SHE IS MAD

1.

“Je ne veux pas end up in an asylum, os ruego, bitte”.

Those same words sprung from Jacqueiline’s mouth. She was raving in multiple languages and her speaking abilities continually changed from one day to the next.

No doctor was able to find a plausible reason that could explain this knack for languages that was somehow unconventional, since she alternated moments of extreme fluency with other ones in which her speech was hampered. It clearly was a mystification of her ill mind.

Her health, on the other hand, had gotten worse when she had become a widow of her husband Jerome, who had stayed with her all his life.

But how did she manage to sweep him off his feet? The only beguiling thing about her was her untenable madness, though this folly was brimming with love, because, in spite of her mind having deserted her, she still harbored many lofty feelings in her heart.
“It’s all about the brain”, she kept chanting and no one knew what she was hinting at.
Jerome’s good health, before he passed to greener pastures, had precipitated: he couldn’t read a book or listen to the radio actually remembering what was being said, he couldn’t watch a movie, he couldn’t get aroused when something suggestive came his way, and many more things.
But the two of them – a mad woman and a sickly husband – were bound to be together.

When death did them part, her ravings became unbearable. Among the other ridicolous things, she believed that a chip had been implanted in people’s bodies, so that someone’s thoughts, decisions, moods, tastes and almost everything were being heavily influenced, unbeknownst to most people who didn’t even realize how sneaky this process was, so folks were behaving like zombies and puppets.

English readers, please forgive me for not translating chapter 2.

2.

Jacqueline aveva creato questa folle teoria nella sua mente osservando tra l’altro le variazioni umorali che caratterizzavano il suo comportamento.
La psicosi notoriamente può causare distimia, ma questa spiegazione era irrazionalmente ributtata dalla sua mente malata.
Per questa ragione ella non aveva trovato altro modo di spiegarsi perché alternasse momenti di incupimento ad altri, più gradevoli, di spensieratezza.
Il problema, però, era che ora l’incupimento tendeva a presentarsi sempre più di frequente, e quando ciò avveniva la povera donna prendeva a farsi del male. Ingeriva cioè continuamente e ripetutamente piccole quantità di veleno, nella speranza – un giorno – di trovare l’abbrivio per compiere l’estremo gesto, quello che l’avrebbe condotta al trapasso.
Poi si pentiva e cercava di tranquilizzarsi, facendo discorsi tra sé in una lingua straniera di sua conoscenza, ma non riusciva a parlarla sufficientemente bene. E difatti il linguaggio, come sapete, può essere profondamente turbato nella patologia bluereniana con fenomeni come l’ecolalia, l’insalata di parole o la dissociazione semantica.
Anche questo tuttavia le sfuggiva e, accorgendosi di non saper più parlare a dovere, la derelitta tornava a blaterare del chip.

3.

When she raved about the body controlling chip, at first she tried to push the thought away.
But then she became increasingly convinced that she was right: not one but a myriad chips could exist, wherever a nerve communicated with the brain, and in other body regions as well, so that other organs or functions could be controlled, or something else carried out.
All things considered, Jerome’s demise was almost a lucky occurence because, given the state of things, he was spared from seeing the worsening of her disease and how this sick and obsessive thought had taken up all of Jacqueline’s mind.
“I need to save the world”— that’s what the poor lady kept reiterating, and no one could dampen the ardor of her folly.
To make things worse, now she was utterly alone, so she was even precluded from making love to her husband.
And, as time elapsed, her delusions changed and she thought she was losing and gaining skills or other characteristics. It was almost as someone could break and fix her body.
“Maybe”, she mused unremittingly, “they can alter DNA as well”.
But her psychiatrist had had enough of this madness, so he didn’t even want to hear what the whole thing was about: at this stage, the only sensible thing to do was to increase the antipsychotic.
But nothing changed: she was unrelenting about the veracity of the convictions that were crazily besetting her ill mind.
Possibly Jacqueline was right solely in this: you can put your trust in nothing, sometimes not even in your own brain.

4.

