ABC News reports that some QAnon adherents “are turning to therapy and online support groups to talk about the damage done when beliefs collide with reality,” including Ceally Smith, a working single mom in Kansas City:
“We as a society need to start teaching our kids to ask: Where is this information coming from? Can I trust it?” she said. “Anyone can cut and paste anything.” After a year, Smith wanted out, suffocated by dark prophesies that were taking up more and more of her time, leaving her terrified….
Another ex-believer, Jitarth Jadeja, now moderates a Reddit forum called QAnon Casualties to help others like him, as well as the relatives of people still consumed by the theory. Membership has doubled in recent weeks to more than 119,000 members. Three new moderators had to be added just to keep up. “They are our friends and family,” said Jadeja, of Sydney, Australia. “It’s not about who is right or who is wrong. I’m here to preach empathy, for the normal people, the good people who got brainwashed by this death cult.” His advice to those fleeing QAnon? Get off social media, take deep breaths, and pour that energy and internet time into local volunteering.
Michael Frink is a Mississippi computer engineer who helps administer a QAnon recovery channel on the social media platform Telegram. He said that while mocking the group has never been more popular online, it will only further alienate people. Frink said he never believed in the QAnon theory but sympathizes with those who did. “I think after the inauguration a lot of them realized they’ve been taken for a ride,” he said.
The New York Times tells the story of one Bernie Sanders supporter who entered — and then exited — the QAnon movement:
Those who do leave are often filled with shame. Sometimes their addiction was so severe that they have become estranged from family and friends… “We felt we were coming from a place of moral superiority. We were part of a special club.” Meanwhile, her family was eating takeout all the time since she had stopped cooking and her stress levels had shot up, causing her blood pressure medication to stop working. Her doctor, worried, doubled her dose…
When she first left QAnon, she felt a lot of shame and guilt. It was also humbling: Ms. Perron, who has a master’s degree, had looked down on Scientologists as people who believed crazy things. But there she was…
She agreed to speak for this article to help others who are still in the throes of QAnon.
And CNN reporter Anderson Cooper recently interviewed a recovering QAnon supporter, who tells him there were many theories about Cooper, including one that said he was actually a robot. The embarrassed former QAnon supporter admits that he had once believed that the people behind Q “were actually a group of 5th dimensional, intra-dimensional, extraterrestrial bi-pedal bird aliens called blue avians.”
During that interview, he also tells Anderson Cooper, “I apologize for thinking that you ate babies.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.