“This may come as a surprise but this place is worse than prison.” A nice orderly told me as she came into the bathroom to find me. I peered closer at her identification badge and found out that her name was Joan. “And the women here are just plain mean. But in their defense…they’re all crazy.” She shrugged. “That’s going to be a nasty bruise.” She told me as she touched a tender spot on my cheek. I winced in response. “You’ll have to keep it sanitized.” I let out a shaky breath. “I will. Thank you.” She pulled out a box of band-aids and helped me clean my face at the sink. I caught her gazing at my reflection in the mirror. “I’m still not sure about you.” I lifted an eyebrow. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Well…your medical records were squeaky clean and there was nothing about past episodes. It was all very suspicious the way your lawyer got you in here so quickly. I’m just curious as to what happened. What landed you in this hellhole?” She waited for my answer. I sighed and stared off into space. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” She grinned at me. “And you wouldn’t believe how often I hear that.”
Joan led me back out into the common room. But I was reluctant to move away from her. “So…got any advice for me?” I tried to stall. “Yeah. Stay out of Harlie’s seat. Just avoid her at all costs, actually. And keep your head down. Don’t try to make any friends, it’ll come back to bite you in the rear later. Make sure you always participate in group therapy and keep calm during your talks with the good doctor. Don’t put up a fight when it’s time to take your pills either. The process will be slow but eventually you’ll walk out of here unlike some of the others.” She nodded her head in the direction of the blonde named Harlie. “Thanks.” I mumbled. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on you until you learn the ropes.” I gave her a grateful smile. “Well, you’re on your own for now. I’ve got to get back to work.” She waved then turned on her heels. “Oh, and watch out for the older lady in the room next to yours…she’s a biter.” Joan called out over her shoulder. I gulped and stared after her. Would I even make it out of here in one piece?