July 5, 2021

Rabbit Holes

I don't really know how to say what I even just saw. Uh... I guess start with I decided to look up someone's username because it sounded Furry but like... he had seen me drawing furries before and didn't say anything, so I wanted to know What's Up With That and I stuck my fucking nose in a rabbit hole I didn't see coming until it was too late.

I'll have to say, I expected the catfish, I knew it was coming and There It Was nothing I can do about it. The problem with this...? He's not technically lying. At All.

I'm going to preface this by saying I'm probably going to sound like the shitty person, if anything.

So I met this dude, Stephen, at the hospital. He seemed really cool, same age as me, into gaming. Nice guy for the most part, but a bit odd. I didn't talk to many people much, so I guess in comparison you could say we talked a lot (though not really). He spent a lot of time just burning off energy and listening to music.

That's what about this broke me so bad- the complete feeling of Other-ness coming from this person that completely repelled me. Not when we were talking, but after what I saw. It got me thinking a lot about internet culture and growing up, which is where things get nasty. (Sorry if my writing is weird. M? I'm Sllittibg?? Splitting/regressed/brainweird rn)

When he and I talked at the hospital I could never get a fucking word in. I'm used to that, but with Stephen it was a little excessive. He mostly talked about aliens, space, physics, and conspiracy theories. So like cool weirdo shit. And I can tell you right now this story does not go where you probably think it's going to go. Like I said, I expected the catfish. So why would he lie about being a furry? Like I said ...he didn't. I Very Specifically did not talk to him about furry stuff at the hospital, but they did come up on one occasion, and all he said was they're weird but harmless basically. As you can imagine that convo got shut down by staff pretty fast.

There was a lot staff did let slide and I realize now it was probably him that got staff to start hushing us more, intentionally or not. So begins our Neverending cycle of the being triggered by being someone else's trigger and then being triggered by them being triggered...

At one point one of the conversations we in all respects should not have been having was about only fans. And of course it was the cis straight male behavioral health associates that let it happen, because it was a group of people all sitting outside together... all guys, and girls under 22, and me. And the girls were saying of course how they want to have sugar daddies (but not actually do the work, go figure) and they were going to start an only fans and look around so all these dudes were 👀👀👀👀👀 "oh if only I were older (and not a pedophile)" basically. So hearing from anyone that I looked around the same age at the younger girls was gross for a bunch of reasons including lumping me in with them in the first place as well as the obvious. Of course I'm just fucking obliviously listening in the meantime and not really processing because Ooh Spicy.

Then out of nowhere Stephen comes over, takes off the headphones (I'm getting there), and starts going off on everyone about how he's Seen Some Shit On The Internet. And I'm like.... yeah.... but my dude gets fucking Heated about it fast. Like can not console him he is visibly upset and no one can get a word in, he just keeps saying over and over that he knows it's happened to a lot of girls online, he's seen it, the whole grooming thing and he was fucking disgusted.

...back to the part where I said I saw the catfish coming? Hindsight's 20/20 and I just crashed into a brick wall doing 80.

Alright so he's not a furry, he's not a pedophile... what's wrong with this dude? A lot more than I thought, apparently. They always say be careful in the hospital because everyone is there for a reason. He very openly said he was brought in against his will because he was practicing with his weapon collection and had out a whole bunch of swords and stuff. His parents, who he lives with, thought it was unusual and that he was being manic and had him 302'd.

That immediately makes no sense. 302 means you're unwilling to recieve treatment or you are arrested. If he was practicing with weapons he's supposedly skilled with (Instagram shows this to be True), why were his parents so concerned about him being manic? Why wouldn't he just go get treatment and be a 201 (voluntary)? Well, his story very sharply changed to something totally different- that he was trying to get back into a mental facility on purpose because he had met a girl there who was being mistreated by the staff, but that the doctor at the other hospital refused to treat him and he ended up getting transferred to the hospital we were at instead and he had been stuck hospitalized for over a month. When you're 302'd you don't have a choice where to go or for how long, so that part lines up.

That bugs me. The fact that the parts still add up. Admittedly, I didn't believe him at first. He made a lot of wild claims, like he's a pro gamer, he's DJ'd at all these big shows like Blizzcon... under an alias in the format of [Animal]Lady(insert something here for side accounts)

Now... Very obvious problem with that and hence why I said I saw the catfish coming. He's a dude. He's not transgender. He asked me about my pronouns, but nothing else specific, and said he has known trans people before so he wasn't against it or anything, but that he's straight and cis. Well for one thing, the "pro gamer" and DJ things also turned out to be at least somewhat based in truth. He's not very popular and I know you can buy bots and followers and shit but he does have a twitch under that name which he gave me the link to as well as an Instagram. ...and a Twitter. Twitter is where things get weird. And Twitter was the first thing to come up when I searched the name he had on his t-shirt, which was slightly different than the name he had given me. The Twitter matches the twitch it's linked from... but the person doesn't. At first I thought it was a totally different person, but then I realized it's very likely that filter or app that gender swaps you. I actually know someone who discovered she's trans that way. This is not the same thing. This is an entirely different persona. I kept scrolling to see if there were any other pics but started to feel disoriented. There were accounts that interacted that seem like they're also him. I tried thinking why would a person do this? Create these accounts to interact with each other... and I have no fucking idea. 

