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The Story of My Madness

This is my story, the story I have plucked out from the 14 journal entries that comprise it. The bold numbers before the texts are links to the main journal's entries from which this tale is taken. You may put comments in those entries, if you wish. There are also numbered notes below the entry texts, numbered corresponding to the texts.


At the beginning of it all, there were a lot of drugs. That, my friends, was the cause of my descent, plain and simple. Lots of drugs. At first, it was just pot (though in large quantities), but I graduated to LSD in the Spring semester of my freshman year of college. At the spring carnival I rode the little rides they had set up in the student center parking lot and had a tremendously fun time, and I was hooked after that. Nothing really weird happened to me (outside of the normal weirdness of the high) until I had the most intense trip of my life. (I tell you about that here.)



So, anyway, I became a drug dealer in college. How did that happen? Weird. There was this guy who lived across the bathroom from me freshman year, and he was what you would call a stoner. Talked like one. He would get me stoned and go on about his former days as a freshman (he was a sophomore). I started buying the stuff. He knew who to contact. I remember he came up with the concept of dealing to me, and at the time I never thought I'd do it, but the next thing I knew, I was sitting in a room getting person after person stoned, selling eighths for $25.

When I started dropping acid, it was natural to go into that little arena as well. I had a connection with a beeline to Berkeley, California who could get me hits for $1 or less. At least, that's the way I remember it. Kinda hazy, all of it. Bits and pieces. Some just repeating over and over. Pack a bowl, pass it around.... Misspent youth. I'm not that much older, chronologically, but that was a lifetime away.



I was kicked out after my sophomore year because of my grades. Academic suspension for one year. I got a job, didn't trip that much. There's other stuff, but I'll get into that later. I went back to college for my junior year, and this leads up to the onset of my schizophrenia. I was living in a single, I had lots of LSD, lots of pot (though I wasn't dealing so much this year), and the last part of the puzzle, lots of porn.

Junior year was all about how intensely I could get myself off. I had a girlfriend that year, but just about every weekend, I would look on alt.sex.pictures (this was before the www), download a couple, decode them in my room, drop some acid, smoke some pot, and have cataclysmic orgasms. Freud believed that all your basic mental problems were sexual in origin. I can't find him wrong, because, looking back, I could see myself sinking into the madness, right up to the summer of that year — no break for my brain that year, like the previous, when I went back to my parents' and didn't trip — and when I felt something psychically snap. There's more to this, of course, but this sums up what would lead to my madness.



Something snapped, summer of 1991; I really did feel something psychically snap: all the little cartoon people which had previously been only inhabitants of drug fantasy were loose. Not only that, real people would speak to me, whereupon I would just zone out on what they said, not understanding it at all, and they would shake me, "Stand? I asked you a question 5 minutes ago...."

My friends had had plans to help me. They did not know that my parents were coming to pick me up only a few days after the breakdown. They (my parents) are traditional Korean, and had no idea that I had any mental problem. They thought I was just not feeling well. Later they would learn that something was very, very wrong in that head of mine. They called all my friends, who informed them that I had been taking drugs, and that had led up to my demise.

My parents had had plans to go on vacation, so they went, though even from the pictures they brought back, I could see that they were troubled the whole time. Their son was sick, sick in a way they couldn't understand.

At the time, I had a thing for Julia Roberts. Back a decade ago, who didn't? Part of my madness was that somehow, I was talking to the real her when I was talking to the cartoon of her in my head, that she was going to take me away from all of where I was. Then, one day in a video store, I saw a box with Rosanna Arquette on it, and she flitted (in that other dimension thing which was my mind's eye) from the box into my presense; she overtook Julia Roberts, and she was with me for quite a few years after that. I don't know why, why her, except perhaps she was just so pretty.

The progress of my psychosis: I was Jesus Christ (reincarnated); then I wasn't, and Walt Disney was God; and then I was Walt Disney (reincarnated), and I was God (Jesus' Dad); then the snap, and I was gone. The Omniversal Savior I called myself (though only in my head). I thought I was God for about three and a half years, in one form or another....



My entry into the psychosis was back in July of 1991. When Rosanna Arquette took over from my infatuation with Julia Roberts, I thought she was in New York City, and that being only a two-hour drive from Philly, I took off without a word to anyone and drove there. It was in this little Ford Escort which my parents had bought for me the year I had been on academic suspension (between my sophomore and junior years). I was loose on the streets of NYC for a couple days, and actually (not hard to believe), I was quite at home there. Ever wander around at 3 am in the streets of Manhattan? Quite an experience. I remember I purposefully dented a BMW, as sort of a protest against yuppiedom. I also went hungry for about a day. Then I went back to Philly, back to my parents'.

