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I Sought a Psychic For a Second Opinion on Paranoia

Was I paranoid, or was I being haunted? Maybe both.

In February of 2019, inexplicable things began happening to me.

That strange winter, I began seeing apparitions of shadows in my bedroom. Since I’d occasionally had nightmares about Shadow People throughout stressful times in my life, I assumed that the silhouettes were just part of my dreams being carried over into my waking state and brushed these sightings off fairly easily. I simply began sleeping with my bedroom door open to allow the family cat to come inside and keep me company as a solution.

To my dismay, the shadowy figures were only the beginning of my problems.

As I settled into bed one night, pressure began shifting on my mattress. The blankets began moving on their own, and I felt what could only be described as blood curdling fear as it felt as though something was touching me. The thick collection of hair at the line of my bangs began to move on their own as though being combed over by touch.

After these odd occurrences became the norm for a few weeks, I became increasingly afraid to go to bed at night and prayed from the moment I turned my lights out until the second I fell asleep. I even went so far as to communicate my fear out loud, firmly instructing any lingering spirits to leave me alone and not touch me. I didn’t know if I really believed in ghosts, so “talking” to spirits felt incredibly silly to me, but I was desperate for peace after what had now become weeks of seeing and feeling inexplicable phenomena.

Since I have been formally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I kept a very open mind about the fact that I may have been experiencing paranoia. It’s a well-known symptom of my illness. I opted to tell my psychiatrist and therapist about my anxieties and especially my issues with sleep, and was provided with the steadfast advice to keep taking my medication as prescribed. I was provided with additional medication, but this didn’t stop the chilling feeling that eyes were following me every time I set foot in my childhood home.

By April, I’d begun spending half of my nights at my boyfriend’s house. We’d just met in February, so in an effort not to move too fast, I fought the romance a bit and still slept at my parents’ house fairly regularly. At this point, my old bedroom was vacant except for some of my belongings because my intense fear of the house led to sleeping exclusively on the couch until I formally moved out soon after in June.

Sleeping on the couch seemed like a solid solution for my sleep anxiety because both of my two sisters were night owls who’d stay up together in the living room to watch movies until about 1 a.m. Since I typically turned in for the night around 9, it eased me to have them around and to be lulled by their chatter as I fell asleep.

Once again, the assumption that this would fix my problems proved to be a gullible one. Distorted voices began waking me up in my sleep on a nightly basis.

The final straw was the night where I woke up to the startling sound of a man shouting at me to “look at me”. Without changing out of my pajamas or washing my face, I jolted off the couch, collected my keys and purse, and literally ran out of the house. It wasn’t even 4 a.m. yet, but I needed to get out.

I didn’t know where else to go, so I drove to my favorite bagel shop and waited a whole hour for them to open. As I sat in my car, I explored articles and blog posts about paranormal activity, and finally typed “Long Island psychics” into a search engine.

There was no going back to sleep. As the day went on and it grew to be a reasonable hour, I called the phone number to a well-reviewed psychic named Dawn Joly. Her business was only about 30 minutes away from my home, and I needed someone to either confirm or debunk the frightening experiences that had robbed me of sleep for months.

I made an appointment with the psychic, cancelled it, and then made another appointment, so I didn’t find myself in Dawn’s office until weeks after I’d initially called. I felt very silly for putting so much stock in the idea that I was being haunted, and not knowing what to expect from a psychic medium made me nervous, too.

Dawn has an incredibly warm and comforting smile. When she greeted me out of the waiting room to come into her office, I immediately began describing that I had felt strange presences around me, but was careful to avoid giving out too many details. I wanted to see what she’d say without hearing too much from my mouth.

“They’ve been touching you, haven’t they?” She asked. Without hesitation, she began to describe exactly what had been happening to me in flawless detail. She knew where my room was positioned in my parents’ home (first room to the left up the stairs), that the walls of the room were purple, and that sleeping in the living room hadn’t eased the situation in the slightest.

“You have some bad books in the house,” she said. “Witchcraft and writings about demons are only going to make things worse.” While I’d kept some of Aleister Crowley’s texts and H. P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon around because I found it interesting, this information led to me immediately getting rid of these books.

Despite these things, Dawn was delighted to describe me and announce that I had “good energy” about me. She went to great lengths to assure me that even though I was afraid, the spirits who had been reaching out to me meant no harm.

“You attract them,” she smiled, “some people do.” After explaining that there was nothing wrong with attracting the paranormal and that these experiences were literally how she made a living, she strongly encouraged me to begin harnessing my empath qualities. She gave me a piece of paper with a non-denominational prayer on it and a bundle of sage with instructions for smudging my home.

Dawn and I talked about a lot of different things as she announced specific dates and names that did in fact have significance in my life. Oddly enough, she knew about my strange family situation involving my nonna, who had recently relocated from Hauppauge, Long Island back to her hometown in Sicily. My nonna had been feuding with my mother for years, and Dawn told me all about it. She claimed that my maternal great grandmother — who died long before I existed — had messages for my family relating to this mess.

What shocked me more than anything about our meeting was the way in which she thoroughly informed me of my spirit guide. For a long time, I’d sensed that my paternal grandfather had a presence in my life, but what Dawn told me about him ultimately confirmed my once iffy beliefs. It was nearing the end of our session, but she urged me to hear her out on one more thing.

She said that my grandfather felt guilt and remorse for the sexual abuse that I’d faced when spending time at my grandmother’s home — the house he built — and wanted me to know that he was watching over me.

I cannot begin to express how deeply and troublingly emotional it was for me to hear these things. This was long before a time where I wrote articles about my trauma on Medium in my quest to pen effective self-help. There was no way that Dawn could have known these things about my life from the internet or from searching my cell phone number — these things were just far too personal.

As I made my way out of her office and got into my car, I began sobbing.

Since moving out from my parents’ home, I’ve only felt those odd presences I’d describe as paranormal very occasionally. Still, I put down the books about demonology and have continued on a highly determined quest to figure out what my faith is. Even though I don’t entirely know what to put stock in, I do have faith in the idea that God exists and generally don’t trouble myself too much to conform to any specific religion. I engage in mindfully humble prayers and generally try and stay away from “dark” things.

I’m urged to talk about these things after a week of strange occurrences much like those I described of the winter of 2019. I’ve actually been so shaken up that I made another appointment with Dawn to finally follow up a year and a half after meeting her.

Am I just a paranoid person? I don’t think so. Nonetheless, I’m not about to stop taking my psychiatrist’s prescriptions anytime soon. As for there being an “other side”, I think it’s safe to say that I’m a believer. I’ve a place in my mind for modern mental health remedies but a place for ghosts, too.

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I write about all kinds of human experiences big and small.

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