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The Globe and Mail

A young man with schizophrenia, in his own words

Christopher (Kit) Skelly died on March 9, 2013. He had schizophrenia.

After Kit Skelly died, his family found this story among his writings. His younger sister, Robyn, read part of it in her eulogy at his memorial on March 13, 2013.

It was one of those days, everything was getting truly bizarre. The birds were talking to me as I walked down the street.

"Hey! Hey you, buddy" one chirped and I looked toward where the sound was coming from. I imagined that there must be some kind of speaker that had been planted up in the tree, for the sole purpose of pranking passersby. However, the only thing I could see in the tree was a bird and it continued to chirp out words.

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"Made you look you idiot. What's wrong? Cat got your tongue? Speak up!"

I refused to speak, but kept walking down the road and as far down the road I walked other birds joined in the fun, calling me insulting names and trying to get my attention. A few birds shouted, well chirped loudly, at the other birds telling them to stop and often greeted me as I walked by, politely telling me what a wonderful day it was. I decided that not all birds were bad, but most were hecklers that whiled away their day being rude to as many other animals as possible. What a life.

Ever since I had moved into a homeless shelter, my life was filled with events like these, so I had grown used to the bizarre circumstances that came my way. This is where the story begins, because I believe it was when the birds started speaking to me that the true onset of atypical occurrences began. In other words, the birds were just the beginning. Soon enough, various voices made their way into my mind and settled there like it belonged to them to begin with. They started their act when I went to bed that very night. Once the snores of the other people staying in the shelter began, one voice could be heard in the snoring sounds of a fellow homeless person. With every snore a sentence was completed and I lay awake hearing its story.

Supposedly, the person snoring's name was Ian and he was an alien that could read my mind using an implanted radio that was in his brain. It cost him $8,000 and he had to buy it and have it installed on the alien black market. What he continued to tell me was that he had been watching me and knew who I was, as well as what I was about and it was obvious that I deserved a radio too.

So on the snoring went to say that if I was able to scrounge up $8,000 then I would be able to get a radio too and be able to read other peoples minds. He told me he was telling me this in confidence, and to prove his ability he told me he was going to draw a character of Mario from the video game in my brain. I promptly saw a Mario in my imagination and although it was all very convincing, I could tell by his tone that he was just messing with me. It was obvious that this alien enjoyed spending his time convincing others that they could purchase mind-reading technology for a measly $8,000. So I spoke back using my imagination and told him I didn't believe him and that he couldn't screw with me.

The snoring replied: "Well ain't that a son of a gun, a talking pear," and he refused to snore-talk to me again.

I was victorious, and now I knew that aliens were the source of the confusion in my life and I was determined to keep on top of the situation. The next morning, I confronted him outside and asked if his name was Ian. He denied it and I didn't bother pushing any further since I wasn't quite sure if he knew he had been possessed the night before. It was clear to me though that with the birds talking to me and people reading my mind that I was on to something big. The next day, the birds continued to talk and I decided to try speaking back. The end result was that I scared the shit out of a bird that didn't know I could understand what he was saying. At the time he was telling another bird about the perfect piece of fluff he had found when I spoke up, asking him where he got it from. Immediately, the bird pooped and asked the other bird if he had heard what I said. Then he started yelling at me as I walked away saying "You, you come back here, you can understand me?"

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I stopped and walked back to the bird.

"Ya I can understand you."

"Holy shit a talking pear!" It said and then started laughing, or what came close to a laugh, in bird sounds and kept talking to its friend while I, being a bit in shock, walked away. It seemed they were in cahoots, this Ian and the bird and possibly everybody for that matter. I began to feel anxious as the people I passed by on the street kept saying crazy every time I walked past. Finally, I found myself in a library on a computer and this time it was the tapping of other peoples keyboards that started speaking to me. It sounded as if everyone else in the library was having secret conversations just by using the clacking sound of their fingers on the keys to express themselves. I sat and listened to the various conversations before leaving feeling excluded at what was obviously a secret society of people with the ability to read minds.

I later went to the docks to clear my head but it wasn't going to happen. An old man sitting on a bench nearby and I could hear him muttering.

"Look, we're just fucking with you. It happens to everyone. Its just too bad you don't have any friends to tell you. I'll tell you something ,though, its an age thing, everybody who grows to a certain age is let in on it. Of course, some find out about it earlier but most learn about it from their parents when they're older its just too bad for you your parents hate you."

By now the man's voice had grown louder and he was looking right at me. I decided not to respond but instead laughed and skipped away. I was completely confused but I didn't want to believe what was being said to me and I was sure that as soon as I asked him what he was talking about he'd just do the same thing as Ian and pretend to not know anything. So I pondered on about what was going on and decided it must be a brain implant like the one Ian was talking about. It must've been put there at birth and I just didn't find out about it like most people supposedly did.

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I was out of the loop and I didn't even know how to address the problem. It seemed like I was all alone in the matter until another voice came into the equation. It happened later that night when a voice suddenly told me to go jump in the lake. I couldn't see anybody around but the being continued to talk to me for the next three years. It began by saying that I was about to die and that somebody else would replace my mind. I stayed up all night tossing and turning as this other being introduced himself and said that he would be taking over my mind from then on because he was promoted to the controller of my mind. I begged him not to and got extremely worked up when all of a sudden a huge change came over me and suddenly the walls were coated with words written all over them and I felt completely different.

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