“You must return to your cell immediately,” the voice in my head told me, full of cold hostility. Full of the cold hostility of authority. Full of institutional toxicity. The voice in my head always tells me to return to my cell and I always do what I’m told. I am obedient to a fault. What choice do I have, anyway? It’s not as if I have any choice. I always have to return to my cell. This isn’t a physical cell you understand but an ‘inner’ cell, a cell in my own mind. I had to return to my cell immediately because I always to have to do this. I had to return there immediately because I never really leave…
When you never really leave a place then you have to return there. That’s pretty much a foregone conclusion. You return promptly and obediently. You return before you leave because you never do leave. Not really. You never leave because you have no choice. I do leave my cell in my dreams, in my fantasies, but it’s fair to say that I don’t get very far. It’s fair enough to say that. If escaping from a bitter reality is sweet, then returning abruptly to it after an illusory escape makes that reality a million times bitterer than it ever was. That isn’t a quote by the way – I just made it up myself. It would actually make a good quote if I could think of a more elegant and succinct way of putting it but I can’t. My thoughts are all dim and hazy, my mental alertness at an all-time low…
The voice in my head is my own. I’m not saying that the voices you hear in your head (if you do hear them) are always ‘just your own thoughts’. I’m not saying that at all. I don’t believe that and I’m not saying it. I hate it when people say that the voices you hear in your head are only in your head – it depresses and demoralizes me to see how impoverished we are in our outlook. How dreadfully and tediously constrained we are in our scope. You’re always up against the lowest common denominator in society, aren’t you? You’re always up against it. Society makes a god of the lowest common denominator. Society is the lowest common denominator.
But in this case it actually was my voice. Totally my own voice. It was my own thoughts that I was listening to. I was keeping myself prisoner. I always keep myself prisoner. I never let up on myself, not even for a moment. Sometimes, despite myself, I manage to make quick furtive escapes into fantasy, into dreams, but we all know where that ends, don’t we? We all know what the outcome of that is. I count self-distraction as a form of self-harming really. I have noticed that in psychiatric hospitals the staff always say that self-harming is bad whilst self-distraction techniques are good. Go away and distract yourself, they say. Don’t think about it. They are of course totally wrong on this score – self-distraction and self-harming are the same thing, it’s just that one is officially approved of whilst the other is not. I often wonder how it is possible for people – particularly people in positions of authority, especially people in positions of authority – to be so abysmally stupid. It’s that lowest common denominator thing again, I suppose.
Am I evil, I wonder? Is that why I have to keep myself prisoner? Is that why I have to stay locked up in my own mind, my own stupid thoughts, the whole time? Or am I being overly melodramatic? Maybe I have low self-esteem. Maybe it’s just because I hate myself so much that I’m doing this to myself? Maybe this is why I am always making my life so wretched and small for myself? Maybe it’s a form of self-harming. I never give myself a break, not ever. Maybe it’s because I don’t think I deserve one. I won’t let up on myself even for a second – there’s no self-compassion there at all. I’m not even sure if I believe in self-compassion.
Are demons real, I wonder? Are vampires real? Can demons possess people and make them do bad things? Is hell real? Is hell really just a particular way of looking at things – a particularly narrow way that you get trapped in? Because you unconsciously feel that you deserve to be trapped in it, maybe? Do I deserve to be trapped in my own bad thoughts, I ask myself? Is it right that I should be a prisoner? These are the types of thoughts that I have, by the way. This is a typical selection. I can’t stop thinking these thoughts, and others like them. Are some things true and other things not true, I wonder? Or is everything a lie?