A Deaf In The Family: Starting Over (ie Dating) Part 1

He said I drove him sane…

2008

1ab

 

Slyfoot said he was half deaf, half blind, and half crazy, but I didn’t think it was true.  People say all sorts of weird things about themselves on the internet to make them sound interesting. I’m not sure all those particular ‘half’s’ are all that interesting, but I thought it was just an attention grabber.  

I didn’t know Slyfoot, or Sam as I came to know him later, irl (in real life).  I just thought he was some gamer/hacker/computer geek who was way too into Linux and rosaries.  I never put it all together until we started talking in earnest–and that didn’t happen until after the dream and we were making plans to get married.  By that time it was too late. God had already let me set my own trap and watched quietly as I walked right into it.

I couldn’t blame Him. I had given him permission.  I’d invited him to in a flippant moment. Truth be told, I had practically dared him to.  I didn’t think he’d take me seriously, and I never imagined it would end up the way it did.

It all started two years after my divorce.  I was in my mid thirties. I had four children, but only the two youngest lived with me: E, my daughter, and J, my youngest son.  My two older boys, B and D, lived with their father in the same area we had all lived together before the divorce: Katy, Texas.

At that time, I lived in the northwest of Houston in a decent, inexpensive (relatively speaking), townhome apartment, struggling as a single mother still having a difficult time with my ex, even two years after we split.  

My father told me to start dating.  At this time, my father had been divorced three times and married four times–twice to my mother.  I told him I would work on that, with no intention of doing so. I gave the appearance of respect. I didn’t tell him that he was the last person I’d take advice on romance from, or that I couldn’t understand why he and my mother decided to get back together with him. But being my dad, I did listen and I thought about what he said, but not much more than that.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) we have Wards instead of a Parish.  And instead of a parish priest, we have a Bishop. You can’t switch wards or bishops, as some people outside the Mormon church do, with some special exceptions.  

None of the clergy in the Mormon church is paid.

Temples are not like Ward buildings, where Mormons meet every week to partake of the sacrament, attend Sunday School and auxiliary meetings.  They are sacred places where ordinances are performed that tie us to our families for eternity and give a glimpse of heaven. Only worthy members, those with a recommend, are allowed in the temple.  To obtain this recommend, members have to adhere to the Word of Wisdom–a guideline to a healthy, God directed/centered lifestyle–pay their tithing–1/10th of their increase, be interviewed and found worthy by your bishop and your stake president, who is a little like a Bishop of the several parishes in his district.

Sometime after my father had told me to start dating, I went in to my bishop for a temple recommend interview and he, Bishop Slack, told me that I needed to start dating.  I laughed nervously and told him that my father had said the same thing just a few weeks earlier.

I made no commitments and didn’t do anything more about that admonition than I had my fathers.

When I went into the interview with the stake president, I didn’t expect much small talk.  Stake Presidents have even less time to themselves, and more appointments to get to, than bishops. It was a bit of a surprise then, after the stake president started with the question on how my life had been–the trials of single motherhood, how hard that is in a ward full of functional, intact families–that he told me that I needed to start dating.

I laughed and decided that I better take the advice before one of the Twelve Apostles called me.  I didn’t want to take a chance on getting all the way up the chain to the prophet.

 

Previous chapters can be found

Here (1)

and

Here (2)

A Deaf In The Family: Sam is Schizo (pt 2)

Part one can be found at the link Here: A Deaf In The Family: Sam Is Schizo (pt 1)

 

There were times when I was convinced that other people could ‘hack into’ my brain. I remember having a conversation with someone online, and I became paranoid that this person was trying to hack into my brain to either steal thoughts or give me a ‘mind virus.’

I had several psychotic breaks while I was working as a software developer for a banking corporation. While I would try to concentrate on my work, sometimes the computer screen would seem to start glowing at me, and I was convinced that angels were trying to contact me over the Internet. Sometimes I would wander around inside the building and pictures on the wall would start glowing too. I had the peculiar idea that I was actually the CEO of the company I worked for.

I also remember one time when I went downtown to a B. Dalton’s bookstore. While I was in the store, everything started glowing. I walked around transfixed by this blinding light. I would think that the titles of the books were coded messages meant just for me.

Another time I was at the Universal Studios theme park and I had a psychotic break. I remember walking through a Dr. Seuss exhibit, and I was mesmerized by all of the pictures. I thought that I was somehow literally travelling through time and becoming part of a Dr. Seuss story, and that I would be loved by children for all eternity.