So what about him being a catfish? ....well I worried that for one thing he actually is someone who grooms minors and was triggered by being told something he's done and had to relive (yes, it can happen to abusers too). I'm not touching that one, honestly. I don't want to know if he really does or not.

I started having flashbacks to the shit with my ex, Riel, who may or may not have dissociative identity disorder, and the bs they pulled with me as a narcissistic sociopath, all the grooming I endured as a child, the fact that Stephen is not trans but basically scraped up an understanding of us in order to put together this image of a gamer girl. I clicked one of the twitch videos which surprisingly HAD HIM IN IT. ....so what of [Animal]Lady? (I still don't know where the [Animal] part comes from. That went unanswered after all this, go figure.) It's a persona he puts on. And seeing it freaked me the fuck out as someone who had previously seen how he spoke and acted on a day to day basis and this was NOT that person. It's the same person, but it's not the same person. It also freaked me the fuck out because it triggered a strong flashback of when I was 14 and my mom had a paranoid schizophrenic breakdown. I know they're very different disorders, but it just set me off, which is why I was like mm maybe I should keep this more to myself?? At the same time it has me fucked up and I need to talk about it.

So what IS real? As far as I can tell... ALL OF IT. Part of me even wonders if the photo IS a manip or if he did try to look like a girl or both. The story about having weapons and knowing how to use them is backed up by his Instagram, which is personal and tries to appear unrelated to the other accounts. Of course, I'm not a fucking idiot, either. I can see where they interact, what "friends" they have in common to interact with and so on. And I can see him.

This is legit the plot of a Paranoia Agent episode. Hell, part of the premise of the series is that everything is connected. I'd recommend it if you haven't seen it. Good short watch. Sorry, unrelated.

The twitter appears to be run by this girl though. And there are two twitch accounts, at least. One links his insta [Animal]Ladyirl, and the other links to "Julia" the [Animal]Lady.... the same name as the girl he was saying he "needed to help out" who was stuck at the other hospital. So does he think this other person exists outside of himself, and to what degree, if he is *also* the gamer, streamer, DJ, etc. ...where is the overlap? Do his friends know? I want to say yes and no. He did say people "found out" about his account and blocked him "out of jealousy." I saw at least one person, on an account I think was also his, make a hidden reference to him actually being a man. That account also had at least one video way back with someone in it who was clearly him, but the video wouldn't play. The account was entirely in English despite the user supposedly being Chinese and posting stuff in support of the Chinese people and using the occasional broken English (sidenote: he's white... of course he is). It was specifically an account for some game I've never heard of and that's it. Just like his other account is his WoW account, Instagram is for personal and weapon stuff, and there's another twitter that is for yet another game, but he pretends he's from Poland. It's bizarre.

I should probably block him everywhere possible and not interact. He's probably dangerous. Also the thing about the headphones and hindsight- I was told they had gotten extra sets for specific people because headphones can help drown out voices for auditory hallucinations. So he might experience those too. Which just reminds me of my mom :s

Another reason this fucks with me- I also met Stephen's polar opposite. Later on in the hospital I met a guy named Josh. Everyone was super nice to him because he seemed to be having an extra rough time, even for being in a behavioral hospital. No one asked his diagnosis, but just accepted the fact that he would talk to himself and his voice sounded exactly like the gingerbread man from Shrek, I shit you not. In a few days you'd get used to it and it would become background chatter. He talked in degrees of separation, which just goes to show how wildly smart this guy is. He would be on one topic but something as simple as a word would flip him onto the next. Like if the brain's leaps in logic had absolutely no filter. For example one day we went around the courtyard a lap and talked about video games. He went from the Nintendo Entertainment System, to Ness from Earthbound, to Smash in like one sentence. It was very entertaining if you could keep up with him. But as time passed I guess they had him on a medication or something... he got quieter. I wondered if he was ok at first, actually. His voice stabilized and was naturally deeper. I'm not sure why he sounded the way he did before? Someone told me he did different voices but I only ever heard the one and his "normal" voice, which I did wonder if it was his attempt at uhhhh I can't find the word, but when people mimic speaking of other people (especially foreigners) to come off as more approachable and sympathetic, but without thinking about it. So he could have been talking more like me actually if that makes sense.

Yeah. But here's the thing. He got better. He came back from a place I didn't know you could come back from. He must have gotten stuck in some deep dark place. Before, people thought he legitimately had like a severe disability. And I guess he does, but you know what I mean, he needed extra help. But now he's completely fine. More than that. I found out he's married with a kid and a successful music career.

During group he would always give somewhat loosely connected answers. "Depression? Who's depressed? What's there to be depressed about anyway?" I did notice music seemed to interest him. During group one day he asked for his own song choice, something called "hourglass." This is when he first started coming out of it. He couldn't say why he wanted the song, or the name of the artist, or the album outside of saying he supposedly made it himself. I heard that song today. He wrote it as a lullaby for his son. I'm fucking crying 😭

(Posted later because I was having a really hard time and debated not even posting this one but hhhh it really fucked me up and I'm not ok?)

Written by iyazo

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