There will be mention of Schizophrenia here. I don't mean to offend or trigger anyone. All things stated about Schizophrenia is based on research and personal accounts from friends who have it. I apologize for any discomfort.
You have been warned. Read on dear weirdos
'There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.'
Lots of people call me crazy, and I don't exactly blame them. I mean, it's not like I'm far off. In fact, you could almost say that I'm worst than a crazy person. See, a crazy person doesn't realize they're crazy. They believe that what they're hearing, seeing, thinking, is perfectly normal. That everyone's like them. And sure I have my moments where I'm the same, but mostly, I know I'm different. I'm well aware that what I see isn't real. That I hear things no one else does. That the thoughts and other things in my head aren't typical for other people. But I can't stop it. At all.
Let me guess what you're thinking. You think "Well if that isn't crazy, I don't know what is". Or perhaps you're thinking "Wouldn't that be Schizophrenia then?". Well the answer is no. It's not. Although schizophrenics are different from crazy in that they realize what they see and hear may not be real, they still aren't the same as me. While they are aware that not everything they see or hear may be real, they won't necessarily be able to identify what those things are when they show up. For example, they might find a neat trinket one day, and just a few weeks later lose it without a trace, never to realize that that object never existed in the first place.
This is where I differ. Not only am I aware that what I hear and see aren't always real, I can always tell when that's the case. I get this tightening feeling in my chest, like something coiling around my lungs and heart. The first time I felt this, I was about 7. I had been playing with some dolls (shut up, yes I played with dolls) out front of my house at the time. Back then I lived in a quadruplex neighborhood where all the homes were connected by sidewalks instead of roads. My younger brother, Albert (Al for short), had just gone inside to get a snack, and I was getting increasingly paranoid as I always did when I was alone. While waiting for Al to come back out, I did my best to ignore the feeling creeping around my heart. I remember how it was when I finally started to calm down (despite that feeling never leaving me) that I first heard it. A voice, THE voice, that would follow me around for the rest of my life.
It was a very gender-neutral voice. Calm, with absolutely no undulations in tone and no emotion to discern from. It scared the living shit out of me.
"Rhys... " from my right, clear then fading.
"Rhys... " from my left that time, same voice, same fade.
I remember it kept calling my name, always from a different direction, from somewhere new. I remember how frantically I kept turning my head, searching for the source of the voice, knowing I would never find it.
I couldn't tell how close or far it was. Every time it called me, it felt like it was both speaking right in my ear, and yelling from a mile away. When Al finally came back out, it stopped, the only hint that it was ever there being the coil in my chest. I pretended like everything was normal, and bitched at him for taking so long. He was used to my rage though, so he he simply ignored it and sprayed me with a water gun he had hidden behind his back.
That wasn't the only time I heard the voice, but it was the only time it scared me. By then I had realized that I was different, but I hadn't heard voices yet. I stopped being scared of the voice because I realized that if I could hear that, there were probably other, worse things out there for me to worry about. I also realized that the feeling in my chest, like someone gripping me from the inside, was my tell that something only I could see or hear, was coming my way. It was a mix of feelings - anticipation, excitement, intuition, panic, and gut instinct - making its way through my heart. I've grown quite used to it. In fact, I rarely DON'T feel it. But it still isn't something enjoyable.
There's one more thing that differentiates me from your average crazy person, there are people in my head. Like other "Me"s, but not really. There are four of them to be exact. The British Man. The Irish Lad. The French Lady. And me, Rhys. Well sort of me. Like my alter-ego. But this is a topic for later.
So basically, unlike the madwoman, who thinks she is sane, I am aware that I am mad. And I love it. I'm crazier than crazy and I think it's the most wonderful thing in the universe! … And the worst.