I remember thinking several times that electricity was intelligent, and that I could communicate with light bulbs.

I had the curious notion a few times that when I smoked a cigarette, I was inhaling “the sins of the world” and internally converting them from evil to good. I suppose I thought I was a Messiah with a Magic Marlboro.

There were, of course, many movies which I thought had coded references just for me, or that I was actually a character in a particular movie. The first time I remember this happening was when I was watching a movie called Stay Tuned, in which a television junkie is sucked into “Satan’s Cable Channel” and has to match wits with demons in order to get back into the real world. Other movies in which I thought I was a character include The Truman Show, The Matrix, Fight Club, Legend, and Cool World. I’m sure there are more, but I can’t remember them all offhand.

There was also the curious phenomena which I called “channeling.” I would sit at the computer and I would suddenly become convinced that I was being ‘invaded’ by an entity of some sort. I would type whatever came to mind, thinking that this ‘entity’ was speaking through me. Later I would go back and read these things and naturally they didn’t make very much sense.

I even thought I could channel the spirits of singers, living and dead. To my embarrassment, at one time I even thought I was channeling Dolly Parton. Yes, I can laugh at this now, along with just about everything else I’ve detailed, but at the time it was pretty sad.

I remember having a long ‘conversation’ one time with a tree. The tree would ‘say’ things such as “I am ancient and weary…” or “I am filled with the power of the earth…” I remember that there were ants and ladybugs crawling on me, and I went to brush them off, but the insects would beg me not to kill them because they had a right to live just as I did. I thought that the tree was magical like the ‘One Tree’ from a series of books by Stephen R. Donaldson. The series by Donaldson revolved around a leper with a magical ring made out of white gold. I actually had a white gold wedding band specially made when I was engaged to a girl named Michelle. I was convinced at one point that the ring was magical just like Thomas Covenant’s ring (the character from the Stephen R. Donaldson series). Eventually I gave the ring to my best friend when he got engaged to his current wife.

I have very few examples of any of my writing that I did during psychotic breaks. I happened to come across an entry I posted online during a particularly bad break:

I saw this girl in the hospital, and she was full of Joy and Glory. I wonder if Lewis could have written a more Holy Story. she was a combination of all my favorite dreams, boy, and I tell you now that even jack doesn’t know JACK sometimes about the Kennedy’s and the tories and the wigs. let’s all get out of this place a little while and reflect that not everything Jack knew was straight from the heart.

I have deleted most of the other examples of writing that I’ve done, mainly out of sheer embarrassment.

The very first time I ever experienced a psychotic break, I had just ‘recommitted’ my life to God. I had challenged ‘the devil’ to an all-out battle. Curiously enough, I wrote a poem during that psychotic break that actually does seem to be quite coherent, if a little sing-songish:

Knight of Faith

All my life I’ve wanted

Just to be a noble Knight;

To serve a perfect purpose

And to fight a winning fight.

So I tried to find my purpose,

And I searched within my soul–

But tho I did not understand it

I knew I wasn’t whole.

I found through introspection,

Through my searching deep within,

That I could not tame my nature

Being bested by my Sin

For my soul was dark and selfish

And I gave it up for dead

‘Til one day I found a Bible

And examin’d what it said…

Then I was gripp’d by firm conviction

I was wrong and it was right!

And I knew if there was Darkness

That there also must be Light.

Then my heart began to tremble

And my bones began to sing–

For there, between the pages,

I had found my rightful king!

And I found to my amazement

That my Bible was a sword

If I only swore allegiance

To Christ, the Living Lord.

Now I’m in his noble service,

My perfect purpose in my sight–

And I thank my God Almighty

I’m a servant of the Light!

A Deaf In The Family: Sam Is Schizo (pt 1)

By Samuel Campbell III –

Around 2002, I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. There’s a lot of theories about what causes it. Some think it is psychological, while others think it has to do with a chemical imbalance in the brain. It occurs to me that I’ve never taken the time to write out what it is like to have schizoaffective disorder. What follows is a series of experiences I have had with psychotic breaks. I’m not doing this to elicit sympathy or pity from anyone, but simply to put the experiences down so I have a record of them.

