J W Johnston • Photography


14 -18


Francisco is paralyzed with acute psychosis caused by his use of meth. He covered all the windows with blankets so that nobody could see in (there is no possible line of sight for any of the windows he covered). He is unhappy and angry at me for taking photos. He has a knife in his hand and his mental state seems over the edge so I stop. He believes the voice he hears is real. All morning he has been yelling back at the voice. He shouts: “This is the United States, not Mexico. We have laws.” I keep telling him not to believe the voice, that this person is not real and that the acute psychosis will go away when the drug wears off.  The apartment of the person who is “talking” to him faces our back yard so we move to my room which is two rooms from the back of the house. I ask him if he can still hear him now, in this room. He says “Yes, he is talking about you. He is saying ‘The old man [meaning me] can’t hear anything. He is deaf’.” When I reaffirm that nobody is talking, he says “When you are around he stops talking.”


He called from the corner store two nights ago thinking that a neighbor wanted to kidnap and kill one of our dogs. For the last two nights, he moved his futon to the floor of my bedroom insisting that I keep the door locked. He moved back in his room at three am but woke me an hour later telling me he needed me to get up and stay with him because of what the voices were saying. Later in the day, Francisco thanks me profusely for staying with him during this crisis. The voices and paranoia do not subside to a tolerable level for another day, almost five days after taking the drug.