When I was stuck in the ICU there was a guy, Cameron I think, who asked me what it was like to be bipolar. He suffered from depression and anxiety but he wanted to know what the manic portion of the illness felt like.
To be quite honest my memory has a lot of holes in it. Maybe that’s what it does to you. But I’ll be glad to share my experiences with it, because everyone’s experienced different types of mania. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll help others empathize with me… us… I guess it’s worth a shot.
You wake up. Or maybe you never really slept at all. That’s fine. You don’t need to sleep. It just gets in the way of everything. You could be writing a novel, running to the next state, skydiving, go-cart racing, learning karate, riding roller coasters, driving cross-country, flying to Greece, or moving to Hollywood to become a star.
Actually, why not do all of that? You can do every single one of those things. No problem. You can do that all today.
Suddenly you’re in your car, driving fifty over the speed limit. You can’t get caught anyway, and everyone else will move for you. You’re much more important than everyone else on the road.
You’re at the mall. You decide you need thirteen books about quantum physics. You’ve never taken a class before but it doesn’t seem so hard. And then you need four watches in case one is lost or stops working. You need a whole new wardrobe. You dart down the aisles grabbing anything and everything from the racks you pass.
You’re livid. The credit card doesn’t work. But you’re a multi-billionaire. It doesn’t make any sense. You lash out at the associate, yelling until you’re escorted out. Everyone stares, whispering amongst themselves while you mumble incoherently.
Your mind races, creating an excruciating pain in your head.
And then you’re back home, still angry. Chairs, photo frames, and clothes are strewn about. There’s blood on the wall and your knuckles are tender. Your phone lies shattered on the ground. You’re sick of everyone.
There’s nothing wrong.
Then you begin writing your future best-seller. It should be done in a few hours. It’s going to be brilliant.
You hate it and toss away the story. You begin again.
Your heart is racing as quickly as your mind. It was fun at first but now you want it to stop. It’s been days, maybe even weeks. Now you want nothing more than for the noise to stop.
Blood is dripping down your arm, the pain nonexistent. You don’t remember slicing your own skin. It didn’t help anyway. You’re mind is still moving at an unearthly rate and you feel as anxious as ever.
Medication. Medication will help. One dose isn’t enough. You take a second, a third, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth… honestly you lost count after the third.
You collapse. Finally… a moment of peace.
You wake up to four white walls and the sound of a heart monitor. Your eyelids are heavy but you can clearly see your friends and family. You feel ashamed. You want nothing more than to go back to sleep and hope that you’ll never wake up again. But eventually you do, finding yourself in a strange room. They take care of you for days… weeks, making you realize that it’s all worth it. Then you go home.
You’re fine. Everything’s finally alright. You’ll never have to go through that again. You return to your regular routine, spend time with your family and friends, and get your life back together. You’re happy.
You can do anything.
And then you wake up. Or maybe you never really slept at all.