Surviving mania

When you are manic, your mind bounds from one thing to another. To another. To another. Never-endingly.

It is impossible to focus your thoughts. Your mind races; its RPM well beyond anything safe. Having coherent thoughts is impossible.

So, you try writing them down. Yes. That will solve it. You will write down all your thoughts on sticky-notes and post them around your house. Other people see your notes, and the notes are nonsensical and innumerable.

You never go back to read your sticky notes. It’s enough that you got the ideas out of your head. The only problem is your ideas are like the Greek monster Hydra, where you cut off one head, and two pop up in its place. You never run out of ideas.

This constant action inside your mind means you cannot sleep, naturally. There are more important things than sleep. Solving the mysteries of the societal hierarchy being one of many.

You go days—agonizing days—without sleep. You feel terrible, and you know you need sleep, but your thoughts will notslow down. Little things keep you awake. Noises that typically go unnoticed suddenly become loud, incessant.

Finally, someone close to you realizes something is wrong, and they help you get your first hours of sleep after being awake for almost eighty hours. You wake up the next morning, and you feel amazing. Like you could conquer anything and everything. Sleep! Who knew it held such magic?

But you aren’t yourself anymore. You don’t see it, but everyone who knows you does. Normally shy and reserved, you talk enough for five people. You never shut up. Your thoughts and ideas are grandiose.

You are constantly euphoric and nothing can bring you down, well, except when people say you aren’t making sense, but even that doesn’t faze you for long, soon enough you are back on your horse re-explaining everything in even greater detail.

You are put on medicine. You hatetaking medicine. You put up futile fights each time you are told to take it. It will make you better, or so your family says. You don’t believe them. At least you don’t want to believe them.

Medicine is for wimps! Strong people don’t need medicine! I will nottake medicine for the rest of my life!

But your family is having none of those arguments. They are steadfast, and you feel like a child anyway, so you obey their commands. But you convince yourself the medicine is only for a short time.

Even on medication, you fixate and obsess over silly things. Your thoughts have slowed down to a more normal speed, but what you lose in quantity, you gain in fervor. You get ideas for projects, and you plan them out to the most minute detail. Nothing can stop you; the plan is flawless. You won’t listen to naysayers.

Slowly.

Slowly.

Slowly.

You regain your sanity. You cannot pinpoint when it happened. As fast as your mind was moving, the reclaiming of it was painstakingly glacial.

You realize there was never any doubt in your mind you would recover. The strong reliance and appreciation for your medicine is a surprise; trying to imagine your life without it, you feel naked somehow. You sometimes forget you’ve taken it because it is such an integral part of your life.

Years later you are shocked to learn your family didn’t know if you would regain sanity. You remember it being rough, but not insurmountable.

Stories they tell about you are simultaneously horrifying and fascinating. You want to know more about how you acted and what you said.

You mourn the missed opportunity of keeping a journal during your arduous journey. You would give anything to know your inner thoughts during the recovery.

When did you come to terms with something being wrong?

When did you start coming out of the woods?

How long did all of this take?

You have so many questions, but you won’t get answers to many of your inquiries. Your psychotic break and ensuing recovery are a bit of a mystery, which is unfortunate, but you don’t plan on being the subject of another mental health experiment.

You aren’t thatcurious.

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