My Life As My Very Own “Truman Show”
When You Feel Like Life is Being Orchestrated Beyond Your Control
I grew up a very happy, healthy child. I had a loving family and plenty of friends. I always excelled in school and sports and was accepted into college right after high school graduation.
I was a college graduate and gainfully employed by the time I was twenty-two. I had a fantastic love life, an enormous circle of friends, and was having a blast living in the big city of Chicago.
This was my life for the first five years after college, until everything started falling apart. It began at the office.
I started suspecting that my phone calls weren’t real. I thought that hired actors were on the other line and that none of my accounts were actually real. I started spending less and less time with friends and family and more and more time alone. I also started getting what I thought were secret messages in the mail. I wasn’t able to understand what was happening, but the stress became too much and I was unable to keep my job.
I felt completely overwhelmed. I had started to consider telling someone what was happening, but by that point I was hearing voices that told me to keep quiet, and that if I told anyone what was really going on I would be killed. I was certain I had been implanted with some kind of device and was being watched on a hidden closed-circuit television. I knew if I didn’t make a drastic change, something would happen to me.
I decided to sell my belongings and move. I packed my car and got rid of anything that wouldn’t fit, or that might be bugged, and drove to Minneapolis to stay with some close friends from college. They had no idea what was going on.
Things were fine in Minneapolis for a while. I got a new job and was doing my best to save money to get my own place again. It was about six months until I started getting the text messages again. I was also getting emails I couldn’t explain, and the voices came back. By that point I was living with a roommate, I had lost my job again, and was not eating. It got to a point where I was convinced that my roommate was plotting against me, and had plans to murder me in my sleep. I would stay up all night, locked in my room writing and waiting for my roommate to come in and kill me. I would sleep a few hours during the day while she was at work, and the rest of my time was spent walking. I walked nearly twelve miles a day, still refusing to eat almost anything. That was the first time I was taken to the hospital and put in a psych ward.
This went on for another year until the messages, voices, and then visual hallucinations filled my day. I couldn’t hold down a job and sometimes even had trouble speaking. I was back home living with my mom and spending time either sitting in my room in the dark or walking the neighborhood talking to myself.
Because I couldn’t tell anyone what was going on, my trips to doctors and psych wards proved to be mainly useless. It wasn’t until I fled my mom’s house to Los Angeles in the middle of the night in her other car, that I finally got the help I needed.
My oldest and best friend lived in Los Angeles and took me in when I arrived there. She also got me to admit myself into the hospital there, where doctors and psychiatrists were finally able to give me the diagnosis of schizophrenia and give me the medication that would finally help bring me back to reality.
Things are better now. I was on disability for a couple of years, but was recently hired by a great company to do the same kind of work I did before everything started going wrong in Chicago. I also live near my mom, so she helps me when I have bad days.
Deep down, I wish all of this never happened. I don’t feel like myself. I’m much more withdrawn, overweight, and exhausted much of the time. However, I suppose this is better than the alternative. I also feel embarrassed about my diagnosis, but am working on that, too.