The first manic episode occurred while I was a student
at the University. I had no inkling of what was happening to me,
only that I felt extremely euphoric.
We were sitting in class, and the professor was going
around the room, asking students their names. The computer had
me listed as “George David,” although I have been called ” David ”
all my life. The professor glanced at the computer printout in
his hand, rose from his chair and with a teacher’s look of moral
obligation to enlighten, asked me: “Do you mean, you go by the
Suddenly, I realized this was a kind of test. It was a
test I’d been giving to each teacher to determine if he cared, or
if he regarded students as merely faces without souls. The
class, as well, seemed to understand that it was a test and they
gasped. When I left the room, something snapped. My “trip” of
insanity had begun.
The next thing I remember was stopping at a newspaper
machine and being struck by the leftist-liberal ideas expressed
in the campus paper. It occurred to me that the paper must be
the work of the Proles in Orwell’s 1984. I could feel the
euphoria simmering, waiting to boil.
As I walked to my car, I could hear music pumping out of
the dorms. Moments later I was in an elevator in one of the
dorms, searching for the source of the music. I never did find
out who was playing the music, but I remember another student
who shared the elevator with me. He was older than I, and he
seemed to be as high as I was. I concluded he must be one of
Orwell’s Party Members.
Back in my car, I turned on the radio. The words of
the songs being played, I was convinced, had been written expressly for me. They spoke of my condition. The Beatles sang Michelle and my senses exploded. I was feeling and sensing everything. I was high and alive.
Back home, I turned on the television to watch the news
and was positive the anchorwoman must be talking to me. I knew
without a doubt that her telecast described my situation and
what I was feeling. I was sure she and I were exchanging the
same thoughts and feelings, even prejudices and sarcasm.
Restless, unable to concentrate I returned to my car
and drove around aimlessly. Pulling up behind an ancient
Volkswagen, I read a bumpersticker that said “Jesus Lives.” At
that moment it seemed obvious that I must be Christ. On the
radio they were playing New York, New York. I realized that
was actually on a mission to New York, and I had to get to the
airport as quickly as possible.
A gardener’s truck passed me by, filled with mowers and
shovels and other hardware. Exhilarated I banged on my steer-
ing wheel, thinking: Machines are dead, but I am alive.
At the airport I encountered two signs. One read, “All
other Airlines,” which i decided meant it was only for Orwell’s
Proles, whereas Party Members flew United. Now it was in disputable that I must be among the privileged ones, so I headed for the United Airlines gate.
Dashing past the security guards, I boarded a plane.
But I was no longer headed for New York. Because I am part
Japanese, and this has been important to me all my life, I decided
it was Japan that must be calling to me. I was already in
my seat aboard United’s flight for Tokyo when the police arrived .
They handcuffed me, dragged me off the plane and took me down
to the station.
This I couldn’t connect with. It was a criminal-type
situation, which made no sense to me. I stared at the police
officer and struggled to include him in my Orewellian scheme as
a Party Member. He had me sit in a chair beside his desk while
he typed up his report. I told him I wasn’t doing anything wrong,
but he coldly showed me what he was typing and said, “What do
you think this is?”
I waited for him to finish his report. The walls of the
station had been decorated with old police hats of different.
eras. I made the connection instantly and yelled, “Yes! ” It was
as if, dying of thirst, I had been offered a glass of water .
What I was thirsty for were Orwellian concepts, and the hats, it
seemed to me, were like the clear paperweights in Orwell’s 1984.
Minutes later, I was placed face down on a gurney and wheeled
out of the police station to an ambulance.
The ambulance ride was pure joy. I could see out the
back, through the glass, as we drove. I could watch the cars
and the signs and the pedestrians on the road. I was convinced
that society had a plan for me, and my destiny was to save the
world from the machines.
I was taken to Langley Porter Institute in San Francis-
co. A young man asked me about being depressed and about my
ex-girlfriend, and I was placed in solitary confinement, in a room
that could be nothing less than Room 101 from Orwell’s 1984. Now it seemed clear what was in store for me. After I had passed all the tests and requirements of Room 101, after I had fulfilled the provisions of the “involuntary conversion,” I was going to be promoted to Party Member.
Langley Porter is part of the medical complex at the
University of California in San Francisco. Learning this only
increased my frenzy because I, too, was a student at the University,
and it seemed obvious now that there was some sort of
overall scheme in this society, and I belonged to it. My trip had
begun –with euphoria and hope.
All this happened more than 20 years ago, but I recall
the events as though it were only yesterday. After more than
20 years of psychotherapy and medication, I often have difficulty
remembering things that happened yesterday or last week,
but that first day stands out in my memory. I guess I have
learned to love Big Brother after all. In a way, I too have become
a Party Member.