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n a Monday morning last October, Sascha Du Brul awoke later than usual, with two ringing ears.
Less than twelve hours earlier, the 42-year-old Du Brul had been reliving his youth, stage diving into a packed crowd in Brooklyn’s Warsaw Ballroom.
He built a shrine to his youth, and then snuck out of the apartment. At 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue, he descended the stairs to the subway station, hopped over the turnstile, and raced to the platform. “I just had this sense that there was nothing I could do wrong,” he remembers.
It was “a very liberating feeling.” With his arms extended in crucifix, Du Brul began walking the tracks as if they were two tightropes stretching toward another world — because this one, he was certain, was about to end.
This is why Du Brul was so proud to join the Psychiatric Institute last year, although, as he readily admits, he was an unlikely hire.
Du Brul did not spend his early twenties in medical school.
As one of the officers fastened handcuffs around his wrists, Du Brul asked, “Who watches the Watchmen? At the hospital, doctors sedated Du Brul with antipsychotic medication as well as Depakote — an anticonvulsant drug, often used to prevent epileptic seizures, which psychiatrists also prescribe as a mood stabilizer.
Du Brul needed to run out the door to make it to the office, but he couldn’t resist a quick scroll through social media, where he maintains a modest-but-loyal following.But NYSPI did not bring Du Brul aboard for clinical expertise.Rather, they hired him because he has experienced the system from the inside, as a patient.Among the punks, who proudly wore indignation on their sleeves, his hostility toward the psychiatric system was a badge of honor.The punk kids, many of whom had suffered similar fates in the psychiatric and foster care systems, lived in unabashed opposition to mainstream cultural norms and expectations.