Introduction from the editor/subject:
The following story deals with my bi-polar experiences that unfolded back in 1990-91 and during February 2002 to August 2003. There were 4 visits to psychiatric hospital wards, but this saga deals only with the first 2. The others are rather "illuminating" as well, but will be shared at a later date.
Originally, this tale was told to the author Andrew Wyatt over beers at the Snake River Brewery in Jackson, WY sometime during the early spring of 2005. Andrew's reaction was "this is good shit, we gotta write this up".
A few days later, an email I sent to Daniel Pinchbeck complimenting him on his book Breaking Open The Head led to a request for a shorter interpretation of this tale to be considered for a collection of stories regarding "non traditional shamanic initiations." This copy represents a more complete version.
The compounds that I have been taking, as an non toxic alternative to more commonly prescribed Lithium, since February 2006 to address my bipolar condition are:
DL-Phenylalanine and Phospotidyl Choline
These OTC supplements recombine in the blood stream to essentially form a deficient neurotransmitter. This treatment began about 8 years ago in Europe after blood analysis discovered it lacking in bipolar patients.
A "chemical imbalance" is commonly referenced as the root cause of bipolar disorder. It appears we have discovered the primary elements of this cerebral asymmetry. We hope larger scale testing will unfold in time.
We promote in this story that orally taking these supplements twice a day prevents the bipolar patient from inadvertently slipping into a psychotropic-like experience. More scientific research is needed to support this claim.
If you are dealing with bipolar disorder, PLEASE consult your psychiatrist and take appropriate cautions before altering your treatment program. It is probable that your doctor is not aware of this remedy. Please, feel free to share this information with them.
Based on my experiences, I also encourage the concept that manic episodes involve a hijacking of one's young mind for it's much older soul, or "soul-jacking." At the core of the bipolar pandemic is a lack of comprehension in Western culture regarding the emerging awareness of reincarnation.
The depression dimension is when one's old soul actually leaves the body and the mind stumbles into darkness. Alignment of the soul's purpose with mind and body is the key to mental stability. Gratefully, this is a concept that is consistently emerging in global society.
Andrew and I hope to promote the integration of these new scientific and spiritual discoveries to best address the bipolar epidemic which has been exponentially increasing since WW II.
It's a twisted tale. We've done our best to boil it down to its most digestible , hopefully even humorous form.
Your time, consideration and feedback are most greatly appreciated.
Rock Concert Movement #237:
Taking the audience into a Jungian journey into the Collective Unconscious by using the Shadow as a metaphor for the Primal Self that is repressed by the modern persona, and also by using an underground setting in a Labyrinth Office Design to represent Both the depths of the psyche and the dungeon-like isolation of our increasingly mechanistic society which prevents people from finding satisfying work or meaningful connections with others.
-from The Blue Man Group: The Complex Rock Tour 2003
Begin transmission here…
"Cosmic Josh," the well-earned nickname of Joshua Doolittle, captures his belief that the future of the world lies in world peace, contact with alien life and communities built from bamboo-designed homes that coincidentally look like flying saucers he calls "perma yurts." He explains this is merely a logical and structurally efficient beginning, the "egg" that will give birth to an entirely new species of sustainable architecture.
After one conversation with Josh, it is clear. He is an unusual person with a unique story. His views are equally unique. For example, while Josh disapproves of all wars, an unremarkable view at face value, he feels if there must be wars they should be fought Samurai-style with arrows, pneumatic darts and gas bombs loaded with a custom LSD/tranquilizer drug mix. Such unconventional weaponry Cosmic Josh says he has already designed in his mind. His goal is that during conflict only people's minds, not their bodies, would be ripped open. "We need to stop the eye-for-an-eye' mentality," Josh says, "and begin opening each others' Third Eye."
Further, Doolittle believes he is a nomadic spiritual being who "has been orbiting around the universe" for roughly 189,000 years. Though he says he has lived on different planets, which on occasion he'll point to in the night sky. He claims to have initially incarnated on earth about 100,000 years ago as an African. "I've been all colors," he says matter-of-factly, "including green and purple."
Josh has accepted that throughout his lifetimes he has personally experienced the full spectrum of "colors" to be found on this planet (and other planets). This awareness is largely what drives his quest to unify nations and cultures around the world. "Racism is so absurd when you realize the soul is interchangeable and endlessly recycles through out all races" he adds.
His story seems to blur the lines of reality and fantasy. He is a dreamer, and his mind has been pierced at times with shamanic-like visions triggered by bipolar disorder. His saga is at once absurd, funny, and tragic, but also one of hope and transformation. Ultimately, he feels it is a tale that needs to be told.
His hope for the future began with one such bipolar "vision quest" on a bus ride from Boulder, CO to Washington DC. A plan began to emerge in his mind to organize a huge alternative gathering protest/party that combined elements and people from progressive festivals everywhere including the hippie inspired "Rainbow Gatherings" and annual industrial/electronica influenced Burning Man Festivals. It was to be called, "The Burning Rainbow".
This "Burning Rainbow" festival was to be a new form of peaceful, non violent, political objection that drew its support from a global community of dedicated earthlings. He imagined that throngs of mischievous and progressive beings would gather in the D.C. Mall, establish collective camps and began partying.
A DJ/sound station was to be established beneath the Abe Lincoln statue. Massive speaker towers would be installed on the stairs. This disruptive, but extremely entertaining presence would continue until a complete overhaul of the US government system was enacted. "It's time for a forced shut down so we can reboot an actually democratic governing system" Josh claims.
"Rebooting" is a term that Josh uses to describe his own journey. Through his numerous lifetimes spanning the universe, he feels his journey follows a path of personal of transformation and growth. Regardless of how many times Josh has incarnated, in this lifetime, he clocks in at a mere 36 years old. Mild mannered, except when discussing his bamboo housing designs, his thoughts sometimes cannonball from his mouth faster than his lips can form the words. His wardrobe of fleece jackets and green or khaki canvas pants belies a desired look of a regular guy complimenting his current abode in a small, modest upstairs attic/studio apartment in Jackson Hole. "I try and blend in," he says knowingly.
This he fondly refers to as his "Yoda Cave", named after the diminutive green Jedi Knight with oversized ears from the Star Wars movies.
And the apartment does resemble a cave. Its compact, A-frame structure is dimly lit with white Christmas lights hung from the ceiling, and the walls are plastered with a collage varying from images of rock climbers, landscapes, and John Lennon. Each image, he says, is chosen to reflect positive energy, role models, and future goals. It's also a cheap way to decorate.
There have been sporadic construction and landscaping jobs in the past couple years. However, he has not held a "full-time job" since 2005. This he attributes mostly to chronic hip and shoulder injuries. According to local Jackson doctors, recent MRIs and X-rays confirm the severity of his injuries. He is currently dealing with partial bicep ligament tears in both shoulders as well as bone spurs and arthritis in both hips. Last March of 2008 he underwent his first surgery to deburr his right hip socket, but the recovery has been slow. Another surgery to "resurface" the joint with steel may be required.
Josh admits that it's difficult for anyone to separate facts from fantasy when trying to understand his past. He wrote extensive notes and investigations in order to determine facts from hallucinations. And he feels, looking back, that everything he remembers happening actually did. According to Josh, the only remaining ambiguous area involves elements of the Greyhound bus ride to D.C..
He plans on "downloading" the complete experience with a hypnotherapist, he hopes will be willing to aid him. So far, Josh has contacted numerous hypnotherapists, in person, phone and email. He says "they are all terrified of the idea and they refuse to be a part of it, but I think I've found the right guy in Boulder, CO."
Still, Josh understands there will be skepticism. He even sympathizes with those who may have difficulty believing his self-confirmed revelations. His hope is that this story will inspire further research into his claims. He seeks justice.
As Cosmic Josh puts it, though there will always be those who dismiss the fantastical aspects of his autobiography as "the rantings of a madman" and he feels that is completely reasonable. He believes there is an explanation for why he was struck by his visions. Further, he argues that parts of his story suggest metaphysical, even paranormal truths that he says our modern culture too easily discards. Besides, as one of his friends observed, "Something happened."
According to Josh, his recent odyssey portrays one way someone "lightning-struck" by his particular mental disease, which psychiatric experts call "bi-polar disorder," responds. There are times, Josh says in retrospect, that his visions appeared to have guided his way through difficult, even dangerous circumstances.
When asked to elaborate Josh points to a quote taped on his bathroom mirror from Henry David Thoreau, "Our truest life is when we are in our dreams…awake." On one hand he is a victim of a life altering mental disease, and yet he says, on the other hand, that he has been chosen to have these dreams and visions. "They are my destiny." In his view, it was his soul beginning to speak and gain its voice. "We all need to begin re-integrating our minds with our souls." He states. "Our collective survival depends upon it."
