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The Day I Thought I Was Going Crazy

As a baby boomer, Denise and millions of others are becoming senior citizens. She explores what it means to be over 60 today.

Me at 24

Me at 24

Schizophrenic, Sleepwalking, or Demented

Have you ever thought you were going crazy? Did someone ever swear you were somewhere you knew you couldn’t be? Ever have strange dreams and awaken wondering if it had been real? That happened to me.

I was newly divorced, 24, with 2 little preschool girls to raise. I had changed my married name back to my maiden name: Denise Scott. The trauma of the divorce was still fresh. And then the strange phone calls began. It all started one evening after I had put the girls to bed. A man phoned my home and seemed to know me, but his voice was unfamiliar to me. He said he had a good time with me the night before. He said he wanted to get to know me better. I still couldn’t place his voice. Finally, I asked his name. He seemed offended that I had to ask and told me his name was Jim. Well, I didn’t remember ever knowing a Jim, so I told him he had the wrong number.

He proceeded to tell me my full name and even my hair color and eye color. Suddenly I was filled with a terrible foreboding. What’s going on? It was a Twilight Zone moment. I asked how he knew me. Again, he was offended and proceeded to tell me about the wonderful time we had at some bar named the Star Pub. It sounded so fake, but he was so sure. Am I being scammed? He said I danced with him, and he bought me drinks. I hate alcohol. He had to be mistaken. Could someone else look that like me and have my name too. It seemed unlikely. I had been lonely lately. Had I been sleepwalking? Each night I put my girls to bed and then donned another persona to leave the house and go drinking and dancing? I began to fear for my own sanity.

All that night, I wondered if I had gone through some sort of schizophrenic episode. Am I going crazy? I looked it up in the phone book and there was a Star Pub. Do I have a doppelganger? It doesn’t seem likely. Do I have another life while the girls are sleeping? One where I go drinking? I was horrified. I tried to put the strange Jim out of my mind. It wasn’t easy but the girls were enough of a distraction that it was possible, at least for a while.

“Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.”

— ― George Carlin, When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?

Me at 24

Me at 24

Later

It was less than a week later when Jim called again. He wanted to meet me at the Star Pub for an evening of drinks and dancing. Okay, I admit I was lonely and companionship was tempting. I admit that I was pretty sure I was undesirable because now I was divorced with two little girls, so his offer sounded somewhat like a huge compliment. But my feet were still planted on the ground knowing I couldn’t just drive off and leave my little toddlers sleeping all alone. Naturally, I turned Jim down and again assured him that I didn’t know him. Then I asked him how he got my number and he admitted that I didn’t give it to him. He looked it up in the phone book. That settles it. Whatever it cost, I was resolved to make my number unlisted.

Me with my 2 little girls

Me with my 2 little girls

The Bills Arrived

I thought things were going to settle down and my schizophrenic side life was almost forgotten when I started receiving bills in the mail for things that I know I didn’t buy. They were things like spike-heeled boots and lace stockings. I can’t wear boots. This can’t be my bill. The next bill was for a ball gown. I sew all my own clothes. I would never buy a ball gown for any reason. I even sewed my own wedding gown. This can’t be my bill, can it? I was wondering again if I got up in the night and went shopping for things I don’t usually buy. Sure, we lived a pretty hand-to-mouth existence lately and the idea of shopping for anything sounded like a dream. Was it a dream? Did I sleep-shop? Am I losing my memory as well as my mind? I called the companies and assured them they somehow had the wrong party because I didn’t buy these things, nor did I deserve these bills. Those were the good-ol’ days when you could call a company and speak with an actual person. They accepted my assurance, but it could have gone very badly for me if they hadn’t. There were several bills over about 6 months, totaling thousands of dollars.

Me with the girls

Me with the girls

Many people say, “Who's my doppelganger?” when maybe / they should ask, “Whose doppelganger am I?”

— Carson Cistulli

Finally, Vindication

A month later, I received a phone call from Denise Scott. Yes. There were two of us in my town. She got my number from the phone book and asked if I had been receiving her mail, which I had. Thank goodness that was cleared up because I wasn’t sure I wasn’t really crazy by that time. She told me her name was Darlene Denise Scott, but she liked to use her middle name. She said her number was unlisted. I begged her to please use her first name to clear up the problems and that’s when she told me she was getting married in a couple of months and then she would have a different last name.

Good. Now I can breathe again.

Same Name

Since then, I have discovered that several people have my name. I have a new married name but even so, I am friends with two people on Facebook with the same name as me. One is a teacher, one is a medical professional, and I am an artist. I can laugh now but back then it was very terrifying. I figured the best thing to do for my own sanity was to search and find all the people with my name and then I won’t be surprised when they turn up.

