A few weeks ago my house was broken into, and at first I thought they only took my TV and some petty cash. I was fine with it, too, until I noticed there was something else missing.

I don't know when I really noticed it at first, but it must have started right away. They must have stolen my identity. I don't mean they took my credit cards or social security number. I mean my sense of self was completely gone. I still knew my name, I remembered everything, but a crucial element was gone. I could no longer answer the question "who am I?"

I managed to hold on to some semblance of identity for a while. I defined myself by things I did, things I liked. Mostly I anchored myself to my girlfriend, who has always been a source of stability. And she was gracious enough not to ask any questions if I seemed a little strange, or if I seemed needy. We talked about everything but what was important.

This lasted all of about a week. Then the paranoia crept in. Did she know something I didn't? Is that why she didn't ask me about it? Or, worse, did she not notice at all? Could she not tell when I'd lost something so crucial to myself? I started asking leading questions about the break-in, and I couldn't figure anything out from her answers. A week later I cut off all contact with her--with everyone--without any warning, withdrew to my room, put up blackout curtains. I emerged only at night to buy food.

I ran into her at the store last night. She looked at me as if she was frightened. "I've been trying to call," she said. "I'm worried about you." I dropped the items I was carrying and left without a word.

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