February 2024

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CORE (Genocide)
Toby "Radiation" Fox

Lucid Moments

Wednesday the 21st

┳ Caution ┳

Today's entry discusses the pyschotic episode I've been having, and contains (detached) references to self-injury and suicide. The most triggering part is hidden by a dropdown/toggle and can be skipped.

I've been writing this entry for several days now, trying to collect my thoughts into something halfway polished and comprehensible. It's hard, not knowing when this episode will end. So far, every time I thought the psychosis had run its course, the delusion sucked me back in and I went insane again. Even now, with my wits mostly about me, I still feel exhausted and vulnerable. That frightens me, and makes me worried for the future, but I wanted to say something sooner rather than later, to reassure all of you who are concerned for me.

Before anything else... thank you to everyone who has reached out to offer their support. Your kind messages are invaluable to me. Some of them I read again and again because they're exactly what I need to hear. And when I start to think, "nobody cares about me," I remember all of you somebodies out there— friends, acquaintances, strangers, tourists— who always, always prove me wrong.

I'll reply to everyone personally soon, to give my proper gratitude. I don't have the energy for it just yet, but I want you to know that if you've written in my guestbook, or sent e-mail or IM, or otherwise found a way to contact me, that I've seen it and I appreciate it. I appreciate YOU! All of you who went out of their way to help me, even when I wasn't making any sense...

... Well, I guess I must have made some kind of sense, because several people have told me they understand my feelings or struggle with similar beliefs. That shocked me, because I felt so alone and so... abnormal. I thought that I was uniquely disgusting, that my ideas were incomprehensible, and that I was doomed to suffer and die, alienated from everyone. If anything good's come of this meltdown of mine, it's that, for the first time, I feel I was truly understood. I was finally able to communicate the full extent of my pain.

And in spite of being completely inarticulate, too! I guess that's just what happens when you speak from the heart. All of that was pure, unfiltered anguish. I didn't hold anything back. I expected that the more I said, the further I would drive everyone away, but it seems to have had the opposite effect... Once again, there's been a rally of people looking out for me and wishing me well. Your compassion amazes me. I was going to say, "I don't know what you all see in me that compels you to be so kind," but... I think it has less to do with who I am and more to do with who you are.

To console someone whom you don't know very well, without expecting anything in return, is a beautiful and benevolent act that speaks to the bounty of your human heart. It's made a difference in my life, and I can only hope that others will shine that same light on you. Thank you again. (And again, personally, later on.)

That "light," that sympathy and love, is what I can't seem to find for myself. It's not always at the forefront of my mind, but there are parts of me that feel completely dark and undeserving of life. From that perspective, I'm not just burdensome, I'm a trespasser. A parasite. I'm an insect that can and should be squashed in an instant. Any deviation from my very small, very isolated and predictable life leaves me feeling intensely insecure and afraid, which I cope with mainly by crying and going back to bed. And that's just Tuesday.

I've not been completely delusional in quite some time and Dear God, I did not miss it. Two weeks ago, I woke up expecting a day like any other, only to have my sense of reality obliterated by noon. By midnight, I was obsessed with my wickedness, my inhumanity, my need to be punished. I'm used to thinking, "I'm evil," and "I need to die," and a dozen other phrases that boil down to "I have no right to my own life." I'm used to believing them, too. The difference is how wrapped up I was in that line of thinking, from the obsessiveness of my rumination to the scope of the delusion itself.

If I'm a demon, then that's just what I am. Even if I focus on something else, that "reality" doesn't change, the same way that a human contemplating her humanity is just as human when she's off riding her bike or reading a book. An apple is an apple, no matter how many times you look away. I felt just as certain of my demonic origins, my unforgivable sins, and the danger I posed to others, as well as the damage I had done and would only continue to do. I was evil. I needed to die.

And as much as it hurt me to draw that conclusion, it was also rather satisfying. If I'm a demon— if I've always been evil and deserving of death— then my life makes sense.

I have what I'd call a "sense-making compulsion." I love to look at the present moment and work my way backwards, asking, "how did we get here?" "Why did this happen?" "What would compel someone to act this way?" I'm prone to introspection and philosophising and, because I'm neurotic, it trends into overthinking. For years, I have been overthinking the state of my life: my seclusion, my paranoia, my failures, and, most of all, the apparent incongruity between my history and my behaviour.

It took me a shockingly long time to learn that not everybody wants to kill themselves, and I still can't fathom a life that, more often than not, feels safe to live. This unshakeable belief that I am under constant threat of death, that at any moment I could be killed by my family, my friends, my neighbours, strangers, or even God Himself, that I would deserve it, and that my murder could only be a good and righteous thing....

