I see things that aren’t there.
There I said it. I rarely do. Talk to anyone I know and they will tell you I’m a pretty relaxed, down to earth person. Many of them probably don’t even know that little factoid about me. It’s not something I take seriously, it’s just a kind of unpleasant part of who I am, like a swastika shaped birthmark.
I don’t often mention this because I think people take it the wrong way. Usually, they either think I’m lying, on some sort of heavy medication (I was in the past by the way, but more about that some other day) or fascinating in a way that doesn’t really make sense to me, personally. Some people have thought I have some sort of spiritual doorway that makes me enlightened, others have thought I’m a time bomb. Few have encountered me in a full blown episode, the times when I don’t distinguish reality from illusion. God willing, no one needs to any more.
I know I can’t really introduce a big old French fry like that without a little explanation. To answer your first question, what I see varies, for the most part I’m aware they aren’t real. It’s not a difficult distinction and I don’t know that I could describe to you how, other than there’s a kind of dreamlike quality to the things that aren’t there vs. reality. Think of a person you know appearing in your dream versus a stranger in a dream and maybe you’ll get it.
There’s never been a theme to it and so far as I know there’s no correlation or ‘mythology’ to explain what they are or why they appear. The most common thing I see are light trails, breathing walls, moving patterns in carpets, your typical acid flashback stuff. After that, the next most common are animals, they’re usually bright, nonsensically colored and don’t do a lot. They don’t interact with any outside themselves, and rarely with me. If they say anything, it’s usually one or two sentences, and then they leave. This used to happen to me constantly. Now it’s just a passing phenomenon, it happens once every couple weeks or so.
The second most common, though thank god not so much anymore, are what I referred to as the white women. They were these sickly, silent hillsy kind of apparitions that consisted of mostly a mouth on their face, and they’d howl and come in and out of the walls and throw body parts at me, or come out of my skin. For reasons I’m not really sure, they were particularly associated with cocaine, and I have not and probably will not ever do it because of them.
Once in blue moon I get what I suppose is an imaginary friend. These ones talk to me, offer advice, opinions and general chatter. They can make life the most difficult because everything around me is filtered through hearing them in the background, seeing them do something distracting, and so on. I know these characters aren’t real. Off the top of my head, there have been four. One was a person, one was a cat with scars for pupils, God talked to me through my TV for awhile and the last one was an alien in a football jersey. Why they appear or leave I couldn’t tell you.
The official diagnosis was depression with psychotic tendencies, but I was still in high school when that happened. I don’t really have an answer for what happens, and I’m fine with people believing that I make it up. It doesn’t affect me one way or the other if people believe me when I tell them these things. Your disbelief or faith won’t make them more or less frequent. Neither will mine.
More importantly, seeing things that aren’t there doesn’t make me a more interesting person. It has as much to do with my identity as that persistent rash has to do with yours. Last time I talked about how we stigmatized illness, now I want to approach how we can change that. Here is the most important thing I'm going to say:
We are not our secrets, nor are we our flaws and afflictions.
About A Blog
I'm a Denver Comedian, occasional cartoonist and person of interest to someone, probably. These articles are really too long.