asked if there was anyone else who wanted to speak, about five people put up their hands, these people really loved attention, he pointed at another young girl she looked twenty-three but she said she was nineteen and had an eating disorder, she was so skinny I didn’t understand what her problem was, she explained that she eats a lot of food and then goes to the bathroom where no one can see her and vomit all the food out. Someone blurted out “Why don’t you just not eat instead of wasting food, there are kids in Somalia who are starving and you are throwing it up down the drain, sies!!” The instructor reminded everyone that we were not there to judge but to listen and support. The old looking young lady said she felt fat and ugly all the time and would turn to food for comfort then after eating a lot of food she would realize she was going to gain weight then run to the bathroom to vomit everything out. I honestly did not understand this problem, I was silently judging her for being stupid, I wanted to ask her why doesn’t she just go to the gym, but I didn’t want to get reprimanded so I kept my mouth shut. She said she had reached a point where she no longer could control herself and automatically after eating she would vomit, nothing was staying in her stomach, I rolled my eyes and wondered what she expected if she had been putting a finger down her throat for so long every time after eating, she had basically trained her body to reject food, I honestly felt like this girl had no problems in life, she was just looking for attention. My minded wondered off while she was talking, because her story was stupid and upsetting me so I decided the best thing to do was for me to not listen to her. I wondered about how In my head I was planning my way out of that place, I was going to be so good and do everything that they tell me to do and in no time they will think I’m fine and healthy and let me go, this was almost like prison with good behaviour you get to go home.
While I was still in my head with my thoughts the instructor pointed at me and asked if I was ready to share my story, I wasn’t ready but I had just made a promise to myself to do everything they asked me, this was my way out of that place but what the hell do I say.
I stood up and introduced myself again because I’m sure the crazy people had forgotten my name “I’m Lesedi Jumbe and I am married to a mafia, he steals, kills and destroys.” I don’t even know why I said that but like I said I didn’t know what else to say, then I heard someone in the background say “There we go again with crazy people’s made up stories” it was the same lady who had said the lady Who was vomiting food was wasting money. “If that is true take us to the graves of the people your husband has killed”