Some people ask questions. Some people refuse, and occasionally get away with it. It isn't that you don't care what they're dosing you up with. But trying to choose seems trivial. It's just a few pills, you swig them down and open your mouth to prove you have swallowed. You go to watch television or hide in your room with a book until they make you leave.

The doctors themselves are tricky. They have their little agendas, and think they are shocking you with brief blunt statements about what the problem really is. Sometimes they will ask you how you feel, which nearly sends you into hysterical laughter under the circumstances. And worse, some of them really admit they are sad for you, and you want to cry even more.

There's always the cliches for a laugh. They really do have encounter groups of course. And occasionally even something valuable gets said in them, though playing "two truths and a lie" takes on an eerie aspect in this place. And there's an art room too, though no one really weaves any baskets. You take on a taste for crossword puzzles, and refrain from calling anyone Nurse Ratchet, though you do sing certain Ramones songs in your worse moments.

The patients among themselves are another matter... no one talks much. But when they do, it's an eye-opener. Finding out the guy who told jokes in the lobby was brought in from living on the street after trying to kill himself by overdosing on crystal meth. Finding out that the youngest man there, the one with all the tattoos and piercings, is the one to feel all your confusion about love and sex. You would have said before that everyone is equal but this goes beyond that, makes a lot of your posturing and claim to values sound stupider than ever.

You want out, of course, you're not that far gone. But it's a different place, a place where you can tell people you wish could uncover your hair and dance again. Where maybe someone understands what it's like to hate G-d because you don't have a son after all. Knows what it's like to have too much pain and make yourself bleed just a little on purpose. You could say all that, even if you don't. You don't have to do what is essential to normal life and pretend to be happy. Maybe that's why you end up back in.