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My Love/Hate Relationship with Mania

Bipolar 1 with Psychotic Features Induced Mania (Written While Manic)

Welcome to my life. I live my life vicariously through my ritualistic manic episodes. These manic episodes usually start out with a vicious cycle of absolutely dreadful depression, that progresses to paranoid delusional episodes (though sometimes not full blown), and then the fun begins. After these signs, there's the infamous dissociation and elation.

Have you ever felt as though you were stuck? Most have, but this is a different type of "stuck." This is the feeling of being stuck in a massive, never-ending black hole that manages to have you by your inner core. It grabs a hold of your insides and seeps into your cells, eating away at your inner being that makes you who you are. I reference it as like a vacuum that constantly tries to suck you in; sadly, you never win. Hopeless. I sit there frantically grasping at straws. ANYTHING to keep me from sinking. I usually lose. This is how my depression feels and how it starts. Every time this happens I know I'm in for a bumpy ride and that I better hold on to my horses, cause I just have to ride it out from here on out. 

A few days go by of isolation and constant crying. Feelings of dread. When I thought that the depression was bad enough, my conniving mind decides to throw a few trick shots at me. 

I wake up one morning, still battling the sadness that comes with this rollercoaster. Figuring out how to get out of bed, the day progresses as normal. I don't get much of anything done, except take care of my son. (Mind you, I'm pregnant.) As the evening draws to a close, fear creeps in. Why? What? "Where in the hell did this come from?" That's what I ask myself. Fear of anything and everything. "You're being watched." Amanda, chill out. You know better at this point, but the feeling only gets stronger. It grows. 

It's now around 9 PM, and you're there alone with your son. You walk down the stairs and smell the smell of rotten eggs. The smell is so strong that you try to cover your nose and mouth with your shirt. You look up and see a haze of what could be gas. This is when you run to the stove and see that the gas knob is slightly turned on... but how? No one has touched the stove all day long, and it isn't possible for the cat to walk across the counter, press down on the knob, and turn it to the "on" position. 

At this point, I'm convinced someone is in my house. I look around and start to panic, looking around the room, my mind spinning and spiraling out of control. "Where are they? I don't see them? They're in the attic, I just know it. The front door wasn't locked. There is someone living in my attic! Get out, Amanda!"

I run upstairs and do exactly as my diseased and controlled brain tells me to do, but not without a fight. I run upstairs, lay in bed, lock my bedroom door, and try to calm these crazy thoughts. (I know deep down that this monster hasn't completely taken my sanity and self-worth away from me... YET... but he's working his way there. There is hope in my eyes.) I can't fight them because what if someone really is in my home? I wake up my soundly sleeping son, call my grandparents, and of course they recommend I call the cops to check out the house. No, thank you. I'm leaving now. I grab his pack n' play and load up the car. Mustang? A murdered out, tinted windows, white Mustang is parked half way in my yard. I've never seen that before. "They are watching."

I run inside and grab my baby—that took all but two seconds—to come back outside and it's gone. "They are on to me. They know I'm leaving." Panic ensues, my heart rate skyrockets. Eventually, I make it to my grandparents and stay there for a few days. My fiancé checks out the house and nothing. No man in the attic. I feel defeated. The monster got me, and I just surrender. 

So, after a few days, I pack up and drive home. It's not very far... maybe 15 minutes away. Halfway home, I click out. "How did I make it halfway here?" I basically just guessed and stayed zoned out the entire ride. That's what I call the dissociation kicking in. The minute I come back to reality, I see a movement in the bushes while I am driving. It's a man in the bushes scrambling across the grass. I blink. Blink again. Magically, it's gone. 

I feel different now. I'm in a slightly better mood, though my mind is racing. Racing about anything and everything I can sell. What business I could start and when and how I would go about accomplishing this task. I'm going to be a very important entrepreneur in this country. Top dog. A monopoly. Time to go home and plan. ('Cause we already forgot about the man in the attic, right?)

Have you ever felt like you could take over the planet? Make it a better place all by yourself? How about get rich within a matter of days; just ending in you having money in the hole from your entrepreneur thoughts on patenting the best selling gadget—that could make your line of work easier–on the face of this planet? That's because everyone will want it, right?

You feel like Superman in disguise. Disguised as yourself, only to look in the mirror when walking into a bathroom for you to appear as though you snorted a line of coke. Who cares about the coke, though? You, yourself, look absolutely stunning; flawless, stunning, and mesmerizing. The eyes, especially. They sparkle. They stand out. You are almost 100 percent sure that you could be a model, so why not try out that career?

That is me. I am that person, the one with Bipolar 1 with psychotic features. During these manic times, I'm on unstable grounds. I know I receive looks and criticism, but it is me. I used to be medicated, but I'm currently pregnant and looking to seek some psychiatric help, though no psychiatrist wants to help out or be liable. 

