Have you ever had a nightmare in which you forgot something very important? To be honest, I really wouldn't know if I had one lately. I have forced myself to stay awake for days so that when I sleep it is instantaneous, ignoring the worst of the night terrors. As an added benefit, I manage to forget any dreams I have had. But sometimes dreams can act like warnings, telling us that something is wrong. So...ignoring them or dismissing them isn't always in our best interest.
I went to my therapist to undergo another session of hypnosis. It has proven to be the only method that has helped to recover memories of my childhood. He had me lay down on the old leather couch he kept in his office and told me to relax my muscles. I never really remember much of the rest of the process, but I woke up soon after that, feeling like no time had passed at all. I looked over to the doctor, and noted the worried look on his face. I didn't even have to ask what was wrong. He told me outright.
“When I put you under, you responded normally to my affirmations that were asleep and that you could hear my voice. I asked you if you could tell me about the time after your parents died in the hospital, but instead of responding you remained silent. No matter how I phrased the question you refused to respond to me.”
I was puzzled. Was that even possible? I asked him what, if anything, any of it could mean. As he thought it over he began to rub his temples in a rhythmic motion.
“If I were to wager at an educated guess, I would say that perhaps your mind is fighting back, that the memories we revealed before have caused you to shield yourself against further investigations. We can always try again, but I think that we may need to try something else.”
I asked what he had in mind, but he instead drew out a folder. He said it contained the content of my reports so far. I was surprised at the size of it.
We were unable to proceed further through the means we had used before, and the doctor asked me if I could go over some of the works with him, to measure out my mental state over time. He went in order, but it didn't take long for us to run into a snag. He asked about a report simply titled “The Note.” It was shorter than the rest by a large margin, and seemed out of place. Yet when he asked me about it, I had to admit I didn't remember writing it, nor do I remember the day itself.
We continued after that point, but the doctor seemed distracted. As we looked through them, I noticed that there was other things I didn't remember. Small details that I would have nonetheless thought would have stood out to me. Pretty soon we were about a quarter of the way through when the doctor stopped me again. He asked me about the piece called “The Note” and asked me again if I remember anything about it.
I kept telling him I didn't remember writing it, and that I couldn't recall the details of that day. I didn't think it was a big deal, but the doctor felt otherwise.
“We have assumed during the course of your treatment that it was your time here that has driven your psychosis. It is true that your problems in the past need to be dealt with, but it was understood that signs of distress only started shortly before you moved here. But look at the date on this piece. It was posted by you only after a couple of weeks of writing about this street. Long before your incident at the bus stop, and long before you moved here.”
I realized what he was saying. He was saying that I had been sick for much longer and hadn't realize it. Which obviously brings up the question of just how much of my life has been affected by those locked away memories. The thought scares me, but before there was hope in the treatments we had.
But if we are unable to proceed with the hypnosis, if we are unable to bring back those memories there may be no way to truly confront what hurts me. No way to get better.
He looked at me again, and repeated that there was still an option. He admitted that it may not work, but he felt it was worth a try. He said I should visit the asylum, the institution where my mom and dad were placed. The place where they went mad...He said that maybe if I were to go there, that there is a possibility it will trigger a memory, and perhaps help unlock the rest of what has been damaging me.
Instantly I got a sick feeling in my stomach, as panic began to rise up in me...the last time I went to that place I couldn't even make it past the front door. I screamed at him...just out of reflex. Told that there had to be some other solution. He looked at me grimly, and it was clear he didn't think so. The thought of the place, the one I tried to visit, the place that I have seen in my dreams, its black spires shooting up at sharp angles...Going back after all this time. I can't even begin to describe how much it frightens me. Any memory contained there is sure to be painful, and when you consider my inability to even get near that place, then it is hard to consider it a good option.
I left his office and took some medicine to calm down. I decided to give the Unknown Author...to give Lucia...a call. I knew that our last meeting on Valentines day had gone badly, but I had to know what she thought. And needed her to understand that I was sorry...
She agreed to meet with me in the local park. She was understandably still upset, but was willing to talk. I told her about the doctors suggestion to go to the asylum. She told me she didn't like the idea. She had been to that place, and claims that even visiting can be traumatizing. Considering my history, there is a good chance that such an experience would do more harm than good.
We didn't say much after that, but I insisted that I had no choice. Despite my decision, we agreed to meet after I got back. I managed to get home okay, but ended up falling asleep as I ate my dinner...the dreams came on all the same, and I could feel cold tile beneath my feet. The smell of bleach.