Reverend Paranoia (A Memoir of my First Psychotic Break)

Note:  (all names have been changed)

It is December of 1999, soon before my death, and I am sitting with my roommates smoking an odd substance. My roommate Phil sits next to me telling me to inhale deeper. We have fallen for the same girl, and she sits across from us watching as I hold the smoke inside of my lungs. I exhale and giggle uncontrollably at the two of them.

I went to sleep not knowing that I had already signed my own death. A chemical cocktail of stress and substance X were simply too much, and began eating away at my brain.  That night stews were being brewed that would change my life forever. I was poisoned, and my fate was worse than death. My brain died that night, and became possessed by this other.

Most call it Madness. I call it my possession by Reverend Paranoia.

Reverend Paranoia, for me, is an evil preacher who stands upon a pedestal in a church preaching lies to different parts of my brain, telling them the horrors of the world where “decent people” live. The different parts usually listen and marvel at the preacher’s incredible speech. My optic nerve can see what he preaches at times. My audio nerve can likewise become fully convinced of his sermon. Reverend Paranoia is so convincing that I can become his undying servant, and no naysayer could convince me otherwise.

That night while I slept Reverend Paranoia whispered softly into my ear.

Why live in a world so cruel? Why not create your own world? Here anything is possible. Here you will be king.
He tempted me, and I obeyed. Trance like I followed. I would soon be running through the streets of Boston, in the middle of winter from imaginary gang members that were following me, while tears streamed down my eyes over my own death. I would soon be hearing voices from dark alleyways that had never been heard from before. It is soon my funeral. Most will experience their death in the end. I am special. I will experience mine before the end.
My psychosis began with a question the following day.
What happened last night?

I knew I had been smoking something, but there seemed more. Being confused as to the answer, there lie in front of me an infinite number of possibilities. Many things could have happened that night, yet to the rational mind there are bounds as to what could have transpired. Somehow I broke those bounds making anything possible.

Strange ideas started flashing inside of my head. At nights I would stare at the ceiling with these bizarre thoughts racing through my head, unable to sleep. Soon five sleepless nights passed. I dropped two sleeping pills and lied on my brother’s bed, in a futile attempt to rest. Something seemed amiss and horribly wrong. I couldn’t sleep.

Sometime within those five sleepless nights a portal opened and the Reverend was on the other side tempting me to step through. Something must have seemed better in this other universe, where I was God over all things. The universe where I could create many things yet could not control what they were. At some point I took that final step.

I began to play with the idea my former friend was monitoring my every move. It seemed an epiphany of reality that he did so through his mafioso thugs. I saw visions of them peering at me from rooftops and driving their vehicles on my street. I was scared to do anything, and petrified at the reality of being spied on and chased after. Everything I saw or did became a part of this storyline, which began with the unanswerable question that I had asked some weeks before.
What happened last night?

I finally found the answer. Everything happened last night.
The world I had created from nothing was dangerous. I needed allies to help me in order to survive. It wasn’t safe for me now, and I knew this. Worried about my safety I decided to tell the cops about my roommates plan to murder me. Walking through the streets of Boston to the police station I heard voices coming out of the alleyways that seemed so eerie and perfect only the devil could have created them.

“I’m going to get you.”

I looked down a dark alleyway.

“Come here”

Said the deep voice.

I walked into the Cambridge police station and preached my sermon, about how things had transpired; how the mafia was going to kill me, and my roommate had hired them to do so. I wanted protection from these villains who were trying to destroy my life. The two officers stood shaking their heads at me. They said they didn’t have time for me and that I should go back to Allston where I came from. I was shocked, and couldn’t understand how two officers could not investigate these crimes against me. Perplexed I ran back to my brother’s apartment.

My father soon called the apartment wondering what was going on with me. He had heard from my brother that I had gone mad. On the phone I spoke with him for some time telling him my predicament with the mafia, desperately trying to get him to believe me. On the phone I asked my father if I was going insane. He told me I probably was. Scared I hung up the phone. An argument then broke out between my brother and his roommate over me staying at his apartment. Apparently he won as I slept that night to the sounds of his crying, while I lie in the next room listening to imaginary conversations.