Regardless, some facts speak for themselves: the wristband scars from chair restraints, during an allegedly abusive prison incarceration; the oppressive glare of fluorescent neon lights from stays at psychiatric wards; the chilly winter night a red pick-up truck waited with its brake lights glinting on the Wytheville, Va., bus station. Rain puddles from a recent storm…all of it.
The night he abandoned his bus ride and ended up going fetal in the dumpster was the full-blown incarnation of the mental storm that first swept through his life 12 years earlier in upstate New York.
Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2009 by losemindfindsoul
In 1990, Josh had been active in his Church youth group. Though long-time friend Geoff Collins characterized Josh as artsy and a "bit of an outsider" at the time, he added that Josh was always sociable, good-looking, and clean-cut, a jeans and button-up shirt-wearing rock climber.
That's when it all started.
Josh believes it was the first time that his soul jumped into the front seat of his mind and took control of the steering wheel; while his rational mind slid uncomfortably into the back seat.
Josh's soul hijacked his mind for the first time as a 18-year old in New York State. As friends put it, it didn't start like a sudden attack against his brain, but a "slow, downward spiral."
Josh's friend, Geoff Collins said he was briefly envious of Doolittle acting upon his powerful, new found social convictions to conserve the remaining wild places in his home town of Schenectady, NY. This lead to the charismatic recruitment of former skateboarding friends to launch a campaign of eco-terrorism to thwart suburban sprawl.
Cosmic Josh's initial acts were modest-pranks like popping the tires of construction vehicles at development sites. Though uneasy, Collins and other friends continued to admire Josh's uncompromising initiatives.
Then his civil disobedience grew bolder. In order to protest and disrupt efforts to build expanding new subdivisions, he launched an attack of breaking windows of homes under construction and spiking trees with large nails in order to destroy equipment intended to clear off the property for new development. By now, dramatic changes in Doolittle's appearance and demeanor emerged like shaving his head into an uneven, rough-hewn Mohawk.
"He was jittery, and couldn't sit still," Collins said about Josh's passion for saving nature from development that grew into "crazy ideas" of bomb-threat laced tirades and frenetic hand gestures. Friends were scared. Something was off with their idealistic, artistic comrade.
In hind sight, Josh feels it was his "inner-indigeni" that was acting out, disgusted by the decimation of once beautiful natural areas. He also feels that our modern way of domineering the environment separates us from nature. This disconnection he feels is the foundation of our current cultural neurosis.
His recommendation is for future psychiatric centers to be built within listening distance of gurgling creeks equipped with platform "meditation stations". The organic symphony of cascading water is a timeless and neurologically soothing sound. Josh feels that slowing down to more natural speeds is critical in order to stabilize one's mind.
Busted & Rebirth
Unsurprisingly, Josh's campaign ended when he was arrested for committing acts of eco-terrorism. (more commonly referred to as vandalism). It was an Edward Abbey, "monkey-wrench", inspired operation run amok. Even though Josh had been diagnosed that summer of having bipolar disorder, it was the arrest that confirmed his condition was serious.
Originally after graduating high school he had made plans to take a year off from academic life before starting college. He wanted to live, work, and rock climb in Yosemite National Park. But, he won a $2,500 annual merit scholarship to the Rhode Island School of Design that he never applied for. If he deferred a year of college the scholarship would be lost.
This is when "the spiritual tug of war between mind and soul" began in earnest, Josh says. His soul longed to climb boulders and crags in the picturesque Sierra Nevada valley, but his mind reasoned that turning down $10,000 towards tuition would be foolish.
His mind won out, but the struggle with his soul was only beginning. His college life didn't last long. After five weeks, he dropped out of RISD, and the slightly disaffected, church-going teen began preaching anti-establishment soliloquies. Still, the chatter didn't seem much more than typical teen angst and rebellion, but quickly mutated into an anti-sprawl crusade.
After being arrested and serving 200 community service hours, Josh found himself back at RISD. Miraculously, he was re-awarded the scholarship. During his junior year, however, he began to experience his first round of side effects from Lithium.
Josh's passion for rock climbing ended when wrist pain became unbearable. "It was as if my body just couldn't heal." Josh says. He was forced to sleep with velcroed on wrist guards at night in order to manage the pain.
After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, Josh headed west to explore industrial design work in the outdoor recreation industry. While en route to a trade show in Nevada, Josh visited a friend in Bozeman, MT. It was there that he had a serendipitous encounter with an acupuncturist who explained his predicament from an eastern perspective.
The acupuncturist claimed that lithium worked by "putting the fire out in the mind" through essentially creating a bigger problem in the liver. The theory being that the bodies energy supply is so heavily drained by the need to focus on detoxifying the body that the imbalance in the mind is mitigated.
In Chinese medicine, developed over thousands of years, an interrelation within the being was recognized. A struggling liver organ is reflected in a collapse of tendon and ligament health.
A few months later, Josh landed in San Diego and lived with some friends for a few months. It was during a hike down to an ocean overlook that Josh had another synchronistic encounter. This time with a British woman who specialized in a progressive form of body work. She believed that physical pain was the soul's way of getting the mind's attention.
This connection then lead to a referral to work with a "rather wizardly" psychologist, Dr. Kathleen Brooks. Josh committed to an intense period of psychotherapy spanning 8 months. "She woke me up, made me realize it was time to grow a spine" Josh adds.
Gradually, friends and family grew to believe that Josh's brush with the law was merely the product of a one-time bout with teenage rebellion. For 6 years he traveled and worked in various western states including Hawaii and a 2 month jaunt to Australia. Jobs included everything from designing outdoor footwear, shaping hand holds for indoor climbing walls, waiting tables, carpentry, chair lift operator to working with emotionally disturbed and developmentally disabled youth.
A New Way
Then in February 2002, his soul yanked control of the steering a second time; this time, the effect on his life would be irreversible. This bipolar adventure seemed like a twisted James Bond spy movie warped with a heavy dose of sci-fi. Subplots included sinister government spies who doubled as Klu Klux Klansmen sent to kill him. Then there was the secret team of rebel agents, and one high-profile rock star, who Josh believed was dispatched to whisk him away from government forces.
Josh had recently settled with friends in Boulder, CO where he resumed his obsession with a long standing project. His goal was to climb a "boulder problem", or short route, on a 18? tall cube-like sandstone block in nearby Eldorado Canyon. Repeated attempts to "stick" a desperate lunge to a small edge on the overhanging rock face led to a serious shoulder injury. He had to quit working as a carpenter and Doolittle claims "that's when things started getting weird."
About two months later, with his shoulder in sling, he decided to take a fateful bus to the east coast. He would head to our nations capital first and from there, based on how his shoulder was feeling after resting during the multi-day bus ride, would decide the next course of his journey.
If he felt well enough to climb then he'd head south to Boone, NC to track down a friend and explore the surrounding bouldering areas amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains. If the shoulder still ached, then he'd travel north to visit his brother and sister in-law who are both practicing doctors. Either way, he'd get to visit an old college roommate in DC for a few days.
Josh was medically uninsured at the time. He claims his passion for a free health care system comes from the needless suffering caused by being uninsured.
Weird Load on Board
The initial Greyhound bus ride to D.C. was proving to be more eventful than he could have predicted. He claims that while cruising across Kansas, Josh had an extremely vivid dream. He believes he was essentially re-living an old memory that literally took place a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
Doolittle describes that he fell asleep on the bus, but awoke in the form of an alien being that he had been in a former life. He claims that he found himself in a surprisingly comfortable and familiar setting, as a purple-ish, 8' tall gecko-like extra terrestrial with massive elongated hands.
Josh's former home was a "nest pod" of sorts, woven from bamboo strips, resting just below the tops of enormous bamboo poles on a small swampy planet located beyond the middle star of Orion's belt, a bit to the upper right. In this dream he goes off on a typical morning hunt, while his wife re-stokes the cooking fire. He bounds through the tall mutant reeds, "Tarzan swinging" his way 100 feet over the ground with his young daughter nestled in a backpack of sorts. Her eyes wide open, peering over his shoulder.
They were flying.
At the time, the wife of Josh's brother was pregnant with their daughter, who was due in a couple of weeks. What Joshua realized from the dream was that this impending arrival contained the soul of his former E.T. daughter riding on his back. They were following a raven like reptile bird who guided them to their morning meals, after first awakening them with loud squawks, in exchange for leftovers.
They traveled into a darker section of the bamboo jungle and the wind began whipping through the giant tubular reeds. Josh recalls that before he awoke, the wind formed a voice that said over and over, "You must do it for the children". "Do what for which children?" was his last gecko-alien thought before returning to his seat on the bus.
