As I drove down the interstate a call came into my cell phone. I didn’t recognize the number, so I let I pushed it to voicemail. Not that I would have likely answered a recognized number at this point either. A message was left, and curiosity always gets the best of me, so I checked it.
It was a detective. A police. A police detective from my hometown. He needed me to get in touch with him.
He immediately followed his voicemail with a text message. Actually, multiple text messages. He repeated the content of his voicemail along with adding that there were a number of people concerned about me.
I sent a text back letting him know that while I appreciated his concern, we wouldn’t be talking. Thanks, but no thanks.
My phone immediately rang again. Same number. Pushed to the same voicemail. Message left. I listened.
A bit more urgent plea this time. With a bit of a tone to suggest I was defying police orders and needed to comply. Guess he decided to try the strong arm tactic. Again, I ignored the voicemail only to receive another text a few minutes later. His communications turned more aggressive, and while not effectively spurring any interest in my part on communicating with the authorities…they did have one effect. They kicked in an extremely high level of paranoia coursing through my veins.
My mind transitioned from a state of focus on the mission at hand to almost a split frenetic state of moving forward while constantly checking behind. The mirrors of my vehicle became all the more important. From this point of the day until I boarded the train any eye that rested on me for more than a second caused me great angst.
My ability to plan or map out any hope of rest over the next 18 hours was thrown out the window. I resolved in my mind that I could not stay in any single place for more than an hour. I could not nap. I could not let my eyes rest for a second. I would need to constantly be on the move. Constantly be on the lookout. Find crowds. Blend in. Never stay parked for too long. Never leave my vehicle unoccupied longer than absolutely necessary.
It became exhausting. Physically. Even more so mentally.
I remember at the time thinking, “This is how I know I have lost my fucking mind. I have never been this paranoid. Afraid that I’m being tracked. Afraid that I’m being followed. Afraid that someone is after me. Unable to settle. Unable to rest. I have lost my grip.”
Fast forward to today. I rested on my bed following work, unable to get my weekly Monday nap underway, when it hit me. I have always been paranoid. I have always battled the inner demons of fear. Year after year after year, without ever putting them all together.
Because this was just one more sign that was always being ignored that something wasn’t right. That my brain wasn’t working right. That it was sick. That I was suffering and had always suffered at some level from a mental illness.
Let me show you what I mean…