I would think that God, angels, demons, spirits, extraterrestrials or other people could communicate with me in my head. The first time I remember this happening, I was in the parking lot of a grocery store and I thought I had “broken through” into a secret area of heaven. I had what I thought was a conversation with angels who asked me a series of questions. One question I remember in particular was “what is a matrix?” This was many years before the movie The Matrix came out, and when I actually saw the movie, it triggered a remembrance of that long-ago conversation, and precipitated another psychotic breakdown.

I would often think that the television or the radio were sending coded messages to me. For example, my dad was a major fan of the original Star Trek series. Years later I developed a fixation on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which I believed held coded messages specifically for me, and that the original series had coded messages for my father.

I often thought that other people were sending coded messages to me through hand gestures or some other body movement. I would also think that if a loud car or motorcycle went by me that it indicated that everyone around me was angry at me, and the the loud motors were “growling” at . I thought there was some kind of hidden purpose in traffic patterns. For example, if a car went by me to the left, I would think it meant I was supposed to go left. If a car went by me on the right, I would think it meant I was supposed to go right.

Most of the psychotic delusions occurred during periods of intense religiosity. Curiously enough, when I wasn’t particularly interested in religion or when I outright disbelieved in God, I never seemed to suffer from any of these symptoms. My mother was of the opinion that it meant that the devil was trying to destroy my mind. And for a long time I actually believed that too.

One of the earliest memories I have of a psychotic break occurred when I was living with my best friend and his wife. I was extremely agitated and confused that day, and I think I was challenging God to reveal himself to me. I don’t know what led me to do this, but I decided I would try an experiment. I took a bowl and filled it up with water. I then poured the water all over myself in my bedroom. After that I took a wire hanger, straightened out the hook, and stuck it into an electric wall socket. I received no shock. Since I didn’t die from doing this, I became convinced I was immortal. I opened up the window to my bedroom and pushed the screen out. I then jumped out of the window. Since I only lived on the second story, I was not seriously hurt. In fact, I landed on my feet. For a long time after this, I was convinced I was immortal somehow.

A lot of the religious delusion revolved around what I felt was my place in a “spiritual war.” I was convinced that I was a “warrior” of some kind for God. This particular delusion was coincidentally reinforced by a Pentecostal “prophet” who delivered a prophecy over me that also stated I was going to be a great “spiritual warrior” and that I would be a “father in the house of God.”

Because I have tinnitus, I often experience a persistent ringing in my ears. I would sometimes interpret these ringings as angels trying to guide me on the right way. If I was thinking something, and my left ear would ring, I would interpret that to mean that I was on the wrong track. If I was thinking something and my right ear would start ringing, I would interpret that to mean I was on the right track.

Since I never knew who my real biological father was, I would sometimes become paranoid that I was the antichrist. I also thought at one point that my father was Lee Harvey Oswald. I thought I received a vision once of who my real biological father was while I was watching television. There was some golf professional playing on a beautiful green field, and I somehow ‘knew’ that this was my real father. I was happy that he was enjoying himself.

Continued in part 2 next week.

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A Deaf In The Family – 1.0

Slyfoot said he was half deaf, half blind, and half crazy.  He said I drove him sane…  

I didn’t think anything he said about himself was true.  I was a realistic, but when it came to people, one on one, individually, I was an optimistic.

 People say all sorts of weird things about themselves on the internet to make thems sound interesting. I’m not sure all those particular ‘half’s’ are all that interesting, but I thought it was just an attention grabber.  

I didn’t know Slyfoot, or Sam as I came to know him later, irl (in real life).  I just thought he was some gamer/hacker/computer geek who was way too into Linux and rosaries.  I never put it all together until we started talking in earnest–and that didn’t happen until after the dream and we were making plans to get married.  By that time it was too late.  God had already let me set my own trap and watched quietly as I walked right into it.  

I couldn’t blame Him. I had given him permission.  I’d invited him to in a flippant moment.  Truth be told, I had practically dared him to.  I didn’t think he’d take me seriously, and I never imagined it would end up the way it did.

It all started two years after my divorce.  I was in my mid thirties.  I had four children, but only the two youngest lived with me: Erin, my daughter, and Josh, my youngest son.  My two older boys, Benjamin and Bryce, lived with their father in the same area we had all lived together before the divorce: Katy, Texas.  

At that time, I lived in the northwest of Houston in a decent, inexpensive (relatively speaking), townhome apartment, struggling as a single mother still having a difficult time with my ex, even two years after we split.  

