PODCAST, AUDIOBOOK, & AUDIO PRODUCTION – If you’re searching for info on podcasts I am producing and/or hosting, or need help producing a podcast, audiobook, or other audio content for yourself or your organization, please visit www.PodLauncher.com (click) to learn how we may work together to complete your project.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
MEMOIR – Below is chapter one of my memoir “Grounded by Bipolar Disorder; One Pilot’s Landing.” (click)
Memoir “Grounded by Bipolar Disorder; One Pilot’s Landing”
By Brian Jost
Copyright © 2010 by Brian Jost. All rights reserved. ISBN 978-0-615-40659-6
Chapter 1 – Can We Stop For Coffee?
– Minneapolis, MN – June 9th, 2009 – Age 34 –
– In the moment –
Forget about the escape ladder in the back of my mind. It’s gone. Someone stole it. There’s nowhere to go but forward and with the speed that my mind is spinning, I won’t be able to stop unless I crash.
Something is wrong. Everything feels so perfect. How can I feel this good? 2009 has been nothing but crap, yet I feel good. My job of three and a half years was taken from me. My father-in-law died. Two grad schools denied me entrance into their social work programs. My need for work is reminding me that my commercial pilot license is useless, that I am no longer medically qualified to fly…ever again. Great. Super. Superman. I can’t fly. I don’t wear tights or a cape, but that’s how I feel…like superman. All of these things going wrong, yet it all makes so much sense. I’m lost for words that might describe how I feel. But one word does come to mind… enlightened.
I’m turning into someone else. No. I have been someone else all along and I’m just realizing it now on this Tuesday morning. “Brian” is just a name, a cover-up to help me fit in. My thoughts are beginning to scatter. The hospital…the ER…I need to get to the ER. My wife Sarah is at work, teaching chemistry and physics at South High School in Minneapolis. I can’t call her. She’ll just freak out. She doesn’t get it. She’s never seen me like this before. If I call her I will have two problems to deal with, me and her. Let’s keep it simple, I think. I’m losing control.
My two backpacks are still empty. I need to pack for the hospital. But I need to get a ride. Driving is not an option, not with me behind the wheel. I’ll speed. I’ll crash. I might kill someone in an accident all because of this pressure, this urgency to get to the ER and get new meds. If I had only caught this a week or two earlier, I may have been able to change meds with my psychiatrist over the phone. But now it’s too late. I think I’ll call Kia.
The phone is ringing and I tell myself to stay calm, talk normal, breathe…she answers. I don’t need to say much. “Hey Kia…I need some help…I’m manic…I need a ride to the hospital…yeah, I’m at home…Sarah’s at work.” Kia says she’ll be right over. It’s that simple. No fuss, no worries. She’s a level-headed doctor. She’ll be cool about it. Now it’s time to fill those two backpacks.
Sweat pants will be good to have in the hospital. They’re comfortable. Plus I don’t want to wear the aqua colored pants they hand out at Fairview, not because of the color, but because I don’t want to look like everyone else. I take the tie string out of the waist of the pants. There’s no way I’ll be allowed to have the string. I might hang myself with it, or strangle someone. No, I don’t want to do those things, but the hospital staff has their rules. Belts are not allowed for the same reason. I want something to write on while I’m in the hospital and find a couple spiral bound notebooks, but they won’t let me have those, not with the wire in them. Continuing to dig, I find a different notepad without a wire. I continue packing… clothes, books, medication, nutritional supplements, some snacks, almonds, walnuts, blueberries, and grapes. Hospital food is awful.
My suspicion that I am not Brian is growing stronger. I have stumbled upon a well kept secret. I feel special, very special. In fact, I believe I may have been chosen. They will know at the hospital that I am not the average lunatic. Perhaps they will allow me to have the tie string in my sweat pants and my belt and my spiral bound notebooks. I’ll still leave those items behind for now, but I’m thinking they will put me somewhere in the hospital where I don’t need to stick to the rules.
