I rarely tell anyone that I am bipolar and lived in fear of anyone finding out. Therefore, the only people who I disclosed this with is two best friends, family, and my team of doctors. Yes, there is a team of doctors for this. I have loosened up recently about it tired of living in a shadow of reality. Before, I was scared of judgement by social circles or stigma. You can really tell which of your friends will still be your friends if they were to find out by weeding through their way of thinking in the friendship. People of mental illness sort of live this double life, they have their circle of friends, and work life, then there is your medical life. Mental illness affects all aspects yet it is like you cannot combine the two when it comes to socializing. Only the most open-minded individuals will accept you for who you are. The most small-minded cannot stand to think out of their comfort zone of their narrow box. Having being graduated for many years now from college, and not in my sorority, and other student organizations; my group of friends are close-knit and I am far more selective. While loosing up and telling certain people I have known say for a year, I get the same reaction every time. “Oh wow. I would have NEVER known.”
At first I am surprised to hear their reaction thinking maybe something shined through but they usually tell me that other than being highly outspoken and living out loud, I seem normal. What in the world is normal anyways? These people have never seen the manic side which I only experienced once in my life and that was a three-month period in the summer that I will never ever forget and had to be the most fun I have ever had in my life. Imagine being on ecstasy, and speed, ALL THE TIME. Even if you have never taken these drugs, which I have not either, you get the idea. The world is your oyster and you are out to rule it at any cost. You will slay any dragon to get what you want, not sleep for two weeks, furiously work on projects for many hours at a time, and think you’re the the king of the shit at the same time. That is a quick synopsis of that time. Unfortunately , there were a lot of downfalls to that period too. I spent over seven grand in my accounts and then more racking up every credit card I had in my purse. My fast, pressured speaking, was non stop and people could not understand where I was going with any subject or understand why I needed to drive all over the state because I had a purpose to get to somewhere that I would not know the end destination til a thought would tell me eventually. Driving , only knowing what next turn I had to take until a car in front of me would turn, then I turn. The next car might be red, and that was a sign, a sign I should follow until the next special car told me to follow that one. These cues were subtle, not hallucinatory, but delusional. One trip might span over several counties, ending at a business where I would approach them telling them this is where I need to be for some strange reason that I only know of.
One time I ended up at a house on a lake. I don’t really remember why that was special, but I sat out on their dock watching the birds, knowing this is where I need to be one early morning. I went inside, the doors were unlocked and sat in a chair while a man slept on a couch. I stared waiting patiently for him to wake. The moment his eyes raised, you could see the shock of this stranger looking at him. He must have thought, don’t move, or am I dreaming. I introduced myself , he asks why I am there, I tell him why. He must have sensed I was not mentally there. For whatever reason , he took kind to me and introduced me to his daughter and offered me breakfast. Next on the agenda, he had to pick up his wife the nurse, asked if I wanted to go. I sensed he seemed intrigued by my perfectly calm nature , and inquisitively asked me these questions of my background. At the time, I answered them all truthfully, but I was never alarmed that I was a stranger and just casually made myself at home there. Once his wife came to the car and he explained, she seemed much more alarmed than he. She asked me more questions and was uncomfortable but got used to it. We went back to their house, had more conversations, and I decided I was bored and said I must leave to my next destination. They objected, but I said I must go. Off into my car, I was gone. To this day, I have no idea who they were , or what city that was , and have never heard from again. Why did they never call the police? That would have seemed suitable. Perhaps , because I was 24 , a pretty thin blonde, who spoke like an educated individual freshly out of college; maybe they did not see me as a threat other than out of the ordinary.
What would you have done if that happened to you? You might surprise yourself what you think you would do and what you actually do when it actually happens.
My adventures that summer , brought me to meet all sorts of cool people, some I had some promiscuous adventures with , and after safely doing that, be on my way. That will have to be a separate piece of writing.
The point is, if you have your symptoms under control , you are actively seeking treatment, your good. Especially since I have been diagnosed with bipolar for eleven years, it is all old hat really. My OCD and ADD are the biggest problems really. The overlapping symptoms is large and hard to distinguish as to what is going on in the present moment. You might think something like this: “I am having a moment, a bad moment, is it the frustration from my ADD causing depression, or is it my OCD causing me to ruminate like a bad cocaine run?” How about this, “am I relapsing into the terrible rapid cycling that bipolar can cause when changes in life come?” Luckily, I have excellent health insurance, a wonderful open husband, my tight-knit family and friends to support and help me. Without all that, I know I would be dead. Dead from driving the wrong way of a highway, dead from abandoning my car in a shitty neighborhood because I have no gas, and taking off on foot looking for that helicopter to pick me up. Why was the helicopter going to pick me? I really don’t know other than I was convinced it would happen. Dead from picking up the wrong stranger to hang out with, or dead from scratching some woman’s car with my fake nails because I thought she gave me a mean look. Why did I do that, well I thought she gave me a bad look. My perception then was very askew, not sure if she really did . She basically ran away after that.
That time period, I was constantly happy. I never hurt anyone other than scratching that car. The world was wonderful at all times, nothing brought me down. My energy level soared at all hours of the day but the basic urge to sleep or eat never occurred often. Your basic instinct to do those things happened rarely. I just knew I was set to do everything sporadically, impulsively, and I will run you over if you are in my way.
Three times that summer , I was put involuntarily into three different psychiatric units depending where in the state I was . How does that happen you ask? Well, in my case my father knew I was ill and he told the police a crap load of stuff about the nonsense I was spewing, then put out a missing persons report, so the police were already on high alert for me. When I did get pulled over, several times I could talk my way out of it, claiming my father was a child molester of me when I was young and I did not want to go home. (Once back to normal , I really do not believe that). They believed it. Other times, my means of living was living out of resorts or hotels. While at one hotel, I was dragged out by the police kicking and screaming in shackles. LOL LOL I laugh at much of this stuff because it would make for a great movie. Nevertheless, very embarrassing, demoralizing , irritating, and most of all , the loss of control. Every time I was put in, I knew how to talk my way out by playing the game of faking my way through. I know what they want to hear, what they want me to do, how they want me to act, in order to be released. (Side note, I have been in a psychiatric unit seven times in my life, and four of them I voluntarily admitted myself).
The first time I got out, I was still delusional and manic, the second time that summer, the same . It was not until the third visit that I actually started to come down and set into a great depression that lasted for a year. I was always showered with bipolar pamphlets telling me this is a real problem that needs extensive control medically. All I thought was , I don’t want to be bothered with this, and I do not want to change my social life around this nor quit drinking. NO WAY. So I ignored it. Until the end of that third visit. I had been defeated royally.
With that I will end this because my ADD has told me I lost interest for this moment. Until later…..