asylum - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
The asylum is no place to seek asylum, not the true meaning of the word. It should be a place of refuge from the storms that hurt the mind, a place of love and sanctuary, a place to be welcomed into arms that will hold you until the entire self is soothed, content simply to dwell in those moments with you, being your anchor, the pillar in your hurricane. And so in truth the "asylum" would have been more aptly named as a house of torture, for the removal of any hope of real love is such. I think of the bare walls and bare floors as reflections of what the place really is, as if the building itself was trying to tell the staff what they had built and perpetuated. Then there were the windowless rooms, the lack of real light, the doors without handles... it was the world's most obvious constructed metaphor for emotional indifference. If the asylum was an asylum, it would be the same as one of those fancy retreats for the rich, all soothing, calming, comfort and love... it would be a manifestation of empathy so that the entire person, even the deep brain would be soothed. We love ourselves when others love us, we value ourselves when others value us, and there is no good at all simply saying the words if the actions tell another story.
Cory awoke, eyes slowly coming to focus on the naked bulb above. He was dimly aware of his body being rigid and straight - no movement possible. Pulling his head upward he could see thick straps over his arms and legs. Saliva pooled in the back of his throat and he swallowed, panicked. More saliva came and over and over he drank it down so as not to panic. He twisted his limbs, turning them, feeling the friction of the fabric against his skin.
In that place time was marked by the coming of meals and the medications. Never was there anything good, anything that would lift the spirits. The only freedom was fetching a drink in the plastic cups. There was status in being able to wear your own clothes, for the masses wandered the wide corridors in pyjamas - faces wiped clean by the medications. The furniture that wasn't hard plastic frayed at the edges and always there were the violent patients to steer clear of, or those that harboured grudges for obscure reasons.
No more than eight feet in any dimension, the inside of Keller’s cell is an eerie - and somewhat grotesque - testament to the man’s sudden headlong plunge into madness. Harsh lines of blood and charcoal cover the walls, forming a bizarre web of overlapping pictures and writing that is almost painful to look at.
Deciphering the images will take some time, but the words are unmistakable. Drawn in thick slashes of rusty red and dusty black, they appear over and over, perhaps a dozen times in all.
In here I have no rights. I cannot leave. I cannot choose when to rise or the time at which I may go to bed. I cannot refuse the poisons that make my mind slow to the point of stopping at cease every emotion. The rooms have no handles and are sheets of smooth metal aside from the window staff peer through. Bed is a mattress on the cold floor with a single blanket for warmth. There is no rest from the screams of others, the ones driven more crazy by the hours of isolation. We aren't patients but inmates, barely human at all. There isn't a person in here who isn't at least a little afraid of me - me who is small and gentle. Crazy is crazy and the staff are the worst for carrying that stigma.
They call it the "asylum" as if it were a place of refuge, it is anything but. It is a place for those no-one knows what to do with to be forgotten by the wider world. It is prison for the sick. They take your dignity along with your clothes, talk to you as if you were a challenged child and feed terrible food in small potions. And then they watch, record any negative emotions, praise dull and passive behaviours. it is truly the "Hotel California" of the state.
If you look to your right there you’ll see the old Riverview Hospital, stunning isn’t it? The land rolls smoothly under the grass like it was sculpted, it's an arboretum too, so many tree species. Up there is West Lawn, the first large building they put up to house the mentally ill. It's a classic mansion of redbrick and white columns, left to decay with weathering and gravity, yet ten times the size of even the most ostentatious of local dwellings. In the name of progress they kicked out the patients to suffer and be abused on the downtown Eastside. But I digress again, another topic for another day. We’re past it now anyhow...
Found in Are you awake yet? - first draft, authored by .
They called it a hospital. But I know better. These people don’t care about me- they never have! I think back to before this life. I remember the judge repeatedly telling me to cease laughing. I never did though- I mean,they have no control of me!I am free, I can do exactly what I want! The criminally insane mental institution, he had called it when he sentenced me, whilst yelling over my hysterical laughter. He tried to end the trial quickly- I had laughed at every lawyer that had come, trying to help me or not- and so they refused to come to court I just kept on laughing and laughing! When the gassed me, to take me away, I had just kept laughing it in!
And now here I am, in the apparent ‘Hospital’. I stare at the pale, white walls around me, laughing at my life. Every chain they put on me, every lock, every straitjacket- they are nothing to me. Just another comforting thing that helps me to sleep! And though I am alone in this cell, I have the entire world to laugh at! Ha ha!
Is there anything worse than institutionalized love? It isn't love at all. They talk softly with the keys in their pockets and wonder why the bond they forge isn't real at all. The asylum is a place to escape, a place of trauma and fear. It is a place to forget once the haunting memories fade.
In that place, that asylum, there wasn't one word you could say that wouldn't be taken as insane. Every little thing was over scrutinized, every emotion taken as a sign of imbalance. The pills came, as did the over cooked food - bland and over salted. In that place of locked doors and barred windows time slowed - the clock ticking out the moments lost to just sitting and staring from one peeling poster to another.