the secret agent with a french accent

I was experiencing a stretch of clarity and sanity at the time. I had been sane for about 6 months. There were no occurrences of Weirdness disturbing me in any way. I no longer believed secret agents were following me. I stopped recognizing messages in signs, TV shows, books and magazines, or any other object that had previously housed cryptic directives.

I had a job that I loved. And within 6 months, in the month of January 2017, I had become extremely successful. I was  accomplished and highly respected by my coworkers both as a leader and mentor. 

Free from paranoid delusion, my life was taking a turn for the better. The recovery process was critical in returning to a life of normalcy. And I was starting to open up about the experience, speaking somewhat freely with my family about what happened and how it affected my life.

Reclaiming the feeling of confidence and happiness allowed me to rest assured that whatever I went through was finally over. I concluded that either the government had finally decided to leave me alone or, for the first time, I considered that I might have been a bit delusional. I was comfortable considering either explanation,

So when contacted by a former coworker from a previous job, I felt secure and adventurous, happy to take him up on an invitation to dinner.

We went to a little bistro in the city to reacquaint ourselves. We caught up on new developments in our former organization, what our coworkers were currently doing, described our new jobs, and shared what was going on in our personal lives. In the hotel where we worked together, I was the Sales & Marketing Director and he was the Executive Chef. Our roles were markedly different, both in responsibility and location. So we rarely interacted with each other. And because of the distance between our two departments, I really didn’t know much about him.

As it turned out, he is a pretty interesting guy. He told impressive stories of interaction with notable and famous people. These stories would come back to haunt me and play heavily in an intense, debilitating second recurrence of psychosis. Recalling this conversation would serve as proof that Weirdness had returned.

He began conversation with recalling his start in the culinary discipline. His experience and education began with an appointment as personal chef to one of France’s most revered generals. His assignment in the French military required that he not only perform as a culinary master, but simultaneously command advanced skills used in one to one combat. He explained that part of his appointment was to serve as a decoy when staying at hotels in foreign countries. He would occupy the room listed under the general’s name and slept with a knife, gun. and one eye open at all times in anticipation of enemy attack.

His high profile responsibilities and culinary talent supplied him with the perfect resume to cater to the rich and famous. He pulled out his phone and began to scroll through pictures of himself with celebrities and politicians. Elton John, Beyonce, Barbara Streisand, Bill and Hillary Clinton, George and Barbara Bush, Barack Obama, and yes, even Donald Trump.

After dinner, on my way home, I couldn’t help but consider how upsetting this experience would have been had it happened 6 months in the past while living through the torture of psychosis. The exposure and access to fame, power, and reference to high level government would have paralyzed me with fear.

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.

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