“One can only be glad!”

Co-worker during lunch break:
Phew, there are are a lot of loonies here in the large city, right? It’s really weird when people on the train start talking to themselves!

Me:
You know, I moved to the city because in my small town I used to be the weird one. Here I don’t stand out.

Co-worker:
Well, alright but you’re not one of those who should be on medication. You’re not paranoid. Those people who think they’re being watched, I really pity them. Horrible thing.

Other colleague:
Oh please! They don’t really get what’s going on anyway.

I don’t tell them that I know the feeling of being watched, the feeling when you think you’ll get caught any second. Or that sometimes I can’t feel my own hands but instead those of other people when flashbacks haunt me. I don’t have actual hallucinations but more than is nice I am able to imagine what it’s like when your own perception doesn’t really match up with reality.
I notice that my co-worker still seems to be waiting for an answer and go for:
Things like that might happen faster than you think. Do you remember “former colleague”? He had paranoia, I often wonder what would have happened if he had gotten better help.

Co-worker:
What, so he just lost it? I remember him being totally normal. Not like this guy who banged his head against the wall the other day – crazy!

Me:
I sometimes bang my head against the wall.

He doesn’t seem to hear me. Then:
Do meds actually help?

I bite back the question what “normal” is as well as the remark that he only perceives me as “normal” because I keep up appearances and instead I briefly explain that many mental illnesses are treatable with meds quite well even if some of them might make you feel low or tired.
The answer:
One can only be glad to be healthy, right? In my village we don’t really have that…

I indecisively shrug.

Should I really cause him to have sleepless nights by telling him about the scenario inside my head? A scenario in which we lunatics don’t keep up appearances for once and show him that we’re absolutely everywhere for a day?
Unfortunately he also can’t understand why I answer his offer that I can talk to him about anything with just a very sweet smile and a silent nod a few hours later.

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