OK, I’m running out of time. I have something big to take care of. My wife still thinks I am just Brian, but soon people will find out who I really am. When that happens, I will be wanted by many groups of people, both good and evil. I can feel the miraculous events that I will be part of. Prison. I will be put in prison. It will appear as if I have done something wrong, but I know that at least in prison I will have protection. But I’ll still need proof of who I really am, who I have become, or who I have been all this time. I have proof and I need to give it to my wife. Then she’ll be able to tell the people who I am.
The answer and the proof of who I am is in my journals, my home videos, my email exchanges with people throughout the years, my songs that I have written and recorded, and also on computer hard-drives. All of these items are in four small locked fire-proof safes. It’s time now to give my wife access to all of these things. She’ll need the proof. Two of the safes have digital codes. The other two need keys. I leave the codes and keys on my desk along with usernames and passwords for several email accounts. Just like I am not going to tell Kia who I am, I can’t simply leave a note for Sarah telling her who I am. Instead, I leave a note next to the keys, codes, and passwords that reads “Just keep digging. You’ll find the story.” Shit, Sarah’s going to flip when she sees this. I know it won’t make sense to her right away. I guess it will just have to unfold as time passes.
Connections are firing in my brain, piecing together years of events that I used to think were just coincidences, but now look to be part of a larger plan. Who am I? Who have I become? There is something beautiful happening. Questions pop into my mind. My life has brought me full circle to make me who I am today.
I don’t understand it, but I am picking up some new information seemingly out of thin air. It is confirmed, I have been chosen. I can’t explain it yet, and I know it is complicated. But definitely, I am chosen, and absolutely I am not just Brian. I can’t tell anyone. That would be too risky. If I tell anyone, I will be viewed as being completely crazy. People might think that my mind is in so much disarray that I could become harmful to myself or others. Telling Kia is not an option, at least not yet. It’s crucial that I leave home acting as myself as much as possible and I must convince myself that I am still just me. That’s impossible. OK, I’ll be me, but I’ll let it remain on some deeper level that I will soon prove to be someone else.
That’s it. I’m packed, ready to go. I grab my filled water bottle from the fridge, lock my condo door and head outside to wait for Kia. Sarah’s going to be pissed. I still haven’t called her. She doesn’t know that I’m going to the ER. She’ll probably hate that I called Kia for a ride. But considering what is happening to me, I just need to worry about myself. Kia and I go back to ’93 with the line between being friends and more than friends blurry in my mind at times, but all I need from her on this day is an unbiased, peaceful ride to the ER.
Kia and her three year old son Hank arrive and I climb into the suburban. She asks “Can we stop for coffee on the way?” I must look more relaxed than I feel. “That’s fine with me” I say, and we’re off. There’s still a little time. I’m losing control, but I’m keeping it together at the same time. We pull up to the drive-through window at Starbucks, Kia pays for her drink and the barista hands Kia a newspaper free of charge and without a request for the paper. The man says “A little education for you…” I’m sure he’s looking me in the eye. This must be yesterday’s paper. Taking the paper from Kia, I glance at the front page and see an article that has something to do with a man going on a big adventure. This is another message for me.
It’s time to breathe now and I rest my head against the seat. “Do you want to go to Fairview?” Kia asks. Definitely, I want to go to Fairview. I’m feeling a little more pressured now. My mind is splitting apart, I know it. I can feel it. It’s happening faster. We’ll make it in time, but we’re cutting it close now. The ride through Minneapolis is easy and we arrive at the hospital.
“Should I just drop you off at the ER and then I can park and come in?” Kia asks. Yes, I tell her and I grab my backpacks and walk into my refuge. I’m calm on the outside. I’m good at this. I think about how I should have been an actor. Maybe I missed my calling. I present an appearance of peacefulness.
Sitting down with the intake person, I provide my name, Brian, which is not what I have come to believe is my real name. We go through all of the paper work and discuss medications. I get to wear an ID wrist band. I’m done checking in. By this time Kia and Hank are inside with me. A drastic change kicks in. I almost fall over.
