James Hicks, M.D., 50 SIGNS OF MENTAL ILLNESS (Yale University Press)

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Sloppiness

Your mother has given up complaining. You used to be so neat, she would say. All of the newspapers are stacked chronologically, except for the clipped articles that are sorted by subject. You have piles for the FBI, the Mafia, and foreign affairs. Sometimes you sense a connection and start a new pile. She doesn't understand the connections.

The government has agents meddling everywhere. They are watching you as well, so you have to be careful what you throw away. You hide your trash in bags and boxes. You keep nail clippings and cut hair under the bed. Wrappers and junk mail go into the closet. You don't wash your clothes unless you have time to stand at the machine and make sure no one takes them. In the meantime you leave them on your bed or the floor, depending on how dirty they are. You started saving your urine in jars, in case you need to test it for drugs, but your mom threw a fit. Still, you piss into the sink, just in case they're monitoring the toilet bowl.

 

 

 

This excerpt may not be reproduced without written permission from the publishers.
Fifty Signs of Mental Illness: A Guide to Understanding Mental Health
Yale University Press / New Haven and London
Copyright © 2005 by James Whitney Hicks

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