Sunday, March 25, 2007

A true story

Last night, I got into bed and closed my eyes. After a couple minutes I had not fallen asleep, but that was OK. I was pretty tired and it would come soon.

My eyes were closed, but at one point I blinked. I saw someone standing next to my bed, looking at me. I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep, as I hoped to be soon enough. But then I blinked again. This time there was no denying it.

"I saw that", he said. "He's awake", he called out to two other people I knew who were across the room. They came over and began a discussion. After a couple minutes they convinced me to sit up, and soon enough I had begrudgingly gotten out of bed entirely and came along with them as they continued the discussion outside the room.

Finally I managed to extricate myself from the conversation and make my way back to bed. But I was not yet asleep when another set of people came along. Talking loudly, they prevented me from sleeping and forced me to listen to their argument until they too left.

One last time I tried to go back to sleep. And then I was suddenly disturbed by a third group of people. This group came with a specific purpose in mind. They informed me that I was suspected of committing a murder a few months back. I had been at a baseball game and someone had fallen from the upper deck. Originally it was called an accident, but now they had decided that I had in fact pushed the guy. They roughly roused me from bed and brought me with them as they left - for the police station, I'm guessing, though they weren't policemen.

At this point I realized that none of the people I had encountered in the last 15 minutes were real people. The sequence of events was just too fantastic to be true. The events and people were elements of a schizophrenic hallucination I was suddenly undergoing. Not that this was much of a comfort, and I was still in this hallucination and the characters were still bothering me. I had never before had a schizophrenic experience, but wasn't the early 20s when this disorder usually began?

I realized that my only escape from the hallucination-world would be to form a connection with the real world. I began fumbling in my pocket for my cell phone. The characters realized what I was doing and how it threatened them. They tried to forcibly restrain me and I tried to break free. I fell to the ground as they piled on above me. From under the pile I managed to extricate the cell phone. I pressed the unlock code, or tried to, and scrolled through the list of names until I got to my home phone number. They were pressing down and pinning my arm against the ground, but so far I was succeeding. I pressed "call". Nothing happened. Apparently I had mis-entered the unlock code. The pressure from above grew greater. An arm reached out, searching for the phone and trying to take it away from me. I only had a couple moments left. I was breathing quickly and heavily. The weight on me increased.

And suddenly the characters disappeared. Instead of being under them, I was under my blanket. It was as if I had woken up from a dream. And yet it seemed to me beforehand that I had never fallen asleep. I looked at the clock on my (previously mentioned) cell phone. Just over an hour had passed since I had first gotten into bed. I heard my roommate opening his door and walking to and using the bathroom. What was real? Did the roommate exist or was he too a hallucination?

Now it seems clear to me that I had woken up from a dream in which I was schizophrenic. What is especially terrifying about such a dream is that you cannot ever be sure it has ended. Because in the schizophrenic's world, as in the real world, everything seems logical. Maybe the regular life I am living is also a delusion? In the hours since the vigilante policemen abandoned me, everything in my surroundings has seemed compatible with the way it was before I first got into bed. That is the best standard I can think of for knowing that my current life is real. But, at the very least from a philosophical perspective, how can I ever know for sure?

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