The Thing | A Short Story of Psychosis

A self portrait: myself in hospital after a breakdown, with The Thing above me.

When she was 15,
something began living
inside of her head.

It inhabited
her body, her soul, every inch
of her being. There was
a time when everything
she touched turned to gold.
Boys fell in love with her at
the turn of a screw. She was
clever, pretty, funny,
all the things a teen wants to be.

Until The Thing arrived and played
his magic games.

“Touch that postbox three
times or else your father
will die.”
“Yes, sir.”

Six years later,
she passed that same postbox.
She slapped it thrice, four times,
for good measure. The Thing hasn’t
been around for a while, but she knows
he is still lurking within.

“Can you tell us about the thing,
that lives inside your head?”
“All I know is that it’s a man,
it’s definitely a male authority
figure. It’s definitely male, The Thing.”
“Is that what you call it?”
“Yes, The Thing.”

He changed her handwriting.

When she was under his influence,
she was psychotic. Psychosis,
psychosis, psychotic. He changed
her handwriting, he changed her,
so that everything she touched
turned to blood.

Sprawled across the pages of
her magic black notebook, there is
blood. Her blood. He made her cut
herself, and spill the blood onto the
page. He made her write silly things,
nonsensical things. He became her
voice. “This is The Thing,” she/he wrote.

He changed her handwriting.

She was very scared during this
time. He turned up as abruptly as he
left. Afterwards, she was always
exhausted. She was glad he was gone,
for the time being anyway. She knew he
would return soon, but for now she was
safe again. Until next time.

She was tired and afraid, and she couldn’t go to
school lest he appear in the classroom.
She was admitted to the Dennis Scott Unit,
and had to talk to lots of people which she
didn’t like. The Thing didn’t like it either.
He didn’t like to be spoken about. It
angered him.

She was sick for a long time.
He kept changing her handwriting.
He made her spill blood on the page.

They gave her some drugs and slowly,
slowly, he disintegrated. He was quiet
for a long, long time. Then something
peculiar happened.

He grew again. But this time, he had no
eyes, and his mouth was locked firmly shut with
a metal zipper. He existed, silently.

Now, she is nearly 21. Years have passed
without The Thing making her psychotic.
He still pipes up every now and again,
“Flick that switch from on to off, NOW.”
“Shut the hell up, I’ll do it if I want to.”
She turns the switch off because he knows
it annoys her. She does it because she
wants to, not because he told her to.
Or so she tells herself.

He exists within her.
He always will.
(This is what she told the shrinks
many years ago. “He will always be in me.”)
He is a part of her that will die when she does.
They exist together. Silent. In peace.
Silent in psychotic peace.


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