I’ve suffered from mental illness my entire life. Specifically, undifferentiated schizophrenia. Until recently though, my medication, Clozapine (Clozaril), had kept my problems manageable. And I wasn’t aware that the medication had failed until I was a mile long gone. I woke up to a relatively normal day, cooking myself some eggs and making some toast. While I don’t entirely know how to describe the feeling, I’ll try. Have you ever woken up, and just couldn’t really focus your eyes? Or grip anything? It was like that. I felt really weak, like I’d not slept in several days. I disregarded the feeling, attributing it to my chronic insomnia, and maybe I hadn’t slept much the previous night. I couldn’t really tell, as I had a bad feeling of the passage of time. Five minutes of time could pass, regardless of the activity, and it could feel like five minutes or five hours. I ate my toast, and drained a glass of milk before walking to my morning classes. Oh, my bad. I forgot to mention that I’m a college student. While my schizophrenia had made my education difficult, I graduated Ruston High school at the top of the class. Not quite valedictorian, but close. I also received various scholarships from my wrestling championship as well. With all the scholarship money, I decided to attend Yale, and applied for a major in Social Sciences and Psychology. I’ve always wanted to work to help other people afflicted with schizophrenia, as you can’t truly relate to somebody unless you live with the condition. My whole life, I’d counted myself as lucky, that my illness was minor, easily controllable. I couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I started to notice things were off was when I passed a restaurant, and the sign stated “Estrange’s Cheese”. I swore it said “Strangle Cheese”, Which probably sounds hilarious to you, but I was genuinely freaked out. One of my worst fears was my meds failing. However, when I backed up to check again, it once again held the original title. I shrugged the experience off, once again attributing it to lack of sleep. Slowly, throughout the day, the hallucinations got worse. Words would be completely different from their original message, and almost always spelled out some type of death or torture. By this time, I was thoroughly alarmed, and left school early. When I left, it was raining. I’d left my umbrella at my apartment, as the day was supposed to clear. As the tiny jewels of rain fell through the sky, I heard it for the first time. Quiet, just barely noticeable, even if you tried to hear it. Whispering, the sound of two papers sliding over one another, a snakes hiss. All of these sounds rolled into a single, synthesized reverb. This was a sound that would put your teeth on edge, and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The kind that would drive a man insane, if he already wasn’t. Anxious now, I hurried to Urgent Care. The whispers grew slightly louder as I approached the office, but fell silent when I arrived. Relieved, I rushed in, and was immediately admitted to a doctor. Three tests and a bottle of Clozapine later, I was out the door. Exhausted from the day’s ordeals, I went home, and crashed in my bed. Slowly, I drifted into a light doze.
My eyes flew open as an enormous crash came from my kitchen. I attempted to rise, but was frozen solid. After a few seconds, I realized what was happening. Sleep Paralysis, which occurs when you have woken up but your body is still preventing you from acting out your dreams. Along with the panic of not being able to move, vivid and terrifying hallucinations often accompany sleep paralysis. Slowing my breathing, I thought, “the hallucinations can’t be that bad, can they?”. Again, I was dead wrong. As I observed in horror, a giant mass of meat rolled into my room. As the Thing rose above my bed, I could see it in all of it’s disturbing detail. The face was a shredded, mutilated mask of flesh, with crudely carved organs shoved into holes cut in as eyes. The mouth was a long slit, permanently fixed into a broad smile, the lips made of bloodied intestines. The creature lifted it’s ground up arm, wielding razor sharp talons, carved from human bones. I watched, transfixed and horrified as it carved a long cut down my leg. I wanted to scream, the pain was so intense. It raised it’s arm, and plunged it’s claws into my stomach. Just milliseconds before the bloody talons hit my abdomen, I blasted awake, covered in sweat and panting. Oh, thank God. It was just a dream. But as I thought this, I was distracted by an intense pain on my shin. Lifting the blankets, I looked in horror. The cut was still there.