Having trouble feeling whole again after being broken

Hi, I’m Dakota. I’m an almost 29 year old guy in Chattanooga, TN. For a young guy, I have been through a lot. Been in the military and also a truck driver, so I’ve been all over the country. I am a father of four boys. Two are step children, and one is on the other side of the country with my ex wife and I haven’t seen him in a few years. I am also a husband.
The prelude to my breakdown started in August of 2017. My father who had just turned 44 asked if me and my family would like to move in with him and my mother. He had retired from the railroad on disability due to his poor health. He was on many blood pressure medications and in general poor health from many years of crazy, alternating hours at his job and bad health habits.
They recently moved to a patch of land belonging to my mother into a nice pre-fab home from my childhood home. His plan was to move to Vegas and be a professional poker player when he got his disability in February 2018, leaving the trailer and land to my family and I. He was very good at poker.
Things were going well. It was amazing to be under the same roof as my father again. We had went through some tough times where we didn’t speak regarding my ex wife and the scars she left when she took his grandson so far away; but things were finally patched up again, and my dad and I enjoyed each other’s company very much.
I still only worked dead end jobs, and wasn’t completely satisfied with my station in life.
I was also a bit jaded from the struggles of the beginning years of my most recent marriage. When I met my current wife, she was addicted to opioids. There was a point where she was taking 20-30 hydros a day. There were times where we riding in a car with a guy who had a gun. There were times I broke into places and stole to support her habit. There were times I thought I would lose her.
Fortunately my bride began getting treatment at a local methadone clinic and went back to school for nursing. She is now a nurse and better than ever.
Anyways, on January 16th 2018, I held my father’s hand as he passed away. He had a stroke, then brain surgery, then was put on a ventilator. I watched him lay in a hospital bed unresponsive until my brother got back home from Dubai. It took me two days to talk my mother into letting him go. I couldn’t bear to see him like that.
I was the only one who stayed with him after they took him off the ventilator.
We went home to begin organizing the memorial. The night before the memorial my mother attacked my wife in front of my children. After the memorial we had to get all our stuff and move out of the trailer and in with my mother in law. Shortly after I got a job at Walmart, because it was within walking distance, as our vehicle had quit on us.
So all at once, I was dealing with death and moving.
The stay at my mother in law’s was unpleasant. She constantly criticized me and felt no empathy for me, even taking jabs at my now dead father for not planning things better. I walked a few miles to work every morning at 3am because I was a baker and I had to be there early.
On my walks, I self medicated with marijuana and used my anger and grief to fuel my actions. I became a channel of emotion. I listened to things to make myself sad on purpose, using the raw emotions to push past the physical exhaustion.
In April of 2018 we finally got our own apartment a bit further up the road from where we were staying.
I continued to walk to work and my tolerance for marijuana was at an all time high. No pun intended. When summer came, I wasn’t sleeping much. The kids would want to play at the pool and stay up late since they were out of school. I would stay up until midnight sometimes and still have to get up at 3am to make the hour walk to work.
June 21st 2018 was when I snapped. It was a little after Father’s day and I was having a bad day at work. I had asked my boss if I could interview for asset protection to prevent theft. I saw people steal stuff all the time. I’m autistic, so I notice things other people don’t notice. To this day, I’m not sure how much of what I’m about to tell was real or part of the episode, but here goes…
When I arrived at work, I was greeted by a train whistle from a passing Norfolk southern railway engine. The same kind my dad rode on. When I approached the building, someone was blaring “wish you were here” by Pink Floyd. One of dad’s favorites.
I always had earbuds in, but could still hear everything my coworkers were saying without their knowledge. I heard them talking about how excited they were for me and how proud they were. I wondered if this had something to do with the AP position. I began to see what I believed were actors. A middle aged woman pushing a little boy in a cart. For some reason I thought it was my mother in law and my kid from Arkansas.
A middle aged man approached me and asked me when the rotisserie chicken would be ready. While explaining that they weren’t up to temp, I took in his appearance. Scraggly. Possibility
homeless. In his cart was a red plastic bin that was stuffed with groceries. This was a red flag, because that is how many thieves stole from Walmart. Putting things in other containers.
Long story short, I went further down this rabbit hole a bit more that night. I ended up in the main office on the phone with the store manager.
He told me to leave or I would be arrested. I refused so the police came.
When I got in the back of the cop car, my dad’s favorite Soundgarden song Head down was playing, then a man came on and said, “a wise man once told me don’t write a check your ass will bounce.” Something my dad always said, which made me think he was still alive and somehow behind all this.
Jail was interesting. I saw more things that fed my delusions. I became convinced my father was the magistrate in disguise and nearly got killed by a bunch of inmates I was talking massive shit to.
My mother in law came and got me with my kids and dropped me off at my apartment. When my wife got home I was scaring her badly, saying she was an imposter. Her friend came and helped get me to Joe Johnson mental health by playing along with my delusions to keep me calm and cooperative.
After six hours in the waiting room they left, and I confronted a man who I thought may be my father in disguise and tried to force him to drink a cup of water with my hair in it to reveal his true form.
He punched me twice. Broke my nose and messed up my eye. My eyeball fell out three times on the way to the hospital where I spent the next three days.
All I remember from those three days was that I thought I was in hell. After acting out at a nurse who I thought may be my wife in disguise, I was put into a small white room with a little matted bed and a small window. Lucifer was written on the walls in blue crayon.
The people outside ignored me, sitting at computers with headsets. I believed they were the controllers of the matrix/reality.
Eventually, two orderlies came in and gave me a shot on my thigh after holding me down. Not really sure how I got to Moccasin bend after that, but there I went, for about a week.
I was heavily medicated and released to my family with instructions to stay on the meds.
The meds made me a miserable, writhering, suicidal zombie for about four months until I stopped taking them. Eventually I got a job back at my local circle k where I still am.
Things are looking up. I’m about to get a much better job with Terminix pest control.
I recently stopped smoking weed again and had some more “Truman show delusions” although this time I could spot them and didn’t allow them to become too bothersome.
I most likely will never smoke weed again.
Now I just can’t figure out how to completely move on from all these events. I’m trying to become educated on the delusions, but there is surprisingly little material out there on them. I struggle to find a world view. Not sure if I believe in God anymore.
I want to move forward, and be happy.
I just turned 29 four days ago. I’m noticing that I’m not interested in many of the things I used to be interested in, although listening to audiobooks, writing, and playing guitar are still good.
I think I have done well for someone in my situation, but I still don’t feel completely past it. Winter is coming and I have debilitating phobias of illnesses and vomiting. And now a very profound fear of losing loved ones. I need a center to stay grounded.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I’m sorry for the length. Any help, insight, and/or advice is welcome. Thank you.


All of that sounds so terrifying, I would be very distressed if I were in that situation as well. Have you talked to a therapist at all? There are free and low cost options if you don’t have health insurance. Do you think continuing to write and play guitar and listen to audiobooks is helping you process? I know I process a lot through writing. I appreciate you sharing this here, and I hope you are able to get a good system of support in the people and community around you!

what happened to you is very sad. but i think you are strong. try to find someone you can share your feelings or support group so you can take out some baggage so your moving on will be lighter and happier (i hope i say that right i’m not that good in english)