I lived totally in my head for about two months. I mean, I just lay on my bed, talking to myself — or even less, just thinking at them. I mean, I didn't even turn on the radio, much less watch TV. I heard later on that my dad breathed a sigh of relief when in September, I finally flipped on the stereo he had put in my room and listened to the local radio stations. That had corresponded in my head to having been separated from what I had believed was my plasmate, or the higher part of myself, which had become attached that day I felt that snap in July. Later on, one close friend said that instead of seeming like something had been added to me, something seemed instead to be missing. He and another friend asked me during that time to try and get some psychiatric help, but I refused. Remember, I believed that what had been happening to me was real somehow until my breakthrough in 1997.



I loafed about my parents' house for a few months, mostly lying in my old bed as things were happening in the place which existed in my mind's eye — exactly where I had not thought about, but it existed in some real sense, I believed. This went on from late '91 through mid-'92. The place in my head degenerated into something like ancient Rome, and my mortal enemy (I was pretty sure) was Aleister Crowley. I also saw myself in my head, and I didn't believe I was he of my old name but someone and something else.

At about June I got a job at the place where I had been working during my academic suspension (between sophomore and junior years). I had my own apartment near my parents' house. When I went back to work, though, it was not the same thing as it had been before. The time before, I was at my mental height, but this time, I felt not 75% of my previous self. I was kinda doing the Philip K. Dick thing, trying for some overarching theory by which reality might be encapsulated. I had it in my head the whole time that I was somehow God or GOD, which I differentiated in the Gnostic sense (they believe the God of the Old Testament is not the same as that of the New, so GOD would be the one of the New — Jesus' dad). I was, however, nowhere near as prolific as PKD, writing scraps of this, notes of that, little drawings.

Late '92, I stopped going to work. I also started not paying my rent, or visiting my parents or anyone else, for that matter. This would lead to my first commitment to one of our fine mental institutions.



I remember getting the slip of paper ... was it under my door? ... that I was supposed to appear in court because of my non-payment of rent. I had thought reality itself was the thing that was kicking me out, and I was happy about it. I had spent the winter pretty much penniless except for a couple weeks when I picked up my last paycheck from the place where I had been working. The day before my landlord kicked me out, I called a friend over, and he bought me a burger from McDonalds and gave me $15, which was all he had on him. Bless him.

On the following morning, I walked about a mile and a half to this place in Philadelphia proper (my apartment was in the outskirts) where guys sold drugs on the street. I bought a dime bag of marijuana. It was raining. I also knelt down to pray in the middle of the sidewalk a couple of times. Man, I felt invincible.

I went home and smoked up. Then there was a knock on my door — it was my landlord with two cops. I hid the pot, but to make sure I wasn't going to get busted, I acted extra strange. I mean, here I was, acting insane believing I wasn't insane, but actually quite psychotic, with the cartoons and voices in my head at full blast. The cops found the marijuana (and my porn, by the by, cracking a remark about that), but I acted sufficiently strange enough that they called the loony wagon on me. I was involuntarily committed, and I remember at the time I was going through my Lucifer Morningstar phase — I thought I was God's brightest angel, and that Jesus was Michael, the second brightest. This happened in March of 1993.



The most poignant moment was when I stood in court at my hearing, basically to determine my sanity:

The judge: What's your name?

Me: Lucifer Morningstar.

The judge: Where were you born?

Me: Heaven.

And that was that. I had a pretty good time at the mental institution: after half starving for a couple weeks, three squares a day; after being alone for months, a bevy of interesting people to talk to. And when I wanted out, all I had to do was act normal. I could turn it on and off, depending on my mood.

So, I kicked around a few months at my parents' place, but they gave me no money for the partaking of the marijuana — which really sucked as far as I was concerned. Then, I visited my younger brother in California. My dad gave me some money to spend on the trip, and of course, I got stoned again there after a three-month lack. Was definitely addicted to it then: I remember I only started feeling normal again after taking a few hits of the stuff.

The Rosanna Arquette cartoon popped in and out in my head, but she wasn't too big a part of it, yet.... Let me tell you about the weird thing happened in California, though. One day, as I lay high there in my brother's apartment, Jesus in my head decided to shut off the better part of the cartoons and voices. I don't know how, He just did it. So, that was how I was for about a year — for the most part, I was basically sane, basically myself from about August of 1993 to September 1994. Sane, but not happy. Sane, but still lost.



