The Manic Me

May 7, 2009
By Anonymous

It all begins with a lucid dream I had…I was walking up to my high school’s football field as all of the school stood in the bleachers waiting for me but I had come up from behind to where the cheerleaders and dance team were. I remember one girl yelling, “Hey Scott!” from the bleachers and then another girl saying, “Look, smile!” A third girl had run up to me to take a picture of me with her camera. Before she did, I looked to my left and saw my girlfriend and she said hi to me very excitedly and my body filled with warm joy and excitement. It was a rush. Quickly I looked back to the camera and smiled. The flash blinded me for an instant and within that half a second I had realized that I was in fact dreaming. When I looked back to my girlfriend I realized she was actually now my ex-girlfriend. A dark wave of depression swarmed my insides. Once lucid I realized she had just broken up with me a few days before. At that moment I wished to die. And I did. My body, my soul started to fall down to the grass but fell through to an abyss of brief darkness to which I then woke up to my body feeling dead as I was sprawled out on my basement couch. This dream, I believe, is what induced my month-long episode of mania.

The week before this dream I had been suffering greatly from depression. I had been very sick for almost a month with bronchitis and congestion. I eventually tested positive for mononucleosis after a painful trip to the ER resulted in a blood test. I had been in excruciating pain for days because of a severe sore throat. The pain was unbearable. I couldn’t sleep or eat. The pain had been radiating into my jaw and my tongue. I was absolutely miserable. When I told my girlfriend that I had mono her response to me via text was “…” Dot, dot, dot. It didn’t make her too happy with me I guess. She broke up with me 3 days later. What a witch right? Yes, but I loved her and could not get over her. This was the main reason for my depression. I was lonely and ill. Distraught, I was on the verge of losing my sanity. I did soon thereafter.

During this same week, my best friend of 12 years told me he was going to be sent away to a residential hospital for 4-5 months with contact only through letters. So, I lost my girlfriend, best friend, and physical health within one week. Mono of course made me miss school for a month so I also lost my chance for an advanced diploma. I was about to lose my future. These events caused me to lose everything I loved. I cherish all memories before this point because after these events I lost yet another item of mine, my mind.

I might as well have been on acid for 30 days. I was hallucinating. I was hearing voices. My writings appear to be schizophrenic. I spent all my money in one week, an entire grand wasted. I could see TV in 3-D, I thought I could walk on water, I thought I could time travel, and I thought I would be able to fly. Very late in my episode I truly believed that I was the second coming of Jesus Christ and that I was going to save the world. These are some of the things at the top of my head that I remember doing. I don’t remember much. This might sound unrealistic but I assure you I believed these things 100%. I was convinced I was a super being, a super hero. I spent days upon days trying to time travel. It felt like being in a movie. It was like being high on life. I was manic. I know it’s hard to believe, but all of these things became my passions. I felt destined to acquire these abilities and my explanation for everything was that I was stuck in a dream. I woke up that day believing I was still in a lucid dream. And for the next 30 days I lived like it.

The first thing I remember doing is taking 3-D glasses, a toilet paper roll, and my Ipod and getting euphoric off staring at the rainbow that appeared when I looked through the 3-D eye tube I had made. I then lay on the ground for several hours staring at the ceiling light as I tried different combinations of going cross-eyed. I got high off going cross-eyed over 100 times. Even today going cross-eyed still fascinates me. At one point I was in a parking garage and when I went cross-eyed, I hallucinated a yellowish grass field around my car with a blue sky. Another significant hallucination I had was when I watched TV. I would see everything in 3-D, even cartoons and pictures too on LCD screens. I remember going to the mall and being astounded that the weatherman was popping out of the screen as I walked by. One thing I tried to do many times was making water appear on my glasses using my eyes. I would also try to bend light and melt water bottles. I spent a lot of my time on my deck just staring into the sun and smoking cigarettes. I got very addicted to cigarettes during this time, a pack day and now I can’t quit.

One day I went to school during my manic episode and I ended up writing a 25 page hand-written essay on why one equals zero, 1=0. I called this the equation of faith. I believed that numbers were all limits and that language was not capable of ever representing the concept of infinity properly. To me infinity is a belief, not a number. I believed that I had broken a barrier into the spiritual realm by proving 1=0. This was another explanation I gave to myself for why I was feeling these new feelings. I believed that I had crossed over.

To be mentally insane temporarily and then going back to normal is called the slip back into reality. This occurred when my psychologist and psychiatrist convinced me that I was not in a dream. I didn’t believe them for a while until one day it hit me. I then became depressed again for a week or so, but then back to hypomanic. This is when I was diagnosed bipolar. Within a year I had been diagnosed with anxiety disorders like panic disorder and OCD and then I was diagnosed ADHD. I am currently on 6 different prescribed medications yet I still have minor panic attacks every day and I struggle with ADHD constantly.

