State of Psychosis

Author: Adam Abramowitz

The following passage is an excerpt from my novel, “A Glance Inside the Minds Eye”…

The ball was snapped and I shot my arms at the offensive tackle’s chest pad. I gripped my fingers around his breastplate as I drove my my weight forward. Each step allowed my arms to extend until the offensive lineman was separated from my torso. I craned my helmet towards the quarterback as I scanned his face.

I focused in on his eyes, leading to the right of my position. The quarterback reared back to pass and I responded in flex. I shot my  arm up and felt a familiar sting as the football made contact with my wrist. A whistle blew, and the offensive tackle loosened his grip around my chest pad. My teammates rushed to my position and the punt return team exchanged places with us on the field. We called a fair catch and the half was over.

During halftime, I took a position sitting in front of my locker and began to observe.

Everybody had an intense look on their face. The players, the coaching staff-everyone was focused. Throughout the lockerroom, position groups were huddled up, exchanging words while other players bobbed their heads rythmically to the music playing out within their ears. The head coach organized everyone into a group and gave us a quick speech before we exited the locker room.

I remember coming out of the tunnel. The sound of cleats echoing all around me. A cool November breeze permeating my bones. Swept up in a river of pad and testosterone, we returned to our sidelines. The cheer from the crowd broke all thought within my mind. I stopped. I looked down from my helmet towards the uniform I was wearing. My mind began to feel heavy. I remember thinking, “How am I here?”

A wave of gratitude overcame my spirit. This time last year, I was entering a 90 day treatment center for drug addiction. This time last year, I remember thinking that I might not ever be in pads playing Football again. I became overwhelmed with reality. The moment I was currently experiencing on the sidelines of a nationally televised playoff game didn’t seem possible. How am I here?

I stumbled towards the benches as tears began to flood. Everything in my vision appeared to be extremely potent. Everything was bright. Everything was perfect. The blur of my tears, the chanting of the fans in the crowd: I felt everything. I felt the energy of my teammates, the energy of the weather and the sun, and the energy of the crowd. Everything was for me. I began to cry even harder. I lost sense of time. I lost sense of where I was. I lost sense of my thoughts. My head was craned down as I let the tears flow. I could no longer hear the crowd. I couldn’t hear anything, all I could do was feel.

A teammate ran over to me shouting my name. “Abramowitz! Your in!”

He lifted me up from the bench and escorted me to the field. I jogged to my defensive group in the middle of the stadium and stared at them, speechless. I was rattled. I felt lost. I couldn’t form a thought. My brain felt like sludge and everything in my vision seemed to blend together. I could only feel and move.

The ball was placed at the 25 yard line and I stumbled over to take my position at defensive end. I put my fingers to the turf and assumed a three point stance. I felt a sharp grip through my neck pad as I was pulled away from my stance. My teammate shouted at me, “You’re lining up on the wrong side!”

I mumbled something unintelligible as he escorted me to my position on the other side of the line…

Most of my memories from this point forward are flashes of feel and hysteria.

I remember feeling like I had been touched by God. I remember feeling completely in touch with the patterns of people, places, and things. I remember being obsessed with numbers and sound. I felt that every sound had only three possible meanings; Yes, No, and Maybe. I remember speaking to my close friends about a thesis; a key to unlock and understand what people want by tuning into the involuntary sounds they make. Cough’s, yawns, whispers. Everything had a meaning singular to me.

Eventually, I began to feel like everybody was talking about me. When I was in the library, I believed that people were whispering, referring quietly to my presence. When I was in my dorm room, I believed the girl I was dating was walking back and forth just outside my window with her friends: plotting and observing me.

Some of my teammates approached the coaching staff and expressed concern for my well-being. I was sent to see a psychiatrist on campus. He explained to me that I was currently experiencing a state of amphetamine psychosis. He discontinued my prescription of Addaral and informed me that I needed to take an anti-psychotic medication. He prescribed me Seroquil.

I stopped using my Addaral, but I never took the Seroquil. I had taken them in treatment to help me sleep and I didn’t want to ever feel drowsy. In my mind, I was wide awake. In my mind, everything had meaning. In my mind, I had a purpose and I was all powerful. I felt immaculately perfect. Everything in my vision, all of my thoughts and my ideas, were being directed by god.