I’m reminded of my brother and me playing with sparklers at night on the fourth of July as kids. Watching my brother write his name in the air with the burning wire in the dark, K-E-V-I-N, the streaks of light trail behind the movement of the sparkler. There’s a streak of light that the sparkler forgot to take with it. I’m seeing streaks of light now in the ER. But this is different. It starts with watching Hank play with toys in the waiting room. Streaks of light shoot away from his face, hands, and his whole body as he moves. But the light is moving away from his body before he moves. His body is following the light, not the other way around. I’m seeing the streaks of light as an indication of where Hank is about to be, so I reason that I am seeing the future. I get dizzy and I have to sit down.
Doing my best to be still, I am patiently waiting for someone to come get me and take me to an ER room. I’m still dizzy, although if I close my eyes I feel a little more stable. A nurse calls me out of the waiting room. I stand and walk towards her. Kia and Hank follow. I look around at everyone: Kia, Hank, the nurse, and a couple other people walking down a hall. Streaks of light lead each of them along their paths. I see all of their futures and everyone is obeying their destiny. This is a comfort to me. This tells me we all belong somewhere and even if we don’t know why we are going the way we are, we are supposed to go there. But I’m not so sure I want to see the future. I stumble behind the nurse as she leads me to my room.
I’m in a room with a bed that is smaller than a twin bed, but nothing else, no chair for Kia to sit on. I sit on the bed. She stands. Hank walks around the room looking for something to do, but finds nothing. A security guard stands outside of the room looking in at me through the single window. This is cool. I’ve checked into the ER before, but I’ve never had my own security guard. He looks friendly.
I’m losing it. We barely made it here in time. There are flashes of images, visions, creeping into my head, things I don’t want to see. These are images from the future. They must be because they are real and I know they are not from the past or present. It goes back and forth between seeing the room I’m in and the visions of the future. I can’t watch. This information is not meant to be known. I close my eyes and the images get stronger. It’s time to start pacing, and I make a couple circles that go by the door. The security guard moves into the doorway. He still looks friendly, but now he looks a little more engaged in his job.
The images are moving faster. I can’t keep up with them. I sit back down on the bed and hold my head in my hands. I see a quick vision of my wife dying in a car crash, just her face. She is calm, peaceful. She’s gone. I wonder if she knew I was in the hospital and then I think that maybe this accident just happened. Maybe she left work to be with me and now she is dead. I can’t make sense of it. I know I haven’t called Sarah yet, and I don’t think Kia has called her, not yet. Or has she? This must be the future I am seeing. Sarah is going to visit her father. She will go home to be with him. Maybe that’s why she dies. Maybe they need to be with each other.
An image of a nuclear explosion fills my head. It’s all I can see, a huge mushroom cloud. I’m just a few miles away from it. It’s orange and yellow and filled with fire and rage. I feel the destruction. Kia’s husband, Dave, is there. This must be Afghanistan. My vision stops and in its place is a storm of knowledge. I receive a message that Dave will die in the war. But it is not sad. I know that Dave is a crucial part of an urgent upcoming attack and the attack will only be successful if he is a part of it. Dave is an angel, a warrior angel. He will be part of ending the wars.
Kia says “It’s going to be alright.” I say “I know.” It’s time for Kia to leave. She rounds up Hank and makes her way out of the room.
My sense of peace with these future events disappears. Even though I can find understanding behind death, I am not ready to lose Sarah. Kia is not ready to lose Dave. Hank is not ready to lose his father. These things cannot happen. I will not let them happen. Struggling with my mind, I know there must be a way to change the future. It’s not as simple as wishing or trying to will something different to happen. I must go back to the beginning, back in time, back to when there was nothing but God. One step at a time, I think to myself. It’s time to go back in time and create a different path of events so that the visions of the future I saw will not come true.
