The last significant social upheaval that ushered in an enormous amount of stress and inconvenience in my life and community was the 2015 Freddie Gray riots in Baltimore. Capturing the attention of our country and covered by national news, the unrest was incited by outrage over the death of a 25-year-old black man at the hands of the Baltimore police. The crisis lasted for five days, during which the entire time, I was full-blown psychotic.
The Coronavirus pandemic can not only cause anxiety over contracting the virus or concern for the well being of our elderly loved ones. Not only can it induce dread that our healthcare system will become overwhelmed or resources will become depleted and scarce. The barrage of information can affect your mental health and your mental illness treatment regimen.
You would have only assumed me to be confident, prepared, and poised to impress if you happened to encounter me in the halls of the Maryland State House.
But what you probably wouldn’t have noticed is that I was deliberately shifting my weight on to my left side. This posturing was to counter the unsettling, embarrassing, and uncontrollable shaking of my leg.
Another tragic story about a mentally ill inmate committing suicide in a Michigan jail. Unlike many reports on jailhouse suicides, this report includes information on the population of mentally ill inmates and their inability to care for them. As many as 80 percent of inmates in Michigan jails have some form of mental illness, according […]
I found myself on youtube searching for vintage Mr. Rogers episodes. The shows were pure, kind, inspiring . . and most of all, I was unable to detect any subliminal messages or directives from the government.
The staff knew everyone by name, and cheerfully addressed you with even inconsequential passing in the hallway. Each one, also if you were not directly involved with them, had an idea of what you were working on and would compassionately ask you how things were going or congratulate you on reaching a goal.
I get home and search the basement to find the two tools needed to complete my strategy in undermining the government’s efforts from contaminating my food. I find what I need is in just the places I knew to look. The duct tape sat dutifully in the toolbox. And the six-pack sized Igloo resting alongside it’s larger cooler counterpart.
Although, as the “Journey into America’s Mental Health Crisis” is indeed a sad realization, it is not bereft of hope. Rosenburg encourages the reader with information touting successes by advocate interaction in law-making, positive results in new community-based treatments, and court-mandated “wraparound” assisted outpatient treatments. These and other successful programs around the world leave the reader with a positive outlook for the future.
No, my life is not the fairy tale that it once was in terms of money, homes, and travel. But it is a fairy tale of sorts. I am hoping through my writing and work, I can take this cataclysmic story of mine and use it to shed hope and light on someone else’s darkest needs.
Police found Zach Banner crouched in a corner, doused with petrol, and concealing a pack of matches in his pocket. Immediately transported to the station, psychiatric nurses assessed his mental state. They reported he told them that “life was not worth living.” Is it just me? . . or does it take a trained psychiatric nurse to […]
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Now that my psychosis has cleared and I am almost two years into the recovery effort, it is hard for others to understand why I’m not immediately back up and functioning in a high-level management position as if nothing ever happened.
I often reminisce about the good old days when I could attend work and successfully direct my employees. Back then, I appreciated their innocence and youth. Back then, I would have never suspected that they were undercover secret agents.
Breathing with a Noose has been selected by a panelist of judges as one of the Top 75 Mental Health Blogs on the web.
Sitting on the floor in front of what appears to be the beginnings of a start-up band, I am racking my brain to make sense of it all. Why did the government want me to be proficient in music? They had trained me in piano, but I had no experience with drums. Why would they include a full drum set along with free furniture and a piano?
Experts tell family members to keep their statements short, simple and clear. Speak in a calm voice. Give the person physical space rather crowding them. Don’t challenge them over the delusions.
Because of my mom’s interest in science and my dad’s fascination with technology, I was heartily fed a steady diet of STEM-oriented toys and social engagements. Instead of Barbie, I was given chemistry sets, programmable toys, rock and fossil collections, electric race car sets, and home computers. Instead of sports camps like many of my friends, I was sent to science camps, museum schools and foreign language lessons.
I found this new approach of stimulating empathy and understanding by combining neuroscience and video games particularily interesting. As VR, and VR type experiences, increasingly become woven into the fabric of our culture for entertainment, industry, training, and education. It is not surprising that a “video game” has been created to allow the User to experience severe psychosis. It is the technological version of what I am trying to communicate with this blog.
Rather than writing about the serenity of the ocean side town or create poetry in appreciation of the delicate cattails that gracefully swayed in the marsh breeze, I wrote of the holidays in general, specifically my resentment regarding the actual secret function of decorations.
In frustration and protest, I called my own personal strike. I refused to get involved or participate in any thing with my new housemates. And to further demonstrate my objection to these oppressive conditions, I refused to help with anything until someone finally agreed to be honest and explain who they were and what was going on.
