Patient: Simon Jefferson Goodman, #626
The follow is an account of a therapy session I have conducted with Patient #626 on Thursday, October 9th, 2003. Time: 3:00PM session.
Note: Instead of taking notes, I have opted recorded the session and typed up a written transcript of the conversation, I will use my initials “MJ” and the patient number to identify speaker. I will include any side notes in sections marked Note.
Begin Written Transcript
MJ: Simon, how are you today?
626: Spare me the civility, doc. Your fancy state college psych degree rhetoric is wasted on me. You know that already.
MJ: I apologize, Simon. I’ll try to keep it at a minimum.
626: Yeah, I’ll believe that when I see it. Anyway, do you know why we’re here?
MJ: That’s interesting, I was going to ask you the same question.
626: I don’t mean here, now, in this room. I mean it in a more general sense. Why are we here? In the grand scheme.
MJ: I don’t know, Simon. Do you know?
626: I do know. And I don’t. I know the answer to the question is not an answer at all. There is no answer. There is no why.
MJ: You don’t think there is a reason we’re on this planet? A reason we’re alive?
626: Of course there isn’t. The word, no the concept, of “reason” was invented by humans. There is no reality behind the concept of “reason”. I suppose if you wanted to get literal, you could say our reason is created by ourselves. A personal reason for every human being, but that’s complete bullshit also. I mean, why would we actively seek a reason? Wouldn’t all the time wasted finding that reason, simply waste the precious few years we have to actually achieve that reason. How about instead of trying to define the reason, we simply live it? Why can’t humans grasp such a simple concept.
MJ: Perhaps because we haven’t evolved to find that concept yet?
626: Evolved? Give me a break, doc. The human race isn’t going to evolve any farther than it already has. If anything, we have a better chance of de-evolving. Moving backwards, perhaps even to the point we’re no longer bipeds. Maybe we’ll end up hairy beasts, on all fours, communicating with loud grunts and screeches. Eating bugs off each others backs. We’ll become our own missing link.
MJ: Do you read the works of Charles Darwin?
626: I try not to base anything on someone else’s words. It’s not worth the effort.
MJ: Does it bother you we have no reason?
626: Not at all, really. It gives you a hell of a lot more time to enjoy the time you actually have on this planet. If you’re not so caught up in answering the questions that don’t require, or even have, active answers, you are a lot better off. You can actually enjoy life.
MJ: Do you enjoy life, Simon?
626: Heh, you got me there, doc. Maybe? I don’t think “enjoy” is the right word, actually. Perhaps “tolerate” is more fitting. As if I’m just some mindless drone walking through this life, leading myself from one place to the next until I die. Maybe that’s all we ever do with our lives, wander. We’re all just exiles from places we were never even at to begin with.
Note: Patient 626 is now gazing out the window, with a much more calm expression than before. His features have become relaxed, as if the thought of drifting away into the clouds outside is somehow just part of this “wandering”. I believe it’s some form of a disassociation disorder. Patient 626 has trouble associating with society as a whole, so he turns to dismissal as a form of escape. He separates himself from reality in order to escape the responsibility of being part of life as most people see it. It’s a defense mechanism that many people use to escape the trials of normal life. Patient 626 places a hindrance on his own life by hiding from reality in his own head. Creating his own world.
MJ: Where do we wander too, Simon? Any place in particular that you have figured out?
626: You don’t have to sound so condescending.
MJ: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.
626: Are you asking me where we go when we die? Where do we go when we die… what a stupid question. Shouldn’t we focus more on where we go when we’re alive? That’s the thing, so many people wander with that silly question in their heads. They worry so much about the afterlife, they fail to live their own life. They never find a place where they belong.
MJ: Where do you belong?
626: I don’t belong. Ultimately, no one does. Where should I belong?
MJ: How about finding yourself a home, with someone you love?
626: Home? Home is where the heartbreak is. Love? Love is mental condition. Now there is a reason to lock someone up in here. That is what is so fucked. I’m a free thinking spirit, completely released from the clutches of tyranny that is normal human civilization,and you toss me in a padded room with some pills in my stomach. Meanwhile, some poor lad is bending over backwards, breaking his back with effort, just to be with someone for the rest of his life. Sacrificing everything to connect with another person, when the odds are it’ll just end in disaster. Somehow, that is perfectly acceptable? They’re the ones that should be locked up with the meds, doc.
MJ: Have you never felt love, Simon?