Me at Christmas

Me at Christmas

“Sometimes we become our own doppelgangers… We still look the same but behave like someone else…

— Suraj Mulani

Final Thoughts

Have you ever had a real-life Twilight Zone moment like this? Has anyone ever claimed to know you for someplace or some event you know you were never at? Are there really doppelgangers for all of us out there somewhere? I’d love to read your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 23, 2021:

Peggy Woods,

Isn't that interesting? It makes life a bit of a mystery and that's fun after all. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 22, 2021:

I am glad the mystery was cleared up for you. It must have been frustrating and a bit scary at the time. I must have several people out there with similar faces. On vacation several times, I have had people approach me who thought that I was someone they knew.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 22, 2021:

BRENDA ARLEDGE,

How fun that must have been! Yes, my experience was spooky. It is interesting that I haven't shared the experience with anyone until now. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 22, 2021:

John Hansen,

Oh, that is interesting! What would it be like to be face to face with your doppelganger? Thanks for sharing that and for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 22, 2021:

Devika Primić,

You are so kind. I don't think of myself as courageous. I'm often chastising myself for not having more courage. I'm glad you think I am though. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 22, 2021:

Hi, Denise thank you for sharing your life experiences here. Sounds like your adventures have been challenging and so interesting to know how you coped with such an experience. Just sharing this makes me know you are courageous.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 22, 2021:

Wow, that certainly would have anyone questioning their sanity. I am glad you were contacted by the other Denise Scott to clear things up.

I was once visiting my grandmother (as a teenager) and she asked me to buy something from the corner store. Another boy about the same age approached me and he greeted me by a different name and asked if I had moved back to the area etc. Eventually, I convinced him I wasn't the friend he had me confused with. Two other people have since told me they are sure I have a doppleganger. Thank you for sharing.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 21, 2021:

Denise

Wow! That would have spooked me too.

The phone calls from Jim & the merchandise you supposedly purchased certainly makes you wonder.

I'm glad it was an easy mistake and you found out before it drove you mad.

I can't recall anything like this except for a twin I met at church camp.

We had alot of fun fooling people that one week, but I knew about it.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 21, 2021:

Heidi Thorne,

Yes, it was a real-life thriller year for me. I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on October 21, 2021:

Well, that's scary! Sounds like the basis for some sort of suspense/thriller book. And for spooky season which is in high gear, it's a great story. Glad you found out what was really going on so you could move forward. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life with us!

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 21, 2021:

Patricia,

I certainly appreciate you going through the effort of emailing me just to leave a comment. I'm very glad it turned out as it did too. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 21, 2021:

From Patricia Scott,

I just read "....thought I was going crazy". That must have been quite disconcerting to say the least. So glad it turned out as it did. Commenting here as am unable to do so otherwise.

Angels are headed your way. ps

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 21, 2021:

Chitrangada Sharan,

It was a suspense story for me. I'm glad it came off that way. Sometimes while writing a story, it doesn't have the same impact as the original event. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 21, 2021:

Hello Denise!

This was an engaging and interesting read. The end was a surprise for me.

You narrated it so beautifully, just like a suspense story.

Love your pictures and your kids look cute.

Thank you for sharing!

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 20, 2021:

Rosina S Khan,

I'm glad you liked my little experience. It sounds a bit like one of your fiction pieces about someone else and not about a real-life event. I was very terrified that I wasn't in my right mind. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 20, 2021:

Pamela Oglesby,

Yes, I was fairly freaked out. I never told anyone about it because I had begun to think no one would believe I was in my right mind. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 20, 2021:

Manjah Zakaria,

Thank you. I wish I had better pictures of those days. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 20, 2021:

Mary,

I'm not sure I did handle it well. If I'd been more confident in myself and my own mind, I never would have doubted for a moment. But obviously, my self-confidence had been pretty beaten down by then. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 20, 2021:

Bill,

That's funny because I would have thought you had a common name where that sort of thing could have happened numerous times. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

That would be incredibly frustrating and yes, scary! I can't imagine what you went through, but I have no doubt you did question your sanity. Thank God you got to the bottom of that mystery.

Nothing even close to that has happened to me, thank goodness.

Blessings to you always

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 20, 2021:

I find that terrifying, too. I don’t think I have ever experienced such. To think that you were on your own with two kids. Thank goodness you handled that well.

manjah zakaria from marrakech on October 20, 2021:

Thank you for sharing with us, and I like your pictures.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 20, 2021:

I have never had an experience like you described, Denise. I don't want one either! Receiving bills for things you didn't buy and getting phone calls from someone you supposedly danced with is freaky. I like your pictures.

Rosina S Khan on October 20, 2021:

Denise, you present us with an interesting episode of your life where somebody else had the same maiden name as yours and all the confusion and miscommunication that arose from it.

I don't remember being in such a position in real life but I have seen there are several women with my name without my middle initial S on the web. Even I have seen women having the same name as S stands for that is, Surovi. Only a few years earlier I was happy my name was unique and uncommon! Haha!

Thank you for sharing your enthralling and intriguing experience. Enjoyed it a lot.

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