Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Secret Agent Man (what the mind knows and doesn't know)

Last night I went to an event. I am a big admirer of Amy Goodman and her radio show, Democracy Now, which airs here on WMNF and on other community radio stations around the United States. She was going to be speaking and I had a free ticket that was given to me by someone at an activist meeting I went to recently. I was super-duper excited about this, so I drove to the University of South Florida directly from work and got there very early (which allowed me to get a great seat).

Amy was scheduled to speak at 7 PM, but someone online had posted the time as 6 PM, and I wanted to beat rush-hour traffic, so I arrived there at 4:30 PM, after having been at work since 8:30 AM. I am telling you these time details for a reason. My symptoms get worse, apparently, the more time goes by and the more tired I get. At least, that is the theory my therapist and I have been using. So, by the time Amy was speaking, and it was getting later and later, I started to have strange thoughts. I do not know if these thoughts were based in reality or not. Now, if they were not, then, that would lead one to surmise they were a mental health issue (psychotic delusions). If they were delusional thoughts, one could further surmise that these thoughts should not have occurred, considering the mammoth amount of anti psychotic medications I am ingesting on a daily basis and having injected into my body on a bi-weekly basis. For now, I will leave the question of whether or not these thoughts were reality based aside, because I am not feeling clear on that issue.

So, let me get to what the thoughts were about. Amy Goodman is very far to the left of the radar in the political arena in the U.S., and her speech was about progressive politics, including some issues of brutality and illegal civil rights violations committed by the United States government on citizens. While listening intently to this speech, the thought occurred to me that the man sitting next to me was strange and suspicious. He had arrived very early for the event, just like I did. He had talked to me a bit in the waiting area outside the "ballroom" where the event was held. When we finally got to go in and sit down, this man sat down right next to me. His leg brushed against my leg and I moved my chair to prevent this from happening again, and wondered if he had done that on purpose or not.

The man didn't fit in with most of the crowd in appearance. He was wearing a baseball cap, shorts and tennis shoes. He had short, trimmed hair, like a very straight-arrow character, and he stood out to me, among the other people there, who were mostly hippies and college students much younger than he was. When he sat down next to me he said something like, "these seats are not bad at all", which I thought was odd. The longer I sat there, the more I thought about this man, and I came to think that perhaps he was a secret government agent, such as a CIA agent or a member of the Office of Homeland Security. It would not surprise me if Amy Goodman - who is not well-liked by many government officials and who has been publicly arrested doing civil disobedience and reporting numerous protests, would garner the attention of the CIA. It would not be abnormal or crazy for one to come to that conclusion, particularly if one was listening to her speech in which she alluded to the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by the United States government on the anniversary of a speech he gave protesting the Vietnam War.

So, I then went on to think (and this progression happens very quickly in my mind), that the man was there to spy on me. I had thought he looked very familiar from the first moment I saw him. Back in the days when I was psychotic, I should mention that I thought most people looked familiar, and I would go up to strangers and ask, "Do I know you from somewhere?", and they would always say, "No".

So I knew I had seen this man before. I knew he was suspicious. And I suspected he was a CIA operative. He gave off that vibe, and I began to wonder where I knew him from. I suspected I had met him when I lived in Virginia, when I was manic and when I saw some strange men from the internet for brief flings. I would rather not go into that subject further, but it was disconcerting to think I knew this man from that time period (five-six years ago). I wondered if I knew him from somewhere more local. I wondered about this on the way home too. I was tired, and I was not feeling well physically (muscle and joint pains and aches), and I just wanted to go to bed. But I kept thinking, all the way home, about this agent. And I was not sure.....I could not be certain, and I cannot even be certain now, a day later, who this guy really was.

It's possible I met him somewhere innocuous, and that he is not a government agent or a threat to me. But other things are also possible, and I am uncomfortable with having to worry about this. It is annoying, and it is disconcerting, and it makes me keenly aware that my own thoughts can lead people to label me as "crazy" at any moment in time, even when my thoughts are rational, or, at least, are rational in my own mind. And that is the situation I am in. I will go to therapy tonight, and my therapist will likely think this was all a delusion. But it's not that simple to me. If it is a delusion, why wouldn't Seroquel and Risperdal prevent it from happening? Why? And nobody seems to have an answer to that question. So I am left without answers.

1 comment:

  1. You know I recall that when you went to see Dar Williams (I think) that you became paranoid too. What you described is classic schizophrenia and I know all too well the pull of it. I recently had some symptoms return where I thought, once again, that I was being monitored by a rock star and his friends and that people in cars passing by my house could hear me and know exactly what I was doing (even thinking). I had to stop being so openminded about the extremely slight possibility that it might be true and return to saying no to the budding delusion. Be very careful Jen. Entertaining the possibility can turn from a minor annoyance into something that is harder to detach from. That's the sticky pull of it. For you, anything to do with the CIA is a warning flag. For me, looking into the cars as they pass by me to see the faces is a warning flag for me--so mostly I don't do it. Looking for the warning signs is part of how I stay relatively sane.

    Try talking about it into a taperecorder and then listening back the next day, it might help you to get a better perspective. If it sounds incredible, it probably is not the truth.

    From one friend in the dark to another. (We'll get through this.)



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