1. Talking about the terror with my analyst is like dissolving a large stone stuck at the top of my esophagus.
2. Terror put into words and heard by another is less terrifying.
3. Terror festers in the isolated mind.
4. We revisit early places.
5. We tread the same dark floors and now she is with me.
6. She tells me it’s okay to lose my shit with her. She tells me I don’t have to be stoic or brave.
7. She tells me the bodies of children.
8. She says “children.”
9. She says I see you.
10. I am scared of this country.
11. It took few months of me even being here for the mental health center of my university to take a restraining order against me.
12. Never been violent a day in my life.
13. Never thought of myself as anything but kind.
14. It took them a year to lock me up in a psych unit for the sin of being in pain.
15. I expected help.
16. They promised me help.
17. At my intake interview the nurse was icy. I knew, then.
18. At my second interview I smiled and the person said, icily, it’s not funny.
19. My third interview was at 3 AM. The psychiatrist banged hard on my door and said Let’s go.
20. That was the last time I slept.
21. Can you survive five days of absolute terror and no food or sleep?
22. They told me they would help me.
23. My friends said, Trust the doctor.
24. I had never been so misjudged, so disbelieved, so humiliated and summarily abused before.
25. By everyone.
26. I counted for nothing.
27. I was a nuisance.
28. No one helps anyone here.
29. They violate you they tie you up they punish you and your sin is you were in pain.
30. I hurt no one.
31. I did nothing bad I swear.
32. A poet calls her time in the psych hospital “totalitarian fear.”
33. I didn’t grow up here. I know this is not normal. I know this happens nowhere else. I know there are places where those with power are humans like you. I know it’s the majority of places.
34. This country is founded in blood and the tying up of brown, black, occasionally white bodies.
35. Lynchings and picnics.
36. Lynchings and families.
37. Nowhere else my friend.