Mania is a good jolt. I don’t fully understand it. But it stings. It hurts. It burns. It’s like pressing the brake of a car and the accelerator at the same time. Burn the damn engine.
It … jolts.
Want to know about my experience yesterday with my mania, with some suicidal ideation?
If you do, you’re in for quite the ride. For a good jolt.
I wasn’t feeling well. I was in a minor depressive state. It had happened because I was thinking about some heavy things, ranging from my sexual orientation and how I really and honestly feel about it all, to my place in the world, to trying to navigate my own emotional baggage. I’d had therapy that day, and I’d discussed some heavy things with my therapist, mostly about my childhood and the trauma I associate with it. I told her about the time my father hit me when I was in kindergarten, trying to put papers in a yellow binder, and because I couldn’t do it right, my father hit me and got mad at me when I started crying.
I mentioned other tense memories that will surface later in my writing, I’m sure.
Anyway, she (my therapist) was dismissive when I kept trying to talk about a “coming out” essay (if you can call it that) I wrote, that for a reason I don’t understand, got a lot of good feedback from people, telling me that they support my decision, if I decide to essentially live the lifestyle of a homosexual or bisexual male. They were supportive, told me love is universal, we all need it, want it, but … it all caught me off guard, because I felt vulnerable all of the sudden, for sharing something I still haven’t even remotely accepted about myself, even though I’ve written about it a ton in my writing. I wasn’t ready, in other words. Not in the slightest.
This was obviously on my mind, the fact that my therapist was dismissive of this. The fact that she didn’t want to talk about it.
I remember walking in the city later that day, feeling upset, and not quite sure why. The sound of trucks and cars was annoying. The signs of capitalism and consumerism was annoying. My own feelings were annoying, grating, irritating. It was all stupid.
My friend told me he wanted to meet up with me, so I went back home, and we met up.
He was drained. He suffers from depression, severely, and in all honesty, I can’t relate to it as much as I feel like I should be able to. I had a feeling it was going to be a difficult time, forth both of us, I just didn’t know how difficult.
We talked for a little while. The feelings from earlier in therapy came up. I suppressed some of it, expressed some of it. I told my friend that therapists have always been dismissive of me when I want to talk about my sexuality. He said that the statistics show people commit suicide over their sexual identity. I guess they do. So, it must be important, despite what my therapists tell me and how they treat me.
But for whatever reason, I felt unfulfilled. Like, I hadn’t really gotten to the root of it. And my friend was tired, so he couldn’t really say much. I went on about my mother’s trauma, I went on about how it hurt me, I went on and on and on before I realized, he wasn’t in a place to listen to me fully.
Discouraged, I began cooking dinner. Pasta, with mushroom spaghetti sauce. I snuck in reading in the meantime in my room, with my friend over, reading the great book America, a great young adult novel. It happened to talk about a part where the main character, America, was aroused by dicks. Dicks and tits. With some ambiguity about … well, his homosexual feelings. Which may or may not have come from when he was molested, as was implied by the novel.
Anyway, for a little bit, it provided insight, but not fully. I was confused. Especially with my friend’s mood. I wasn’t handling it as well as I wanted to, as well as I thought I needed to handle it, and I was blaming myself for it. I was blaming myself for my friend’s depression.
I made dinner, ate the meal in relative silence, and then, realized I was checked out. I was too fucking hurt, about it all. So, knowing my friend had seen me in a minor psychotic state and a minor depressive state and a minor manic state, I told him I was going to go check the mail when I was really going to just fucking leave.
But, I didn’t leave, because then I saw my other friend, my neighbor, who I’ve seen as lonely, needing connection, and I felt even more guilty. So, I invited him over for a little bit.
Some stuff went down, some stuff happened. Nothing major, they just talked. Feeling left out, I decided to go on a walk. I snuck out, without explaining where I was going.
And I listened to music.
My thoughts were agony.
My mind was pain.
But I knew I could hold it together. I knew I could. So what if my therapist wasn’t going to be supportive about my feelings? She was Mormon, after all, and as my friend told me, to Mormons, homosexuality is the worst of sins, next to murder. Holy fuck! No wonder I’m so uncomfortable talking about it, seeing as how I live in Utah of all places. But, indeed, he also told me that my therapist isn’t a good fit for me, her beliefs will influence her practice. All of this just made me feel worse. All of it.
So, I listened to music. In Flames. Linkin Park. Rock. Metal.
And, I came back manic.
Came back with a jolt to my head.
I grabbed my depressive friend’s pill bottle of Adderall, for depression. He panicked, when I told him I took it, because he said I’d go into a hypomanic state and wouldn’t be able to sleep. I was literally slipping into mania anyway, so none of this mattered to me.
I started fucking around. Can I drink my friend’s beer, I wondered? After I’d taken the drug. He told me that I couldn’t, because it wasn’t my beer, so I said I was going to go buy some beer. In the meantime, my neighbor friend was there, seeing me manic, and I didn’t know what to do.
So, indeed, I told them I was going to go to Chevron and buy some beer.
I grabbed my ID and my card, and went outside again, them seriously thinking I’d taken the drug, when I hadn’t.
You get weird ideas when you’re manic.
With me in the meantime wondering: What do I want?
Well, just a little peace of mind.
I detoured when I got the idea to buy cookies for my friends.
