“Minnow’s Home for the Mentally Challenged.”
I read from the board put up next to the main gate. Yes, this was it. I was at the right place. I pushed the gate open and went inside the building. I made my way to the reception desk. The place was too quiet. I smiled at the receptionist, who smiled back at me.
“May I help you, sir?”
I told her I had an appointment with Dr. Schmith. She nodded and proceeded to make a few clicks on her laptop.
“Yes, sir. Go straight down the hallway, fourth room to your left, room 101. The doctor will be with you shortly.”
I thanked her and made my way down the hallway. The receptionist had deep blue eyes. They reminded me of Sue. I counted the lefts in the hallway. Four. Yes, here it was – room 101. I entered the room. The room had light azure walls with wooden flooring and light green couches arranged near the side opposite the door. I sat myself down in one of the couches. This place was exactly like my friend had described to me. Minnow’s was a private institution that housed mentally challenged persons and provided treatment. They also provided psychological counseling and therapy sessions. That was precisely why I was here. I needed someone to look into the inner workings of my mind, and oil the cogs that made it function. As I sat in the couch looking around at the room, I heard the door swing open. I turned around to see a man in a white coat enter the room. He had beads of sweat running down his red face. He smiled at me and closed the door behind him.
“Hello, Mr. ?”
“Jones. Good to see you, Dr. Schmith.”
“Very well, Mr. Jones. Sorry, for the delay. I was rushing about today. Too many tasks at hand.”
I told him it was not an issue. Dr. Schmith sat down in the couch next to mine and furnished a handkerchief from his coat. Wiping the sweat off his brow, he peered at me.
“Tell me now Mr. Jones, what has been bothering you?”
I ran my hand through my unkempt hair. People say that I do it all the time while talking. Sort of a habit, I guess. I told Dr. Schmith what was on my mind. How the last couple of months had been horrible for me. I told him how my wife, Sue, had walked out on me to be with some other man. How she had told me that she did not love me anymore and that she wanted nothing to do with me. I told him how those words kept playing in my mind, all day and all night. I told him about me losing my job because of the economic conditions of the market. How my company had fired me right after Sue left me. I told him about how I needed alcohol in me before I slept, just so that I could drown my own thoughts in it. I told him how I felt I was in a deep dark hole that kept getting deeper and deeper every day. I felt depressed and I feared that I was going insane. I told him that I needed help and maybe I ought to get myself admitted to Minnow’s.
By the time I was done my eyes had gone red, matching my flushed cheeks, and a trail of water lined my face. Dr. Schmith handed me a tissue. I accepted it and wiped my face clean. The doctor softened his voice as he spoke to me.
“Mr. Jones, take a deep breath.”
I did what he said.
“Now, listen to me. I understand what you are going through. The pain you feel, the sorrow that is clutching at you, I understand all of it. But, you must understand, all of this you feel, the dark hole you are in, it is all something you have created in your mind. Emotions are the things that make us human, but if you let them rule your mind, you are no better than an animal. Life is unfair, Mr. Jones. That’s the cold hard truth. Let me tell you about Timothy. Now, Timothy is one of the patients here. He was declared insane by the court around a decade ago and was admitted here for treatment. He responded well to the treatment and was let out around eight years ago. However, he realized that everyone’s attitude towards him had changed. He could not take it and he flipped out. He was brought back here to continue his treatment. But, it soon dawned upon him, that the deep, dark hole that was in his mind had physically manifested itself into his reality. Minnow’s Home for the mentally challenged had become his hole.”
Dr. Schmith paused and cleared his throat.
“You, Mr. Jones do not have to make the hole a reality. All you need is to light up the hole you are in, and soon a ladder will find its way to you. You are young, and have many good years ahead of you. Hang in there and you will find the light. Why are you afraid of the insanity, Mr. Jones? It is the ladder that takes you out of your hole.”
The doctor’s words comforted me. I felt confidence enter my system. I smiled at the doctor and extended my hand towards him.
“Thank you, doctor. You -“
Crash. The door had swung open yet again. Five men in white coats rushed in and ran towards us. Dr. Schmith got up from the couch and backed up against the wall. The five men went straight for him and tried to hold him down. After securing his limbs and mouth, a sixth man was called for. He rushed in, syringe in hand and swiftly injected it in Dr. Schmith’s arm. The five men proceeded to carry the doctor out of the room.
I was standing with my mouth open, unable to register the entire scene. The sixth man approached me.
“Sir, are you alright?”
I blinked at him.
“Sir, the man you were in the room with, was no doctor. He’s a patient at this institution, a guy named Timothy. He often dresses up like a doctor and roams around, talking to anyone he can find. I am Dr. Schmith, I treat him.”
Timothy. I mouthed back at the doctor.
“Yes, sir. I can see that the experience might have been intensive. Are you alright?”
“Yes, now I am completely alright.”
I smiled at the doctor and turned towards the door. As I made my way outside the front gate, I looked back at the board – Minnow’s Home for the Mentally Challenged and smiled at myself shaking my head.
Maybe it’s not bad to be insane, after all. The light in the deep, dark hole – Insanity.
Image credits: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/dam/assets/150130155738-millionaires-get-depressed-780×439.jpg