Hello. My name is Patrick. I am a patient, at a mental institution in North Carolina, room 11. No, I am not from here. I come from upstate New York, having moved here a year ago. My doctors claim that I am a paranoid schizophrenic with bipolar disorder.

They may be right, but my experience here tells me differently. Every day, they wake us up for lunch, then send us to various therapy groups throughout the hospital. Of course, the days are fine, but when night falls, well. Lights out is 10:00 PM every night, except weekends, when we can stay up watching a TV in the common room until 12:00 PM.

I, however, am not allowed to do so. At night, they put me in my room at 9:30 exactly, despite my protests, and lock me inside. This is because, well, something happens. I sit in the corner of my room with the lights on, staying awake as long as I can. Always though, the sedatives they give me eventually put me half to sleep, and it begins. A low rumble, from beneath the door to my room.

Shadow, creeping in, slowly removing all the light. Then, when all the light is gone, a presence, ominous and evil, fills the room. I awaken fully to the presence, and begin to scream. It comes to me, standing over me, huddled in the corner.

Always the same words, "It is time, Patrick." It begins to lift me from the floor and carries me through the wall, to a dark, cold place. I can't scream anymore, or even move my body.

It proceeds to lay me flat on the cold floor, and says,"Patrick, this may hurt a bit, but it will help you recover." Immediately, it begins to scratch, not with anything sharp, just like... fingernails. It starts at my stomach, over and over for hours, eventually beginning to draw blood. But it doesn't stop, continuing to dig into my flesh, and work its way up to my chest.

It feels like eternity, the pain, and blood spilling over me. When it finishes, it simply says, "That is enough for today," and picks me back up, returning me to my room.

The next day, as with every day, the doctor comes in to examine my body for any injury. As always, he finds newly formed scar tissue, from severe wounds, but notes no scabbing, or blood loss.

I tell him every morning, "Yes, it came again."

His reply being:

"Now Patrick, I've explained the disorder many times. Localized scleroderma is rare, and this is a severe case, but it is recognized and we have been trying to treat it for you." I tell him,

"If you could just move me to another room, maybe," but he cuts me off,

"We are working on that, but you know the protocol. All changes have to be reviewed by the treatment team, and thus far, we do not believe it is in your best interest to move. It would only reinforce your delusion about the disease. Every night, you simply scream for one hour, then fall to sleep normally, and rest through the night." I don't know how much more I can take.

Every night, the pain and suffering. I won't tell the doctors, but I'm planning. Planning to take my own life. They check us every thirty minutes, and any dangerous objects or chemicals are kept in the nurses station, only to be used under observation of at least two nurses. I won't let this continue, it must end. Tomorrow, I'll do it. I'll request a shaving kit, and while they watch me, I'll take them down, smash the razor, and slit my throat. Yes, tomorrow it will end. Another night, same as always, it comes.

This time however, it says something different. "Patrick, I'm afraid our time is coming to an end. This time, the treatment will be a bit more, drastic." It once again takes me to the room, laying me down, but this time, it uses something different.

Something like, a cheese grater. Peeling the flesh from my stomach, quickly and painfully moving up my chest. But it doesn't stop there. It continues up my neck, and into my face.

Bleeding horribly, and in immense pain, it finally stops and says, "Well Patrick, I think we have finally been successful."

Returning me to my room, and placing me in bed, I feel wounds healing up all over my body.

The next morning, the doctor comes in with a horrified look on his face. "Patrick, are... are you all right," he says with a shaking voice. I try to respond, but my throat feels constricted, and my lips, heavy and thick.

I manage, "It hurts tho bad," and he rushes to my bedside.

"Patrick, I think we can move you today," he forces out in a weak voice.

Psychiatrist's note, Dr. Eser: Patient was sent into emergency surgery to remove excess scar tissue. The operation was successful, though his appearance will be permanently disfigured.

We moved him from room 11 to room 23. Since, his scar tissue has begun to heal, and no further damage has been noted. As a precaution, I have appealed to the board of directors that no patient be placed in room 11. Currently, we do have a new patient there, also suddenly suffering from acute scleroderma, and paranoid delusions, exactly the same as patient Patrick. I fear the board will ignore my request.