My father told me to start dating.  At this time, my father had been divorced three times and married four times–twice to my mother.  I told him I would work on that, with no intention of doing so.  I gave the appearance of respect.  I didn’t tell him that he was the last person I’d take advice on romance from, or that I couldn’t understand why he and my mother decided to get back together with him. But being my dad, I did listen and I thought about what he said, but not much more than that.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) we have Wards instead of a Parish.  And instead of a parish priest, we have a Bishop.  You can’t switch wards or bishops, as some people outside the Mormon church do, with some special exceptions.  

None of the clergy in the Mormon church is paid.

Temples are not like Ward buildings, where Mormons meet every week to partake of the sacrament, attend Sunday School and auxiliary meetings.  They are sacred places where ordinances are performed that tie us to our families for eternity and give a glimpse of heaven.  Only worthy members, those with a recommend, are allowed in the temple.  To obtain this recommend, members have to adhere to the Word of Wisdom–a guideline to a healthy, God directed/centered lifestyle–pay their tithing–1/10th of their increase, be interviewed and found worthy by your bishop and your stake president, who is a little like a Bishop of the several parishes in his district.

Sometime after my father had told me to start dating, I went in to my bishop for a temple recommend interview and he,Bishop Slack, told me that I needed to start dating.  I laughed nervously and told him that my father had said the same thing just a few weeks earlier.  

I made no commitments and didn’t do anything more about that admonition than I had my fathers.

When I went into the interview with the stake president, I didn’t expect much small talk.  Stake Presidents have even less time to themselves, and more appointments to get to, than bishops. It was a bit of a surprise then, after the stake president started with the question on how my life had been–the trials of single motherhood, how hard that is in a ward full of functional, intact families–that he told me that I needed to start dating.

I laughed and decided that I better take the advice before one of the Twelve Apostles called me.  I didn’t want to take a chance on getting all the way up the chain to the prophet.

I started to take the idea of dating seriously, and tried to be open.

While I was trying to put together in my mind what I wanted from a potential husband (something I never really did when I was young) I kept writing and stayed in contact with most of my family and friends through email, livejournal (the precursor to “blogs”) or instant messaging.

Writing consumed most of my free time at this period in my life. It was a good diversion from feeling sorry for myself, my situation, being angry at the ex, and trying to adjust to being a single mom.  I was delving into scifi, something I hadn’t really done before, and my first serious foray was a short story called: A Rock and a Hard Place. I posted on my livejournal and it went like this:

Richard “Rock” Klein

Captain’s Log 14.10.2665

Outside Uranus (isn’t that ironic)

Kerry Portsmith Station

Docking Bay 24

 

They say space is cold. But it’s not *just* cold. No one has ever really felt how cold it is and lived to tell about it. We know instinctively that anything so vast and so empty must be cold.

 

The irony is that all the things we spend time with while in space also make us feel cold and empty. We travel in cold metalic ships from cold empty space to cold empty space.

 

Machines have no disability like perception. Filled with Artificial Intelligence and hundreds of processors heating up their hard drives, they are still only metal and plastic. They don’t care if they sit in space or in a shipyard for twenty years. They do not desire warmth and companionship. They just exist.

 

If you have one of those new bioships it might feel a little more like a horse than a cold lifeless THING, but in the end, it’s still a machine. It gives out as much personality and intelligence as an animal and it only lives to fill it’s purpose. It knows exactly what it should be and do. There is no goal for a spaceship to one day be a station. It is what it is and will never be more.

 

We try to fill the spaces with ego or warm it with personality. Those of us who spend so much time in space hardly know what exaggerated bravado is. We believe the lies we tell ourselves. We believe all the fantasies we create about ourselves and the things… and people, we love – or maybe it’s just ‘want.’

 

I’ve given up trying to tell the difference between love and desire. I just want warmth.

 

We leave a planet’s atmosphere to be greeted by a sheet of black with pinpricks of light. There is so much empty blackness between each point of light, that space seems cold even without feeling the temperature drop. We spend much of our time trying to make it feel warm and filled.

 

The ship is cold and empty this morning, but it won’t be tonight. Tonight she comes.

 

Samantha.

 

Three years ago she warmed these halls. It was three years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. No one has ever turned me on, out and completely neutroned me like Sam did. We were good. No. That’s a lie. We were slammin’ fantastic. I know how good it can be between a man and a woman.