626: Oh sure, plenty of times. That’s what makes it so stupid. If it was a real feeling, at least in the sense that Hallmark tells us it is, we’d only feel it once. And it’d be mutual. And it’d be so strong we’d never escape it. We’d always have only one mate, our whole lives. But we don’t. We go from one mate to the next, at least most of us do, and we never settle. We just love and love and love until we’re all loved out and all that’s left is hate. Are you married, doc?
MJ: Yes, happily married.
626: Oh, it’s happy to you. Is it happy to her? Is she happy?
MJ: Of course she is. We’ve been married for twenty years.
626: Oh, congratulations. But are you assuming she’s happy, or do you really know?
MJ: She tells me all the time.
626: I love you, doc.
626: I love you. I love you with all my heart, I’ve always loved you. I’ll love you forever and always.
MJ: What are you talking about, Simon?
626: I’m showing you how easy it is to use that word. It’s just like a gun, doc. In all reality, anyone is capable of pulling the trigger. But very few are true marksman. Very few know it’s destructive powers, and know how to harness them. It may sound cynical, and that I am anti-love, but in truth I just feel it’s misused. Misunderstood. Too many people don’t know what love actually is, so they just use the word as a means to justify what they’re doing at the time. How do I know this? I’ve done it. I’m a repeat offender. Just like everyone else. I’ve “loved”…
Note: At this moment, Patient 626 has surrounded the word “loved” with quotations in the air with both of his hands. His mood has once again shifted back to an angry energy. I suppose the best word to use for it is a rant. He shows conviction in what he is saying, but not necessarily in the sense that he truly believes it. More like he’s pushing passion into it to convince himself. I have seen this in several bi-polar patients. They basically pressure themselves by filling their own minds with deep, wordy rants on various topics. As a means to push themselves into a train of thought. It is similar to what happens to an abuse victim. Instead of accepting what has actually happened as the fault of the attacker, they push disillusions into their minds about it being their own fault. Long, thought out stories of how they are to blame. Most of which they don’t actually believe, but keep telling themselves over and over again, with enough passion, that they trick their own minds into believing it.
MJ: Tell me about your first love, Simon.
626: My first love is nothing special, doc. It wasn’t even love, as we’ve already determined.
MJ: Right, but what about your first… what do you want to call it? A crush? How about we start with your first date, or first kiss?
626: First kiss, now there is a story. I was… let’s see… fifteen. No, sixteen. Yes, sixteen years old. High school dance. December 1982. It was freezing out. Beyond freezing. I believe the temperature was reaching below 20. With a windchill that made it feel even worse. Typical Midwestern winter back then, you know? Why the hell am I going on about the weather, that’s not important. Her name… shit, what was it. Sarah? Sharon? No, Sarah. Sarah Hope. Yeah, her last name is Hope. Pretty messed up, huh. People used to call her “No Hope, Sarah Hope”. Yeah, I don’t even remember the origins of that stupid nickname, but I know a lot of people didn’t like her. Maybe that’s why I did? I tend to like a lot of stuff no one else liked. The same applied to me back then. Sarah wasn’t even a girlfriend, we didn’t even go to the dance together. Instead, we just… ended up smoking behind the dumpster outside the cafeteria during the dance. We were both sick of listening to the crappy synth-pop and stupid ballads. Music sucked in the 80s, ya know. Flock Of Seagulls, Culture Club, all crap. But anyway, we were behind that dumpster. Smoking. And then, it just happened. She went in and kissed me.
MJ: She kissed you?
626: Yeah, she God damn kissed me!
MJ: Did you kiss her back?
MJ: Did you stop her?
626: Not really, I just sorta… leaned away. And then I threw up.
MJ: You vomited?
626: Yeah, I God damn threw up! Do you believe that?! My first kiss and I God damn threw up. Right on her shoes.
MJ: Why did you vomit, Simon?
626: Who the hell really knows. It was just some kind of gut reaction. It never happened again, I mean, with any other girl. And it wasn’t even that I didn’t like it. She was pretty. But it was just… I don’t know. As if something in me died that night.
MJ: What do you mean? What died?
626: My fucking stomach lining.
MJ: No, really, what “died” that night, Simon?
626: I don’t know. The last bit of my acceptance of tradition and the normalcy of life.
MJ: You think that that is where you lost your faith in society? A simple, harmless kiss behind a dumpster at a High School dance?
626: Harmless? Something that causes you to throw up, isn’t necessarily harmless.
