When Bill left for the University of Florida, he never anticipated he’d have to come home after a few semesters for treatment for a psychotic break. Despite being an extremely intelligent young man, Bill never saw the warning signs, never saw the connection with his thought processes and drug experimentation and had a hard time drawing the line between reality and irrationality.

It all started after Bill took an Eastern Philosophy class and began learning about enlightenment and the universe. He got into the practice of smoking pot, listening to Hari Krishna music and meditating for hours delving deep into his mind. He started having experiences that led him to believe he had an ability to communicate with others using pheromones and thoughts. At first, he thought it was an amazing, positive, religious experience, but when the ideas became negative in nature he became increasingly paranoid and fearful. Bill explains, “I believed that God, the devil, musicians and authors were speaking directly to me through this sort of sixth sense. I started thinking people were laughing at me and trying to do things to me sexually. I thought the whole world was against me.”

After finally confiding in his parents and close friends, Bill was brought to the Crisis Stabilization Unit where he spent two weeks getting stabilized on medications that he explains helped him to not have the energy to focus on those negative ideas. He spent the next year in outpatient therapy where he was able to talk about these ideas and learn to identify and cope with them when they came up. He adds, “The thoughts slowly became more subtle, confined and appeared more abstract.”

As he reflects on his journey, he knows just how far he has come. He stopped using drugs realizing now how that amplified and changed his thoughts rather than enhanced them. He became stable and confident enough to return to Gainesville this Fall and is looking forward to getting his life back on track. He attributes his success to the unrelenting support of his friends and family, who never judged him and never stopped believing in him, and to the tremendous help he received from the David Lawrence Centers . He adds, “Everyone from the receptionist to the doctors made you feel like they were there to help. My therapist was really down to earth and helped me get a grip on reality. It has been quite a ride, but many positive things have come out of this experience.”

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