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The Reality of My Bipolar Mania


My eyes burst open as my entire body is flooded with electric energy. I check the time — 4 a.m. — despite having gone to bed a mere two hours prior. But two hours is an accomplishment when many nights whiz past utterly sleepless. I don’t need to rest when I feel this way. Sleeping is a waste of time when there is so much to accomplish, experience and, unwittingly, destroy. I leap out of bed and immediately light a cigarette before boiling the kettle for coffee. Even though I’m strung higher than a kite in a tornado, more stimulants, legal or otherwise, feel necessary. Anything to intensify my buzz.

I know what I’ll do today. I’ll write a novel. Or make every single craft I’ve ever saved on Pinterest. Or talk to every person who will listen to my genius rambling insights for hours while I chain smoke. Or I’ll take my colored chalk and decorate every town sidewalk with my masterpieces. If it rains tonight, great! Blank canvases for tomorrow! Or I could try to score some drugs from that guy I swore I’d never associate with again. Drink with him and probably have sex with him even though I have a long term partner whom I love and cherish deeply.

I scrap the creative projects and embark on a frenzied walk, adorned in my most outrageous outfit, my makeup resembling that of a clown on LSD. The tree leaves sparkle and speak to me. I see God in everything: every wind rustled grass blade, every child’s nervous smile, every cloud wisp lining the sky above me. I am a messenger and I must spread the good word to the entire world. I post grandiose claims and revelations on social media, desperate to reach as many people as possible. Friends and family members reach out to me with deep concern. I respond, assuredly with: “No, I’m fine! I’m great! Never felt better! You have nothing to worry about!” “No, I’m not taking my meds. I need to be authentic. OK, gotta go! Let’s hang out soon, OK? OK, bye!” I refuse to listen to reason. Nobody sees the world how I do. But they will. The apocalypse is coming and they will thank me for preparing them. I’m a vehicle of God. I’m a vehicle of God… they’ll see and believe…

In the aftermath of a manic episode, cleaning up the wreckage and accepting and taking accountability for my actions is immeasurably difficult. There are inevitably many people I love dearly whom I’ve hurt, many words uttered I wish I could take back, many consequences that I was unable to foresee. Sometimes relationships are destroyed, money has been blown on superfluous items and the depressive crash is abysmal. In retrospect, it’s like watching a movie of myself, of an actress who looks like me but acts in ways the “healthy,” more “balanced” me would never conceive of.

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Thinkstock photo via Minimum