>One thing I haven’t talked about that much, is that rather than having to re-enter the ‘psychosis’ again in order to complete it, some people just drop the meds and walk away. C is one of those stories. He has been without meds or relapse for 3 years. Here is his story….
Hello again Sean,
I’m finding it a little hard to begin articulating my own account of manic depressive illness. It’s a part of my life I haven’t (and don’t) as one can imagine, share with many others on a day to day basis. I’m a bit concerned i’m going to babble, but I will have a go as I said I would. 🙂
I suppose my first encounter with psychiatry was around age 17 after graduating from secondary school. I began to feel empty, depressed and ‘unfulfilled’. As if something inside was crying out to me.
The weeks went on and as my condition worsened, family eventually insisted I saw a psychiatrist; who in turn, promptly set me out on a course of anti-depressant medication.
However, this treatment was to be of no benefit. I can only say it proved to make me feel nauseous. Establishing a routine of regular exercise and taking a closer looking at what I was eating, eventually pulled me up to functionality again.
Although, as the years trickled by, college had finished/ work wasn’t satisfying/ social relationships became more and more null; the old expelled down-feelings returned.
But not for long… I had decided. I needed to ‘shake things up’ a bit, so I decided to stop my job, seek to make new friendships.. and move to Scandinavia, (perhaps to chase the memory of fond childhood holidays).
This change was exciting. I felt great. I felt really great. I felt too great. I sought out the friendship of people the likes of which I’d usually avoid. I had one month of free time to spend before I departed. So I went about chasing as many girls/ drugs/ all nights parties as I humanly could.
It was going to be alright. I was off to a new start soon, things were going to slow down.
I had arrived and was sitting in my college room in Denmark. As evening came, I began to feel better and better about myself and everything around me. It was if everything had become super sensitive, I had become a part of it, I was part of nature’s very fabric. (Looking back now, I’m not sure how my room mate felt about being told he was in the presence of someone who could shape the universe).
The students loved me, I was funny, super-confident and full of boundless energy. It seemed like my thinking speed had increased ten-fold (and my reaction time) [have you any experience of people’s physical reaction times increasing during an acute manic episode ?]. However, despite these positive gains, the sensitivity increased and my need for food, sleep, rest even decreased.
Whenever I was around others I felt I could read them, their body language inparticular. I felt I immediately knew if they believed what they were saying, or whether or not they were saying what they wanted to etc.
A certain group of people began to dislike me, thinking me to be too much. I could hardly believe it, I had considered myself extremely introvert before this trip. I couldn’t recognise myself anymore. Their dislike turned to my suspicion, which in turn led to anger, which led to paranoia, which led to making a map of how I was going to conquer Copenhagen starting with the college I had settled in.
I drew on a map how I could strategically go about achieving this. Then out the blue I got a call from my parents insisting I was to fly home. I did reluctantly, in the most hellish adventure of my life. Everyone had become an enemy, everyone wanted to cease this new founded power I had gained. My girlfriend left me. My open job had closed. The last person that talked to me was wearing glasses recording our conversation.
Guess where I found myself next 🙂
Fortunately I had volunteered to go to a hospital so I could come and go as I chose. Which still didn’t make my stay particularly comfortable… I had been prescribed Lithium for an acute manic episode. My only thoughts were of Kurt Cobain’s song.
Was this it? Was I mad? I had been told to take this medication indefinitely and instantly despised it. Not for the implications it had, but for the physical effect it had on my body. It took who I am away. If people metaphorically have egg shells as protection for their ego, then this was gilding the egg with steel.
I chose to take myself off it and despite having some mixed feelings occasionally, there have been no major repurcussions to speak of.
It took a crisis, perhaps a series or crises, but I ‘woke up’ and strongly want to encourage others into looking at routes other than those offered by traditional psychiatry. As I likewise think there’s a key to an evolution of the conscience in this process.