When he woke from that dream, he surfaced as a different person. His entire body buzzed. He felt tingling electromagnetic sensations radiate through his body. The rhythm of mellow techno music drifted into his ears through headphones. The steady thumping of bus tires against cracked pavement segments pounded like a heartbeat.
Could these visions be explained by madness or a recovered past life memory?
In retrospect, this sonic repetition combined with the melodies of his mixed cassette may have accidentally acted like a mantra or a shamanic drumming, that triggered a spiritual journey that "dimensionally inverted my young mind for its old soul," he says. "It was as if all the barriers separating my past lives were suddenly lifted and began swirling together like water."
During the bus ride from then on to D.C. Josh began to feverishly scribble notes and drawings of a metaphysical and subversive nature that he "knew" must be delivered as soon as possible to rebel operatives upon his arrival. A secret agent awaited inside the nation's capital. They were to make contact through the only safe means available, telepathy.
Even more stunning, when Josh stepped off that bus in D.C. he felt he had slipped sideways into one of his past life impressions as a Samurai warrior wearing a distinct red body armor of ancient Japanese culture's highest warrior class. The impression still remains vivid to Josh. He even was able to recall the foul stench of wearing blood-soaked armor during a multi day siege.
When Josh stepped off that bus and glanced up at the Washington Monument, he saw instead a giant penis with a pointed KKK hood and two beady red eyes that glowered across the Mall to President Lincoln's chair where the statue of the former President was trapped in the cage of his marble monument.
Josh felt that dark forces from what he calls the "Old South" had risen again and infested themselves into the White House like "soulless bugs". He still feels this way, and makes regular letter to the editor contributions to a local weekly newspaper in Jackson, WY expressing his disapproval of the Republican party. This has since evolved to a blog sponsored by the journal's website.
Josh believes that all the evidence surrounding the 9/11 tragedy clearly indicates that the terrorist attacks were actually choreographed by Saudi and Texas oil cartels. He views the attack on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon as an Orwellian operation intended to launch a profit driven war. "We're dealing with the era of corporate feudalism" He adds.
Dimly conscious that his rational mind was no longer in control, Josh argued, years later, that his senses were more perceptive of the spiritual geography of the nation's capital he was visiting. Josh explained the awareness in Eastern theosophical terms. He referred to a concept called the "Third Eye" that illuminates a deeper, spiritual "layer" or "vibration" that overlaps the real world. "Each person has a Third Eye, although most are ignored and crust over" said Josh, "mine was cranked wide open."
Josh claims that this multi-dimensional state of being feels very similar to inner explorations induced intentionally through psychotropic compounds. He commented that "a few of my friends say that my "adventures" remind them of bad acid trips". He speculates future research will endorse this perspective through biochemical analysis.
Garth Goldstein, an architect and longtime college friend had a different perspective. He said he let Josh stay at his DC apartment for a couple of days and what Garth saw worried him. Josh "was on a bender," he said.
"He was goddamn nuts."
Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2009 by losemindfindsoul
Josh's strong sense of destiny impressed even friends that were confused and frightened by his "hyper" sense of reality. Goldstein recalled that his friend's daily life had "been taken over by a new, highly constructed narrative." Garth recalled one night while they were driving around D.C. and Josh asked him to come up with a secret code name. "Fruit Loop" popped out of Garth's mouth. He said Josh's was to be "Badger".
Goldstein recalled unspecific bomb threats. Josh "just felt certain" National Security governments figures were trailing the intrepid, "soul-jacked" Josh. He now feels that the bomb threats were concocted to purposely tip them off to his location.
He fired off an intentionally bizarre e-mail at an internet cafe using a fictitiously fabricated email address to Garth and two new D.C. acquaintances of Goldstein's that Josh met one night during a poker game. He deliberately concocted columns of obscure stream of consciousness thoughts with lucid details of a fake bomb threat.
Josh's memory of his one page diatribe is foggy, but parts of the 1 page rant he recalls read: "Coke Is It, just don't freebase it. Christina Aguillera is Kid A." A few psychotic sentences later he concludes with "There are thermonuclear detonators in the Salt Lake City [Utah] airport." His one-time-only, fake email address crafted specifically for this "tracking signal" was something to the effect of MC7'4"[email protected]'"
Josh believes that he was trying to make obscure and confusing pop cultural references, especially with the "Andre the Giant has a Posse" global sticker campaign. The black and white sticker featured the face of the well known former professional wrestler. This accidental urban folk art phenomenon, plastered all over the world by nomadic mischievous participants, was started at RISD by fellow student and college friend Shepard Fairey. "I think I was trying to imply that what appeared to be merely creative mischief was in fact a highly organized planetary operation of some kind, now poised to engage its primary mission."
In several interviews Josh acknowledged that the extreme cycles of bipolar disorder leads to "some dark places of the soul," Still, he insists that even in his most feverish, mind-altering states, he never wished to hurt anyone.
"Technically," Josh says, "I was a clinically insane guy intentionally trying to write a crazy sounding e-mail to fulfill a greater purpose that I didn't yet understand. Understandably this doesn't really make much sense." This, he says, he designed so that "appropriate" government law enforcement agencies could find him.
The email, he explains, is a twist on paranoid government spy stories. At the time, he "sensed" that since the 2002 Winter Olympics were being held in Salt Lake City electronic surveillance would be higher, especially within the D.C. Area.
Doolittle's goal was to send a message that he believed would be noticed by national security/law enforcement authorities. He wanted to make it easier for his "pursuers" to find him-as if he was turning on the homing beacon of a backcountry snowboarder's avalanche transceiver before dropping in to an avalanche prone descent.
Cosmic Josh wasn't paranoid that they would find him; he was concerned that they wouldn't. "I felt like I was committed to a divine mission with a very specific itinerary that needed to be executed," he said. "I never questioned my actions, because they felt true, came from within. The "directives" guided my actions sequentially".
A Clinical Peek
"Bipolar Disorder is a mental disease characterized by periods of elevated mood (mania) that cycle with abnormally lowered mood (depression.) Multiple structural, metabolic, and biochemical abnormalities are evident throughout the brain cortex, subcortex and deep brain regions. The disorder is considered mostly genetic and triggered by environmental stressors such as childhood mental and or physical abuse, substance abuse, or changing life events". (p. 107, Kidd )
"These extreme changes in mood, energy and thinking often vary in intensity and in more extreme cases can be combined with symptoms of other disorders with psychotic features such as schizophrenia. It was one of the first identifiable disorders, recognized as early as the time of Hippocrates in 400 BC. A number of well-known historical figures have carried the disease, including Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Earnest Hemingway, and Virginia Woolf. According to doctors bi-polar disorder still remains "one of the most difficult disorders to diagnose, classify and manage." (p.107 Kidd)
Kevin Meehan, founder of the Teton Valley Health clinic in Jackson, WY, whose practice focus on acupuncture and biochemistry agrees that the extent to which bi-polar disorder can affect people remains mysterious. Josh first visited him seven years ago in 1998 to successfully treat a climbing injury to his wrists exacerbated by the continuous use of lithium. Meehan now also helps treat his brain disorder and arthritic hips as well. "I am incredibly grateful for his help. I'd be way up the creek with out it. He's an amazing and compassionate ambassador of integrative medicine" says Josh
Meehan argues that there still is much speculation and hypotheses involved with BD. He believes that there is a "deficient neurotransmitter in his brain that is supposed to send synaptic signals to another specific connection point". In other words, Josh's brain is a victim of faulty wiring. Or perhaps, as Josh believes, the recently realized biochemical elements are merely the tangible side of the bi-polar coin.
Josh acknowledges that brain biochemistry and genetics have contributed to his behavior and thinking over the years, but he also points out that the inherently difficult time doctors and scientist have in pinning down the dimensions of BD suggests that there is an element of mystery and spiritual calling that is at work as well.
He refers to the following quote by Teilhard de Chardin for clarification: "You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience". Josh believes that the foundation of the bipolar epidemic is a lack of fundamental awareness from the psychiatric community as to the actual human condition. "They treat us with the same attitude as a mechanic trying to fix a car. This is wrong."
Meehan, who combines elements of Eastern and Western medicine doesn't dispute his patient's controversial conclusion. Meehan says that Josh's understanding of his condition reinforces the centuries-old conflict behind dividing the human body between concepts of mind, body, and spirit.
Back at the DC internet cafe, around the corner from Goldstein's apartment "Secret Agent Cosmic Josh" pressed "send" on his cryptically crafted email. Confident that by sending the e-mail a tracking system was activated, he packed up his gear in a panic and bolted outside.
A large leafless tree directly across the street began squawking at him as if a murder of crows were attempting to get his attention, despite the fact that the branches were bare. "Part of me realized I was experiencing an auditory hallucination, but it just felt certain that I should pay attention to it" stated Josh. He claims the message he received was to remove his black Patagonia jacket to alter his appearance. "This seemed like good advice at the time," he said. He initially attempted to give it away to a random passer-by. Josh sensed this was a bit odd so instead stuffed his insulated coat away is his shoulder bag and sped away on foot.
