It started small, seemingly coincidental. Things started lining up where they hadn’t before.
I went to class one day (in the midst of some pretty heavy depression and anxiety) and on that day, out of all the others, a guest speaker had been called in to talk about, you guessed it, depression and anxiety. The funny thing is that I didn’t have a word for the ways I was feeling, and as this speaker outlined symptoms, things I felt hard, a small thought occurred to me. Did my professor notice I was dealing with this stuff and call this person in just for me? It seemed too significant, the way this person was hitting these feelings so perfectly, to be a coincidence.
That may have been the spark.
There was another class where I arrived early and, sitting in the back of lecture hall I looked over my notes and out of nowhere, a song started playing. I can’t remember what song it was but the lyrics “hold on” just hit me in a place where I needed them at that exact time in that exact place. I looked down to the podium where the teacher’s aide was getting everything ready, paying no attention whatsoever to me, up here, with my heart being torn in half, and I thought, she’s pretending to be busy, she’s playing this song for me.
Little things like that started happening, seemingly more and more frequently.
There were lyrics in songs on the radio (how could they know I was listening?), and phrases in books (holy shit, this book was published in the eighties and they knew that I, Mike Hedrick, would read it here in 2005 because of this sentence, written exclusively for me in this moment).
Pretty soon, commercials and tv shows were sending me secret messages too, knowing that I was watching, at that very moment. It became unquestionably clear that I must be a very important person for society to stop its normal operating procedures to send ME these messages. I must somehow fit in to future’s history as a leader of some kind, a king? maybe even a prophet?
I’d fight with myself over these things being real but then I’d turn on the TV or play some music and, sure enough.
It’s a strange process to fall into grandiosity, it is at it’s best, psychosis, and to someone who had no concept of what psychosis was, it grabbed me like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.
Looking back, it’s clear to me that I was just desperately grasping at straws for something that made sense (or my mind was). I needed something to explain or validate the confusion, the fear and the sadness I felt and these connections gave me something to hold on to.
They also gave me motivation, so much so that I would eventually hop on a plane out of nowhere to go to the U.N. in New York thinking I was meant to claim my position as leader of the world (whatever that means).
Here I am today though, sitting in a chair in my tiny apartment in nowhere, USA thanking God that I’m nothing more than a tiny mote of dust floating on a sunbeam.
Truly, it speaks to the notion that we all long for, a sense of being recognized, of belonging to the greater good, and while that sense was merely a delusion for me, it taught me that I need inclusion. I always have and I always will.
Grandiosity is a unique experience but one that I’m grateful for because it helped me see that, yes, I needed help, badly, as so many others do today. If you see this stuff in your friends or loved ones, or if they start talking about things that don’t entirely make sense to you, it’s worth a discussion, or an appointment to see a psychiatrist because delusions of grandeur seem to be the starting point for a number of major mental illnesses.
I’ve always said that real life is extremely boring when you don’t think you’re a prophet sent from God to bring peace to the world, but 17 years on, I wouldn’t have it any other way.