MJ: I suppose, but was it the kiss that made you throw up… or something else? Perhaps a distaste for tradtional human interactions was already planted in you long before that kiss, and the kiss simply finally brought it to the surface? Maybe something happened earlier to make you not want to connect with people. Maybe that kiss was the last straw, so to speak.
626: Or maybe she just sucked at kissing, heh.
Note: Patient 626 is looking back out the window at this point, once again calm. But this calm appears to be different, more sad this time. Tears are welling under his eyes, but he seems to refuse to just let them drop. This is perhaps the first time I have seen Patient 626 express this emotion. It could be a breakthrough, or it could be me losing him. In retrospect, as I write up this transcript. I realize that these weren’t tears of sadness, they were tears of fear. Fear that I was right. It was the long-buried side of Patient 626 struggling to the surface. Reality was kicking in somewhere in his mind.
MJ: What happened earlier, Simon? What happened to make you have a distaste for human interaction?
626: Distaste. We aren’t talking about brussel sprouts here, doc. We’re talking about connection. Right? That is what we’re talking about. Connection, the ties that bind. What a load of shit that is. Connection does one thing and one thing only: connects you to a person you cannot trust. We can’t connect to anyone, because we can’t truly trust anyone. And because everyone fails at some point, connecting ourselves to them simply ties us to that failure. It’s as if you were to teether yourself to a drowning man, eventually the weight would drag you down too. You’d die with that person, simply because you connected.
MJ: What makes you feel that way though, did something happen?
626: Nothing happened, what? What do you mean did something happen? What could have happened?
MJ: Well, how was your relationship with your parents?
626: I didn’t have one. I mean, I did, but not so you’d really notice. We weren’t a tight-knit family if that’s what you’re asking.
MJ: Do you think that caused you to have your issues with human connection?
626: What issues? Who said I have issues? Does it say that in your text books? Issues are only issues if they’re an issue, ya know? No, I didn’t have a bad relationship with my parents. It wasn’t a great relationship, but it wasn’t bad! It didn’t leave me with any deep scars for you to dig up. That’s all you guys like to do, huh? Find scars that people didn’t know were there, dig them up. Why? To help them? Do you think it helps? Remember a while back, those doctors that used hyponosis, and ended up tricking people into thinking they were like… part of evil ritual sacrifice and rape and stuff… and it turned out none of it really happened? Aren’t you afraid that’s what some of these scars are? You go lookin’ for shit, you find shit. Even if shit isn’t there. It’s the placebo effect, only not as helpful. You just create problems in people’s minds that weren’t there to begin with. Doesn’t that bother you? Doesn’t that go against what you are supposed to be doing, helping?
MJ: You didn’t answer my question really, do you think your lack of a close relationship with your parents changed you in any way?
626: No, of course not. How can something neutral change anything? That’s the thing about neutral, it just is. Neutral. The status qou, you know? My relationship with them was neutral, right down the middle. Not good, not bad. It just was. It didn’t do anything to me. Nothing at all. Why do you keep insisting it did?
MJ: Tell me about your mother.
626: Why? Are you going to try and push some Oedipal complex shit on me now? I wasn’t in love with my mother, and I wasn’t at war with my father. We just were.
MJ: Just tell me about your mother, just memories, thoughts, whatever. What was she like?
626: She was a mother. What does it matter? I wasn’t around long enough to know her that well outside of the typical child-mother sense.
MJ: What do you mean?
626: I left home when I was twelve.
MJ: What do you mean, left? Did you go to live with someone else?
626: I ran away from home, lived on the streets. Some shelters. Why is this important?
MJ: It’s important because you have to ask why it is important. That’s how you can tell something actually is important. If you get defensive, it must mean something is worth defending. What are you defending, Simon?
626: What the hell, doc. That’s some flawed logic. Maybe I’m asking why it’s important, because it isn’t important.
MJ: Alright, why did you run away from home?
626: I… shit, I don’t know. Typical kid reason?
MJ: If it was for typical kid reasons, you would have returned home by the time it got dark. They would have found you. Didn’t they even try to look for you?
MJ: Why did you run away?
626: I saw… I saw my dad hit my mom, alright. Is that what you wanted to hear? He hit her. It was the first, and only, time I’d seen him do it.
MJ: Why? What happened?
626: I don’t remember! He just did, alright! Jesus fucking Christ, what the fuck does this matter to you!
MJ: Calm down, Simon, I’m just trying to figure you out.
