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by Nina Fokkink

I like to run. It calms my mind and helps me sleep at night. As long as I can remember, I've been a lover of speed and a bad sleeper. Maybe the two are linked; shift-ing to a lower gear just isn't my thing. For me everything is in the extremes - always. Especially when it comes to my emotions. They're uncontrollable. The doctors told me that I should take meds, but I don't like them. They dim the lights and make everything foggy. I like the sharpness and the brightness of life. It's the one thing I don't ever want to give up.

I've tried to change my ways. Honestly, change isn't at all what it's made out to be. Take New Year’s resolutions for instance: you set yourself a big list of goals you're never going to achieve in the first place. And even if you do; it won't make you a whole different person. You won't really change. At the most you’d be a few pounds lighter. I for one wouldn't opt to set myself up for disaster.

You might not be able to change yourself, but you can be changed. Life can change you. You can get so sick of how mundane your life is that you do something about it. Something which has consequences that will change you. Consequences that will haunt you for the rest of your life. That there, my friend, is what changes you. Not goals or challenges you write down on a silly little piece of paper and hang above your bed. It isn’t the nice, predictable change that you hope for either. It's a kind of change that makes you run, miles at a time, in the vain hope that you can leave it all behind. No more doctors, no more meds and no more screaming voices in my head.

It was only after I'd left the city behind me that I realised that I was in my pyjamas. I'd finally managed to escape, but I didn’t know to what extent. I had no clue of where I was heading or how much longer it was going to take. All I had was the rhythm of my feet pumping for-ward on the soggy ground. It wasn't long before the city lights were a distant flicker and the darkness had almost completely swallowed me up.

I'd never meant for it to happen. It happened so fast. The drops of crimson into the ever-growing dark pool on the floor is all I can really remember. Before I knew it I was being rushed out of a flashy court room and turning my head away from nosy reporters. They locked me up more quickly than I could say Jack Robinson. At first I thought I was going to jail. I wasn't allowed out, had to eat crappy food and at night I could hear inmates screaming to be let out. I might as well have been in jail.

However, the meds and the therapists were a dead give-away. We had to take meds twice a day; once before breakfast and once before bed. These meds imprisoned me more than the institution. They locked me up in my own brain. It was only when I decided to not take them that things again started to change; for the better. My mind was unleashed out of its stupor - and I started to plan my escape.

To say I planned this is a bit of an exaggeration. I just took the bull by the horns. The bull being a therapist and the horns… Well, you know what I mean. I did what I do best, I ran. Kept going- I am still going.

They won't catch me this time. I can see the city lights getting nearer. I must be running in reverse. They're nice and red -very flashy. For once I can smell a promising kind of change. One that I didn't know was coming when I planned my escape. The kind of change that goes down well with some ice cream and apple pie. I won’t let those flashy red lights change that, even if it's the last thing I do.