During my last manic episode, I was in another city for a business training event. A 5-day long business training event. My mania had started on a Thursday evening, I left for the business trip on Sunday morning out of LAX. Why did I go? Wasn’t I in mania? Yes, I was but not a complete breakdown. I had experienced the complete breakdown with loss of time and space-known as psychosis-on Friday morning and emotionally hurt someone very dear. I recklessly tossed my meds out the window a few months earlier which is how I ended up in this situation.
During the weekend, I was in what is called acute mania. Not like the one you think of from TV where the person is frantic, screaming or doing full paint body art on the walls with their bodies or being hospitalized. However, my moods and energy were quickly over days becoming more manic. I was gradually being swallowed hole. Ultimately, I would have ended up in the hospital had it not been for The Poop Story and Other Tales of Love.
During the weekend before my trip, I was home where I live on my own. The following day after my psychotic episode, I puttered around my home and kept busy. I laid in bed for 4 hours and tried to read, but I couldn’t because I couldn’t focus on the words or thoughts of the authors. I tried magazines but focus eluded me. It feels like the words and pictures stop right at my eyes but are denied entry by my mind. For some reason, in acute mania, the mind only wants to consider things from within. I ended up laying in bed, staring at the ceiling and the walls. It’s a nice feeling by the way. It’s not like I’m laying there getting pummeled by thoughts. My thoughts can be intrusive but not consistently. They become worrisome when the negative ones start to have their way. The rest of the day just passed, but I didn’t go to sleep or eat. 24 hours.
I finally made the trip to Utah to attend my business training event while I was in acute mania. I felt agitated, helpless, hyper and exhausted from a mental marathon but still maintained my grip on time and space. The rest of the day just passed, but I didn’t go to sleep and only drank coffee, water and 400 calories of snacks. 48 hours.
I attended my first day and appeared presentable. However, during an initial professional discussion with my new group, I spoke with confidence, but what I said did not make sense. It happened to the first man I spoke to. I saw the perplexed look on his face so I stopped talking. Then I tried again to the man next to him, but I spoke in an expansive manner. A few sentences of gibberish pushed out of my lips. He too looked perplexed. I stopped and realized that I was using the lexicon, but my expansiveness was making my reasoning loosely related to what we were discussing; thus, making me unintelligible. I was able to casually laugh, and said I was kidding. They relaxed, and I sat there feeling like I was being defeated. This disorder. This thing.
I went to my hotel room and laid in bed and stared at the ceiling and walls. As evening fell, I started crying and became incredibly agitated and felt lost. I was slowly losing my grip on time and space which meant I was becoming psychotic. I could tell because of my agitation and also my intrusive thoughts were increasingly involving thoughts of persecution and paranoia. I hadn’t slept and ate 800 calories in 60 hours. So I called my best friend and cried for her to help me. She recommended I take a Benadryl to knock me out, but I wouldn’t drive to the store to buy it. Because, who knows what I would do if I drove off in a car at this moment in the night. It was 10 degrees fahrenheit outside. So I stayed safely in place. I was still able to make safe judgement calls. It truly is a battle within the mind. One mood allowing me to remain planted firmly holding on to safety, and the manic mood tugging, pulling, pushing for the other to fall over and make way.
My best friend and I knew that I hadn’t slept for 60 hours, and we both knew without speaking what that meant. That I had to sleep. If I didn’t……..That mania would take total control and then what would happen to me? So she told me to get in bed because she was going to talk me through the night to put me to sleep. She said she would talk to me for however long it would take–hours, days, years–until I fell asleep. What ever it took. So I turned out the lights and got in bed. I laid my head down and covered up. In the dark, I heard her say. “okay…..where should I start?……Would you like to hear a poop story?” I smiled and we laughed.
She and I have been best friends over 30 years, and we have this thing where we share stories of our and others’ poop. I don’t know when we started it, but it was because she use to talk about her poop to make me uncomfortable when I was much younger. As time passed over the years, I joined her in her game. Our poop stories.
Through the night, she told me our tales of young and old. Our tales of bright and dark. Our tales of come and go. Our tales of love.
I fell asleep.