626: Fuck that, doc! There is nothing to figure out, you asshole!
MJ: You’re getting defensive again.
626: You’re damn right I am! I don’t need to hear this shit, I don’t want to remember it dammit. Leave me the fuck alone. I’m out of here.
Note: Patient 626 proceeded to leave at this point. There was still about fifteen minutes or so left of his session. I do believe there is more to the story behind his mother and father. Perhaps an abusive relationship he suppressed for all these years? Maybe an avid fear that he too may someday become an abuser himself. Stay away from people to abuse, and you can’t abuse them. Maybe there was an Oedipus Complex in there somewhere. Maybe he was “at war” with his father. I’ll need to have a follow up session and dig deeper into the dynamic of his home life as a child, and why he ran away. Perhaps dig into the events leading up to the incident the made him feel he needed to leave. There is something more to this, and it may be the key to everything.
Post Note: Dated Monday, October 13th, 2003
Doctor On File: Mason Jenkins
On Saturday, October 11th, I was handed a small slip of paper while giving a lecture on mental health at a local college. The note simply read “626 is Dead”
On Friday, October 10th, 2003 at approximately 11:34PM, Patient 626, Simon Jefferson Goodman, Age 37, severed his carotid artery with a sharpened spoon he had stolen from the cafeteria. He bled out in his room, and was near death when staff finally found him. He was announced dead before arriving in the infirmary.
Later that day, we discovered two messages in his room. One written in his own blood while he lay dying, which simply read:
“It’s not your fault, doc”
The other, etched in the concrete under his bed, hidden from view by the carpet, which read as follows:
“There is no other side. Existence is just as it is. Nothing more. Someday, there could very well be an other side, but right now, there is not. It is all a state of mind. That’s all anything is. A state of mind. If you live in a cloudy state of mind, the world around you will appear shrouded in clouds. But if you live in an open state of mind, the world around you is just that: Open. Perhaps someday someone will understand, that not everyone that thinks differently is sick in the head. Sometimes, you’re just wired differently. Sometimes, you just live in a different state of mind. It’s not something to diagnose. It’s not something to treat with medications and therapy. It’s just a different state of mind. Another way of looking into the hour glass that is life. No matter what way you look into that hour glass, the result is the same. The sand funnels through the eye, and falls down into oblivion. Counting down an end that is inevitable. But depending on how you look at it, that finite amount of sand can be really beautiful in it’s falling. Mesmerizing. And to see things different, how is that bad? It isn’t. Accept that. If that’s the one thing that can be learned from me in this life, it’s that it’s perfectly fine to be different. I am not a bad person because of it, and I will not allow myself to be treated as such. I am tired of being treated like another number on a long list of mentally ill lunatics. I am not sick. I am just more alive. And because of that, I am perfectly fine with dying to escape the life that is being taken away from me. Sand being artificially forced through that tunnel into oblivion. I don’t want that. I don’t. And I won’t have it. So for now, I’ll have to take my leave. Bye, I suppose.
Tell Cara I loved her…
Post Note: Dated Wednesday, June 16th, 2004
Doctor On File: Mason Jenkins
Cara Winters. Simon’s fiance. Apparently, they were set to be married that winter. But Simon never came home one day in August. He had gone out and assaulted a women at the bank, yelling something about economics being a blurred line between reality and what the government wants you to see. The women didn’t press charges, but Simon had no ID and refused to release his name. Afterwords, at the police headquarters, Simon stabbed a pen through an Officer Keaton Smith’s hand. The police didn’t press charges, but instead chose to send him here, to Eastbrook. A few days later, his case was handed to me. He willing left the part about his fiance out of it. I wish I would have known. Would it have made a difference, to bring her here to see him? Why didn’t he mention her during out sessions? I am left with many questions
Post Note: Dated Friday, September 17th, 2004
Doctor On File: Mason Jenkins
I have tracked down Cara Winters. Cara knew of Simon’s conditions, and said she loved him anyway. She was devastated by the news that he was deceased, but wasn’t in the least bit surprised that he went out the way he did. Cara handed me a book, a diary that Simon had kept from the years he was on the streets. I won’t take the time to sum up all that was in the book, nor will I attach it to this file. I feel it is too intimate, and irrelevant to this case summary. I will, however, leave a photocopy of a passage that was etched into the inside cover:
“Yesterday comes undone, frayed at the ends like a little piece of string. Tomorrow is uncertain. But in between the forgotten and the unknown, lies everything else.”