Upon returning to Garth's apartment, Josh then proceeded to tear out the pages of his sketchbook that contained his channeled scrawls and doodles. These were stuffed in a disposable plastic shopping bag. It looked like something destined for the trash. Next stop, Dupont Square where Doolittle was confident that a dread locked Afro-American bicycle messenger riding on three-spoked carbon fiber wheels, located earlier that day, was waiting for his delivery.
About half-way up the block, three ravens suddenly appeared flying across the street. Josh's eyes followed. As a result he noticed an elderly black man sitting upon a low brick wall. Our deranged "agent" suddenly sensed that this was his new updated "contact." He even appreciated this change in plans for it saved him several blocks of walking. He crossed the street and approached the old man. Josh noticed that his wedding band had been removed and was resting to his side atop the brick wall. He took this to be a sign confirming his feelings that was his "exchange" person.
Just to be sure, Josh then asked the gray haired man resting on his cane if he believed in God. The black man's response after a brief pause was "yes". This was the correct answer, according to Josh, and so he handed the bag of torn pages to him. The elder promptly slid his ring back on, grabbed his cane and headed off up the street with his surreal package never to be seen again.
Quickly, Josh hustled back to Garth's house and promptly headed to the kitchen. He went straight to the electric stove and turned both front burners to "high". He waited anxiously for them to glow bright orange and then forced his fingerprints to the scorching hot coils. The pain was staggering and so he gave up after just a split second. His efforts at eliminating his link to the channeled documents thwarted. He felt horrible, as if he'd failed a critical part of his mission to eradicate his connection to his "cosmic download". Josh recalls collapsing on the floor in tears and saying over and over "I just can't do it."
The next day, Josh took a bus to Richmond, VA to visit a friend that he had met a year or so earlier in Yosemite National Park. Many "weird" experiences occur over those 3 days. Most notable being either a dream or hallucination that involves perusing a copy of the NY Times resting on the kitchen table, but from the future. It's printed on a brownish hemp based paper. Integrated into the articles for adults are small "info-boxes" designed for children describing birds and animals. The news paper was intentionally designed for all ages.
Josh recalls opening the paper to an illustrated full page that portrayed "free will astrologist" Rob Brezney as an owl. The wise bird explained that tonight was to be the night to look up into the dark sky for UFOs were scheduled to appear. It would become the recognized date for "Contact". Josh claimed that he never caught the date of the paper.
A few days later Josh left his confused friend in Richmond, VA en route to Boone, NC for his shoulder felt surprisingly strong. The Appalachian boulder fields were calling. He grew more and more paranoid, however, while passing by multiple road side police pull overs he noticed along the way. Josh felt they were looking for him. He was convinced that if he didn't abort his bus ride to Boone soon, he would be captured by "evil government operatives".
Sometime around midnight, late Febuary, the Grey Hound bus pulled into an empty strip mall parking lot in Wytheville, VA. Josh peered out his window as an old red pick-up truck pulled to stop. Inside, an old fat man wearing overalls sat motionless while staring forward. Josh sensed this was a connection sent to rescue him and so he grabbed his Timbuk 2 messenger bag, got off the bus and walked over to the truck. At the side door, he tapped twice, but the farmer didn't even flinch and completely ignored him. Josh headed back on the bus and sat back in his seat. His paranoia about to burst.
A minute later, the bus driver stood up and spoke to the passengers "I count 41 people on the bus…there's supposed to be 40. Will the one who is the one, please get off the bus". Josh took this as a covert directive and abandoned the bus in a flurry, leaving his possessions behind. He sprinted across the empty parking lot in a panic, yet careful to bolt in a direction so that the bus shielded him from view of the eerie old man in the pick-up truck. Josh was convinced by then that the driver was a foe and not friend.
He lurched up a short hill and into some scraggly woods where he paused to briefly catch his breath. He then began maneuvering through the scrubby woods, shedding his clothes and tying it to tree branches or wedging into notches, to mark his path. He felt a part of him realized that this story was to be later told. Josh plans on revisiting the site to look for evidence to confirm his tale. Polyester fleece pullovers take a while to decompose.
Finally, looping around to the back of the strip mall, Josh, surveying the scene, felt a pull to the back corner behind a Kmart and jumped into a large metal trash dumpster with the lid wide open. Upon settling in to his new hide out, he realizes that his clothes were soaked with water pooled on the trash bags.
The evening air was frigid. Josh realized that evasive action was necessary if he was to avoid hypothermia. A 10?x10? sheet of small bubble rap was then conveniently discovered lying atop the heap. Josh felt that this was clearly an indicator that he had chosen the correct dumpster hide out. He had investigated 5 others in his jaunt around the shopping center.
Doolittle then removed all of his remaining clothing, just a t-shirt and canvas pants at this point, and completely wrapped himself in the bubble wrap sheet to stay warm, like being swallowed by a giant plastic jellyfish. He also tied a yellow shopping bag he found around his head for warmth, like a shower cap, and waited for the rebel team to arrive.
He felt fully committed to "something", but not sure exactly what. Josh also describes recalling vivid memories of being a Native American in a past life. He claims to have grasped the irony that he was engaging in a modern expression of a Vision Quest that was in fact inspired by the Star Wars film where the heroes negotiated their escape by blasting their way into a trash compactor.
He also took off his running shoes and threw them just outside the dumpster so his rebel contact team, which included Bono from the rock band U2 and a scruffy band of radical environmentalists, could locate the correct dumpster and retrieve him.
The ragtag group was supposed to arrive, tires squealing in a 1986 Subaru station wagon, at 3:33 in the morning. A Timex Ironman digital watch was the only article he kept wearing while huddled in his plastic womb. Josh claimed that he kept himself surprisingly warm by breathing in the cold outside air, but then sealing himself up and exhaling his warm moist breath into his bivy pod.
Though Bono and the Subaru station wagon never appeared, he sensed he was being ushered into a new world that only shaman and respectful users of psychotropic drugs could apprehend. There was no going back. Down the rabbit hole he went.
Josh checked his watch around 9:30am and sensed it was time to move on. "Oh well," he remembered thinking. "I guess I'll need a car to drive back to Schenectady[NY]." He wanted to watch the beginnings of his Rainbow/Burning Man protest movement on TV that he thought had already begun.
A flock of sparrows cut through the blue morning sky. Josh claims that he was able to quickly count the exact number, something never even attempted before, and whistled back a cheery greeting as they chirped by. "Dr. Doolittle" was finally talking to the animals.
"It just never dawned on me how completely bonkers I'd become" Josh commented with a sigh. "It's like being unknowingly dosed with LSD by a prankster friend, but never catching on. The dimensional shift just sneaks up on you."
Josh said he leaped out of the dumpster wearing nothing but his bubble wrap cape and yellow shopping bag hat, slipped back into his cold, damp New Balance trail running shoes. He continued to mark his trail by gleefully kicking a tower of milk crates and then clicking his heels in midair.
A streaking super hero emerges from a dumpster, off to save the day.
He then jogged around the corner of the K-mart and headed to a gas station across the street. Nearest to the road was a rusted maroon Pinto sedan. Of course, the Pinto was the car the universe had placed in his path to help carry out "The Plan". According to Josh, the car even had the damn keys already in the ignition, waiting for him. Just as he was about to peel out of the parking lot, a woman appeared at the store door and yelled, "Hey, he's stealing my car!"
Quickly another driver, exiting the lot, blocked his get-a-way.
Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2009 by losemindfindsoul
"Madness as you know is like gravity. All you need is a little push"
Josh's mind still clattered with surreal visions when his horror-comic incarceration began en route to his booking into a Wytheville jail. He heard a voice saying "This is an experiment in racism."
The voice he heard was his own, sounding like the broadcast of a robot drone of a "dalek" featured in Dr. Who, the long running British science fiction T.V. show. Perhaps, his mind in a manic state would have been impressed by the environs from the bus trip's recent departure point of Richmond, VA . Josh had spent a few rather unusual days visiting a friend. Many of the streets are marked with statues of Civil Wars heroes like Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. Regardless of the genesis of his thoughts, he was compelled to start the experiment.
As he was being booked, Josh says the arresting officers, both white, chatted aimlessly. When a black officer passed by them, Josh asked the booking officers, "Would you get a beer with him after work?"
"Nope," he said they answered. Josh decided to push it further with a series of inquiring questions ending with, "If he was bleeding from his left testicle and you had to duct tape that testicle to save his life, would you?"
"Nope," he said they responded to all of them.
After being fingerprinted and booked, Josh was taken to the Wytheville Jail. He was initially introduced to a psychiatrist for some sort of psychological review. Josh claims he asked for a scrap piece of paper and began sketching out several diagrams.