Standing up, I begin to walk backwards, pacing step by step in a backwards circle. Concentrating intensely, I know I must undo everything I have ever known, everything that has made me who I am. Every drop of my attention is focused inside my mind. A vision presents itself. It’s me. I have it locked in now, the vision of me who will go back in time. Now it’s like I’m watching a movie. The friendly looking security guard steps out of the doorway. I walk backwards from the room to the waiting room where I see Hank playing with the toys in reverse. A ball rolls, then bounces along the floor towards him and hops up off the ground, landing in his hands. He runs backwards. I move in reverse to the check-in desk. Kia and Hank walk backwards out the ER, going to the parked suburban. My wrist band is removed. The pen in my hands sucks the ink off the documents as I un-sign my name. Step by step, I walk backwards out of the ER and get into Kia’s car. The entire city of Minneapolis moves in reverse as we make our way back to my condo. It’s working. I am going back in time.
My focus becomes distracted. Someone has made a mistake. I’ve been manic before, but never like this. This is the first time I have seen the future. This is the first time I have seen streaks of light leading people along their paths. The messages I have been receiving, that is new also. They were wrong, the doctors, in 2005. I’m hallucinating. My thinking is delusional. This is something more than just bipolar disorder. This is schizophrenia. This must be schizophrenia. “Focus,” I tell myself. I jump back into my mindset of going back in time. It’s time to save some lives.
Step by step, I have to take apart my life, disassemble the pieces until there is nothing left but the beginning. Then I will rebuild. All of my memories must be destroyed, all of my cares forgotten. In my head I have to move backwards, taking away the good and the bad. Highlights run through my head.
The first image that shows up concerns my mania in 2006. I see myself in Rod & Gun Park in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and I am smoking a joint with a woman who I just met in the parking lot. My euphoria allows me to connect with her soul and after talking with her for about 20 minutes we hug goodbye. Circumstances bring police officers to pick me up and take me to the hospital because of my mania and perhaps because of my bad reaction to the marijuana. I have a video recorder with me, and feeling like the world’s most important documentarian, I make sure the camera is rolling throughout my manic episode in the parking lot of the park. I ask the police to handcuff me so that I don’t startle them. It’s probably all in my head, but I feel extremely jumpy and I am certain that my tender nerves will cause a reaction by the officers that will send a bullet through my innocent flesh. I’m just not sure if they know how to handle me.
I pop out of that memory. Other memories flash before my eyes such as the short lived intense relationships that accompany mania. There’s the woman I thought I would marry even though we spent only a few nights together. I guess there has been more than one of those relationships. With splendid pain I think of another woman whose name I can’t even recall. It’s so easy to fall in love when I’m manic.
There is also the memory of skydiving while manic and the recollection of a friend calling the police when she learned that I would be jumping out of a plane. She was certain that I would conveniently forget to pull my ripcord.
Another memory shows up, that of receiving the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in 2005 and the accompanying feeling of intelligence concerning learning something about myself that requires great confidence to acknowledge. And of course another memory is tied to the diagnosis, that of losing my right to exercise my commercial pilot privileges. My mind goes to memories such as my first training flight and my first solo flight. Those are memories that will never die, and they bring about many images of my experiences flying all over the country. I think about all the places I moved for flying jobs, Spokane, Fairbanks, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Thinking about moving in general makes me think of moving for other reasons, for education and relationships, which makes me think of Florida where I went to school for music and audio recording arts.
Florida makes me think of the stripper that I nearly accidentally married. She reminds me of other relationships that didn’t work out, and that takes me out of the hospital and drops me into different parts of Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, South Carolina, and other parts of the country.
The fact that I lived so many places makes me think of all the friends I have made over the years and certain people stand out. There is Blake who I met in Orlando. He invited me to attend a church that sucked me into a dangerous battle between God and Satan. I seemed to be stuck in the middle of this battle. There is another guy I met in Orlando, Pat. He and I were together when I felt the electric current of evil pass through my body moments before a strange man not far from us, a man we did not even know was there, fired a pistol that made us run and place an urgent call to the police. Pat also felt something just before the gun was fired, so I know it’s not all just in my head.
