Soon, Smith was spending more time on fringe websites and on social media, reading and posting about the conspiracy theory. She said she fell for QAnon content that presented no evidence, no counter arguments, and yet was all too convincing.

“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.

Her then-boyfriend saw her decision to move on from QAnon as a betrayal. She said she no longer believes in the theory, and wanted to share her story in the hopes it would help others.

“I was one of those people too,” she said of QAnon and its grip. “I came out on the other end because I wanted to feel better.”