If Mental Illness Were a Place

Who are you?

Well, I'm... well my name is Two, actually. It's kind of a long story. Well... I'm broken, you see. That's where my story begins. My brain isn't made like the others. That makes it easier for them to get in.


The demons, I mean. You haven't heard of them? That's surprising. Sometimes I forget how many different people live here. How different some of your lives are from mine. I don't really remember a time before the demons. A long, long time ago, when I was twelve, or sometime before then, I can't quite remember... Queen Isabella won a war. A battle. I call it a battle because it's not over yet. She is a terrible person, that Isabella. I don't use that term to refer to anyone except her. She has done many horrible things to many innocent people. And she gets to me easily. I mean she gets to everyone. She makes loads of people do her work. They do terrible things for her. I don't. At least I try not to. Sometimes I worry though. That I'll give in to her. I'm confusing you. Isabella came from somewhere, I don't know exactly. But she had already conquered a lot of kingdoms before she came here. She has these things called demons. They are basically- well they look like people, in a way. They look like really, really thin, lizard-like people. They don't wear clothes. There's nothing bad to see though, they are just sinewy skeletons covered in this leathery purple skin. You can tell from what they look like how powerful they are. But most are about 7 feet tall, maybe a little shorter, and most of them are dark, dark, purple. They have thick skin that feels like plaster, except it's flexible. It's rubbery.

Have you felt one?

They're always around me. Almost always. That was the part I'm getting to. Isabella has easy access to me because I am uncommonly susceptible to her demons. My brain is wired in a way that is different from most people. It's basically like a homing beacon in my head for the demons. They can reach me no matter where I hide. They also can speak in my mind. They don't have voices... outside my head they can only scream, they can't talk... but in my head they can use my own voice to speak to me. They are nasty. Really nasty. Isabella is horrible. She loves to destroy people in any way she can. She loves despair and hopelessness. When people give up, they don't try to fight her. They die alone. I don't want that to happen to me. I don't know why she hates me so much. I think it's because I'm good, but she says it's because I'm bad. I do think I'm good, though. Other people tell me I'm good. I don't mean to sound cocky, it's just... Well, I think I am good. I doubt myself a lot, you see. The demons are always in my head. They tell me the world would be better off without me. It is easier for Isabella if I wasn't here. Then she won't have to do anything to stop me. But I won't let her. But it is hard sometimes. The demons use my voice, you know? And sometimes- whenever I am tired or stressed or down on myself or anything- they can feel my thoughts. And they twist them to justify why I myself am the problem. Or why I am fundamentally bad. Or... whatever. Whatever Isabella told them to say.

Why haven't you told people?

Some of them know. My sisters do. One and Three. They know. I used to be a menace. I used to be mean to Three. The demons used to be stronger and they convinced me to be mean to her. One was mean to me because of it. She used to ignore me, and I would yell at her but it didn't make a difference. I'd rather not talk about it. Isabella used to have more power over me. She doesn't as much now.

What changed?

I met Snow.


He's a tree. That sounds weird huh? Well, he's not really a tree. He's a person- but he is disguised as a tree. Isabella doesn't attack him. The demons can't get to him either. He calls himself a therapist, but that's just a title. He is the one who told me about Isabella. And about my sickness. I didn't know about the homing beacon in my brain. Everyone else seemed to handle it... they acted like they didn't think these horrid things...I assumed the fact that I thought I was a monster meant I was one... I didn't know there are creatures that can take my voice and use it as a weapon against me. He taught me that. Snow is amazing. He is a big tall tree. He is all gray and cracky, in a magical wispy way... but his voice sounds like a child. Someone closer to my age. He sees the demons a lot. He's an axon.


He's someone who connects. People. I found out from him that there are others like me. There are other planets that Isabella has conquered, and others she is fighting. He says that on all those planets, there are people like me, who Isabella can fight against in their mind. He says we are stronger than her. He says we can make it through God's help. Some people feel God abandoned us, but I don't. God's the only one stronger than Isabella, and He helped me find Snow. I don't feel dead like I used to.

What are your dreams? Tell me about what matters to you.

I... don't know. Well I do. I think about it a lot. World peace? I want everything to be fixed. Right. I feel kind of hopeless about it sometimes. It feels like a constant parade of bad. But there is more hope now. Every day, Isabella gets weaker. And one day, we will defeat her. Then, we can leave this place and help others that she has hurt. Then she won't have power anymore.