The first was a circle, which represented the earth. Doolittle then began explaining to the psychiatrist that humans were actually dropped off by space ships a long time ago at several different places. He continued his intense rant and described that humanity didn't actually descend directly from primates, but from other planets; each race with its own planetary origin.
He drew arrows pointing to the earth to indicate "drop off" points. Furthermore, Josh explained that our current global crises are being fueled by an exploding population that must be managed immediately if we are to survive.
He continued with a sketch of a high speed, magnetic-levitation train system, like those found in Japan, that needed to be established on the US landscape so that air travel over the population centers could be phased out. This shift, Josh claimed, would provide a more environmental solution to our transportation methods, but also reduce the risk of another 9/11.
Apparently, the psychiatrist felt that Doolittle was fit for jail, but initially he was locked in a cell in the medical wing with a small bed frame and mattress, a glass viewing window that looked into the center of the med staff/nurses station. The cell door also had a small Plexiglas widow at eye level.
Then, a grizzled ghost resembling rap star Snoop Dogg with a missing tooth, frizzled afro, and old denim prison garb visited him. The apparition allegedly instructed Josh that if he wanted to survive jail, he should look under the mattress of his bed and tear off a corner of scrap paper and place it under his tongue like it was a benign LSD tab, call a guard and show him and then swallow it. The guard that he called over to the cell window nodded his head in acknowledgment as Josh closed his mouth and ingested the small square of paper.
Josh says he followed the advice to a T, even though he didn't understand why. Josh later came to believe that guards were sympathetic to Josh and that when the guard nodded to him it was a sign of support that Josh was "one of them." Josh feels that the ghost revealed a secret code that had been witnessed before.
In his bi-polar state, his soul grabbed the driver's wheel of his body and shoved his mind into the back seat. It was becoming a rather bizarre ride.
Next, another prisoner is placed in a cell across the hall in Josh's view and motioned for Josh to make swirling hand gestures at the door window. Josh imitated him but added smeared cafeteria tablets of butter against the Plexiglas in circles. With a pencil he found, he scrawled spiritual symbols of ancient "Anasazalian" (a fusion of Anasazi and Alien) petroglyphs. This was astonishing because he said because he never knew of any of the symbols before that moment.
After drawing another petroglyph on the wall, Josh acted like an orangutan by shrieking and gesturing wildly, throwing magazines around the cell. Josh yelled, "I am in a zoo!"
A few days earlier, Josh had explored the Washington Zoo, since it was just down the street from Garth's apartment. He recalls spending some time communing with an orangutan who was staring at him, chewing sugarless gum, which he repeatedly would press to the protective glass for him to see. Ironically, the tide had now turned.
At some point later Josh was loaded in a shuttle van with eight or so other prisoners, cuffed and shackled together. From time to time, Josh claims he'd randomly break into singing a jingle with the words "smoking pot with the president" over and over. The other prisoners looked at him with wide eyes when he sang his mocking song. He saw an inner vision of a future peace treaty being crystallized between President Bush and himself involving the exchange of a large green glass bong.
He was then deposited into a courthouse holding cell with about 20 prisoners, and then moved to a second holding cell to wait for a court appointed court-appointed lawyer. It is in the courthouse that he first passes an officer with the name "Houston" on his badge. Soon, this guard would unwittingly play a role in perhaps saving Josh's life.
After signing papers he couldn't comprehend and a brief hearing; Josh was taken back to the Wytheville jail. His "zoo-like" behavior resumed, which irritated the guards.
After several confused requests from the guards to behave, he was strapped into a wheeled restraint chair and rolled into the first of 5 "drunk tank" cells. These small 12 X 12 foot cinder block rooms are identical with fluorescent lights in the ceiling and a small square drain hole in the floor, covered with a grate. A red button on the wall, where a light switch would normally be, activated a toilet-like flushing mechanism.
In his frazzled mental state, strapped in place with tensioned seat belts across wrists, waist and ankles, Josh claims he looked down and saw what appeared to be chunks of human flesh clinging to the insides of the drainage grate in the center of the floor.
"What's that?" Josh said he asked one of the guards.
"Oh, that's some drunk guy's puke," the short, pudgy guard said while lifting his gaze towards Josh.
It didn't look like vomit to Doolittle. He sensed instead that the small fleshy parts came from the inside of someone's mouth. The remnants perhaps dislodged by a fist connecting with a jaw in an abrupt fashion, teeth slicing off chunks from the inside of a someone's cheek.
Josh says the guard then reached over and nervously pushed the red button, flushing the debris down the drain and he realized in that instant something bad was going to happen. Panic-stricken, fearful of being left to die, Josh confessed to urinating on himself deliberately, hoping that the urine would lubricate the straps and free him.
According to Josh, he was able to wrestle his wrists and ankles from the restraints several times, but never the waist strap which was equipped with a locking mechanism that he wasn't able to over power. On both wrists are noticeable scars he claims are the result of his escape attempts.
Josh also explains that each time he escaped from the restraining straps, he would scoot the wheel chair over to the red button on the wall and activate the flush feature with his foot. The guards would then return, re-strap his ankles and wrists and then wheel him to an adjoining drunk cell and leave him in a corner. "It appears", Joshua ponders, "that whoever I had become really wanted to piss off those guards."
When panicking in the restraining chair, he also started shouting, "Is somebody out there going to help me? I am going to die! Is there some African-American out there that can help me?" Josh was convinced that he was being left to slowly dehydrate in the cell. Our captive also shouted random slogans like "Absolute power corrupts absolutely!" and fragments of cinema dialog like the well-known utterance from the film Apollo 13, "Houston, we have a problem!"
Yelling, the word Houston' may have been a raving that saved his life later on.
Doolittle believes in hind sight that the jail officials were unaware of his bipolar history and interpreted his odd behavior as challenges to their authority due to the effects of some sort of derelict drug binge. He recalls the nurse demanding "what color pills did you take?" Josh replied confusedly with random colors: red, blue, purple, not understanding what she was implying. She also made accusations that the bright scars on the back of his hands were from illicit injections.
Those scars, however, were not from needles, but instead a recent bout with a classic Yosemite National Park boulder problem. Josh states "I told her it was from Bacher Cracker'( a short, strenuous overhanging hand crack climb located on the valley floor), but she obviously didn't know what that meant."
Joshua claimed that he repeatedly asked the guards about when was he would be able to take a shower. He had after all, spent the night huddled in a bin full of trash, while wearing a plastic shopping bag formerly filled with old coffee grounds for a hat. A shower seemed like a reasonable request, but Josh recalls that the guards seemed stunned each time he'd ask to get cleaned up, as if a shower was the last thing that "one of them" would request.
The prison guards, after running out of drunk cells, took him to a large and crowded community room about 50 feet wide and 100 feet long. Shower stalls ran along the back wall. Bunk beds were on the right. Round tables were bolted to the floor in the middle, and a number of prisoners sat at the tables playing cards while others watched televisions suspended from the ceiling. Still more prisoners lounged on foam mattresses strewn on the floor.
During this time Josh encountered a number of strange conversations with prisoners including one "scruffy looking" man with disheveled brown hair and a beard who called himself "Escape Hatch."
While pointing to his wedding band on the ring finger of his closed fist, he then instructed Josh that in order to escape he must follow his specific directions. He was to take off his clothes, start a scuffle with a guard by the door, and the guards would then tackle him, stuff him in a laundry cart by the door and roll him out the back door.
Escape Hatch continued on by telling Josh that his freedom would be complete when he hopped out of the cart and ran to a waiting getaway car driven by a man named Kevin Surface and "your friend Steve." The names given by Escape Hatch jolted Josh because he had just visited his friend Steve* in Richmond. Further, Josh thought the reference to Kevin was a likely reference to his acupuncturist friend in Wyoming, Kevin Meehan. "Surface" being a code term for a fellow covert ET ambassador, like Josh.
Escape Hatch then opened the palm of his hand and pointed to the inside of his gold wedding band on his finger. The ring was wrapped in black, electrical tape. He then began talking to Josh in sentences of obscure nonsense, none of which made any sense or that Josh can recall. Confused, Josh walked away from the man and never saw him again.
Josh took finally got to take his shower. What he remembers as being strange was that every one was laughing at him, like there was something hilarious about taking a shower.
One prisoner would yell "he's taking a shower" and the whole room would erupt in staged laughter, except Joshua noticed, a prisoner with a mop in his hand. Joshua recognized him as the inmate who was sent in to wash off his petroglyph sketches from his time in the medical wing cell. He was apparently an inmate who also served as a member of the janitorial crew. "I remember him staring at me with the coldest, most hateful eyes I've ever seen. He had no soul left and reeked of Darkness" says Josh.