I go through dissociation often. I know when the "entrepreneur Amanda" is coming out, but I can't stop it. Mania, in a way, is like a high that I want to chase. It's euphoric. You get so much more done. I mean, seriously, who can honestly bring you down in that state of mind when you have all of the answers to everything under the sun. You feel as though you are a God. But, quite sadly, you know deep down it's only temporary. 

Don't get me wrong. There are downfalls to feeling elated 24/7.

For one, constantly feeling you hit a line of speed has a tendency of keeping you up at all hours of the night. This, after a few days, throws you back into a delusional and paranoid, "the world is out to get you" schizophrenic-like mess. Imagine sitting in your room, just hanging out, and your shadow friend comes to drop in and say, "Hello." I know that some of you out there can possibly relate, but I do not expect anyone to. 

How about the nights that you are finally peacefully sleeping? (You managed to work through the get-rich-quick schemes, the noise sensitivity that sends your body into overload panic mode, and your grandiose thoughts) only to wake up to find men climbing into your window—more like shadows than actual figures of men. They have piercing red glowing eyes, prowling and tip toeing to one corner of your bedroom. As you lie awake in your bed in silence, fearful to move, one spots you. Your heart drops. He crouches down, puts his finger to his mouth that's not visible, and whispers, "Shhh." After this, you muster up enough courage to flip the light on and react to whatever is about to happen. It's all gone, and you are left sitting there with a lamp in your hand ready to attack and defend yourself from nothing. 

Just when you think it's over, it's not. It is just the beginning. The next night, you wake up and look down. There are spiders crawling all over your body and bed. Naturally, you leap out of bed, frantically shaking off the bugs you had just seen slithering across your torso. After flailing around for a minute, you realize they are no longer there... no longer anywhere. 

Remember the light is your best friend.

I've had times where, in the dead of the night, I've woken up and seen wasps and bees flying around my room and my head. I've awoken just to look down and touch my face to see my pillow drenched in blood. Not only the pillow, but my hands and my face.

Two of the scariest instances were when I woke up, sat up in bed (don't ask me why because I do not know), looked up, and saw a big jagged hole in my ceiling. In this hole was a little boy with brown hair. Next to the hole, were the words "murder" but backwards (REDRUM) carved into my ceiling. In the hole, there were spiderwebs. They appeared as claw marks. The boy didn't appear to be evil nor threatening. He acted as though he wanted to talk. As a matter of fact, we talked. I don't remember what was said. Eventually, he disappeared once I turned on my light, and never returned again.

Last but not least, with these hallucinations, they usually cause me no pain at all. This time it did, and it happened at someone else's house. 

I was sound asleep, when I can get sleep during these manic times, at my ex boyfriend's house. Once again, I was randomly awoken. I saw a man's figure in the doorway of the bedroom. It was a very quick encounter, though. I could tell that he had brown hair and that he was tall. Next thing you know, he flashed the brightest light I've ever seen from some object he was holding. The flash was so bright that I was temporarily blinded. I saw rays and rings in the form of circles coming at me in my direction. Once he flashed the light, I heard a ringing in my ears. It was so high-pitched and so loud and sharp that it brought me to tears. The flashes nor the ringing would go away. I eventually cried myself to sleep, in pain, and it subsided.

You may be reading this and thinking, "She's absolutely crazy," but from my experience, everyone's bipolar disorders react in different ways. They manifest and take different shapes and forms. These are my personal encounters. 

I'm going to wrap this up by saying that I guess the good and happy parts of mania have to be balanced out by the negative and evil parts, too. Wherever there is a negative, there is a positive; so on and so forth. It sounds preposterous to be somewhat happy when mania comes to knock on my door, but when I can accomplish so much in such a little time, constantly stay happy, and get away from the world's harsh reality, I'm always down for that. I feel like a different person, and a better one. But that is just smoke and mirrors, as you know.

Though, I do wish I was "normal" (if normal is really a thing). That I could see through the eyes of one who doesn't suffer in that aspect. That I could be full of light, energy, and positivity all of the time without horrific hallucinations, feelings of being watched, or thinking the world is out to get me. Because trust me, I am not promoting and uplifting the downside of BP1... it is not fun and is very scary and nothing to play around with. Medications do help a little, to an extent. But it is never a "cure all."

And currently, I am very limited in what I can and can't take. I'm pregnant (again) and my funds are low for certain treatments. And I would not change that for the world. It's just that pregnancy and BP disorder do not mix well at all.

Well, my friends, for all who have taken the time to read this crazy, all-over-the-place mess, I want you to know that you are never alone. I am here, and I'm sure plenty of others are as well.

Amanda Caton
Amanda Caton

Small town girl from Louisiana. You'll find me up in the creative scene (Modeling, writing, photography, music; you name it) or working with animals. I spend my days at home with my son and am currently pregnant. Writing is a passion.

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