Manic depression is searchin’ my soul
I know what I want but I just don’t know how to go about gettin’ it
Feeling sweet feelings drops from my fingers
Manic depression is capturin’ my soul
~ Jimi Hendrix
Six years ago, I had a nervous breakdown. The incident, which culminated on April 16, 2005, was diagnosed a manic episode and I was diagnosed bipolar.
I was a textbook case, a psychiatrist later told me. Grandiose ideas, hypersexuality, too much makeup, crazy outfits. Over the top. Delusions of grandeur. Erratic behavior. Little need for sleep.
Some factors that may have led to the breakdown:
- a short bout with childhood post-traumatic stress disorder
- periods of depression and anxiety that riddled my early twenties
- an ill-advised relationship with a conservative Christian in San Francisco in the summer of 2004, in which I lost myself, found Jesus, quit cursing, quit smoking, quit drinking and was overtaken by spiritual confusion
- moving from that extreme back to sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll in Austin
But what happened is really beyond explanation.
Mania felt like a dream. I didn’t want drama. I was completely absorbed in the present moment, recreating myself all the time. Here are 7 things I wrote during the height of the mania:
- This is fiction, by the way. Life is fiction. Maya, an illusion of reality. I need to meditate. Writing is my meditation this morning. I need to sleep. Why can’t I sleep? Dear God, please let me sleep.
- I am so scattered but I must write. It may be hard to follow. I feel like if it were not for yoga, meditation and a select few other secrets, I would at this moment be a bunch of particles floating in space with no center, no cohesion.
- I have been in constant contact with my closest friends, my true friends. They are telling me to get professional help. “Thanks for your advice. I’ll keep that in mind.” Whatever! I am pissed and offended. Get off your high horse. I will be FINE. I just have a lot going on right now. I can handle it. I regret nothing about my time in California. It was amazing, i fell in love with the state, with a boy, with Jesus, with myself, with the world. It all came crashing down but I picked myself back up again. I was floating in a pool of condensed time, face down, and I just didn’t want to swim any further.
- am i bipolar? it is a distinct possibility. i never knew that mental illness like this could happen to me again and again and again. i have real issues with authority. esp. authority telling me that i need to take medications for the rest of my life everyday. f that. i can handle this on my own.
- I have lost my ability to be anything but totally present. Spiritual awakening. Cultivating the power of now. Happy, joyous, productive, exciting. But I seriously think I’m manic depressive. Shudder to think where I’d be without my yoga. Dead or a mother of three, I bet. I need organization. I am in chaos. Things are in complete flux. Everything: Job, relationships, friendships, careers, stories, networks, art, life.
- My dueling gemini twins are at it again. One says, settle down, get grounded, get real. If you stay here, maybe you could settle without getting too down. Over there, you cannot afford to settle. You’ll want the spiritual life, the zen retreat, the study of divinity. You’ve already tried the yoga thing and it is too much of a struggle to do full time. You’ll want to write and meditate all the time, to eat raw foods, become a vegan. You may fall back into the same situation. Would you let your debts, your depressions, your confusion take hold of you again? That’s the real fear. Repetition of failure.
- I have one mission: to live life to the fullest, soaking up the sweet and dark emotions, figuring it out as I go. Never before have I felt this satisfied. I am done with being ruled by a suspicion that sorrow and trouble are lying around the next corner, just out of view. I am done with forcing myself into a shape.
to be continued.