I continued in my ego-manic state. I left campus and began an 8 hour drive home to Atlanta, GA. During the car ride, I listened to Sublime’s, “Everything Under the Sun”, and The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s, “Greatest Hits”.

The music sounded different. I began to hear discrepancies in how the vocals were being sung. I could hear missed drum beats and random tweaks during the guitar parts I knew so well. I became convinced that these artists had found a way to perform their album for me. I believed that they were performing in a studio, live; transmitting a performance wireless through my car stereo. I began to believe that Brad Nowell was not actually dead. He was alive and he was singing just for me.

I got to Atlanta and stayed with my father at his house for a day or two before I decided to drive to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit with my mom and spend time with my grandfather.

On the drive to Tulsa, I became obsessed with listening to the AM radio. I believed I could hear truckers communicating with each other through song and headset. I found a jazz station and was convinced that Eminem, Brad Nowell, and Lane Staley were performing a jazz ensemble just for me. Both Brad Nowell and Lane Staley had been dead for years and I’m pretty sure Eminem doesn’t play jazz trumpet. (Although, to be fair, I have never researched to find out for sure). At the time, I believed they all played for me.

In Tulsa, the television shows and the movies I watched were being performed live in a television studio specifically for me.

On Christmas day, I felt an overwhelming need to return to Atlanta. I felt I was being directed back home. In the middle of a snowstorm, right after we had opened gifts with my Sister, Brother, and Brother-in-law, I left my Mom’s house to drive back. The roads were iced over and the entire city was covered in snow, but I manically excused myself from my family and began the dangerous drive back to Atlanta…

My next vivid memory was sitting in my head coach’s office back at University.

He asked me if I wanted to remain on the team. I remember telling him I wanted to, but I felt like I could play football anywhere. I told him that I had a greater purpose. I told him that I didn’t need his scholarship, that I could do anything I put my mind to. I left University after that meeting and haven’t been back since.

I returned home to Atlanta and began pursuing a career as a rapper/musician. I started recording songs at a friend’s recording studio and began sharing them on Facebook, Myspace, and Soundcloud pages. I felt that I was being influenced towards a life of rock stardom. I began to act that way. I began to lie and deceive my friends into believing that I was being funded by an unknown benefactor to complete a debut album.

My father became concerned. He wouldn’t allow me around the house and I lived in my car for a week. At the end of the week, I picked up all of my belongings that had been placed outside of my fathers house, and went to live with my Mom in Tulsa.

I spent the next few months living in a state of psychosis. I played music with people, booked gigs that I didn’t show up for, and tried to convince everyone I came in contact with that I had a great purpose in life. My destiny was to become a rock star and I had never even performed on stage. My life and my mental were completely out of touch with reality.

Around April of that year, my Grandfather got sick. Even as I write this, I am unclear of what happened to him. I only remember speaking with him while he was in the hospital. He told me to stop all that “stuff” (referring to drugs) and to take care of my mother. At the time, I had been drug free throughout my psychotic mental state. I remember assuring him that I was done with all that “stuff” and I would help my Mom.

My family was extremely worried for him and we moved him to an extended stay care facility. We began to visit with him every day.

One afternoon, my Aunt called my mother to tell her that Grandfather had passed. We left the house and went to his room at the extended care facility.

I entered the room and my entire family was poised in sorrow. Tears were streaming down my Aunt’s faces. My cousins were holding my Grandfather’s hands as he lie motionless on the bed. For the first time in months, I didn’t feel psychotic. No mania. No ego. No purpose.

I approached the body of my Grandfather and placed my hand on his chest right over his heart. There was no movement. I glanced at his face. His mouth was open and his tongue looked dry. A small speckle of saliva hung from his tooth to his lip. I turned to look at my family, and for the first time in months, I was grounded in reality…my grandfather was dead.

That afternoon, with my hand resting gently on my grandfathers chest, my psychosis ended.

Two weeks later, I began to use Oxycontin again. After a couple of months, I began to use heroin. By the end of the year, I was being driven back to Atlanta to be checked into another treatment center… ©

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