After a number of other strange encounters and conversations, Josh was led into a long term jail cell in a wing where the prisoner/janitorial team resided. One corner was full of mop buckets, cleaning supplies etc. He was placed in an empty cell. This cell was one of perhaps ten identical cells. There were five cells along each wall, with three round tables and chairs bolted to the floor in the middle.
He immediately stripped off his clothes, being naked for some reason being more comfortable and a reoccurring theme during his 5 day stay. He grabbed the bed blanket and sheets, wadded them into a ball with his clothes, sat on the bundle and waited for Death. "I honestly was expecting the Grim Reaper to show up in front of my jail window," he said. At this point, Joshua felt that perhaps his dream-like adventures were an indicator that he had all ready died somewhere along the way with out realizing it. Perhaps, he thought, this weird place was actually a transitional dimension, a "Bardo" as the Buddhists would say, awaiting direction to next leg of his soul's journey.
He sat there naked on his impromptu "safu" ( a round meditation cushion) in the middle of the cell and waited for some time. At some point, he realized that there were other prisoners in the cells across from his, and they were repeatedly trying to get his attention. He heard over and over from one of the prisoners "Hey Whitey, what you eating over there, Hamburger?" and "Hey Whitey, why you always crying; cry, cry, cry, you always crying?" This struck Josh as odd since he was quietly waiting cross-legged on the floor.
Joshua stood up and peered out the Plexiglass window of his cell and saw 2 prisoners staring at him. One of them was a muscular guy in his early 20s, wearing a white tank top, the other a black man in the neighboring cell looking to be in his upper 30s. It was the inmate with the tank top that was taunting him, but his eyes communicated another story.
His eyes appeared very concerned, and he motioned with his hands in a way that seemed to communicate that he needed to repeat or "echo" everything that he said, and so he did. When he caught on to this new "game", both prisoners seemed more and more enthusiastic with his responses.
The black prisoner/janitor in the adjacent cell then began speaking, but in a much more disturbing manner, what seemed to imply that Josh was about to be raped by the cleaning crew. It was as if a script had been written, and the prisoners were merely reading their lines, and Josh's job, his survival he sensed somehow depending upon it, was to repeat everything verbatim.
What was being described graphically communicated that he was about to be brutally violated, and then the mop buckets and hoses would wash any evidence away. He recalled the flesh chunks in the grate of the drunk cell, which had escaped being flushed down the drain. The apprehension from the guards regarding his request for a shower was now understood. Further evidence of the crime would be erased if the surveillance cameras were manipulated by the sinister prison guards.
Josh sensed that this had happened before, but their eyes told Josh that they were tired of this sinister script and that if he played along and echoed everything he'd be OK and perhaps somehow so would they. He felt that they didn't want to perform what their words described, but they had in the past. It seemed that the janitors of the jail were finished doing the prison guards "dirty" work. Josh sure hoped this was true.
He also felt that they were being watched by the guards through hidden surveillance cameras and that they were not happy with the way things were proceeding. Their antics were interfering with the intention of later manipulating the video footage.
All this while, the small steel sink in his cell was running water. It sounded like all the sinks were trickling for hours. The sunrise cast morning light into the janitorial wing. The faucets trickled to a stop except in Joshua's cell.
A new prisoner appeared and sat on a table, perhaps from a cell next to his. The muscular "tank top" guy's door also opened and he came towards Josh's cell. He slammed his fist against his door and howled "This Mother Fucker is Crazy!" A mop bucket was filled, but then kicked over mischievously by Tank Top. The black prisoner remained staring from his cell window with sad and compassionate eyes. Josh's cell door remained closed. The new prisoner approached his cell window, commented that his sink was still gurgling, and said something about Josh being so full of life.
It appeared he was going to be raped after all. Then he heard a stampede of footsteps coming his way.
Let the Beatings Begin
He could feel the footfall of guards running down the hallway to his cell. When they appeared at the window, all were wearing black gloves. They quickly strapped him back into the wheeled restraint chair, and rolled him back into the first drunk tank cell where he had initially spotted the fragments of flesh stuck to the sides of the grate.
Just as quickly as the guards appeared, they all left. Josh was worried. Something bad was going to happen and he feared for his life. He had to free himself fast.
Frantically, Josh began to worm his way out of the arm restraints. He was still naked, so he once again managed to urinate onto the buckles that trapped his wrists with seat belt webbing to make them slippery. The struggle was painful, he was re-aggravating wounds from his initial round of escape attempts, but he was desperate to get free.
Once his hands and wrists were free, the guards rushed back in the room, threw him back in the wheelchair and straps, sprayed mace in his face and then wheeled him to the back side, towards the medical wing, of the central room. It was dark and Josh suspected out of view from surveillance cameras. Then they "dropped me face first onto the cold concrete floor and beat me," he said.
There were five separate occasions of the wheelchair beatings, but each one began with mace being sprayed at point blank into his eyes. Josh recalls matter-of-factly over another sip of beer, "It stung for a while, but I remember thinking it should hurt more. The spray would dribble onto my chest and feel really warm, with an orange citrus scent. I kind of got used to it."
According to Josh, the assaults were brutal, but the pain became rather abstract. At times, he said the guards also choked him and squeezed his testicles.
During the second beating, the Snoop Dogg ghost re-appeared and warned Josh when the guards pummeled him he should shout refrains like, "This is cruel and unlawful punishment!" and "You can't kill me, I am property of the federal government!"
Each time he yelled such statements Josh said the beating would subside and end. The guards repeated the beatings on five separate occasions. Afterwards, they would place his crumpled body back into the restraint chair and wheel him back into another drunk cell. Josh believes that the guards were attempting to "re-film" his prior disruptive stints in the drunk tanks, because the guards thought that he was a local man who knew a secret code. Josh was supposed to have worn off what ever drug he was on, when in fact it was a lack of proper medication that was fueling his rebellious antics.
At one point while restrained in the drunk tank, Josh remembers one guard taking a green gardening hose and shoving it in his mouth for a few seconds while the water was running.
On another occasion, before being taken out for perhaps his 3rd or 4th round of abuse, a white pillow case was placed over his head. Josh feels that the pillowcase was intended to shield his face from the surveillance camera in the ceilings of the temporary holding cells. When the guards were finished and he was rolled into a new drunk cell, Josh describes seeing it streaked with blood leaking from his nose.
He began in earnest to chew on the pillow case into a wad which he then spat out forcibly with the hope of removing the mask. After several tries, he gave up in exhaustion and succumbed to the restraints. It was then that he heard a guard say to another one who was apparently standing there watching him struggle "if he had gotten the pillow case off I would've killed him."
Josh claims to have used his Reiki abilities, or what Josh likes to refer to as "human jumper cable-ism", to "recharge" his body between beatings. He also explains that it was abstractly interesting to experience what it would've felt like to have been beaten to death, intentionally drowned or strangled, but he is clearly grateful to have maintained his place on this "side."
After a few minutes of energetic "rebooting", Joshua resumed his chew/spit efforts to remove the pillowcase from his head. After several attempts he finally succeeds. A few minutes later, the guard who said he was going to kill Joshua was looking furiously through the Plexiglas window of the cell. His life was spared. Josh believes the surveillance cameras saved him.
Finally, after the fifth beating he was placed in a drunk tank cell, pulled from the wheelchair, and placed on the floor with two foam mattresses. He recalls there was frantic commotion outside the cell, because he could feel the pounding feet of the obese prison guards as they ran back and forth in a panic.
Shortly after cocooning himself in his cell, Josh said one guard, whom he recognized as being the oldest among his assailants, stormed into his room wearing a plastic shielded riot helmet and a clear plastic shield that was ringed with electrical charge points. Josh was too weak and terrified to offer resistance. The guard mashed Josh flat on the foam mattress, shackled his ankles and wrists together behind his back, and left him lying on his stomach. The only thing missing was an apple in his mouth and he would've been ready for roasting.
Doolittle recalls hearing the booking officer's voice say, "I thought he was a soldier." He also heard a the click of a camera and glanced up to see a prison guard taking a picture of the small spiral tattooed in the middle of his back.
"He's my brother." was the next voice that he heard. Josh recalled feelings of gratitude that the voice was of his friend Garth who had somehow tracked down his battered body. Josh said, "I knew I was going to be OK when I heard Garth." Josh started yelling "fruit loop, this is badger, I am all right, I am over here" over and over. Meanwhile, Garth could be heard negotiating his release with the guards, his voice echoing off the cinder block walls. It would be a few weeks before Josh realizes that his friend never made it to the jail. His voice was an inner delusion intended perhaps to calm his frazzled nerves. It worked.
Then Josh heard an unfamiliar voice. He looked up to see a portly black uniformed officer. Oddly it seemed he just dropped in for conversation. The visit turned out to be another twist of fate in Josh's bipolar vision quest.
