Aug 29, 2017
This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder at age 15, and have been struggling with the illness for the last 30 years. I have been hospitalized on a number of occasions, primarily for depression and anxiety, but on a couple of occasions for manic episodes. It is my latest hospitalization that I would like to discuss as my story.
About a year ago last May, I was going through a medication change, and at some point, for reasons that remain unclear, I started behaving in abnormal ways. For example, the landlords of my building said that I was driving my car with the radio blasting at full volume; I emailed my step mom in the middle of the night, which was unusual for me; I talked to my father and was making no sense whatsoever. This was cause for concern, and as a result, my father ended up calling 911 with the police coming to my apartment a short time thereafter.
I remember writing feverishly about anything that came into my mind
What I recall from the start of this “manic” episode is feeling really good for a moment, leading me to call a friend and suggest that we write a book together. In addition, I remember feeling really anxious, specifically about finances, worrying that I was spending money in an irresponsible manner. I remember writing feverishly about anything that came into my mind; a speedy to-do list if you will (which actually ended up being true). And the last thing that I remember was counting my medication in a panic that I was mismanaging the frequency and dosages that I was supposed to take. So I had all of my medications spread out across my desk to be counted one by one. I even remember flushing some medication down the toilet once I heard the police knocking on my door. Because of my state of mind, some or all of these events may have or may not have taken place in reality.
Once in hospital, I went through some severe psychosis, or distorted thinking patterns. I was sure that I had done something terrible to arrive in hospital, for example getting into a car accident. I was also positive that some of my college buddies were in the hospital with me; there to spy on me for evidence that I should be taken to jail. I was afraid of the other patients, as I remember thinking they were out to harm me. I was completely paranoid, thinking that I was this terrible person, and spent the better part of the 3 months that I while in hospital, pacing back and forth. I was ruminating about all these thoughts to the point that I couldn’t get my right leg to stop shaking. I believed also that the doctors and nurses were imposters, when in fact they were the police; again sent there to take me to jail. I went to sleep many a night with these thoughts racing through my head.
It’s the scariest thing to lose control of your mind
Of course, most of this thinking was part of the psychosis, which is a component of being Bipolar. It’s the scariest thing to lose control of your mind, being unable to accept what is reality. As I said earlier, I spent over three months in hospital. And while most people’s stay at hospital leave themselves with memories of calmness, this last episode left me with a traumatizing like feelings. The result being a long and arduous recovery period of close to one year; a year full of feeling anxious, depressed, paranoid, all the while going through several medication changes, in hopes of coming up with the right “cocktail” for me.
It’s only in the last month that I can honestly say that I’m fully recovered. But one does not fully recover from Bipolar; it’s something that you are continuously “recovering” from. If without the support of my family, namely my father, and the help of the doctors once released from hospital, I would probably be unable to write such an article. My hopes would be that no one go through this type of situation, but for anyone who has gone through something similar, be assured that you are not alone.
And that’s my story…