Episode. It always sounds like a tv show. Did you catch the last episode of Loony Bin on Fox? I haven’t had an episode quite as strong as this one since my diagnosis in the spring of 2011. I would call it a mixed state episode.
I could see it coming for a few weeks. The first sign was an emerging obsession with a fiction series I’m writing. I was checking stats a hundred times a day or more. It’s funny, when I’m manic, I think my writing is amazing, but then when I calm down, I read it and I’m like “Really? Is it really that good?” The truth is that my fiction writing is ok, but it’s never going to win me a Pulitzer. On the contrary, I only made $32.50 on Amazon with my writing last year. Who knows? Maybe I’ll make $65.50 this year! I also started checking my Facebook and email nearly every minute. I couldn’t focus at work.
I’m prone to hyper-sexuality so I started strutting around at the grocery store hoping to catch the eye of female shoppers. I was the shit and every woman knew it. Right? Funny story, I also believe that I’m thinner than I really am win I’m manic. I have a closet full of the wrong size of clothes because of it.
I started listening to music that I know is a trigger for me. Music has a strong affect on me. I gave up resisting illness and began to embrace it. Do you ever do that? Don’t you like the rush of feelings? I started listening to Damien Rice albums over and over. If you’re not familiar with Damien Rice, just know that it is some of the most beautiful and depressing music ever. Don’t listen to it if you’re prone to depression at all. I also began writing some pretty dark urban fiction. I got lower and lower, and I liked it. [random thought, the movie Carrie, ” I smelled the whiskey on his breath. Then he took me. He took me, with the stink of filthy roadhouse whiskey on his breath, and I liked it. I liked it! “] I love that movie. Ahem, as I was saying, but then after the dips in mood, I’d slam some System of a Down on and kindle my mania. The closer I got to it, the more I wanted it.
Then one day I got super pissed off for no reason at all. And in the same evening, I began crying uncontrollably. My wife began to take notice. “Um…hubby, you’re crying for no reason, are you sure your not getting a little nuts?” I got stuck in this loop between furious and crying for a few days until I could no longer stay at work. I won’t exaggerate, there were also periods when I was holding it together, but those periods got shorter and shorter.
I left work sobbing and raging, and soon found myself driving 90-miles-an-hour on a country road. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. This had not happened to me for nearly a year. The difference was that I know that I’m bipolar now, and I didn’t then. This is good, because I was able to retain a certain level of insight. I knew that my life wasn’t really falling apart. I was just in a mixed state.
My wife is so cool. I called her in the middle of all this, and she said, “Just go to the movies. It’s dark so you can cry all you want. It might calm you down”. And it did!
I read somewhere that mixed state is the most dangerous because of the risk of suicide, and I can tell you that the thought did occur to me. Fortunately, I was able to let it pass.
After it was all over, then the self-doubt set in. I’m not really bipolar. This is utter bullshit. Who cares if my family doctor, my psychologist, my psychiatrist, and my friends think that I am. I was just being dramatic. My doctor decided it was time to tweak my medicine. I’ve been taking Lamictal and Geodon. He decided to add Lithium to the mix. I start it tonight. I hope it doesn’t make me fat, pimply, and bald.
The is not the norm for me. I cycle through days of a little down, totally level, and a little speedy, and so on. Nothing truly erratic. Maybe it would be worse if it weren’t for my strict lifestyle and my adherence to my meds. I’ll probably never know.