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Continued: Trapped in his own 'Truman Show'

  • Article by: LORI BASHEDA , Orange County Register
  • Last update: November 2, 2013 - 6:18 PM

Lotz’s parents sent him to rehab. “I thought [rehab] was all part of the show,” Lotz says. “Like, ‘Lotz goes to rehab!’ ”

One day a nurse in the facility told the patients: “You know we’re all watching you, right?”

Of course they were. Wink. Wink.

One day the voices told him to run a marathon. He drove all over town to map out a 26.2 mile route, then went back and hid water bottles in bushes. He ran the route alone. No one cheered, except of course for the fans watching on TV.

It was exhausting. He wanted off the show, but how?

His mom knew something wasn’t right with her son, a band kid in high school with high grades. But he would just blow her off like teens sometimes do. You’re off script, mom. She never imagined he was being literal.

A year and a half after Lotz got the memo that he was on TV, he moved to Hermosa Beach, Calif., to live with his dad. He was emotionally drained. He began writing to celebrities for help.

Quentin Tarantino. Lorne Michaels. Rob Lowe.

“I tried to get my mind back,” he says.

Only one celeb responded: Emma Watson. It was a form letter thanking him for being a fan.

Lotz’s mom went online and found Dr. Stephen Marder, head of the psychosis unit at UCLA Medical Center. Marder diagnosed Lotz with Persecutory Delusional Disorder. An antipsychotic was prescribed.

Every night, his dad watched Lotz swallow the pill, making sure he didn’t hide it under his tongue. After a few months, the voices began to fade. And as they grew quieter they became nicer, less demanding. “The plot is winding down,” Lotz thought.

Every morning he would wake up and wait, apprehensively. “I knew they were going away, would this be the day?”

And one day it was: Nov. 10, 2010. “It was just silence. And it was beautiful.”

The following spring, Lotz contacted Joel Gold, a psychiatrist at New York University Bellevue Hospital. Gold believes the Truman Show Delusion is not a new mental illness, but the latest twist.

Delusions have been around a long time; people fill in the details depending on their culture and era. If this had happened in the 1960s, Lotz might have thought the Russians were controlling his brain with satellites. In the ’70s, his delusion might have included the CIA and dental fillings.

Today, Lotz is affable and open to sharing his story. He is studying Chinese at Cal State Long Beach where he DJs a campus radio program. And he’s writing a book about what happened to him.

He hopes that speaking out will encourage others struggling to shush the voices in their heads to get help and not be ashamed. “There is hope,” he said. “You can come out the other end.”

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  • Nick Lotz, who hopes to help others, thought that even his stint in rehab and his marathon race were part of a reality TV show.

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