People from CATT keep visiting me at home every day over the next two weeks. Mostly two at a time, often with a doctor in tow.
I am forced to go back on medication. It isn’t clear to me why they are forcing medicines on me without assessing my living conditions first. Maintenance? But for that I have my psychiatrist.
Why has the CATT team raised the dosage of my medicines?
Why for that matter do they interrogate me every day, why don’t they talk to any of the others at home? Do they think my psychosis is back?
What I can do for now is be patient and answer all their questions, so that they realize I’m OK. So that’s what I’m doing, responding calmly to everything the two young men from CATT keep asking.
Man 1: Hi, my name’s Nick. Your name is Sanya, am I right? Am I pronouncing it correctly?
Me (with a smile): Yes, you’ve got the pronunciation right, I’m Sanya.
Man 2: And I’m Gagaan.
Me (smiling): Hi Gagaan.
Gagaan: Do you know why we’re here?
Me: My sister asked you here.
Gagaan: Why has she asked us?
Me: Because I feel a sort of pressure in my head, and sometimes my body feels like it’s on fire.
Nick: Will you tell us what kind of pressure? Sharp or blunt?
Me: Blunt. Cold and blunt.
Nick: Are you taking anything for it?
Me; No, can I?
Nick: Yes, you can. We’ll give you some medicine.
Nick: Your family seems worried about you. Any idea why?
Me: They’re the best people to answer that.
Gagaan: Do you think there’s anything to worry about?
Nick: They were saying you don’t spend time with them, you’re alone in your room all the time.
Me: Nothing new there, I’ve always been like that. It was only during my depression that I just couldn’t be alone, I needed company to survive, I needed conversations. And the fact that I did all the housework when my mother was ill was because my family needed me to do it at that time. This doesn’t mean that Sanya is who I am.
Nick: So you’ve fully recovered now?
Me: That’s what I think.
Nick: Have you ever had a serious illness that needed you to stay in hospital?
Me: Yes, I had psychosis in 2009 and 2010.
Nick: Will you tell us a little about that experience?
Me: I used to feel so very unsettled, there was this bad feeling that stayed with me all the time. As though someone was trying to get me to do something by force, because if I didn’t there would be some serious harm. I was so troubled I couldn’t sleep. I used to think someone was influencing the people around me, preventing them from being their true selves. Something like that.
Gagaan: Did you see codes everywhere, in newspapers and on the TV and the internet?
Me: Yeah, I did. My father had a dustbin, I’d even see codes in the papers and receipts he threw into it.
Nick: You don’t see them now?
Me: Ha ha, no. I only saw them during my illness.
Nick: Do you know your sister’s also quite worried about you?
Me: Yeah, she always worries a bit too much.
Nick: Luna was saying you’ve seen some things on Facebook too?
Me: Would you say those are codes? All those symbols that artists and poets use to express themselves?
Nick: What happened exactly?
Me: Luna’s already told you.
Nick: We’d still like to hear it from you.
Me: The thing is, I have a friend on Facebook who’s a writer and an artist. A common friend of mine and my sister’s. Most of my friends are on Facebook, that’s why I spend so much time there, which some people don’t like. Anyway, this friend of mine, this artist and writer, posted some of his work on Facebook. I felt that there was a continuity in the way he posted some of his artwork and writing one after another. I felt he was probably connecting with and responding to some of my posts. One of his later paintings suggested he was proposing to me. I took two days to think it over. When I felt I was willing, I hit a like on his painting. And once I did, he started using Facebook again. Those two days that I stayed away from Facebook, so did he. Of course, this is just my impression, it could be right or wrong, I don’t know. I told Luna about this and she said no one communicates this way, she said I was wrong to think the way I was thinking.
Nick: What do you think?
Me: I don’t know.
Excerpted with permission from Hospital, Sanya Rushdi, translated from the Bengali by Arunava Sinha, Seagull Books.
Disclosure: Arunava Sinha is the editor of Books and Ideas section of Scroll.