Josh peered up from the floor and could see the name "HOUSTON "inscribed on his badge.
"I think you called for me?" the guard purportedly asked in an uneasy voice. Doolittle explained the guard had apparently been sent to his cell by the other guards. Confused at first, Josh said both men couldn't comprehend why he had been summoned. Josh also doesn't know how Houston had been tipped that Josh had supposedly called him.
Then it dawned on Josh.
Somehow when he had randomly blurted out, "Houston, we have a problem," his tormentors had perhaps mistakenly assumed that Josh was referring to their fellow court house officer "Houston" and thereby alerted his attention.
Or, maybe it was all just a bad cosmic joke sent from the universe to help Cosmic Josh get through a tough moment. Whatever it was, Josh found it "worth a chuckle."
What were the odds? Josh thought. Houston asked Josh if he'd behave himself if he removed the shackles and then after some paperwork, he'd be transported to a psychiatric hospital.
A crazy, accidental misinterpretation of his bipolar ramblings may have saved his life.
Josh agreed, and he was moved back to another cell in the medical wing for an hour or so. The med cell was so heavily air conditioned that Josh claimed he was freezing, and once again sandwiched him self in a foam mattress to stay warm. "I found it humorous at the time that ET phone home' rhymed so nicely with ET Foam Home. I kept saying it in my head over and over. I had no idea what was going on." Josh said.
During his transfer, as Doolittle was leaving the jail facility, he recalls a curious moment when an older woman, with an open notepad and pen was beginning an interview with "Tank Top", the inmate janitor who earlier had described to Josh the rape scene that gratefully never occurred. While he was being escorted by a prison guard to the garage door, he says he overheard her ask him, "Why did you choose to help the alien?"
It was not the first time he heard guards making reference to aliens. While bound in the prison restraint chair he had overheard guards talking loudly about a UFO landing in the backyard of the prison. Later, as he was being escorted out of the prison he would hear one more statement that he believes may have extra-terrestrial overtones. One guard said, referring to Josh, made the statement that Josh "had friends in high places."
Once outside the jail, it wasn't a UFO that appeared. Josh was helped into a min-van where he waited in the back seat for a few minutes. He noticed a group of black police officers were present and the white guards looked very stressed. He was then driven to a psychiatric hospital in Marion, Virginia. Josh would later learn that he broke 3 separate sets of hand cuffs used apparently to keep him attached to the restraint chair when the straps failed.
Upon his arrival, Josh recalls meeting with doctors and the bruises covering his body being photographed with a Polaroid camera. He remembers being led to his room and gratefully taking a hot shower. His legs apparently were so badly beaten that he couldn't stand and crumpled to the bottom of the small shower where he savored the warm rain.
Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2009 by losemindfindsoul
"We're our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves."
Five years later, Josh interprets his incarceration and purported beatings as a small piece of a puzzle that slowly but surely is revealing his spiritual obligations made before incarnating into his current life. "We all make commitments before incarnating back into human form; the challenge is whether or not you have the awareness and courage to follow through" he says.
His friends, however, were more worried. Twice Garth and three other friends made trips to Virginia in hopes of obtaining his release from the psych ward, a place he would remain for 10 weeks.
What Garth saw at the facility, he says, horrified him.
The facility, as Garth describes it, was a "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest kind of place" where patients sat in chairs and drooled on themselves and "one guy beat his head against the wall." Garth admits he has tried unsuccessfully to separate fact from fiction in Josh's story, but he is certain that "something unusual was happening" in that facility, and he had to get him out.
Eventually, after much legal haggling, Josh was released and made it back to upstate New York. While in the hospital he refused to go back on Lithium, which had previously induced the degeneration of the connective tissue in his wrists; a debilitating injury that left Josh unable to rock climb for 4 years.
He appeared to be stabilized on newer bi-polar medications, but was struggling with the haunting effects of his incarceration. The horrific experience took its toll on Josh's psyche. "I felt miserable, like a huge piece of my soul was missing, waiting for me back in Jackson, WY, but there just didn't seem to be any hope of making it back there to retrieve it at the time." Josh says. He claims he spent increasing amounts of time lying in bed, trying to sleep, like a form of escape from his "dismal condition in the bland burbs" of Schenectady, NY.
About three months after returning home, he attempted suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. Fortunately, he awoke his parents the following morning in a discombobulated state and was taken to the local hospital in time. "My body was malfunctioning, was hard to maneuver and I heard whispering voices as I stumbled across my bedroom" he added. "It felt as if there was some sort of discussion going amongst ancestral souls about whether or not I was going to make it."
He had hit the bottom of his downward mental spiral. At the psychiatric ward of Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, NY he agreed to go back on a Lithium regimen. About 2 weeks later he was back in the suburbs, a much brighter person. Lithium is an effective treatment, but Joshua was concerned about suffering further side effects.
Josh regrouped over the summer and at the beginning of September of 03 moved up to the Adirondack Lodge near Lake Placid. He once again joined the "Loj crew" and served meals and cleaned at a hiker's lodge surrounded by the High Peaks region of the ancient Adirondack Mountains. In June he moved to a rustic back country lodge that was 3.5 miles up trail called Johns Brook Lodge.
Soon after the move to the hiker's hide away, Josh claims that he began "shitting blood". Josh said he sensed the drug was damaging his body. That reaction, he now feels, was likely due to contracting Giardia from ceremonially drinking untreated water from a neighboring brook. He drank from the wild stream as an impromptu ritual to symbolize his connection with the landscape.
The gastro-intestinal issues did return to normal after a few days, but Josh felt confident that it was time to phase off of Lithium. A nagging pain was emerging in his hip. He had phased off of Lithium 6 years before and returned to physical health. It seemed reasonable to believe that everything would work out all right. He informed the other 3 members of the Johns Brook lodge crew about his intentions. The "plan" was for them to call his Uncle in nearby Vermont if things got strange. And that's when the Spirit World began talking to him again.
As he went off of his medication, the repressed memories of his ordeal in the Wytheville Jail began surging to the surface. He consulted with a few attorneys about pressing charges against the prison guards, but the advice was always the same. The accusations of someone who was clinically insane at the time of his claims would not be taken seriously in court.
Josh's hope is that this story will inspire further research into his accusations through interviews with witnesses. He is confident that his story is verifiable, but only if the people involved have the courage to come forward and testify.
Working at the maple and pine tree draped lodge in the Adirondacks, Josh began having dreams and flashbacks of past life experiences. Visions of his former selves swept over Josh in waves. He was an alien. He was a Samurai. He was Native American and a Vietnam veteran dying in an intense bombing.
As an American soldier in Vietnam he believes he was killed by mortar shells fired by his own battalion. He remembers his final words from his last lifetime as "the orders are all wrong" which he screamed into a backpack radio. He also claims to have found his former name, which he refrained from telling me, on the Vietnam Memorial during his transcendental trip to D.C..
So strong were these new impressions, that he began crafting stylized Chinese throwing star Frisbees from bolted together bulk food can tops to make a "ninja-frisbee golf course" amongst the forest. Josh also crafted out of cardboard new styles of Samurai swords.
While Joshua's reality continued to blur into his past, he says he could clearly see the intentions of other people's souls. In this state of "hyper awareness," Josh says he could see "the true essence of everything and everyone."
Josh believes there is a connection between his creative capacity and his mental disorder. A growing number of psychologists agree there is a link between manic-depressive disorders and creativity. Over the past few decades, some empirical psychological studies suggest that the "lightning-struck" personalities of people with mood disorders indicate they may have greater levels of creativity. Josh feels that bi-polar people are essentially "bi-dimensional", operating in both tangible and intangible realms.
Doolittle also feels that bi-polar people are faced with the formidable challenge of integrating their highly evolved spiritual nature into their current life. He comments "you must journey inward to grasp who you truly are, and this requires courage. Most people never re-visit their bi-polar blunders. They just try and forget about them, sweep them under the rug and pretend they didn't happen."
"We are still learning, or really just remembering, how to be human" he added.
Aside from those like Earnest Hemingway, a Harvard study from the late 1980s that tested people with and without various mental and emotional disorders found that "significantly higher combined creativity scores among the manic-depressive patients and their normal-degree relatives, than among their control subjects."
Some scientists push the concept a step further, basing their claims on more controversial grounds, and argue that individuals struck with disorders like bi-polar disease are more sensitive to natural universal cycles, and have deeper intuitions.
Josh realizes that commentary surrounding BD can be controversial, but he also believes that BD and the people who suffer from it are still poorly understood and cared for by the mainstream medical community. Further, controversies and disagreements on the nature and treatments of BD don't shake his confidence that his disorder is, in part, a gift enabling him find a stronger connection with his soul. Josh believes that "it makes sense that an older soul would be more prone to rattling the cages of it's current incarnations mind in order to get it's attention."