I believed that the keywords were actually messages and/or directives from the government. I concluded that the keywords served as clues to my undercover assignments and, because of the secrecy necessary for such a covert operation, it was up to me to figure out what they meant and how I was to respond.
A devout Christian and very kind woman, she invited me to all kinds of events. I appreciated her concern and efforts, but each ice cream and cookies social, each prayer group, and each bible verse bookmarks making session only revealed that she and her friends were complicit in this covert government operation. They were all secret agents. I could hear it in their words. I could see it in their mannerisms. It was all so blatantly evident.
I don’t want your heart
I don’t want your soul
I just want your data
You say you may have deleted it?
Oh that’s ok, don’t worry
We’ve been collecting and saving it
We’ve been collecting for longer than you could have ever imagined
The self imposed isolation fortified my beliefs and the conspiracies began to grow in scope and complexity. My reinforced understanding of Weirdness instilled a confidence that propelled me to start confronting people. One by one, I confronted and demanded that my family and friends reveal their true identities as a secret agents. . . .my mom, my dad, my sister, my aunt, my boyfriend, my boyfriend’s kids. .everyone. And with each denial, I became more depressed, confused and frustrated.
I recognized the young grasshopper phrase from Kung Fu, a show on television I watched when I was a child. I don’t know what prompted him to address me in such away. But my internal response was quick and powerful, this man was a government secret agent and he was delivering a message to me.
At the Tool concert, I was full blown psychotic. The environment delivered an overwhelming assemblage of “weird people” or actors and secret agents.They congregated and circulated all around me, each one purposefully placed to manipulate and deliver coded instructions.
Because of this one business card, I concluded that I would be made to defecate, bleed and urinate in front of the cult. And I believe the completion of the ritual would require that I perform humiliating in the cage. I knew the experience was engineered to break the human will and create a vulnerable demeanor complementary to execute procedures meant to forge obedience and condition the mind for control to create the disposition of eager acceptance dependant on orders and direction.
And just like the prior 3 years of living and working in psychosis, no one knew the hidden truth. No one suspected the depth and pain of my internal struggles. No one had an inkling that I passed the weekend away in a hospital mental ward. And no one would have ever fathomed that I believed the entire business was a government front and that most of the employees were secret agents.
The loss of Shade was one of, if not the most, devastating and heartbreaking casualties resulting from my cataclysmic collapse into severe psychosis.
But, today, things were different. Now, I can recognize what is real and what might be a random thought or overactive imagination. I rested in peace and I was so grateful my living nightmare was over.
Unfortunately, in less than one month, I would recall this meeting as one of the first attempts by the government to reinstate communication. Psychosis would return in full force and stay with me for another 2 years.
I took several photos for Instagram and Twitter. But as I took the photos, an unsettling awareness lingered throughout my body. In the near future, this uneasy discomfort would evolve, intensify, and become a part of my daily existence. It was one of the first samplings of what it feels like to live with acute psychotic delusion. Nevertheless, I carried on with my project. And as I photographed the mourners, I was certain that someone else was watching, photographing and following me from store to store.
And there I was . . . all alone in the passenger front seat. . . keys left in the ignition. My manic mind an overpowering competitor against my ability to maintain reasonable and rational thought. The possibilities were overwhelming. The temptation too powerful. And without pause, I leapt over the console into the driver’s seat, wrapped my hand around the keys in the ignition, and gave them a forceful turn. I threw the gear into drive.
Psychotic tendancies didn’t appear in my early twenties as they often do with the many that find themselves waging a mental war fretted with hallucinations and delusions during that age. My constant deliberation with the the probability that I might be hunted at large by an underground sex cult didn’t reveal itself until into my mid 40’s. But my late twenties bore tell tale signs of possible trouble ahead.
Later, the psychosis would evolve to include my recognition that I was a test tube baby created in a government lab. As part of the CIA’s clandestine MK Ultra program, I was classified as a top secret military weapon. In order to hide the operation in plain sight, secret codes and symbols would be my only means of communication. All messages and directives would be delivered by embedding symbols and code into casual English language, public signage, lyrics to music, television shows and commercials, movies, and frequencies that transfer information through voices inside my head. I accepted and understood they could not and would never speak with me directly.
But now, in my darkest days of living with psychosis, this bittersweet memory provided the fuel to substantiate the conspiracy. Now, I could only reference the forced study buddy system as clear evidence. It was all the proof I needed to confirm my belief that my mom was part of a clandestine government initiative to create a private citizen that was covertly engineered and conditioned for the greater good.
I can think of no better way to express how I’m feeling. Drawing a caricature of myself, I perch naked and wild-eyed, perilously teetering on the edge of a stool. A noose hangs loosely around my neck.
The caption reads, “Yes, I can breathe . . . but it’s still a noose.”