After I was diagnosed and came to accept my diagnosis, a certain day in high school suddenly made much more sense to me.
It was a Friday morning of my senior year. It was the beginning of volleyball season, and we had a tournament. We all had to wake up at an un-Godly hour because we were leaving the school around 5:30 a.m. I probably woke up at 4:30 after going to bed at 12:00 a.m.
I was wired; ready to play volleyball. Everyone else was tired and complaining about having to be up so early. I didn’t understand such complaints. Why wasn’t everyone else as excited as I was to play volleyball? Even more basic than that, enthralled to compete?
The assistant coach was running late, and one of the sophomores was counting on a ride from her. When it was determined someone else had to pick this girl up, I volunteered. This was met with some skepticism, for I was known as “Grandma.” Not only because I was significantly older than everyone else, but also because I drove slowly and cautiously at all times.The head coach said I could go, and I brought another underclassmen with me.
I was hyper, and I knew I had to run the errand quickly. I drove like a bat out of hell. I did 50 or 60 miles per hour in 35 to 40 miles per hour zones. I blew through a few stop signs, not even thinking about slowing down. We had to go down some winding roads, and I took those turns much too fast.
I felt invincible, but I’m lucky I didn’t kill anyone. I didn’t feel marginally guilty about it in the moment, but several hours later I became somewhat paranoid about my actions. I picked my teammate up at her house, and I drove just as recklessly back to the school. Everyone was impressed with how quickly I accomplished my mission.
We took two SUVs out to the tournament, which was two or so hours away. I rode the adrenaline rush all day. I was even more wired and hyper after my imprudent excursion. I played out of my mind that day. I don’t know if I’d ever played so well. I was tireless, and I made all the right decisions.
Later in the day, I began to feel guilty about my method of completing the pick up that morning. I made the girls who rode with me swear that they wouldn’t tell anyone, especially our parents, about what I had done.
After who knows how many games we played that day, I was still outrageously energetic on our drive home. I sat in the back of the SUV and told blonde jokes incessantly. Several of my teammates commented on how hyper I was, and how I was acting differently around them. I usually kept to myself around my peers, and my sudden sociability and openness did not go unnoticed.
I was in the SUV the head coach was driving, and she eventually got tired of my jokes and told me to cut it out. I was in such a good mood, I don’t think it even phased me. She wasn’t unkind about it, but she was tired and all my energy must have been exhausting.
I don’t remember the rest of the trip or what else I did that day. I know I didn’t think much of my mood and incredible energy. That probably wasn’t the first, nor last, manic or hypomanic episode I had in high school, but it is definitely the most memorable and obvious example.