I think about how Pat, Blake, and a guy named Peter, made up the worship band at the church. Then I think of how those guys invited me to join the worship band. That’s when Satan started fucking with me, splitting my mind in two.
Memories show up out of order. The depressions present themselves, the times when I no longer wanted to live, the times when I dreamed of ways to die. The suicide plans that have never fully disappeared show a little brighter now.
I think about the faces I saw on the bathroom wall of an apartment in Aberdeen, South Dakota. I was being watched. Another memory comes from Aberdeen, a memory of a woman in church speaking in tongues. That was the day I thought I would never go to church again.
All of my drinking surfaces into my memory. I remember the alcohol that numbed the pain that I didn’t even realize I was experiencing. Although I can’t forget the taste, the altered state of mind is what I recall the most and is also what I still miss.
Clearly I am spending too much time on these memories. I must go back in time faster and I begin to skip years of my life, years that might not matter if I am able to go back and create a different future. As I reach my younger years, the speed at which I am moving backwards in time becomes immeasurable, seemingly as fast as the speed of light at certain points, skipping through years of unimportant events and growth. Before I know it, I am backed up to when I was just a baby and it becomes time for me to become unborn.
I lie down on the bed in the room and close my eyes, resting quietly on my back. All I see is white. I feel that I will experience the death of my body without truly dying, and that my spirit will rise in the form of my unborn self in order to continue back in time all the way to Jesus’ time as a man on Earth. I believe that if my spirit is allowed to die, I will be able to become the spirit of Jesus. I allow these things to happen, to let my body die, then my spirit. I am now Jesus, and as Jesus I am still going back in time. Returning to life, I find myself on a cross, crucified, but I feel no pain. I understand that I must continue to go back in time and I do so, going all the way back to the birth of Jesus, now my birth. I am now unborn, and I rise as God. I am God. But I am confused. Standing now, I turn to the security guard and say “I am God?” It’s both a statement and a question, as I am not sure what is going on. Then, “Am I God?” Next, “You are God…? We are God? We are all God? We are all God. This is Heaven? I’m in Heaven? Is this Heaven?” Then it happens.
Feeling like a bird, I see images from above. I see people on their knees with their heads bowed forward on the ground. This is true praise, true worship. I see flashes of people all over the world in similar poses. Some are chanting. Some are praying out loud. Most are silent. The wars were filled with evil, but now there is world peace. I see it coming.
I realize that I have become very, very intelligent, acquiring much information about war, plans of terrorist attacks, and all sorts of information concerning The United States’ national security. I know immediately that I have to speak face to face with President Obama.
I am given a heavy dose of medication, an anti-psychotic. The next thing I know, my body is in a wheel chair, but my spirit floats about three feet in front of my body. I can see myself, a view from the front as if I am staring face to face with myself. Clearly, I am not in my body. I am being pushed in the chair to a different part of the hospital, as a room has finally been prepared for my stay. The anti-psychotic is making me feel like I am about to pass-out, and I experience a brief meeting with the President. I see my arm outstretched toward Mr. Obama as we shake hands with great strength and great trust. As we shake hands, the power of God that I have within me is transferred to the President. We salute each other and he abruptly turns away, walking with intention to carry out his patriotic duties with the new information he has just acquired. Sensing that my mission is complete, I lose the last bit of any energy and pass out onto the floor.
To purchase: Print/Paperback (click) or E-book (click). I appreciate print sales directly from Amazon’s company CreateSpace (click) through which I receive slightly higher royalties. The book is also available on Amazon in PRINT (click) or E-BOOK (click). Please and thanks!
PODCAST PRODUCTION – If you’re searching for info on podcast I am producing and/or hosting, or need help producing a podcast for yourself or your organization, please visit www.PodLauncher.com (click) to learn more about my business Pod Launcher Studios, LLC (click).