Much of the time from when Jesus in my head shut off the cartoons and voices (for the most part — every once in a while a little flurry, but not really anything), it was pretty mundane, that time. I had a couple of crap jobs, one as a data entry clerk, and another as an administrative assistant. I hated those jobs. In fact, I hated being an administrative assistant so much that in April of 1994, I took off from work and my parents' house, cashed in the current paycheck, bought a bag of weed and visited a massage parlor in Philadelphia. When the money ran out, I checked myself into the mental institution I had been in previously, making up a story that I was having suicidal thoughts. It was so easy to play them, those "doctors".

Again, I had a really good time. I hooked up with a woman there, and I had sex with her. She was an ex-prostitute. Not very attractive and we had nothing in common — I don't know what I was thinking. (I dumped her later, in one of my biggest moments of insensitivity.) About the whole affair, my parents were pissed. I had taken the only working car. They had to walk to one of their friend's houses because they had no car, and that took them more than an hour. They had had it. They told me that they were sending me to Korea, and that I was going to work on a farm. A Christian farm.

Really, nothing I could say in my defense; I went that May. It was on that farm where, this one night, during when a group of (mostly) kids were visiting from the 'States and Canada, that a man (I wish I remembered his name) just hit all the right buttons, mostly the feeling that I was as lost as I was. I went out with him on a dirt path out in the forest, woods outside the building where the group was staying, and I prayed, really prayed for the first time in my life. I converted that night, and I never regretted it. Note that the cartoons and voices had not yet returned: I converted during a time of sanity.

I was outta there, free of the farm, by September. But before that, late August, I got my hands on some marijuana. (In Thailand. Went there to renew my visa in Korea. Great food there.) Anyway, this would come back to me — I'm pretty sure that was it, that and not having any medication — in September of 1994 the voices and cartoons came back. This was where I became sure I was the Archangel Michael born on Earth, and this was where Rosanna Arquette really came into the picture in my head.



I became officially insane again when I began to believe that I was the Archangel Michael, born on earth. I wasn't the only angel, either: Jim Morrison was Lucifer (before the fall), and Philip K. Dick was Gabriel. And not only that, but everyone who ever lived had an ideal match for them somewhere in time and space. Mine was Rosanna Arquette, who was called Michelle (the Archangel). Even Jesus in my head had a perfect match — in Brigitte Bardot, of all people.

I was the Archangel Michael for a long time, from about September 1994 through April 1997 (when I finally had my first breakthrough). Intermittent in that time period were the times I thought I was the Antichrist. I don't really know where that came from. The part where I was Michael, that was building up from my old apartment days (here), when I was reading the Book of Revelation and thought that Michael lost the War in Heaven. I didn't want to be him, so I had to be him; this came back in the best way it could, I guess: that I was Michael, but I won the war (and I really did, with Arquette's help — let me tell you about that later — it's actually not that exciting). But being the Antichrist: maybe it was just my paranoia. In fact, the Michael part and the Antichrist part may have been two sides of the same coin, the former from the part where I thought I was destined to die in the War in Heaven (but which was turned around for the better), and the latter an unfathomable doom, to be thrown into the Lake of Fire for all eternity (the thought of which served as a kind of punishment from up above).

Anyway, I went along fighting Jim Morrison and his significant other (not Pamela Courson, some woman I never knew who she was) for a few months, in my head. Rosanna Arquette did some stuff, too; there was this stretch where we were trying to be God, both of us, before we settled into Michael and Michelle. The forces of evil, I could defeat. Rosanna Arquette, on the other hand... I'll get to her, and what she did to me. I know; it wasn't really her. I'll get to what happened, there in Korea, when I was locked up for six months in a rehab center. That was where we won the War in Heaven.



I was hanging out at my aunt's house in Seoul, Korea, more or less living completely out of my head. Everyone was concerned that I'd never recover. At about March of '95, my aunt, on the advice of my parents, put me away at a rehab center — mostly recovering alcoholics. My constant companions were Rosanna Arquette and Jesus Christ, both as monotone cartoon images in my head (Arquette was light blue, Jesus was yellow).

