In 2014 I became interested in the subject of mental disease, or as my friend called it, madness.
My friend Mohammad told us about the time he used to work at a mental institution. There were all sorts of problems. The worst was a man who cut off his own penis. That’s not what he was in for, Mohammad said. He was in for something else-- then later, he cut off his own penis.
There was also a small, old lady who beheaded a man. Her crime got her put into the mental institution, but she was let out when she sorted out her problems. A few weeks after she was let out, though, she called the police on herself because she felt the urge rising in her to behead someone again. She said, ‘You better come get me, I’m going to do it again!’ The police didn’t come, and sure enough, she beheaded someone later that day.
When Mohammad was talking about the insane people, Hana said, "I bet the reason they get really violent and smear their shit on the walls is from all the medications they are on."
Mohammad said the anti-psychotics were really powerful drugs. He said there was a place right near the mental institution that was a store for buying legal highs. It sold bongs and so on, like a head shop, but also sold legal highs with names such as “black mamba.” It was called Hippy Heaven. He said that sometimes the mental patients would get hold of these legal highs, and once a man took black mamba and ended up in a coma for three weeks.
This part was slightly more subtle:
Mohammad met a psychiatrist at this mental institution. She was very smart, sexy, kind, and so on. He fell in love with her. He wanted to marry her. She wanted to marry him too.
Then one day, she went to her father’s home in Saudi Arabia. Her father told her that she had been arranged into a marriage with some banker. She told Mo about this by sending him a picture of a wedding dress via text message.
Mo was really upset but there was nothing he could do. She got married and then came back to London. She got pregnant via her new banker husband, then filed for a divorce. Then she told Mohammad via text message that she really would have preferred to have married Mohammad instead.
When I was living in Egypt there was an attack outside of my house where a group of men with guns walked down the street shooting. Later, I walked underneath a bridge when a bomb exploded on top of the bridge. I developed a very strong anxiety, and I was constantly afraid that I was sick.
At one point I became so convinced that I was having a heart attack that I rushed myself to the hospital. When I arrived, I was seated on a chair while the doctors retrieved some testing equipment. I was clutching my chest.
While I was waiting, a man was carried in by four other men. The man being carried was bleeding from his face. He was moaning. The other men were shouting "His nose! His nose! The bastards cut off his nose!" They had a blood soaked paper bag with them. Inside the bag was part of the man's nose.
I went home after that. For a while, I was cured.