How is life lately? Relatively tolerable. That’s where I’m at.
That’s kind of the best I get. Unless I am full-on manic, in which case:
Until it’s not.
Mania was completely disruptive (in the worst sense of the word) to my life and it took me a good two years to recover.
I never stop feeling embarassed over the actions my body took while being controlled by my manic mind. And I went deep. Both times. I was a raving, mad lunatic.
The way I am now, no one would ever guess that I was hospitalized, that I was ever in that condition, that I didn’t sleep for days, that I ranted and raved and threw things and screamed at others. That I tried to take off all of my clothes multiple times in public. That I drove to a strangers house and walked right in the door and started playing with her kids in her living room.
That I have been picked up by the police twice in one night for being “disruptive” in a public place.
That I crawled into bed with another patient at the hospital because I thought they were my mom. That I danced through the hallways of the psych unit with a towel covering my head and a styrofoam cup in my mouth, quacking and pretending I was a duck. All. Night. Long.
When I run into people on the streets talking to themselves, I see myself in them. I know they are making sense in their own brain, and that it only appears to be “nonsense” or “crazy” to those around them. Sometimes when manic I thought that the whole world was crazy, and I was the only sane one. I felt that deep down, even as I was doing cartwheels in a cemetery and trying to run down the street naked.
The only thing that separates me from the man on the street shouting obscenities is medication. The fact that my mental illness is treated and his is not.
If you’re recovering from a manic episode and you’re in the throes of depression, just know that you’ll come out of it. It does get better. I can’t say the memories of all of it don’t stick with you, but just remind yourself that the time you laid on the floor in a public bathroom and smashed your glasses with your foot repeatedly because you “didn’t want to see anymore,” it wasn’t you. It was the mania. And you have to forgive yourself for that.
And, I guess, so do I.