Reality Testing

Delusion: I am a prisoner of war.


They attack me in the doctors office. Typical-looking doctors office, with the little table-chair with the paper for your dirty butt to sit on because you’re sick. But I didn’t sit on the table, I sat in the chair, because I didn’t think I was sick.

I must be crying. Am I really in here again? What do I want from them?

It’s not words that form first when it comes to trauma. It’s feelings, and my feelings are sad and scared. I am deluded, thinking they would notice “sad,” and “scared” and know that it probably came from trauma, and help me with that, and then everything would be better.

The police come in. I don’t know how many, sometimes it is only two, sometimes five or six. They are multiplied by each having two hands, all gloved in blue latex in a doctors office, but the doctor isn’t wearing blue latex – only the police.

Why are they already wearing gloves? Did they put on the gloves outside in the hallway? Did they stand in the hallway like the SWAT team, and suddenly the commander flashes a “go” sign and they all charge in, like the night they battered down the door to the apartment where I lived with the boy who killed himself….?

I jump back, not forward. They grab me anyway – I thought they were only supposed to grab you when you attack them, and when I jump back it isn’t an attack, it’s because they’re between me and the door, and that leaves me only one escape: turning into a ghost and passing directly through that corner right there behind the chair I sit in. I don’t like it when they grab me, but they twist my arm behind my back and push my elbow up towards my shoulder socket, and they all weigh twice as much as me anyway so they beat me pretty easily.

Then they cuff me behind my back, and the backseats of the cop cars are actually plastic, like a baby booster seat. I have to sit sideways because the metal hurts against the plastic seat, but I’m used to this now. Sometimes the police play their own music, like the radio. Sometimes it’s just the police scanner. They always call in to dispatch what they’re doing, something like “medical transport,” and the beginning mileage on their odometer and the dispatcher responds with the time of day.

Now I’m in the other chair, at the top of the elevator. How did I get up the elevator? Someone’s making me angry, but I don’t remember the face. I don’t want to be here. Before, they said they wouldn’t admit me unless I was suicidal, now I’m saying I’m not suicidal and they still won’t let me go. I’m confused. Why am I here?

Then I hear a voice from a past life, from somewhere else.

A prisoner of war:

Listen to me.
You’ve been captured. They’re going to break you now. They’re going to torture you and try to take everything you have. You must give them nothing. No matter what they do to you, give them nothing.

Now we’re in the ward, in the room with no toilet and there’s another table. Only this one has chains on it which go to  thick leather straps with giant buckles – restraints. Why am I in here? The police are still there, and some other attendants including Solomon who I remember from my last visit. They all look through me.

Someone says I must remove all my clothing.

No,” I say. I will not.

Someone says something about looking for evidence of self harm.

No,” I still say.

Someone grabs me by the wrist. I wrench it back. Then there are hands everywhere, and everyone has gloves on. All the policemen, all the attendants. More come in. They’re saying, “she’s strong!”

They force me on the table. The force my legs open, and one man sits on each leg. One man holds each arm. One man forces his weight into his knee in my back. “She’s strong…”

They get my legs tied to the table. They shackle one wrist, and start on the other. I broke my wrist when I was thirteen, and it’s atrophied and narrow. I slip through the shackle, and twist in the restraints, pushing off the men.

“She’s loose! Grab her!”

All the men pile their weight on top of me. My lungs flatten. Solomon must tighten the right shackle to its smallest setting. It’s tighter than it’s supposed to go, so he has to wrench the leather strap through the buckle several times before he can successfully fasten it. He’s out of breath.

OUCH, Solomon,” I say to him. Our faces are inches apart. He hasn’t looked at me yet, but he looks at me, and his eyes are brown. Suddenly he looks sad.

You remember me?” he says. I don’t answer him.

They tie me down. They pull my pants and underwear down for the first time and inject me three times with 2mg each of three different sedatives.

They wait a while, and finally the men all leave, laughing and already reminiscing about how much fun they just had. Things are hazy now. The woman I’m left with is sweet, but I don’t want her to do what she is about to do.

We have to check your body now, Vico,” she says. “I’m going to try to do this as gently as possible.”

It’s not easy to gently undress someone in restraints, especially pulled down so tight like the elastic I am, stretched over that table like animal skin on a drum head. It takes some yanking to get my pants undone and pulled down to my ankles, and then back up; and to get my shirt and bra pulled up around my neck.

She’s gone. There’s another woman who I can’t see in a chair by the doorway. I don’t know how long it’s been. I really need to use the bathroom.

I need to pee,” I tell her.


Please, I need to pee. You have to let me pee,” I say.

Not until you calm down.”

Please, I’m going to pee myself!”

Good. You just lay there and piss yourself then.”

A long time passes, but it’s difficult to gauge, with the room fuzzy and blotchy from the drugs. 30 to 45 minutes.

They must have eventually let me out, and let me pee. I say “must have” because I am here, writing this now and not still tied down on that table. I think I remember someone letting me go. But I don’t remember anything else from that time.

I suppose I’m not a prisoner of war. It would be very unpatriotic for me to assume that. Torture only happens in places like Guantanomo Bay. If I had really been a political prisoner, I would have been labelled, and everywhere I go my label would identify itself to the authorities. And that label would go on to ensure that I am forever treated as an ex-con, and a mischeif-minded scoundrel for my rebellious and anarchist behavior.

What a relief to get that silly delusion out of my head.