Jacqueline was on the brink of suicide.
The only thing that held her back was her callousness toward every single facet of her life, as if she had lost the ability to actually care for something and couldn’t feel any fear. Oh yes, she wasn’t scared anymore.
But the worst of it all she kept raving was that she felt like she was devoid of (almost?) any will. In other words, she was like a doll, surreptitiously maneuvered by an indefinite number of body implanted chips that could insert thoughts in her brain and command her actions, her feelings, and her movements, to name but a few.
In her eyes, she was like a puppet and entertaining this thought was unbearable to her: what’s the point of being alive she reasoned with herself if I can’t dispose of my body and someone else, in my place, calls the shots about how I should be acting, what I should be doing, and what I should be feeling.
And then she mused about these infamous chips (how many of them could possibly exist?) and of course they were a reverie created by her ill mind only, plagued as it was by this serious form of schizophrenia.
How can I be sure, she asked herself, that they are actually removed from my body?
What if something is left inside my system so that, despite my wrecked and disgraced life, beset by misfortunes of every ilk, I’ll keep living as a zombie for the remnant of my life? What if I won’t be granted the privilege of free will?
In the end, no one could notice being  maneuvered, because when a fraud is carried out in a sneaky and disingenous way that’s how her belief went it very likely falls though the cracks.  Jacqueline thought that nobody in all actuality could feel safe, because every individual had to rely on someone else and couldn’t be doing all by themselves.
All things considered, being a slave in her own body was the most insufferable thought she held within.
It goes without saying that everyone would have seen eye to eye with her, had he known about such an abomination. Wise people, anyway, would have immediately dismissed the delusion as a complete and utter folly.
She was unfazed though, and she kept raving about her body and the skills she had lost. There were many of them, like reading or the ability to actually focus on something without her mind wandering away almost immediately. Even her ability to fluently speak a foreign language had dwindled down. And then there were her oratorical skills, to boot – and many other things.
Her only consolation, at this stage, was to reminisce of her deceased and dear husband Jerome. And, in those moments, it dawned on her that she couldn’t have sex anymore.

5.

Jacqueline made her way to a steep cliff, well-intentioned to take her life.
Gazing at the sea, looming over her figure, she felt pulled by an inexplicable force. She was on the brink of throwing herself into the water, so that she could allay her every suffering.
In that moment, a million qualms filled her mind.
“You have a mission to accomplish” – the crazy voice inside her body menacingly forewarned.
Having heard those words, she started questioning herself on what her best behavior could possibly be.
The voice spoke on, while the poor lady was kept hostage of her ill body.
“Mankind has gone through unspeakable torments and we risk not swaying from this awful path. Many people lost their lives because of non-existing diseases, and we need to curb everyone’s pain. Not to mention that good knowledge, when shared, would benefit humanity as a whole.”
Those utterances were thoroughly convincing, so she reconsidered her way.
Paradoxically her sick brain was saving her life. So by dint of taking heed of her murky folly, she changed direction and headed back home.

6.

Jacqueline went back home.
But paranoia took hold of her once more: delusions, as you know, are ever-changing and mold themselves in new ways as time passes.
That evening poor Jacqueline started to wonder if she was infected with AIDS.
“Last time they injected me with the antipsychotic”, she said, “I was brusquely sent away while they were preparing the long-acting”.
The voice in her head retorted once more.
“You crazy old lady!”, it chanted, “you are immune”
But she was unyielding to that objection, and kept raving:
“Immune? What if this weren’t true and they wanted to keep my mouth shut? What if they wanted to keep this innocent woman’s torture under silence using filthy lucre! What if I have to take medication my whole life?”
The poor lady, having lost every certainty, plunged herself in that abyss of misery.
“Maybe they can activate or deactivate some brain regions”, she reasoned. “But if some of them are permentanently destroyed, not much can be done. For one thing, I’ve never been able to draw”.
She kept going, as if that weren’t enough.
“What about my heart, after all the pains I have been through?”
At this stage, involuntary commitment was more than a feeble probability. But she was completely unaware of how things were: lack of insight, some doctors said.
And using some high-sounding words, she would have been labeled as anosognosic.

7.

