Before delusional psychosis became fully formed and debilitating, I loved diving into the people and culture of Washington DC. For me, DC was a huge playground. It simply burst with uncommon experiences that doubled as educational opportunities. Besides New York City, I can think of no other municipality that feeds my voracious desires to explore, learn, and evolve so fully.
I overindulged on countless art, science, and technology-oriented events. Washington DC, with its stocky think tanks, sprawling associations, and world-class museums, was always flush with a plethora of focus meetings, industry conferences, networking events, and art exhibitions. I even ventured into several unique opportunities to volunteer for unparalleled progressive non-profit events, promoting work that was so cutting edge their work enjoyed the support and attention directly from the White House.
But it was the denizens of DC that fueled this exciting environment. They added much interest and allure. Any random gathering might result in an encounter with a director for a prominent think tank. A casual conversation with a stranger might reveal high ranking military responsibilities protecting our country with cybersecurity. And I honestly can’t count the number of chats I’ve had with members of the CIA, FBI, NSA, or Secret Police. renowned university professors, Smithsonian museum directors, private collection curators, accomplished artists, groundbreaking scientists, it goes on and on . . .hell, even throw in an astronaut or two . . .these are the types of people that make up the typical menagerie of DC culture. I felt privileged to hang out with them.
In the beginning, the bulk of my time frolicking in the awesomeness of Washington DC was worry-free. However, it was in the surroundings of DC that the onset of delusional psychosis began to take form. Slowly and almost imperceptibly, the many encounters with those I admired as superheroes in science, art, and tech became suspicious. Paranoia was surfacing and I began to consider and accept that my reality was “too good to be true.” People and events that I once enjoyed and supported were increasingly countered with internal scrutiny.
As the delusions came to take up more energy and frustration, my suspicions evolved and became more elaborate and bizarre. My interactions with the denizens of DC morphed from exciting and inspiring to worrisome and fearful. Ultimately, I came to suspect that anyone who interacted with me was a plant, a prop, or an actor. And I believed the government specifically directed these people to subtly guide me to my next assignment, carefully reveal my true purpose, or cryptically deliver a message in secret coding.
I ignored my suspicious instincts as best I could and continued to attend the provoking talks and workshops. As customary for networking events, upon conclusion, people gather to discuss the content discussed and other projects while business cards are extended to exchange information and provide a way to connect in the future. Consequently, my business card collection was extensive. After each event, I always returned home with a new fistful of cards. And with each new batch, I deposited them in a vase that I kept in my studio.
One night, desperate and disturbed by my growing suspicions and wariness, I climbed the stairs to my studio and grabbed the vase housing my growing collection of cards. I relocated to my bedroom and dumped the cards out onto my comforter. Spreading them out before me, I began to desperately scan for clues. Was the answer in the cards?
I looked at everything. I stretched to identify obscure hints in their names or choice of colors. I re-examined identities of the businesses, organizations, and nonprofits for which the card represented. I considered the selected graphics and taglines. And finally, after several minutes of squinting, straining, and double thinking, I started to find a sampling of obscure messaging in the graphics and texts of these palm-sized cards.
The most disconcerting card would serve as a catalyst for one of the most disturbing delusions that would prove to endure all six years of my psychotic break. I believed this card was actually a message designed to reveal more about the dark side of whatever this organization is that continuously tries to communicate with me. The card included the image of a woman with her hands raised and propped behind her head as in a submissive stance or surrendering gesture.
I interpreted the image to abstractly convey that this secret society included dark rituals in their culture. And I believed them to be sexual rituals in which I would be required to participate. I understood that this message was pulling me further in and stepping up my involvement. The time had come for me to learn more and accept that the roots of this secret society are secured well inside a deviant, underground sex cult.
After identifying the image on the business card, I began to see people replicating the position at all times, everywhere . . . people assumed the pose in restaurants, parked cars, bus stops, public meetings. Even my coworkers would assume this stance. And if it didn’t physically appear in front of me, the threatening position would show up in a TV show, a commercial, on a promotional email, or on a piece of junk mail.
Acceptance of this sexualized ritual induction was terrifying and I began to live in constant fear of abduction. I believed once they apprehend me, their intent was to convert me into a sex slave, required for my admission as a formalized member of the secret society.
My constant fear fueled my psychosis and the delusion evolved and expanded into an even more brutal and perverse understanding.. I believed that upon abduction, I would be publicly placed in a cage. I envisioned it positioned on a stage in the center of an arena or stadium. I anticipated the conversion to a sex slave would be sluggish and excruciating as I would have to endure taunting and humiliating jeers from thousands of spectators.
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 sex acts in the cage. I knew the experience was engineered to break the human will and create a vulnerable demeanor that would compliment the execution of procedures meant to forge obedience and condition the mind for control. The ultimate result would develop a disposition eager to accept dependance and willingly take orders and direction from this secret organization.
- I thought about this every day, throughout the day
- I thought about in my home and everywhere I traveled
- I believed my abduction could happen at any time, any place, with anybody.
- I lived with this expectation for six years