What I Saw When I Had My First Bipolar Hallucination


Is this real?

I can feel the breath on my neck. I can feel the arms wrapped tightly around me, almost inducing an asthma attack. I can feel the heat radiating from the body cradling me. It is hard and heavy. I can’t move. I am trapped. I look for a face, but can only see the faceless darkness of this horrifying being. Somehow, I manage to turn my head away from it. All I know is I went to bed alone. Yet, right now, I am not alone. There is a stranger in my bed. I don’t know if it’s a man or a woman or a demon or a spirit or the Demogorgon from Stranger Things. But, it is some creature plaguing me with its discomforting presence.

And it won’t get out of the bed or out of the room or out of this house or out of my head. I can hardly explain the phenomena that is occurring. I begin to panic. I can’t breathe. My heart rate is through the roof. It is feeding on that panic and the fear that is building. I don’t feel safe. I want to scream and pray, but its hand is over my mouth and I’ve lost my voice anyway. Tears roll down both sides of my face. I can barely think straight. I have two night-lights, yet the darkness is still too pervasive. In my head, I beg for mercy and mutter out cries to the Jesus I believe in. I want Him to deliver me from this, but that deliverance isn’t coming as quickly as I’m hoping for. I’m hyperventilating. I seem to be sinking only further into the darkness of this awful waking nightmare. Is this real? I keep asking myself, and the answer is bleak. It feels very much real. I can feel it. I can see it. I can hear it. What this is… I cannot put into words. I’ve never been so scared in my life.

I lie there stiff as a board in fear of it harming me, while somehow I am simultaneously trembling. It won’t let go, not one bit. I lie there for minutes or maybe even hours. I truly don’t know how much time has passed. I just know it feels like it’s been an eternity. It’s been watching me the entire time. Unrelenting. And then it finally moves, except it drags me violently toward it. It is off the bed and standing over me now. It is huge — easily over six feet tall, broad and terrifyingly muscular. I am sitting up on the bed now. I am frozen with fear. I want to scream, but I can’t. I try to pray again, but can only do so in spurts in my mind. The fear is debilitating. I cannot run. I cannot hide. I can only sit awaiting its next move. It has me by the collar with the strongest of grips. I’m still crying. No words have been exchanged. I don’t know if that makes things better or worse. I try to reach my phone that is right by my pillow next to me, but it feels like it is miles away from my shaking hands. I want to call my friend to save me. I need someone to save me. Anyone.

And then, it just lets go of me. The heat lets up. The eyes that had been staring at me furiously finally close. This creature in all of its massiveness has no horns, has no evil tail, no eerie smile, no distinctive features — only an overwhelming stature and commanding presence. It grabs me one more time. It yanks at my collar aggressively, nearly making me rise to my feet – and then… it just vanishes. Gone. Without a trace, like it was never with me. I calm my breathing as best as I can without needing my inhaler. Is this real? Was it real? I don’t know. I finally regain control of my body. I reach over and grab my phone with my still shaking hands. It is 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday. It’s my favorite day of the week – I get to go to church today — and this has happened, on today of all days. I dial my friend’s number. She is just on the other side of the house. She comes in only seconds after my call. I am visibly distraught. I try to explain what happened through tears and stutters. I don’t know if I’m even making any sense. Then she provides comfort with a hug and a much-needed dose of reality. I had just experienced my first visual hallucination. I hallucinated. I saw, felt and heard things that weren’t real.

I know having bipolar I disorder has the potential for hallucinations and psychosis, but it had never happened to me up to this point. I had never felt so helpless. I feared for my life. I had almost complete certainty that what I experienced was real. It had to have been real. But, my friend keeps reassuring me it was not real and that I am safe. I am safe. We repeat that together for several minutes. I am finally able to calm myself. I have her pray over me. I catch my breath. My heart rate settles. It’s over. It’s gone. I’m OK. It’ll be OK. I cling on to reality with all of my might.

Hallucinations are scary as hell. Don’t discount that. My hope for others who struggle with delusions and hallucinations is that they don’t last long and they are able to recover quickly. I wouldn’t wish this experience on anybody.

The mind is a powerful thing and mine happened to create one of the worst possible scenarios imaginable. Hallucinations are serious. Do not take them lightly. I’m going in to see my psychologist in a couple of minutes. I am not OK and I recognize that. I need some kind of change. Most likely, my medications will have to be increased. I am sick, and that’s OK. I will get better. And if I can get better, so can you.

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