The next day I decided to visit a psychologist so that he could help ease my pain. I walked into the doctor’s office in the middle of the winter with nothing more than my pajamas on asking to speak to him so he could give me some valium; I just couldn’t take the anxiety of having people following me and spying on me all the time. Into his room I went realizing that this man in front of me was a CIA agent posing as a doctor. He spoke with me and afterward handed me some poison and tried to convince me to take it.

Walking back home through the snow in my pajamas I saw agents taking pictures of me in their cars passing by while the cold winter wind blew against me. Still I felt nothing. When I arrived at home my unbelieving brother tried to change my undying belief in this world of endless possibilities. I sat there in bewilderment at his false sermon. He then told me to take the poison the CIA agent had given me.

This world was mine, yet simultaneously there was a parallel world to this world, the world in which most live in. It was occurring at the same time on a different plane and somehow these two worlds collided, allowing these two very different places to view each other. Both were baffled, one cursing at the other, wishing each other dead. On the plane that most live in I was dead and replaced by this other. I was a demon, a curse on decency and normalcy, a travesty to all that is moral. That is what many thought, even those who were once very close to me. My existence was out of place in a world of logic, reason, boundaries and scientific reality. This reality did everything to discredit my existence, to deny my being and humanity. My existence is an existential dilemma to this other world; my experience was that beyond the human condition. People are paranoid about what they don’t understand. I was paranoid about the real world, the one I didn’t understand.

A world of spies, plots, mafia agents and endless persecution surrounded me. Everywhere I went I was in a story, where I was the protagonist fighting an army of antagonists. The place I lived at seemed like a haunted house where imaginary crimes were taking place. I was always on the lookout for clues of how my roommate Phil was trying to kill me. To counter his plans I had taken countermeasures. I went to the hardware store and purchased two deadlocks for my upstairs apartment door, so that Phil could not enter and kill me while I was sleeping. I had on my coffee table, next to my bedside a knife that I obtained from the kitchen in case an intruder would find a way to bypass the locks I had put in place.

I thought of ways I could trick the cameras and agents that were spying on me everywhere I went. I changed my clothes many times a day so they wouldn’t recognize me when I left the apartment to go to school. A hat with a visor low to the brow was the best way to avoid cameras that were overlooking me from the building tops, I had decided.

Walking home from school was daunting and nerve wracking for me. I believed the majority of spying on me was occurring outdoors and that it was difficult for the mafia to infiltrate inside of buildings. Everyday I walked a different path to and from school weaving inside of buildings, ducking into alleyways to keep the mafia from spying on me and evading any would be followers. Sometimes I would take a longer route thinking it would be easier to shake my adversaries.
Entering the door in my room I felt that I had reached my “safe zone”, since the mafia was unable to infiltrate my room which was littered with locks over doors and windows. I had also carefully placed tape on the inside of my doors, signaling if someone had surreptitiously slipped into my room while I was away. For this reason I knew that no agents had infiltrated my room as of yet.

When I was home I only need worry about my roommate, and former friend, who I wrongly believed had his sights set on my death. Convinced he was a psychopath, I spied on him at times, looking through his stuff to see if I could find his plans on how he would destroy me. I was always able to find some bit of “evidence” that convinced me of his guilt. There was the note on how he had bronchitis and was unable to attend class that week. Then there was the time his parents sent him an “I love you” letter, telling them how proud they were of him. These items I saw as clues in a detective mystery that I had created within my mind.

I would collect these bits of data, and try to piece them together in a coherent manner that was logical for me at the time, and present them to my psychiatrist as evidence of the crimes my roommate had committed. He always remained so unconvinced of the evidence I brought to him, and so impatient in hearing my case against Phil.
The doctor kept asking me questions about my feelings and other nonsense that didn’t make sense to me at the time. How would you feel if the CIA and Mafia were following you all the time? All I wanted from the doctor was some sign of empathy and understanding of how frightening it is to have people following you all the time.

I received none.

He kept telling me to take the poison he prescribed for me, saying it would relieve me of my confusion. At times I would take the poison, and at other times I wouldn’t since I knew he was wrong. I knew I was of sound mind, and thinking clearly. The one prescription I would take was the anti anxiety medication, since I was under intense pressure having people constantly follow me around.