Again, these theories are still hotly debated and one must be careful not to overstate the case. In helping Josh write his narrative, I told him I was a skeptic in the tradition of Richard Rorty and other pragmatic philosophers. But one cannot dismiss the possibility that the "Cosmic Joshes" of this world may have tapped into a different layer of reality that can't be interpreted in strictly mechanistic terms.
Doolittle's friend Geoff Collins puts it this way: "Josh is the kind of person who experiences this kind of mental high tide, and when the tide goes out to sea, it leaves a watermark on the shore for the rest of us to see."
In his book Breaking Open the Head, author Daniel Pinchbeck explores the connection between ancient shamanic cultures and the use of natural psychedelic plants and compounds. Throughout the book are shamans, tribal people and foreigners who in a sacred, ritual fashion seek to find and experience "the high tide of the mind" in hopes of realizing greater truths about themselves, humanity and the universe.
Josh's medical consultant Kevin Meehan believes that such a quest leads one away from the empirical, scientific model of the universe embraced by the West. And he also believes that Western doctors and philosophers fear that more people will "take the plunge" into a new arena of emerging medicine that integrates ancient Eastern and Indigenous wisdom.
Doolittle believes that experiencing his bi-polar visions gave his life new creative and spiritual direction. First, he credit visions of living in a bamboo forest for spawning his idea and initial design for his Chi Bagoda project. He feels he is merely expressing in a contemporary way an architectural equation that his soul has known from prior lifetimes.
"Like the birds, we build our nests in a circle for they are of the same religion as ours" is a favorite quote from Black Elk describing the Teepee. Josh uses it frequently in support of his circular "neo-indigenous", sustainable housing project. He claims that it was the simplistic design of the Teepee with its rotating form of repetitive structural elements that was the critical catalyst in his "Perma Yurt" design. He feels that they will someday be robotically manufactured to aid in post-disaster rebuilding strategies and provide sustainable and affordable housing for an exponentially expanding global population.
Chi'Bagoda, is a term originally coined to describe his Zen-inspired rock sculptures that he began crafting in the afternoons when working at the John's Brook Lodge. It became an artistic game that could be played in the 2 surrounding brooks overloaded with interesting cobbles. When passing hikers began to ask him what he called his creations of balanced stones, he stumbled upon Chi'bagoda, because he felt that they belonged in the gardens of Buddhist temples commonly know as a Pagoda.
When his bamboo housing vision later unfolded he realized a name was needed to describe them. He borrowed his prior term since he was in a way creating temples, but for people to live in. Further, Josh has, for the past 10 years, studied a 300 year old combat specific Tai Chi form called the Chen Family Set. So, in creating the term for his undertaking, Josh morphed Chi' with pagoda' to become Chi'bagoda.
Josh believes the project is on a revolutionary path. He imagines a global network of intentional Chi'Bagoda communities with medical centers, entertainment and corporate facilities all framed from banded bamboo strip beams. He feels he is creating the architectural support for an emerging "World Tribe". He calls bamboo the "ultimate renaissance material" that can combat global warming while creating affordable, and sustainable homes across the socio-economic spectrum. Housing is after all a universal need.
Outside resources support his claim. Bamboo is listed as the fastest growing plant on Earth. It produces greater biomass and 30 percent more oxygen than hardwood forests per acre. Also, bamboo improves watersheds, prevents erosion, restores soil, provides edible shoots and removes toxins from contaminated soil. And with a tensile strength comparable to steel, and a weight-to-strength ratio surpassing graphite, bamboo is the strongest woody plant on Earth.
The case that Josh makes for the Chi'Bagoda project is directly tied to the shamanistic visions he says were triggered by his bipolar disorder. Those visions, that caused chaos, pain and anguish for himself, also helped shape and create his vision of modern "hunter/gatherer" housing. His crusading passion, he says, is fueled by many of his visions that illustrated Eastern and Native American archetypes and philosophies. "I realized that we need to reconnect with the ancient ways, but from a modern perspective," he explained.
Josh points to an emerging concept referred to as "future/primitive," as he envisions a world where people use technology to build utopic societies without the widespread environmental waste and political corruption that he believes is endemic to developed economic nations like the United States.
Josh states "This social experiment with the isolated nuclear family' has been a complete disaster. We are learning the hard way that the old saying, it takes a village to raise a child' is true. We need to build new villages."
He also believes his cosmic misadventures led to him to find a new drug therapy that could heal his mind without debilitating his body.
Currently, Meehan has Josh taking a relatively new neurotransmitter/amino acid regimen that has effectively replaced Lithium with a non-toxic alternative. It was originally discovered by European researchers running blood analysis of bipolar patients.
The treatment involves taking a carbon chain "hormone-like substance" called Phosphatidyl Choline and an amino acid called DL Phenylanine that essentially recombine in the blood stream to create the weak or missing neurotransmitter in the brain that helps to regulate the signal connections.
Josh committed to this new treatment with trepidation about back in Febuary of 2006 when the degenerative effects of Lithium became unbearable. He claims the pain in his hip became "outrageous."
His family and former psychiatrist felt he was exaggerating and that there was no connection between Lithium and his chronic pain.
Recent MRIs and X-rays, however, have confirmed his claims revealing both bone spurs and arthritis in both hips. His friend Geoff Collins, currently in medical school, was also able to locate research supporting Lithium's negative effects on the body's ability to process calcium, often leaching it out from one's bones.
A Jackson Hole hip specialist, upon reviewing Josh's X-rays, also stated that he had seen similar arthritis problems with former patients who took lithium.
Part of the struggle for people with bi-polar disorder, Josh believes is the stranglehold that the pharmaceutical industry and insurance brokers have on traditional drug research and treatment. "Money drives the way people are diagnosed and treated," he says. Josh estimates that the difference between his current treatment program and the drug regimen his former psychiatrist wanted him to take, Abilifiy, as a Lithium alternative, is over $450 a month.
Both BD treatment regimens are roughly eight years old. The replacement neurotransmitter therapy is based in concrete organic chemistry and logic, like supplying insulin if you are diabetic, but for the brain. Abilify, however, is FDA approved, but no one actually is fully certain as to why it works as a mood stabilizer. There are also potentially harmful side effects as well. Josh has not reported any problems with his current bipolar treatment program.
Part of the awakening that occurred for Josh, he says was his budding awareness and fight to break corporate monopolies on human diseases. Recent lobbying on Capitol Hill by the pharmaceutical industry has led to a new law passed by Congress that seeks to ban over the counter therapies with out a prescription after 2010.
Patents are not available for Josh's treatment. It is now available over-the-counter for roughly $50 per month, because the treatment is an "exact molecular replica of a compounds the body naturally produces," Josh explained. Without potential lucrative patents to boost profit margins, the corporate health care magnates at first ignored the treatment and, are moving to interfere with access.
Josh proclaims, "It is so overwhelmingly obvious that our government health care system is in need of a major overhaul. Simple and affordable solutions exist for all kinds of illnesses but they are not readily accessible to the public. Mainstream medicine in America is really all about making money, not effectively helping people."
Another point Josh stresses is that modern science and psychology often try to minimize the symbolic significance of the bi-polar experience. Josh believes that people stricken with this disorder aren't merely experiencing hallucinations because of cranial faulty wiring. He counters with the possibility that people with bi-polar might be among a chosen few including mystics, shamans, healers, and other existentialists that have been given an invitation by nature into a spiritual portal, a different dimension of reality, that might have something new to teach to the world.
Near the conclusion of Pinchbeck's book he tells the story of a Massachusetts man he befriended that temporarily becomes a Heyoka-a Lakota shaman who lived apart from the tribe, wore womens clothing, and pointed his teepee in the opposite direction. The New Englander in Pinchbeck's book believed, as Josh does, in his bi-polar Vision Quest, that some spiritual entity, or at least his old soul was trying to work through him. His entire Heyoka episode made him wonder: "How many people are in mental institutions because some spiritual entity was trying to work or communicate through them in some way?"
Doolittle believes he is one of those very souls, and part of his hope is that he can be an ambassador to others who suffer from the disease and "help them begin their healing journey" with new biochemical and spiritual awareness. If that inspires people to rethink their perceptions of bi-polar disorder and their understanding of the human experience, then maybe, he hopes, his story is not in vain.
Sources: Alternative Medicine Review, "Bipolar Disorder As Cell Membrane Dysfunction. Progress Toward Integrative Management," Parris M. Kidd Ph.D.
Touched With Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, Kay Redfield Jamison.
Andrew Wyatt is a freelance writer and photographer.
His photography can be seen at http://andrewwyattphoto.com/
Joshua Doolittle can be contacted at
A profile page:
Bamboo housing project site: