The Interview

Den 6. Mai. 2019.

It was an especially windy morning and I was in a losing battle with the rain, my least favourite forecast. By now my mascara was like a plangent river and my nipples seem to have resisted all the confines I had on, and were poking out as if in protest. This is the kind of morning I’d double up on blankets and burrow a hole through with my body. Now I simply had to resist the urge to moan.

Several minutes later, I was in the courtyard of one of the most prestigious establishment of the town’s history. The weather didn’t seem to deter the occupants as there were more than a handful of young adults, running around in the garten, and some if you can believe, making rain angels.

I walked right through the iron-casted door and shook myself like a shaggy mutt, hopefully I’d get some warmth flowing through my veins before the interview. This was my first job interview, but my quivering body and goose-bumped skin subdued all other nerve-wrenching feelings.

As I walked through the long corridor, searching for the waiting room, a door opened and the man wedging his robust body between it was possibly in his late 40s. He seemed to be squinting at me through his rimmed-glasses; “Frau Ukut, Sie sinds?”

I swallowed my words as I replied; “Ja da bin ich”. He motioned to me to wiggle myself past him. I took a seat behind him as he muttered some welcoming words while taking a seat. We were separated by a sturdy table made from maple oak. He adjusted his brims and glared at me. By this time, my smile was beginning to quake. The voices in my head bellowed in unison, “Oh no, the jig is up”.

I dared to break the silence, “Herr Mayer, Gibt es eventuell eine Probleme oder?

“Na ja”, he heaved, ” Sie sind ein bisschen zu groß, eine Patientin hier zu sein”

Entschuldigen Sie, I chuckled at the silly remark, “Ich bewerbe mich nur bei Ihnen als Assistenzärztin. Haben Sie meine unterlagen nicht bekommen oder?”

He toyed with the tip of a pen which seemed to have been heavily chewed on, then picking up the telephone, he punched in numbers and made some affirmations with the person on the other end. A few footsteps later, there was a knock on the door. Herr Mayer stood up, straightened his tie and right before disappearing assured me. “Warten Sie, Ich komme gleich wieder zurück”.

I sat there peering at the obscure hand painted framed images loosely hung on the wall. A couple were of a woman with soft eyes and a reverse smile. Another was of a clown trapped in a burning building, and there were others that had too much going on anyway. Absorbing myself within them kept me from tinkering with Herrn Mayer’s impression about me being a patient..

Shortly as promised, he was back with news, ” Ich freue mich darüber, Sie zu erzählen, dass Sie den Job bekommen haben. Wenn es stimmt dir zu, können Sie schon am heute Nachmittag anfangen”. My heart was palpitating in my chest as I could not believe his utterance. In that moment, I had forgotten every appropriate reply, so I grabbed his hand and shook it vigorously. Before I left the office, his last words since the forty mins I’ve known him were, ” we believe you will fit right in”.

So I went into the changing rooms and reemerged in the courtyard in white overalls. The dress code seemed to grab the kids attentions. Now the rain had stopped and my smile was beaming. Here I was, residing physician at the Institute of Paediatric Neurology and Psychiatry, Cologne. A dream I’ll keep reliving until it comes true.

Understanding Psychosis

Shut the doors behind you

what I’m about to say,  no one else can hear.

These are not my memories, it is just my subconscious

showing me the deep and twisted projections

I fear, yet hold onto.

The farther it is in time, the less I seem to recall the darkness,

that all too familiar darkness.

However, that doesn’t affect me,

it is the drowning fear that creeps in with it that does.

 

 

I was suddenly in a place that smelled strange, a large hall with concrete walls and high ceiling, tho, I didn’t feel safe.

I could recall the girl’s face, Tina—that was her name.

We sprinted through the endless corridors, past the serpentine marble columns, 300m past the cooling room.I stopped! huffing hard with both hands on my knees.

Tina was breathing heavily too.I reached out and grabbed her by the shoulders.

” Where are the rooms?”

“You don’t know? silence,  “Alex, are you ok? 100m eastbound. ”

so we continued into the room. I locked the doors.

Tina spun around, “what are you doing?

“we need to be safe” I retorted

“From who?” no words.

She started for the door, “this isn’t my room”,  then paused

“Alex, I dunno what happened today”, fixing her gaze on mine, she continued, “are you ok?”

“what is it with you and that question?”

“I”m heading to my room” she grabbed the door handle

“Be safe,” I whispered

“This whole place is safe, just get some sleep,” the door slammed behind her.

********

 

For the first time since we got in, I carefully observed the room around me, the windows were slightly opened, a beaded curtain draped from above the windowpane, shimmering in the night light, a floor lamp divided the room into two halves but the most intriguing was a painting, it was a child’s face, eyes rotated upwards with parted lips, in the middle of his forehead, he had a unicorn’s horn and  bright rainbow illuminated around him. At the bottom right corner of the frame was inscribed: “fuck your psychedelic”, signed Alexander.

I stood there, mesmerized by the painting, having no recollection of when I made it. I didn’t hear the door close behind me

“What’s the problem, Alex?” I jumped when I heard the voice and turned swiftly

I jumped when I heard the voice and turned swiftly,”who are you?’

“Your roommate, Bianca”, she grinned.

I noticed she had green eyes which sent chills running down my spines

” who are you, really? ” I demanded again and I heard a loud thumping noise resonate through my ear canal

“you should go to sleep now”  was the last thing that echoed

*******

who am I? where am I? is this real?

A buzzing noise filled the air and I came to realize that I was sitting on a bench in the courtyard. Beside me was Christopher, my occasional buddy chattering away on a conversation I may or may not have instigated. My head was rocking side to side.The sun-dial was pointing south, which meant it was 4 pm.

I stopped moving when I heard a slow crackling sound.I  stood up, blinking severally, I began to walk, following the direction of the sound to a room known simply as ‘the ephylis”. A sphynx cat lay on its hind leg in the center of the room, it’s body stretched out across the room with its rump towards me. I tip-toed into the room, as slow as I could until it’s full body was within my field of vision. It had green eyes. Sweat was beading across my forehead and my breaths had become heavier and rapid.

“What are you doing?”

I lifted my head up to see Christopher standing at the doorway and when I returned my gaze to the center of the room, the sphynx cat was gone.

I sighed, ” somehow, I feel I may be drifting between reality and an alternative dream land”

“Can’t you tell what’s real and what’s not?”

“Can you?”

 

Thin Line

There’s a thin line between genius and depression…..

Many a night, my mind wanders to these thoughts while I toss and turn around the edge of my bed, fluffing and re-fluffing my pillow and tapping my device in every hour.

Perhaps, there is some sort of correlation between owning your truth and the lack of acceptance which is more than a coincidence. We, humans, hold our social ethics so dearly; it has everything to do with fitting it and concomitantly becomes the source to which most attach their happiness. To be an outsider would mean to reject these norms imposed on one. To be an outsider would mean suicide.

Sigmund Freud was the psychoanalyst who created a theory widely accepted recently in psychology. This theory states that human is composed of 3 components: ID, the most primitive, uncompromising and self-centered. The Super ego which deals with society’s norms and morals. Ego creates a balance between ID and ego. Freud went on to describe five phases humans must go through in life to achieve psychological maturity. Interestingly, neither Freud nor his theories were accepted at the time.He died by suicide after he was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor.

There’s a thin line between genius and suicide. We’ve all seen the movie, the enigma code, which was centered around the life of Alan Turing. By inventing the computer that deciphered the coded transmissions between the Germans, he contributed immensely in the victory against Hitler’s armies in world war II. Unfortunately, instead of being appraised by the Britains, he was rejected for his sexuality.

One lesson the Holocaust taught the world is that not all genius is good. In profound chatter, I dwelled a little on the evil genius that is Adolf Hitler, and Hitler was a man who faced loss and rejection in his early years; leaving him vulnerable to be molded by the people around him. I associate his disregard for human life to the death of his brother from measles. He grieved deeply and his outgoing personality was overshadowed by a detached and rebellious exterior. We know where the story continues from there, up until he poisoned himself with cyanide.

Creatives have also had their fair dose of lows. Virginia Woolfe a feminist and writer invented a theory that entailed the communication with oneself through inner conversations, an art I’m all too familiar with.She was also gravely plagued by depression. One day, she headed down a lake, her pockets filled with rocks and the brilliance that was Virginia Woolfe never walked out again. Her last note read: “I feel certain I am going mad again”.

This draft wouldn’t be complete without shading a light on the relationship between dark-skinned and depression. Like most illnesses, major depression isn’t easily diagnosed in black people because they see it as a plague for the feeble mind and. They focus on fine tuning strength. The story of Albert Alyer, a self-taught Jazz prodigy is indeed a sad one. Alyer was better than good at what he did, but in his time, being a person of color was a disadvantage. His jazz concerts didn’t receive any media coverage and when they did, it was never aired so his art did not get the recognition it deserved so depression took a toll on him, leading him to end it all when he plunged into New York east river.

So, having insight it seems torments even the best, and my mind cross-examines and debates it until I drift into slumber land.

Beneath Your Skin

Hi there,

I’ve thought about it

I’m interested in you

Not that you everyone sees with their eyes

Honestly, that’s boring

So what is it you think I’m interested in knowing?

memiors beneath your beautiful 3

First off, I want to know if you’re lactose intolerant or have got any malabsorption syndromes

I want to know your blood group.Your hematocrit.The antigens you’ve acquired, the antibodies  that flow through your vasculatures

I want to know if you are prone to bleeding or have clotting abnormalities

I want to know your response to stressful stimuli and how effective your stress coping mechanism is.

I want to know which infections you are most vulnerable to acquiring.If  you’ve got  sickle cell anemia or glucose 6 phosphate enzyme defect and will never experience what it feels to be infected with malaria

I want to know hepatic enzyme lab parameters. What group of alcohol metabolizing enzyme you’ve got. If you possess the trait of becoming an addict

I want to know your genetic profile. What tumors you are at risk of getting. If you are a carrier for autosomal recessive or x-linked disorders. What rare gene mutation runs in your family

I want to know about if you have mitochondrial dysfunctions.  If the enzymes of your citric acid cycle are functional and the ATP production through the respiratory chain is efficient.

How’s your heart? Were you born with any congenital heart or great vessels malformation, are you predisposed to secondary hypertension or cardiac rhythm disorders?

I want to know how your body processes adipose tissue and how that affects your overall physical attributes

memiors beaneath your skin 2
photo credit: body art exhibit

I want to know about your cognitive functions, concentration and memory ability.If you’ve got dyslexia or dyscalculia.

I want to know how effective your DNA repair system is in managing breakage

I want to know if you are in the less than 1% group of persons with a mutated gene that can never get HIV. I want to know your risk for dementias

I want to know how healthy your endocrine system is.If  you are genetically predisposed to developing diabetes mellitus

I want to know if you’ve got that rare abnormality that makes pain undetectable by the individuals it sounds almost like a super power except that it’s not.

I want to know which neurotransmitters dominate your  nervous system, If you have increased neuronal excitability predisposing to seizures

I want to know what psychological disorders you are at risk of, schizophrenia or bipolar..it’s all the same.

How your family lineage/tree influenced your life and what genes you will pass down to your kids and the pattern of inheritance.

memiors beneath your skin 4

I want to know how your ethnicity influences your susceptibility to these diseases

I want to integrate into your psychic, not your personality but how you reason and why you think in the way you do.

Moreover, I want to converse with the human beneath your skin, the one nobody bothers to see, after all, normal is so overdone.

If there are seven billion people in the world; I want to know where you fit in but mostly how you stand out.I want to know what impact you make on the world.

I want to understand what if feels like being you.

Sincerely,

Alexander.

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