What Happened In Chicago Part 1

I haven’t written in a long time. This is an attempt to write about events I haven’t discussed much with anyone, unaided and from memory. These events occurred in March and April of 2011.

It all started in Boston during PAX East 2011. Actually, it started a bit earlier than that – it started in February, when I began writing my “God Complex” series of posts that recounted my original hospitalization in Okinawa. Through the writing of these posts I came to relive the experiences and process them for the first time in a year. Fast forward to PAX: I was volunteering as an Enforcer and I had spent quite a lot of my personal money to bring StarCraft 2 internet personalities Day9 and Husky to the event to shout cast the StarCraft 2 tournament I was also running. I can’t remember for sure if I took my medicines with me or not; truth be told, I probably did not take my medications during the course of the 3 day event.

I stayed up late and woke up early and maybe even missed sleep entirely one of the days. I was also drinking heavily in the off hours, as was my habit during that period of my life. I was over energetic, getting in people’s faces and rushing to and fro getting people in their places for tournaments and so forth. I was boisterous and being very extroverted, which is unusual for me. I was what psychiatrists and psychologists would probably call hypomanic – a lesser form of mania. But none of my friends who were there seemed to think my behavior was odd.

The event went off very successfully, especially the casting by Day9 and Husky, which I was very happy about. One of my superiors had thought the casters wouldn’t be popular but in truth they had to turn away hundreds of people at the door because the theater they gave to the casters didn’t accommodate very many people (only 400, if memory serves). I began to have vague delusions of grandeur concerning starting a business where I would organize tournaments at LAN parties and conventions like PAX, bringing in “eSports” commentators and making a spectacle of the thing – but with no business plan or anything similar.

I also recall – not without some embarrassment – that I had some problems with women at the event. At this period in time, I had inordinate affection for two in particular – one was my roommate and one was a superior at the hospital I was stationed at. I had thought I had anonymously ordered the superior a gift which was delivered with my name on it, and this got me into a bit of hot water and made things somewhat awkward (though thankfully I was retiring at the end of the month). And when my roommate’s mom, who seemed to like me, pressed me about my feelings for my roommate, I foolishly admitted to having feelings, which would later (probably) be a big factor to her moving out.

Shortly after I got back from Boston, I had an appointment with my psychiatrist. I talked excitedly about the event and my idea for a new business and she said with some concern that I was hypomanic and probably needed to increase the dosage on my medications. This upset me. My social worker had recently talked about not letting your diagnosis define your life, and I still resented the fact I was being retired (at this point I had had only my first hospitalization, which most of my chain of command on Okinawa had thought was just a mental breakdown and not a mental illness – they had gone so far as to get my philosophy professor to call me in the hospital and write a letter of recommendation for them to reconsider my diagnosis). At my next appointment with my social worker I asked if the doctors could force me to take my medication and was surprised to learn that they couldn’t – I had never understood my patient rights, since doctors were officers and I was enlisted and the military trains you to obey “orders” from superiors (I thought the prescriptions amounted to orders) and so I decided to stop taking them.

As I recall, I was already on terminal leave at this point, and living in downtown San Diego. I was continuing to sense some kind of vague connection to a higher power but had difficulty articulating my relationship to it or how it was influencing me. I had a ritualistic way of approaching it, which involved my “Theory of Three” that I first conceptualized on Okinawa and is written about elsewhere on this blog. I began to impulsively spend money and I was coming close to maxing out my credit card with all of my random purchases.

On Friday, March 18, 2011, I was downtown running errands. I was purchasing some organizational tools (a calendar, a journal, etc) from the Office Depot and also looking to get a transit pass. Around noon, I came across the Santa Fe Depot and thought maybe I could get a transit pass there. After waiting about a half an hour in line at the information booth, I learned I needed to go a couple blocks over to the transit store. I saw a cafe in the station and figured I could get some lunch; I sat down and overheard some people talking about the Bible in a way that piqued my interest. They were discussing ways society was flawed and how some of the Old Testament laws were completely forgotten – for whatever reason this resonated with me at the time. The leaders of the group noticed me eavesdropping and invited me over to join them.

Even though, at this point, I had written “God Complex,” I hadn’t really fully explored the religious elements of my condition. I hadn’t discussed the religious aspects with anyone, let alone anyone qualified, and I hadn’t done any study of the Bible on my own. To say the least, I was imminently susceptible to deception by the enemy, who could use my pride to toy with me just like he did when I was on Okinawa. In any case, the leaders of the study gave me their business cards and I gave them my email address and told them I’d be back next week. Little did I know at the time that I would be halfway across the country instead…