Well, I won't bore you with my life story, but it just doesn't match up with my past or my present. The fact that I have no good reason to feel the way I do only adds to my shame, "proving" that I really am no good and I really don't deserve to live. At times it's overwhelming. And because I would like some relief from the painful emotions that keep me stuck alone in my room, in my bed, crying all the time, I try to make sense of it all. I want to understand myself so that I can fix myself, or at least make peace with the fact that I'm unfixable.

In this case, despite it being totally absurd, "realising" that I'm actually an evil spirit was the perfect answer. All of my questions could be written off with, "because I'm a demon."

Click here to read about those questions and the delusional "answers" that I believed I'd found. If you're susceptible to psychosis yourself, especially religious delusions, then you might want to skip this.

Why cant I get better or stay better? Why is it so hard for me to heal?

"Because a demon is wretched by definition, damned to an empty, cyclical, sadomasochistic life with no chance of reform. It lives in defiance of God, thus in defiance of growth, hope, and truth. It has no potential. It can only be redeemed by torture and death."

Why is it so hard for me to feel happy? Why do I mostly feel afraid, ashamed, or just numb?

"Because the light of joy and serenity is beautiful and Godly, and anything Godly is toxic to a demon, which is a being of pure darkness. All pleasure is instantly converted into pain: guilt, misery, and emptiness."

Why do I struggle to give and receive love? Why can't I feel the love that I know is there for me?

"Because there is no love. A demon is wholly worthless and abominable— beyond unlovable. Even if it convincingly masquerades as another human, the innocents who support the demon are only under a spell. Such relationships are exploitative and fake, purely parasitic."

Why am I overwhelmed with guilt and shame when I have nothing to be guilty for?

"Because a demon's mere existence is a sin unto itself. It trespasses on God's territory, it steals from God's children, it desecrates the Kingdom of Heaven. These are crimes with no equal. Moreover, your position in life was stolen from the innocent human being, made in God's image, who was meant to be born in your place. You carry the guilt of a divine transgression that predates your Earthly life and has forever excluded you from grace."

Why do I believe that I deserve to die?

"Because you do. A demon has no right to live."

And on and on and on.... This is the part that's hardest for me to write, not because I can't understand my train of thought, but because writing about the delusion and rereading my psychotic rants for reference— hell, even reading this entry as I write it!— all drags me back into that state of mind. In a lot of ways, those "answers" still appeal to me.

If I'm a demon, then I'm absolved of all responsibilities and expectations. By definition, I cannot grow. I cannot change. Finally, I can forgive myself for failing at everything, for misbehaving, for being ignorant, for procrastinating and giving up and being unlovable. It's all because I'm a demon. It's not that I didn't try hard enough, because, in "reality," no amount of effort could overcome my inherently nasty and detestable nature. It's not my fault! Yay!

... but everything else is my fault. And I mean everything. War, murder, slavery, rape, kidnapping, famine, disease— as a demon spreading its evil across the world, that's just a snippet of my transgressions against all of God's creation. These are crimes that, even with a clear head, I believe are punishable by death. If I'm (somehow, passively) responsible for all the evils in the world, then I most definitely deserve to die. And while I'm at it, I should take on some more guilt for eating, sleeping, and smiling, because every time a demon seeks to fill a "human" need, it steals those same resources from impoverished and underprivileged children a thousandfold.

It's absurd. I see the absurdity as I write it, but I still kinda believe that I'm singlehandedly responsible for the food crises in my country. And if you knew a guy who was intentionally and gleefully starving millions of kids, kids who would all be magically happy, nourished, and forever well-fed at the moment of his execution... you'd kill him, wouldn't you?

But it's not true. None of that is real or, at the very least, I'm not that guy. Still, I know that all that comes from a place of (more) realistic guilt, where I compare my luxurious life to those less fortunate. Based on my belief that I don't even deserve to be alive— baseline breathing, eating, shitting "alive"— it follows that I definitely don't deserve to live comfortably.

That's how all of this started, actually. I wondered if this cushy life of mine wasn't just a lucky break, but intentionally stolen from someone who was worthy of it, who could adequately appreciate and use her privilege to uplift others. I am destined to live my life in service to others (Cancer Midheaven...) but, so far, I've only managed to rot alone in my bedroom. Worst of all, I'm failing the people closest to me, and at a critical juncture no less. I'm ashamed of that. I feel guilty for that. And those feelings overwhelmed my rational thoughts, and I started to believe that I'm a rotten thief who stole from God Himself.

It spiralled from there. If you scroll down, you're free to read the results.

So... what is the point of all this? Once again I've given into my sense-making compulsion. Oops. I guess I just wanted to write all this out, to help myself understand what's happening to me, as well as explain the situation to anyone who was curious or concerned. From the outside, psychosis might seem random or ridiculous, but anyone caught up in a delusion will have their good reasons for believing it. Since everyone has been overwhelmingly compassionate in the face of my craziness, I'm probably preaching to the choir here... but I just wanted to reiterate that the crazy is never "for no reason."