There was no evading these thoughts I was having, as I became obsessed with them. I would sit up in my room all day thinking only of my immanent death, and how it would come to pass. At nights I would sit huddled in a corner, knife close by, staring at the lock on my door. I was waiting for something to happen, for my door to be barged through. It never came to be, there was only silence. Somehow I found this very disappointing as I was waiting for the final showdown between good and evil, and I would be the hero.

I was considered dangerous so few wanted to help me. This barrier between these two worlds called morality and law was insurmountable and for this reason I was left to fend with my own irrational devices. The abandonment issue was extreme, as few had the time, money or understanding for me, so like a 21st century leper nearly all my friends and family drifted away from me in fright. They told me I was trouble, and their once impenetrable love vanished nearly instantly. I began feeling hatred for the world, as I became a pariah and lacked friends. While most of the students at my college were busy drinking, socializing and studying my life revolved around my hellish imagination.

Eventually I ended up moving in with my brother, away from the tension and turbulence of my current living situation. It helped relieve some of the stress I was experiencing. Mostly I would sit in my room during this period chain smoking and playing with strange ideas and theories in my head, breaking bounds and boundaries that had been set out before me.
It was difficult to study as my mind kept drifting away from my textbooks into the fantasy world I had created. I began asking strange questions.
Perhaps Phil would find me here? Perhaps he knew what I was doing at this moment?

Statistically this was nearly impossible, but that one in billion chance seemed so real to me. A mathematical fallacy was becoming a reality, just not in a real sense. I was now working in the surreal and unknown, a world so unlike this one, and yet grounded in its hell.

Though I lived with my brother, my mind was still with the haunted house I had lived in. I would walk by it after school sometimes, transfixed upon it’s evil energies that seemed to emit from it’s being.
I thought I would hear screaming outside from the vile acts that were committed by my former friend. I saw pictures of secret rooms filled with bodies, torture and mayhem. I just needed to prove it, to show the world the truth of the situation, and yet I couldn’t because I no longer lived with him. I could no longer gather the evidence that I needed to present to the proper authorities of these horrible criminal acts.

On and off I would go the Psychiatrist, not telling him of my delusions and beliefs that penetrated inside my psyche, knowing he would no longer understand or see my reality. It seemed like our sessions were futile and boring to me. I did think he was a good human being and not on the wrong side. One day I thought I would convince him, and he would believe me. We would be partners in fighting crime after this. A phone call would be made to the cops by him. He would tell them the truth and I would get my revenge.

The sickness had not completely taken my mind, so it was still possible for the doctor to attempt and reason with me on some level. These grains of sanity were all my doctor had to work with on a psychological level.
Despite these attempts at rationality my mind was nevertheless drawn towards my fantasy realm. It’s lure was intense. I was obsessive about my delusions, they seemed more important to me than anything in my life at the time. It was an escape in some sense from my real problems. They didn’t seem to matter any more…

That was then…

Years later I recovered and began to write horror stories that were filled with villainous C.I.A agents and malicious aliens  from the days of yore. I did so because I wanted others to know what it is like to experience the psychotic realm. I bring them now to you throughout the remainder of this book. They are tales of madness that few experience and even fewer live to tell. Tales that haunted my mind for years and continue to haunt the minds of millions.

Code Yellow
Some years ago Code Yellow was sent to all C.I.A. agents. It’s message was simple;
They know about us. Find them.

Thousands of C.I.A. Agents received it and knew what to do. Scouring the city they tapped every phone line and watched every citizen, to find the schizophrenics. Many of the schizophrenics were eventually found and placed in institutions. Fewer escaped and ended up in hiding. Others still roam the streets suspicious and unsure who to trust.

Frank is currently in charge of operation code yellow. He is a high ranking schizophrenic hunter because he has captured more of them than most C.I.A. Agents. He keeps a tally of all the schizophrenics he captures and reports the numbers to the government. His office is littered with pictures of the ones he has helped capture.
Frank knows what happens to them afterward. He knows that they are poisoned with medication, and that tracking devices are implanted underneath their skin to keep tabs on them, but he doesn’t like to think about it. He doesn’t deal with that side of things, only the cat and mouse game that he plays every day with them in the C.I.A.’s intelligence room.