Each medication I’ve tried or am on currently has been a drug experience for me. Zoloft was the first prescribed medication given to me for my anxiety problems. It took 2 weeks to kick in but I remember being at work when I felt a buzzing feel for no apparent reason. I felt it again the next day and that’s when I realized that I also felt more confident and relaxed. I became high on life for weeks following because of my new found level of happiness from the Zoloft. As I built a tolerance for it and got used to it my prescription went from 20 mg to 50 mg to 100 mg. At that amount the drug started to have negative effects on me. I had mild to severe night sweats almost every night for 1-2 months. I also acquired anorexia nervosa which led to my losing 15 pounds and I puked in my backyard almost every night. I was skinny and unhealthy looking. After my doctors put me down to 75 mg of Zoloft I started to reverse the damage. I never gained the weight back because at that that time I was diagnosed with ADHD and was put on adderall. I was having major problems with sitting still for a long time. I was squirming all the time in my chair and everyone that’s had a class with me knows I bounce my legs during class from start to finish. My problem with my legs is now possibly a neurological movement disorder. By some it’s simply called “sewing machine legs.” So, they put me on 20 mg of adderall which later became 30 mg. I noticed the buzz the first days I tried it. It caused me to do my AP English homework for the first time in months and I would actually do my Spanish homework on adderall. Another medication I was on at that time is called amitriptyline. This medicine simply helped my physical condition. I had been diagnosed IBS, irritable bowl syndrome, and hyperhydrosis, excessive sweating, due to anxiety. This medicine helped in combination with Zoloft greatly. These are the prescriptions I had before I got mono.

During my manic episode I was thoroughly convinced that I was going to win the lottery. At one point I decided that my wishes would come true after sleep. That’s the only reason why I slept except one time I stayed up for 72 hours. One day I woke up convinced I would finally win a certain lottery ticket for $2,500. I told my parents I was walking to the gas station. With me I brought my ipod, cigarettes, lighter, my cell, and my friend Greg’s cell phone because he had left it in my car before he was sent away. It was a clear sunny day and as I walked towards the gas station I said to myself “Let’s go on an adventure.” I walked down Fairfax County parkway and as I went I thought I was seeing clues, signs. I followed the clues and eventually I thought that if I stared at the sun and rotated, I could control time. I also thought that I was a “shock” and that I could charge Greg’s dead phone’s battery. This is when my first auditory hallucination occurred that I remember. I called Greg’s voicemail and the voicemail lady started to talk to me, which is impossible. This happened again with my own voicemail later that day because I thought she was telling me how to time travel. Continuing on the journey I walked to an underpass tunnel where I tried to levitate, walk on water, and crawl into another dimension. Doing these things and believing that I had achieved them led me to believe that I would eventually become a superhero. That’s how crazy I was. Even though during this period I told myself that I was crazy, I still was completely oblivious to how crazy I really was.

Time travel is not possible today, but while I was manic I truly believed that I was capable of it. I thought I needed time travel tools to do it. My tools were noise cancellation headphones, a non-working watch, 2 bracelets, an ipod, a timer, a bell, and a color-changing clock. I would go into my basement bathroom with these items, completely naked with sharpie drawn all over my body and try to time travel. I would shut off the lights and then turn on the fan and then I would set the timer to a specific number and then walk out the door hoping the world was frozen in time. I tried this repeatedly with my other time traveling methods. My other method was to change the time on my computer to the time of my choosing which would then change the world’s time. I repeatedly tried to stop time with this too and because I believed my computer’s clock was almighty, I accidentally kept my computer’s date to a day behind which left my memory of dates entirely disoriented. This is the reason why I forgot my Dad’s birthday on March 3rd, a month after I first entered my manic episode, because I thought it was March 2nd even though I had set my clock to one day behind an entire month prior to this. My actions affected my memory.

On the computer I would see my music Myspace for “Safe Bet” glow and because my nickname in the band was “The Preacher” I thought it was fate that I seemed to be having some type of religious experience. That’s how it felt. I came to the conclusion that all humans are the sons or daughters of God and that we all possess potential capabilities that are limited due to our inhibitions. I now doubt all beliefs I have; I question the reality of it all after having this episode.

During my episode, my inhibitions were released and I experienced natural intense euphoria. It was like being high all day everyday. I was in a good mood, I was energetic, and I was happy. This was unlike me considering this began only 1 week after a break up that left me intensely depressed. I had become confident, I felt completely over my ex-girlfriend. I didn’t know why I felt so good or why I was seeing TV in 3D. I questioned it, but only to myself. It drove me to insanity, as I went through spirals of theories. Sometimes I knew I was acting strange but I didn’t care. I thought I was right. I thought I was Jesus.

To relate to someone with bipolar disorder, you have to have done some type of mind-altering drug. Imagine that bipolar disorder is like having an unwanted drug in your system. It intensifies emotions on both sides which can lead to manic episodes and depressive episodes but does bring out creativity. Bipolar disorder is known commonly but actual manic episodes are unexplained and remain a mystery to the general public. If you’re “normal” then you can be grateful and by normal I mean someone that doesn’t need daily medications. I am drugged up by 6 different medications for my mental illness. That’s how much it takes for me to feel almost normal. I’ve only been treated for under a year for my mental problems so I grew up in what I considered a cruel world. I constantly struggled with stabilizing my emotions my entire life, but I never knew what to do. I had to admit I had mental problems, and tell my parents to take me to a psychologist. This has helped me a lot and I have conquered many problems over the last year. But, the year’s worth of therapy didn’t prepare me for the manic episode and afterwards.

The slip into reality is when someone in a manic episode finally accepts that they had one. They go from feeling like Jesus to feeling like a dud. I got incredibly depressed because I was so disappointed in myself. I thought my dreams were going to come true. I thought I had special powers. I was a maniac.

The author's comments:
This is Part 1 of my 25 page memoir titled The Manic Me. It is about my experience with full blown mania for 30 days and my viewpoint on being bipolar.

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