In any kind of rehab, or a place where people deal with ‘incidents’ that they’ve been involved in, the first thing they do is have you tell yourself “I am not a bad person”. They want you to know that, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what you’ve said… that it wasn’t your fault.

This is a lie. Not a ‘bad’ lie, mind you. It’s a good lie, a lie meant to help you start accepting what you’ve done. However, some things simply cannot be accepted. I came to realize this on my third day of mental rehabilitation.

I am, to this day, completely sane. I want to stress this, so you don’t get the wrong idea. I am extremely paranoid, however. This paranoia is what led to the events that landed me in the hands of a group of overpaid therapists and doctors.

I used to live in a quiet suburban area in southern Detroit. I had a good job, a nice home, and was living the American Dream of happiness in toil. My wife shared these sentiments, and worked just as hard as I in order to support us. For as long as I can remember, there really weren’t any disputes between us.

This changed once I became accustomed to the repetitive days, the ruts that I frequently became stuck in. I was never allowed to change my lifestyle, never allowed to venture. You work to give yourself luxury, but you end up working so much, that you can’t enjoy what you’ve worked for. So, my wife and I started fighting.

It was just the little spats here and there to start. A dirty house, bad habits, those kinds of things. And they weren’t especially violent, either. Just a snide remark that led to a witty retort, usually. But, we became used to those, too. They, in turn, got more violent and violent. On a bad day, I would end up going to work with a black eye, and she would show up with new bandages on her arm.

I began becoming increasingly paranoid of her, that she was hiding something from me. It got to the point where neither of us would even come home during the others’ off hours. I loved her with all my heart, and do still, but one day I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I barged into the house to apologize, and what befell me completely broke my spirit.

There my wife was, unconscious with a needle in her arm. Next to her was a man, tall and gaunt, caressing her half-naked form. Without thinking, I grabbed the nearest object in my reach, a ten pound pointed paperweight, and rushed him. Putting in all the force I could muster, I hit him in the back of the head.

The sound was horrifying. A loud crack, followed by the gushing sound of fluid and a sharp gasp, and he fell. I then turned to my wife, who was now wide awake and screaming. I instinctively brought the paperweight down on her, knocking her unconscious. I began stuttering blindly, terrified at my own action. I tossed away the paperweight and called an ambulance. They arrived six minutes later, and I was given to the police for questioning.

After being released, I was told by my wife in the hospital that the man that was with her was a lover, and the needle had been part of a twisted sexual fantasy of his. I had left her room without a word, and we divorced a month later.

So, I was stuck back in a rut at a new job. Still hated it, even though the pay was good. My new home was only a reminder of what would happen now, having to walk through the door every day at 9 o’clock AM, sleep for three hours, get up, and leave again. It put this overbearing sense of fear in me, but I coped. If I was going to leave, I had to work up some money.

On the third day of the ninth week in my new apartment, I heard a moan. It was soft and quiet, and it took me a few moments of silence to decipher it, but it was a moan nonetheless. I shook it away and continued out the door to my 59th day on the job. Couldn’t figure out where it had come from, anyway.

The moan became part of my new rut, and it grew louder every day, to the point where I’d be covering my ears every time I left for work. It became a basic instinct to me, almost, and I started to not mind it. I starting liking the moan, because it became an alarm clock to me, letting me know that I should be leaving at that time. So, when it stopped on my 278th day of living there, I was understandably freaked out.

I missed it. As crazy as it sounds, I missed the moan. When it never came, I was terrified for a reason that I myself didn’t know. I began pulling up floorboards , ripping away drywall, tearing down my apartment just to find the source and make her moan again. Finally, when I smashed through a wall in my bedroom, I found her.

It was my ex-wife, or, at least, her body. It was slightly decayed, as would be normal for a corpse that had been dead for nine months. Her eyes were gone, her hair was falling out, and her body was fading way the strangling marks on her neck. She had apparently died after our divorce, strangled by an unknown assailant. Nobody told me, and I still have no idea why, but I didn’t feel sadness at this sight.

I felt rage. Yelling, I punched the head as hard as I could; only managing at phasing right through it and hitting brick. I clutched my now broken hand and before my eyes, she faded. I swear I could see a teardrop falling from her eye as the illusion subsided. I began wailing, as loud as I could for her to come back, to tell her that I was sorry. She never came back.

I promptly went down to the lobby of the complex, and shot myself in the head. I awoke in a hospital, where the doctors told me how lucky was, how slim the chance of survival is. In my rage, I attacked them, only succeeding in getting transferred to a mental institution. I’m still here, but I’m not angry. I’m happy. I’m out of the rut now. Besides, they gave me some great news when we first talked.

They said I wasn’t a bad person. They said it wasn’t my fault my wife died.