Inside this room is where all the spying takes place for operation code yellow. All information about the schizophrenics are sent here for further analysis by Frank and his colleagues. Today Frank discusses with the other hunters ways to capture them in his intelligence room. Computer monitors on a screen within are tracking the most knowledgeable and therefore dangerous schizophrenics.

An agent warns Frank of a particularly dangerous schizophrenic.

“I’ve found a level nine schizophrenic. His name is Bill and he is hiding underneath a bridge. We are worried he knows too much about our operation.”

“Send out an agent to stop him. Implant a thought control device in his head while he’s sleeping to wipe his memory clean.”

“I think we can’t wait on this one Frank, he plans on spilling the beans today about our operation today.”

“All right I will deal with this.”

Frank grabs his microphone and speaks directly to Bill through the microchip in Bill’s head.

“Bill, can you hear me?”

Bill listens and is worried about the voice he is hearing.

“Bill we are worried that you know too much about the C.I.A. I have a button here in my office that can instantly stop your heart from beating. If you ever tell anyone
about us I will press the button and kill you.”

Bill nods in agreement to Frank. He isn’t ready to die yet.

“Bill if you ever defy me I will kill you. Don’t get any strange ideas and spread the truth to the world. I have ways to stop you.”

Bill responds to Frank through pure thought knowing that Frank’s technology can Track his thoughts.

I will find a way to escape from you. There must be a way to deflect your mind reading and tracking devices. I will find and build devices to counter yours.

“Bill, many have tried and all have failed. I’m warning you for the last time Bill.”

“Kill me then. I’d rather than die than be your slave.”

Frank then pressed the button knowing that thousands of miles away Bill’s heart would explode.
Something happened that day, as Bill’s death hit a special nerve in Frank’s heart. For once he actually felt sorry for a schizophrenic he had killed. He went home that night feeling guilty for the thousands of schizophrenics he had murdered, tortured and imprisoned over the years. Some days later Frank decides to tell the world about the C.I.A’s operation. On this day everyone heard a voice in their head telling them this:

“People of the world, I wish to tell you that during your lifetime you have been lied to in every concievable way. All along we at the C.I.A have been watching your every move and monitoring your every activity so that we may control you. You have believed yourselves to be free when in fact you are all slaves to us. My job for the past century has been to track down and destroy those who are aware of the ways of the world, so that you may remain oblivious. People of earth, I tell you this so that future generations may no longer be slaves underneath our thumb. I tell you this so that you may be free.” Soon after this message panic and anarchy ensued, as everyone had seemingly become a schizophrenic.


5 Replies to “Reverend Paranoia (A Memoir of my First Psychotic Break)”

  1. You are amazing , you really makes a poetry that what’s really happen inside your mind, I hope the daughter will also remember everything during the manic episode and those lies that the voices said to her… I am praying that my daughter will be released or ends in the world of lies even it can give her confident, power what i want is she may back to his life in simple and quite way. with her smile of reality and not a smile of wondering…

  2. You are amazing , you really makes a poetry that what’s really happen inside your mind, I hope that my daughter will also remember everything during the manic episode and those lies that the voices said to her… I am praying that my daughter will be released or ends in the world of lies even it can give her confident, power what i want is she may back to his life in simple and quite way. with her smile of reality and not a smile of wondering…

  3. Thank you for your insightful writing. This is exactly what I was trying to find:an account of insanity where I can feel like I’m there, something that helps me understand. Glad you are doing better, keep writing!

  4. Dan, I thank you for all you are sharing and especially “Reverend Paranoia” which I had to read in sequences to get through the whole text because it hit me hard in both heart and stomach when I got an insight to my son’s new world.
    I’m looking forward to read more of you, keep writing poems, keep writing about your reality, keep writing and keep sharing. I wish you the best!

  5. It felt great to read your stories and also your own story, its the goodness in you that makes you want to ease the pain and suffering of others, and to make sure that they don’t have to go through it alone.

    I suppose the CIA will read my comment and finally figure out that I know, I have to be on the move …. :-)

    Take care

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