After exiting the public telephone box I entered a world of the macabre. A man was doing a ministry of silly walks in the street followed by a crowd laughing and copying. With a sinister laugh a ‘friend’ told me about mobile phone usage and updates about the bomb scare. The bomb scare was real and the building had been evacuated. To my horror I thought it was staged to publicly humiliate me.

I hid at the bottom of the library while Triple J talkback radio told me by allegory and metaphor what a disgusting and useless person I am, who deserves to die.

I looked for messages – yellow sticky notes with ‘significant’ highlights or jotted comments placed strategically in book pages. I wrote paragraphs and lines down furiously in a notebook. There was so much I couldn’t get it all down.

Mum arrived at the airport later that afternoon. It took the greatest courage for me to pick her up, although she was my only hope of help. I was certain that she would be someone to humiliate me in front of a lot of TV cameras and microphones.

Relief did not come when mum herself appeared. Spies were everywhere tracking our moves.

At my home a party was about to start. The thought of attending a party was the thought of being eaten alive by lions. Mum suggested we stay at a hotel.

I felt like I was holed up in a bunker, listening for spies. The anxiety when the pizza delivery came was immense. Would the cameras be there? Would the meal be poisoned?

I was waiting for the truth to be revealed. It was taking a while, but I was patient.

Over previous nights I hadn’t slept much and tonight was no different. Mum and I, side by side, in the double bed.

A constant squeaky noise lasted the whole night and I knew They were trying to keep me awake.

‘Do you hear that?’

‘Yes.’

‘They’re keeping us awake.’

‘Yes. Just ignore it.’

‘They won’t leave me alone.’

‘Who? What’s that got to do with next door bonking?’

I had no idea what was going on. Even now I’m uncertain how to interpret events from that time. However what I believed then is embedded starkly on my mind and I will never be able to comprehend it. Certainly I had terrifying experiences in the past, but this was living the Matrix. I’d swallowed the pill and there was no going back.

The following article is one for those who love us with mental health issues – some professional advice about helping someone with psychosis by Julie Bell, ‘Five Tips to Help a Loved One Challenge Psychosis’.

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