When I stepped out of the UC Psych ER on the second of this month, I carried with me a generic prescription for the anti-psychotic Zyprexa. I have been taking it daily since then, and it has had some very interesting effects. First, it severely retards my tendency to fall into a disassociative, delusional state. Second, it allows me to differentiate between daydream and delusion. Third, it has allowed me to see that some of my delusions had been going on for the better part of two decades, ever since the episode of sexual assault in fourth grade. It has provided contrast and relief in many senses of the word.
I have so much to write about. But for now I have taken catalogue of my delusions up to that point when I took that first pill. These are the delusions with which I struggled that caused so much harm. These are the delusions which I used to protect myself and made me think I had to strike out to do so. These are my demons. Please read them with respect, as they will always live within me. Thankfully, with the love others have shown me, I am learning to put them to sleep.
WHAT DELUSIONS DID I HAVE BEFORE I KNEW LOVE?
The delusion that my intelligence gave me an edge over others.
The delusion that it was my privilege to be in a position to save the world. This sentiment made it easy for me to overlook whenever others carried more than their fair share of weight. I learned a lot from others about how to carry people you love, and it is a skill that I would not be here today without.
The delusion of the “Truman Show Complex” from ages 9-14. It served as a layer of abstraction through which my repressed sexual trauma expressed itself.
The delusion that the people who told me they cared about me were going to attack me. This was by far the biggest delusion I had and most of the others are rooted in this one.
The delusion that my I was tainted, dirty, or that it was somehow an expression of evil and thus had to be tamed by exposing myself to risks like herpes or proximity to riot police. I was clearly delusional and I put a lot of people at risk because of it.
The delusion that my privilege would protect me.
WHAT DELUSIONS DID I SHARE WITH THOSE I LOVE?
The delusion that I could keep my partner in the box I found them in. I had an impossible idealization of what my patner should be, and no matter how close they were to the mark I never allowed myself to get to know them deep down. I also think that this means I was also never able to share myself with them, either.
The delusion that ‘we’ were something outstandingly special. I thought that we, together, were literally supposed to use our privilege and partnership to save the world. It was a prideful notion that I am today severely ashamed of, having overlooked others in the course of achieving my own goals.
HOW DO I THINK THESE DELUSIONS AFFECTED THOSE I LOVE?
It feels like I have given people reason to be afraid, that I have traumatized their memories in the same way that mine were traumatized in fourth grade. I fear that I have imbued a sense of irrationality, of fear and anger, where there was once calm waters. My greatest regret is having infected others with the notion that striking first is the only way to protect ones self. It makes me sick to my stomach and it is something which I will work till my dying day to reverse.
HOW DID MY DELUSIONS CONTINUE TO DEVELOP AFTER SEPERATING FROM THE COMMUNITY I LOVE?
The delusion that ‘Cincinasty’ would serve as an example of radical transparency and as a window onto the problem of sexual violence. Instead, I feel like people think I just did it to ‘get famous’ which leaves a super sour taste in my mouth.
The delusion that non-violent tactics would be appreciated for being non-violent - even if it meant chaining myself to the Freespace. One of the things I learned from the mediation process was that I should not be planning actions alone.
The delusion that I was a rapist *because someone I loved said so*. When she said it, I trusted that she knew what that word meant. I now accept that there are a wide variety of definitions for the word ‘rape’.
I’m not sure if this one is a delusion or not but it is deeply connected to the previous delusion. I believe in order to defeat evil, that evil must be embraced, understood, loved into a peaceful slumber. That violence itself is evil, and that evil cannot destroyed by evil itself. When I was called a rapist, I came to understand my perspective to be that of a “rapist”, even if I did not agree. I accepted that if others saw me as a rapist that is what I must be. I explored this perspective, hoping that if I could understand it that I could help other people, other “rapists”. I wound up scaring a lot of people before I found out that I was, in fact, not a rapist.
The delusion that people would be able to look me in the eye again after going through with the mediation process. I was so battered and delusional with a desire for radical redemption and rebuilding, I think that this delusion came from me looking for safe.
WHAT STATE ARE MY DELUSIONS IN TODAY?
The delusion that people who care about me are going to hurt me. I feel like I have this one mostly under control. I’ve discovered and become familiar with the bodily sensation of dissociation, how my arteries dilate, my stomach tightens, and how my adrenaline begins to tingle. I have begun to combat the dissociative patterns with breath work, and this plus medication and regular therapy has given me a fighting chance to knock them away before they have a chance to suck me into their downward spirals.
Related to the previous delusion, right now I am exploring how the impulse to strike first out of self defense (“Hobbesian Trap”) is connected to my impulse to interrupt and speak over other people in conversation.
The antipsychotics I’m on now give me a much clearer sense of the boundary where my reality begins to cross into dreams - but there is still one thing which no matter how I try to throw into the delusion bin, it keeps looking more and more real the longer I take this medication. It’s the regret, the fear that I exposed those I love to my anger and my lies and caught them up in a chain of abuse.
I still have a delusion about saving the world, but it is closer to a dream than a hallucination, and I consider it to be more of a healthy one now that I have had my privilege severely checked. I want to build a support group for people who are struggling with repressed trauma before it manifests into violence.