 

That’s why I hate her.

 

You might look at the logs from six years ago and come to the same conclusion I did: She could be a cold hearted bitch.

 

Still… a cold hearted bitch is better company than an empty starship.

 

It was just a little story told using the method of narrating from a captain’s journal, but there was a reply from someone who had never replied to my journal before and the comments after the story went like this:

Slyfoot: Hey, I’m a Sci-Fi fan!

You’ve really got me interested in what happens next!

I really am interested, it’s not just ‘coz it’s the polite thing to say.

Me: I believe you. You don’t normally drop me ‘polite’ comments just to tag my LJ, so I appreciate the attention. (and I’m serious about this story, so it’s good to have someone to help me gauge if it’s still interesting).

Slyfoot: Yeah, keep at it! Maybe you’ll be the next Orson Scott Card. 🙂

PS: I have a Star Trek tattoo, too, lol.

Me: Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.

Letters to My Hobbit 16

Sam,

Today might have been the worst day I’ve ever experienced since your death a few months ago.  So what happened is the bank wants to reclaim your last SSDI checks that were deposited erroneously.  They want this money redeposited because the Government says he died. But guess what? The bank won’t deal with me at all until I can prove that you died. So the government will get that money from the bank because the bank believes your dead, but they won’t believe your dead for me unless I bring the death cert which I STILL DON”T HAVE BECAUSE CARNES FUNERAL HOME IS A ROYAL *&$#UP house. But that’s what happens when you have to deal with a county program. You get $#*!!y service and you have to be glad for it. It isn’t that I don’t want to pay them back. I was prepared to, but I can’t do it when they want it, in FIVE DAYS. And it’s brought up all these memories about you dying, dealing with the funeral home that never ever went well, ordering a DEATH CERTIFICATE that never came, and just everything that has to do with you DYING. I cried about an hour at work. Got paid 20.00 to do it though… so I guess there’s that. I cried off and on having to take calls, thinking about how this entire thing SUCKS and how nothing about this has gone right, though I still feel blessed to have spent the last 7 months of your life with you almost 24/7. I say “I love you” much more now than I ever did when you was alive, and I told you “I love you” a lot when you were alive. I guess I do love you even more now, I hope you love me more too, but this sucks. I really just want to feel like I can emotionally handle these things, and I just can’t. I want to get to that place where these things don’t make me cry all day and for an hour straight at work. I don’t want to forget you, I just want to get to a place where it’s okay to be frustrated without feeling like I’m being pushed under water again. You grok?

And… I dropped my phone in the toilet and it stopped working so I had to get an AT&T paygo phone because it’s a holiday weekend and I wouldn’t have got a new phone by MOnday.  I’m not sure the deductible is worth it anyway.  125 for that Nokia Lumina 925, which I don’t even really like anyway…  I might just get something else for the same money.

Anyway… After all of that I went to counseling and cried some more.  I think I’ve spent most of the day crying.  I will probably have a massive headache tomorrow.

I bought chocolate.

I love you.

Noelle

Letters to My Hobbit 15

Sam,

Remember when I told you there were only 3 men who could make me cry, and you were one of them?  You know what’s ironic about that old fact?  It’s not really true anymore.  Anyone can make me cry.  All they have to do is say something and trigger some memory or something.  And you know how we were doing so well?  We hadn’t argued in months (once you accepted I wasn’t home to “babysit” you).  You make me cry almost every day now.  And we aren’t arguing at all…

 

Noelle

My Beloved Hobbit

I went to counseling on Friday.  It was good to have a place to cry and work out who I am without my Hobbit.  I haven’t been able to finish the autobiography that I have been working on, and I have felt a sense of loss at not even knowing about Sam’s childhood.  There is no one living who knows about Sam’s infancy or toddlerhood. He wasn’t adopted until he was six. But all the pictures that his biological grandmother gave him are in a book and I am using them to make him a scrapbook, because I am trying to fill those memory holes that not only I have no idea about, but Sam himself didn’t know about.  I will try to make a book, like I’ve made for most of my kids, so they can remember Sam and experience his life–the life we didn’t get to find out about with him, the past that we didn’t get to talk about with him because we didn’t have enough time.  I felt like this would help me somehow, help me fill up that hole that exists because there just wasn’t enough time to know all of Sam’s stories.

This is the first page:

heavensent