Man, I hated that place. It was like a prison — I mean, there actually were bars outside the windows — and no one spoke English, so I was mostly walking around the couple halls I could, talking to Arquette or Jesus in my head. Now, let me tell you what Arquette did to me. This is why I believed that I had schizophrenia, and not manic depression, which I had previously been diagnosed with: the cartoon Rosanna Arquette kept me from pissing. I mean, she would reach down, grab something down there (according to my mind's eye view), and I couldn't piss. I mean, I had to struggle. Struggle to piss, fail to piss, leave the bathroom humiliated, whereupon Arquette pulled some strings in my head so that I would feel like I wanted to go again, go to the bathroom, struggle, fail, and again. Of course, I finally would go (struggling the whole way), but there was this one night when I tried to piss unsuccessfully from 10 pm to 4 am in the morning. This went on for like 2, maybe 3 months. Psychological torture, if not physical.

And oh, yes: the War in Heaven. Really, nothing much to it. Jesus in my head covered up Jim Morrison (he was Lucifer, remember?) and his pair match for about a month, so he was good and fuming. I set up a trap, like a body suit which they would fall into if they curled up into the fetal position at all. Then, on the appointed day, Morrison and company were let loose, whereupon Arquette (on my instruction) repeated to them, "Your time is short, your time is short...", and they, their anger giving way to weakness of the heart, succumbed to that fetal position which was the trap, and they were out of Heaven permanently. Like I said, not very exciting, but it was one of the high points of my stay at the rehab center.

This was the place. This was the place where I had gotten to the point that I couldn't turn it on and off anymore. I was too used to living in my head. I had to struggle with that, too, my appearance of sanity. By the end of August, though, I convinced my aunt that I was okay again. I stopped myself grinning that mad grin, which came from no source that anyone in the real world could see. You don't know how happy I was to get out of that place. And that was the worst of it, though the last part of my long episode came close. After that place, I started reconnecting with the human race.



After I got out of the rehab center, I started going to Korean language classes at a local university in Seoul. I remember the real effort was trying to have a conversation with people. I remember it was like grasping at straws to find something — anything — which would progress the conversation on, and I remember settling a lot on my choice of questions and answers, unable to come up with what I really wanted to say. All I had been used to was talking to the little pictures in my head, or thinking at them with the words.

I was still the Archangel Michael at the time, and my companions were still Rosanna Arquette and Jesus in my head. There were also little pictures of me which came and went — I had believed that there were three parts to every individual, as we were made in the image of the triune God, so I could see my other two parts. That was the running theory, at any rate. I was, however, quite stable for several months (we now go from September of 1995 to about March of 1996). I had gotten a job teaching English at an institute for about a month from February to March, but I had to quit. For after those several months of stability, I got my hand on some cannabis in the form of hashish. I smoked it mixed with tobacco.

As punishment, I went through some doses of terror when the forces in my head turned on the Antichrist trip a couple times. Lots of fear, but there weren't too many of those. And I slept this one time for about a week, only getting up for food and the bathroom. Seriously. I slept for a week. After those minor trials were over, I felt was okay enough at this point to go back to school. Back to college. It had been five years. I had gone through much. But the Lord had worked a wonder in this poor soul, that I had recovered enough, now, to hold conversations with people and to function in a classroom environment again. Not just a prisoner of my own private world, but able to act in the real one.



I went back to college. The semester first, I realized a very simple thing that I never did before then: go to class, do the homework, and you will do well. I ended up that semester on the Dean's List, with a grade point average of 3.75. I was still talking to Rosanna Arquette and Jesus in my head. And I was still the Archangel Michael, first angel after Lucifer I cast out of Heaven. You know, I think that helped. It gave me a sense of belonging, a sense of nobility. I found pot, though, wherever I could, mostly smoking it on the weekend with the few friends I hung out with. It was a pretty good time, that fall of '96.

The next semester is where I got into trouble. You see, one reason I had to behave was that my aunt (the one I had been living with in Korea) was with me all that semester. The spring semester, I was alone. I smoked more pot, masturbated more to pornography while high. Bad move. I started losing it again, losing my sense of place in the here and now. In the semester before, despite the feeling I was an angel, I was pretty sane in most other respects. You couldn't really tell there was anything wrong with me. But now, I started skipping classes. Then I just stopped going, and I was living in my head again. I did have the presence of mind to drop all my classes, though, and declare I was having a nervous breakdown. True enough. The forces of good in my head were not amused.

Again and again, they would convince me I was the Antichrist — wherein terror would ensue — then they let me off the hook. Several times, they made me wander through the streets of Pittsburgh, PA, me not ever knowing where I was going in those walks, but eventually returning safely back to my apartment each time. I should be thankful, I guess, that nothing bad really happened to me besides the fear. Anyway, my aunt had to come back to Pittsburgh, and I checked myself into a mental institution for the last time in this, the long first episode. I told them I was having visions of angels and devils, and they admitted me with paranoid schizophrenia.

