Beyond the Atmosphere

Since she was a kid, Vivian Conan has lived inside a mysterious alternate world that she calls the atmosphere. It’s filled with people from her life, but in this reality, they are perfect in every way — all-loving and all-knowing. 

As Vivian grows up, the atmosphere starts blocking out her real-life relationships. She spends decades searching for a diagnosis, until finally, something clicks. Her unorthodox treatment involves a weekly toast ritual, hellos and goodbyes and an immaculately organized bookshelf.

This episode of “Illusory” was reported by Nick Gallagher and produced and scored by Max Balton. Our editor is Kalli Anderson. Additional sounds were gathered via Read more about Vivian’s life in her memoir, here.