Jacqueline’s paranoia stopped at nothing: recently, her belief of being affected by every disease in the world had been topped off by a thought insertion delusion, which was typical of schizophrenia.
A ridicolous conviction had dawned on her crazy mind: at times she uttered sentences and she didn’t mean to.
Her symptoms were so grave that she had come to believe that someone commanded her movements. This suspicion had been borne out by the fact that on one occasion she had kicked at the railing and felt intense pain, with no intention whatsoever of hurting herself.
The acme of this delusional ideation was what follows: after having spent her whole life deeply and naturally in love with Jerome, she took up leering at women who were uncharted territory for her.
Not only that, but even her taste in men changed.
What was the rationale behind such novelty? It went without saying that schizophrenia was such a crippling malady that slaughtered her brain in a terrifying manner.

English readers, please forgive me for not translating chapters 8 and 9. Writing and speaking English is not easy these days.

8.
In séguito alle trasformazioni dei suoi gusti in tema di uomini e di donne, Jacqueline ora aveva intenzione di condurre una vita sessuale sfrenata.
Questo è un sintomo tipico della patologia schizofrenica, in cui la sessualità subisce delle alterazioni e talvolta inizia ad essere vissuta in maniera promiscua.
Il problema è che il sesso comporta sempre dei rischi, ed al contempo presuppone una certa fiducia nel partner o nel dottore.
Noi esseri umani mentalmente sani non abbiamo nessun dubbio sul fatto che esista tanto altruismo in questo mondo e ci si possa vicendevolmente fidare l’uno dell’altro, perciò non penseremmo mai che il potere possa corrompere le persone, salvo – beninteso – in rarissimi casi.
Ma la povera donna, da paranoica qual era, continuava a ripetere tra sé:
– Homo homini lupus.
Concludeva, insomma, che quando le cose si svolgono in maniera non limpida tutto è possibile.
Al contempo, il suo desiderio sessuale era talmente incontenibile che aveva quasi deciso di ignorare ogni cautela e prendere parte ad una grande orgia.
Ma il destino, misero e beffardo, stava per metterci lo zampino e far sì che vi fossero effettivamente delle persone infette (quante non saprei dirlo) e che quindi il suo timore più grande, dettato dalla malattia, si trasformasse in una atroce realtà, per lei e per tanti altri (Per colpa di chi? Ecco! Non era l’iniezione del farmaco, visto?)
Però, magari, avrebbe scelto di restare a casa e ricordare il passato.

Già, il passato. Molto tempo era trascorso da quando chiunque l’avrebbe definita una semplice bambina impertinente.
Tuttavia, anche la sua infanzia ora si sgretolava sotto il peso di falsi ricordi che corrompevano il suo vissuto. Tra questi, quello di un’anestesia totale subita in giovanissima età, senza che le venisse spiegato nulla.
Quel tempo, comunque, era lontano: ora si doveva scegliere quali istinti assecondare e quali rinnegare, e tener in conto le ripercussioni di ciò sul destino degli altri.
Ma la decisione purtroppo era stata affidata ad una mente profondamente malata e turbata, e ciò avrebbe potuto arrecare a tutti gravi conseguenze.

9.
“Ci vuole il tempo che ci vuole. Ma se qualche mia abilità oppure organo vitale devono essere irrimediabilmente compromessi, questa vita per me finirà irrevocabilmente”.
Queste furono le deliranti parole di Jacqueline quando la malattia era avanzata così tanto che non c’era possibilità di guarigione.
Nonostante una volta ella fosse stata una donna intelligente, ora aveva disimparato a fare tante cose, come se il suo cervello si fosse frantumato in pezzi. Ed era come se tanti organi del suo corpo sentissero lo stress di abitare in un corpo profondamente malato e danneggiato.
“Senza mia colpa alcuna, senza aver mai scelto niente né commesso alcunché di sbagliato” – disse – “quando mi sono resa conto della situazione, con quel poco di volontà che forse mi restava, ho provato a fare del mio meglio per liberare l’umanità perché avrebbe significato liberare anche me stessa. Ma ora, anche se la libertà e la salute sono più importanti della vita, mi rendo conto che forse potrei rinunciare e forse il mondo non è pronto ad essere libero”.
Si avvicinò al balcone e fece qualche passo in avanti.
Il tempo sarebbe continuato a scorrere, con o senza di lei. Se fosse venuto il giorno oppure la notte, in quel caso, non sarebbe più stato un affare che l’avrebbe riguardata.