It was there that I had the critical meeting with a denizen. This guy told me he was having visions of the Virgin Mary, that she looked like his girlfriend but he knew it was her, and that she was standing on a vagina. Man. I thought to myself, "You're nuts." And then, somewhat later, it struck me: "That's how I look to other people." And when my parents took me back to their house that spring, that fateful spring, I snapped out of it. All that I had seen, heard, and imagined, I knew it now: it had just been a psychosis. None of it had been real. I was then no one but myself — not God or Archangel — just a human being again, plopped back down on Earth. I was sane for the first time in 6 years, that spring of 1997. Hardfought. But won.



After the climax of the first, long episode, there was cleanup. I went to summer school after that fateful spring, took a couple classes and got A's, then I went back for fall semester in '97 to finish my degree. My bachelor's degree took me more than ten years to complete, but I did it. And I finished it sane. I was no one but me when I received my diploma, though there wasn't a graduation ceremony for those who finished in the fall.

I was going to either live in New York or San Francisco after I graduated, but then I made the mistake of driving around in New York City. It was crazy, I mean people are insane on the streets of NY. I thought I would be happier in SF, so I moved there at the end of January 1998. I have been in the San Francisco Bay Area ever since, though I go spend Christmas in Philadelphia with my parents.

The apartment I got was a studio — one room — but I was fairly happy with it. I couldn't find a job for about 7 months after I moved to SF, so I got part time jobs selling clothing and then making sandwiches. I finally did land a real job in September of '98. I went and spent three good years working at that job. I think I was in a state of constant recovery. You always get better, but you're never back to where you were before it all hit. I was pretty okay for all those three years, whereupon the second episode hit. That's a tale, however, for another day.



1. I remember seeing an "anti-drug propaganda" poster once, of a girl in a straight jacket, in a dark "rubber room," which said, "LSD can take you to places you never dreamed." Dismissed it summarily, haunted me later.

2. I remember I once had liquid acid which was crystalline LSD and distilled water, mixed together by a friend at one of my college's science centers. I handled it so much, dealing one night, that I started tripping without taking any.

3. This was the year of my Christ complex — I really though I was Jesus Christ, reincarnated. One of my closest friends at the time (a devout Christian) marked the beginning of that little complex in his calendar as the day I went insane.

4. I did a lot of crying during this time. I felt very sorry for myself for odd reasons, none of which had any basis in reality.

5. I had a friend who lived in NY at that time. He checked me into a psychiatric hospital, worried about me, but I talked my way out of it just the next day. When he went to check up on me, he discovered I had already been released.

6. I was very close at that time to the cartoon in my head I named "Daphne". Never knew just who in the real world she represented; it might have been Rosanna Arquette. Pretty much all the other cartoons were based on real people, like Albert Einstein.

7. I remember I made up a saying when I got home from buying that dime bag: "Love. Really works the leg muscles." I know, it makes no sense, does it? At the time, I thought it was one of the coolest things anyone ever said.

8. Another of the pieces of my life I have lost is the hearing paper for my second hearing, the one after the one I have written about. It said "[my name], AKA Lucifer Morningstar". I wonder if there is a place in Heaven where all such memories may come back to life.

9. I re-learned, on that farm, my love of reading. It was the only entertainment I really had, seeing that the TV was all in Korean. When I got on medication, I lost the ability (for some reason) to read for any extended period of time.

10. I was in my mother's sister's home initially, after my stint on the farm. When I went nuts again, I sat around their living room, talking to the people in my head. My poor aunt.

11. My dad moved me to his sister's house from my previous aunt's home where I was staying, in October I think it was. It was here that I was deepest in my madness. Medication wasn't helping. Nothing was helping. Putting me away was probably the best thing that anyone could have done for me at that point.

12. It was at this point where I started "getting into God", as it were. It's like step 2 of Narcotics Anonymous: "We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." It was the only thing that worked.

13. That was a rough bit, that second semester, at least in terms of the amount of fear I went through. I wouldn't go through anything like that again until my second episode, years later. It wasn't boring, though, let me say. And there's always that sense of relief you get when you find out, hey, I'm not doomed, after all.

14. It was at this point I started writing poetry. Except for this poem, before this period of time, I had always had trouble writing any good verse. I guess it's true that an artist needs to suffer, because after I had gone through my stuff, the poetry flowed as freely as my thought. Though, of course, sometimes thought has its own trouble flowing.


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