General Non-Fiction posted April 15, 2023 Chapters:  ...10 11 -12- 13... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Just as Tommy's life finds purpose his world crumbles

A chapter in the book Angels Unaware

Behind Locked Doors

by forestport12

Tommy fights through faith to overcome a traumatic childhood and feelings of rejection from family. He joins the military believing it will be a foundation where he finds love, new friends, and purpos

Proverbs 27:1 "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Never do a dance when you're on top of the world. Should you fall it could do irreparable damage.

If I was going to date Mary Ella, it meant winning her father over. My moment came when the men had a prayer meeting. They went to a private room at church and fell down on their knees, taking turns calling out to God. I slipped inside the room knelt down next to Mary's father and fearlessly prayed. Some would think it strange how this was enough to win him over. It was too awkward to be fiction.

Jimmy Blakely, a man born to be a classic redneck, decided if I was willing to get on my knees beside him and pour my heart out to God, I must be someone he could trust with his eldest daughter. Truth was, I didn't know if I could trust his daughter not to get me in trouble. He had only two stipulations for us dating. I needed to lose the motorcycle, find a car, and make sure to have her home by "dark-thirty."

Everything was coming together in my young life. I had a career in the military, a growing ministry, and my first girlfriend. I fought and prayed to overcome my past, the trauma, the feelings of rejection as a boy. God knew I needed a strong-willed girl who didn't mince words. As she had once said, "I shoot from the hip, just like my Daddy." Hers was a spitfire love, a go through hell for my love and little did we know hell on earth was coming for me.

One morning I walked into report for work as a pavement specialist on base when my Sergeant said he was concerned about my recent erratic behavior. I recalled having trouble getting along with the crew, but to be real, some actions are only remembered through a foggy lens. He gave me a slip and sent me to the military hospital for a medical evaluation. In my mind's eye, I hadn't considered it that serious and figured it would be an amusing adventure.

All the buildings at the base were white with red clay over hanging roofs. The hospital was no exception. I walked in to see the head doctor of psychiatry. He had me in a quiet room where I filled out pages of what he called a way to help evaluate me. Things you would expect on the form appeared like, "Have you thought about hurting yourself or others?" Some questions would be repeated in different ways to get you to let your guard down and admit to something you didn't see coming.

After I turned my form in, an officer with several bars on his shoulders, deep set eyes, and a thick brow, ushered me into his private office. I watched his eyes widen, and then his brow knit together. My answers must have impressed him. He asked me if I'd like a sedative and some time off. I actually didn't mind the sound of it.

I admit my thoughts raced faster than my tongue could keep up with every question. My brain was misfiring, shorting out, resulting in a jumble of incoherent words and phrases. He insisted the sedative would help. When I think back, they were prepping me to be vulnerable and easy to go along to the big hospital, one with locked doors! I deceived myself, somehow stuck in an alternate reality where I thought I was impressing the doctor and controlling a conversation rife with subliminal messaging.

Soon the walls closed in. Orderlies lifted me from the chair and helped me down the hall to a waiting ride in an ambulance. I was too weak to resist, guided down the hall like a drunkard to the waiting ambulance where I was belted down on a stretcher.

At the Lackland hospital I was interviewed. They seemed to look at me as if I were an exotic animal or maybe the Joker in batman. My focus became a blur, my speech slurred. Whatever they gave me was working, slowing, sometimes arresting my viral thoughts. Paranoid walls I had crumbled, my Joker smile and false bravado was no match before the stainless white robed men and their potions.

I dug for my reality. Love. My first love, Mary. My new family, my church family. Before they injected my thigh with stelazine, I had a moment of reflection. But as the drug kicked in, it was like a huge weight rested on my brain, like treading water in my mind. I slogged against it into the evening. LOST. I was lost inside my head, and no one important in my life knew where I was and what became of me. It least in jail, I would have had a phone call.

I had no choice but to let go when they put me in a room with several beds where my mind shut down like a thick velvet curtain. The stage and spotlight popped. What thoughts I fought to keep, vanquished into a black hole of existence. FREE FALLING!

Book of the Month contest entry

I was diagnosed Borderline Paranoid Schizophrenic. When someone has this break with reality, they are often the last person to realize they have a problem. What most experts in the field believe is that it can be traced through families and also triggered by drugs like THC that ingredient in pot and can be triggered by stress in a job or by a traumatic event in childhood like I had. "But God has not given me the Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
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