It's not a choice, either. As I've been having this breakdown, I've done my best to remain as in control as possible. Most of my effort goes towards redirecting urges to self-harm and keeping my composure in real life. Forgive me if that doesn't leave me with much willpower to resist writing about it online. I'm nonetheless very sorry to anyone who I may have triggered or who felt disturbed by my writing, which was published suddenly and without content warnings. It must have been very shocking and alarming.

By the time you've read this far, I'll have already deleted the (unsalvageable, completely deranged) posts I made on the Neocities feed, as well as quarantined my on-site entries to a separate page, now headed with appropriate content warnings. I am leaving up the posts where people attempted to converse with or console me because I want to honour their charity.

I'm not sure this if apology will actually reach anyone who was genuinely triggered, but I want to say it anyway, even though I'd hope that they've already distanced themselves from my website and other distressing content online. If for some reason you were deeply upset, yet you're reading this entry, then I'll reassure you now that your health and wellbeing matters, and you have absolutely no obligation to keep up with me or my diaries. I cannot guarantee that I won't go crazy again, so if you're sensitive to this sort of thing, please act in your own best interest and close the tab.

I wish it were that simple for me. The past few weeks have been exhausting and excruciating, and as often as I will myself to that believe I'm "all better again," it's not so easy to move on and let it go. I'm still searching for people who are equipped to help me, in and out of times of crisis, and learning to lean on the support network I already have. Over the past couple days, I've been brave enough to open up to someone whom I love very much and, with her as my confidant, I feel optimistic that things will slowly get easier. I'm very lucky to have her, and other friends and family members who all want the best for me.

Regrettably, even in better states of mind, I'm prone to isolating myself from them, which means Vivarism is the last place where I can share what I'm thinking and feeling with any chance at being heard. More then anything, all this has been a cry for help, and I'm moved by the warm response I've received. All of the encouragement, consolation, and advice has truly touched my heart.

Thank you for reading all of this, too. As usual, I've been needlessly verbose, but in these moments of clarity, I feel so thrilled to return to a hobby I cherish. I really do love to write. Getting this entry together has given me the most peace I've felt all month. I pray that that peace will last, and that as the days go by I'll feel increasingly calm and clearheaded.

I get the impression that, when I start slipping back into delusional states, I'll be able to reference what I've written here and remember what's really going on with me. Am I actually an evil creature who doesn't need or deserve to eat, or am I just feeling ashamed right now? There's an important difference. The first is a "fact," and the other is a feeling that, with time, will pass. Faster, too, if I can find it in myself to be patient and gentle... and let go of that sense-making compulsion for a while.

Some situations are so complicated that there's no time to untangle all the backstory. To save your energy, you just assess the most pressing issues and go from there. As I see it... I believe that I am in danger— erroneously, insofar as nobody is actually trying to kill me right now— so I need to find ways to feel safe on a daily basis. And, more than that, to believe that my security and comfort are good things.

I need to know for a fact that I'm allowed to be alive. I need to feel it deep in my heart that I'm a human being with all the same rights as everyone else who, just by being born, was granted irrevocable permission to live.

And how can I accomplish this? It's as simple as it is embarrassing, but the best idea I have is daily affirmations. I will feel like such a freak staring at myself in the mirror, hearing myself say, "I am a real human person," and watching my face contort at the joke that is my life but, hey, we've all gotta start somewhere.

Hm... when I think of it as a joke, my heart feels a bit lighter. Like it's okay to laugh at the absurdity of my situation. Nobody can tell me how I got it in my head that I'm an evil abomination unworthy of food and love, with a counter ticking down to my death forever flickering between 0 and 1, but it'll be pretty hilarious if reciting a list of bizarre phrases every morning will help me think about it less often.

"My humanity is an indisputable fact."

"I have a rightful place among the human population."

"I have always been and always will be a human being."

... yeah, no. It sounds like an alien psyching itself up to go undercover. It needs work. But it's all true, isn't it? I am a real person and I do deserve to live. I don't believe it just yet, but surely I'll get there.... I owe it to myself and everyone who knows me to try.

That's vivarism, after all. I'm very often thankful for this made-up word of mine, which came to me on a whim but means so much to me now. It's hard to "choose life" when I don't feel free to choose, or when life doesn't seem to be an option, but, so long as I'm literally living, every breath I take brings me closer to the future I'm meant to inhabit. And I can't get there any faster than one day at a time.

Let's make our way there together, shall we? Thanks for giving me your time today. I'll see you again later.

If for some reason you want to read my unfiltered psychotic ranting, you can access it here. Please heed the warnings at the top of that page.