Crazy

Kenneth Reitz went crazy for a while, so can you, and so did I.

My own episode happened somewhere in 2011. I was working at Google at the time. I did a lot of LSD and completely lost my mind. No one at work noticed, which says a lot about my ability to put up a normal-guy front while my world melts, or the average sanity level at Google at the time, or something.

I have neither the time nor the interest to go into details at the moment, but in broad strokes, late spring of 2011 was when I made my left turn from everywhere. By 2012, I’d worked through most of the really clearly crazy delusions, but was still holding onto a few big, complicated, weird ideas. Then in 2013 I went and did a nine-month-long meditation retreat in which I got most of the crazy beaten out of me (not literally, although it’s been known to happen), and since then, I’ve been pretty grounded on the whole.

So this is just to say: it can definitely happen. It’s not that rare. I’ve known people who’ve gone through similar extreme mental-health crises and made it through, and I know people who are in the thick of it as I write this.

Maybe some day I’ll tell you the story of losing my mind and then finding it again. It’s somewhat interesting, and I think a little impressive just for the sheer variety of delusions that showed up through the whole thing, as well as for the volumes of patience and understanding that I got from my friends and family throughout. But… some other time.

The thing I want to drive home here is that “crazy” is not a dead-end. We’re doing this whole big stupid human civilization project together. There are lots and lots of ways of getting blown off course: severe trauma, psychedelic drugs, difficult-to-integrate spiritual experiences, you name it. But you can find your way back. Don’t give up. Whether you happen to be the ship that’s lost sight of land, or the lighthouse trying to bring back your friend who’s gone missing, don’t give up.