So, I went to Subway, saw they were closed, then went to a nearby bakery, got some cookies. Flirted with the girl there, just because I felt hurt and insecure. But I meant it when I told her she was pretty, when I left. In the meantime, I asked where I could get a good piercing, seeing her own piercing, she told me a couple good places, I was being dumb.
But anyway: I went back, saw my friend, and I offered him the cookie after bragging about how I hit on a girl. He said he didn’t want it (the cookie). This spiraled me further. This was probably what broke me, in fact, after the events of the day, the events of my life. I told him to take the fucking cookie, he wouldn’t, so I rested it on his shoulder. I said if he didn’t want it, he could throw it away, the birds would happily eat it. At this point, I really didn’t care, I honestly had fallen to the belief with his rejection of the cookie and the prior events of the day, that my actions were meaningless.
I felt meaningless.
I went to my neighbor friend, who had left and was at his apartment, and gave him the other cookie.
But I felt hurt.
Then things really got interesting, with the jolt.
I slipped into some drama. Into a dramatic mode, a dramatic mood.
In no particular order, I did the following things:
I crumpled up something I’d been coloring for a while and taken important notes on.
I threatened to burn my book, my treatise, In Defense of the Mind. I had the lighter and everything. I really wanted to do it.
I spiked my hair with water, poured some water from a bottle on my head, felt good. Like taking a shower.
I kept expressing, what would happen if I slipped on the water I spilled and cracked my head open on the corner of the table.
I kept shouting, “Crack!” In reference to my brain spilling open.
I wondered what brain would taste like with salt and pepper.
All of my ideas, certainly mixing dangerously and recklessly. To the point to where I was scared, and knew I had to get control, and fast.
My friend saw all of this. I kept telling him to leave, whenever he wanted to, he was free to go, because he didn’t need to see this side of me. I was angry, hurt, had suicidal ideation, frustrated, sad, lonely, among other things. But mostly, I just didn’t want him to see how far I’d spiraled. It’s self-isolating behavior, but it’s adaptive for me, even though it really isn’t: it’s more of a defense mechanism. I just don’t want people to know how I really feel sometimes.
It all fucking stung! But, I knew I could overcome it, so I told my friend, reason had broken down. Logic breaks down for a reason. I kept berating him about the fucking cookie, but it was because it just stung, in a way I couldn’t explain. I was so manic I didn’t even realize he didn’t take the cookie because he couldn’t eat sugar as it made him feel worse, something I would have caught had I been rational.
Had I not been brain jolted.
Anyway: I slowly came down. I’d caused enough chaos.
I apologized to my friend as best I could, but it didn’t change what I felt. The fact that I wasn’t sure why I felt hurt, except because … I just did. He told me my mania is just a biological state. I don’t agree with this, but in the moment, I just laughed, said, “Fuck you!” and went along with it.
No wonder people don’t understand mental illness, on that account: You have to have chemicals misfire to understand mental illness and experience the state.
In the meantime, I knew this was getting ridiculous. All of it. I’d experienced too much lately, and this last bout of mania, with ideation … it scared me greatly. Straight up.
I told him I was scared about the severity of my illness.
But he wasn’t too worried. He just saw it as the state we’re in. We just don’t get the help we need, so basically, I drew the conclusion that we have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Which I do, provided I take my medication, get sleep, eat okay, think okay, read, study logic and philosophy, hang out with friends, write … all of that fun stuff.
As we walked outside, later when he was leaving, I told him, though, that I was seeing my mania as dangerous. Understand, not in the clichéd sense of stereotyping, where mentally ill people are violent and crazy and fucking nuts and you should stay as far away from them as you can, those deviants. No. Not that stigmatization. Rather, it was for me, trauma and mental suffering. A lot of it. A ton of it. And it’s dangerous because it’s so unpredictable, and because rarely do societal circumstances help because the stigma is so great. Society makes these mental states worse. Just rejecting the cookie, just being burned by my therapist … yes, yes, Styron argues that sometimes these states are simply organic, but in my experience, much of it is triggered by external influences, and then I can’t manage my emotions. Because it hurts too much. So I then threaten to burn my treatise, that I’m proud of, and make fun of, parts saying that we should stretch our cognition like the great writers and thinkers, me thinking all of this was just false and fake.
Anyway. It is. It just is.
And I … I am confused.
I know I’m okay, I know I’ll be okay.
My friend helped me make a video about my manic state. I teased some of the philosophical implications, shared some of the experience I’d just had, among other things.
Later on, he left.
I tried to relax the rest of the night. I suppose, I did okay. I did get some sleep, though I woke up at four thirty for a while and couldn’t go back to sleep again for a while.
But, it was all scary. Mania scares me because you get so many ideas but you are afraid to act on any of them because you fear they’ll get you into trouble. And that damn ideation: Why did I want to crack my head open? I even referenced a watermelon in my kitchen as something to be cracked open! This is not the norm for me, but it is the norm for my self-hatred. But, why do I feel this way?
Because, I feel misunderstood?
Again, these states are dangerous, but not for the reasons you’d expect. Please, don’t stigmatize me. They are dangerous because I don’t get the support I need from the exterior world … which is ironic because it’s that world that demands my compliance (where the tension comes from …). So, I resort as always to internal resources (logic, for instance … philosophy), but this never fills the void. It hurts that my therapist looks down on me because of her beliefs. It hurts she’s dismissive. It hurts my friend didn’t want the cookie. It hurts when I see my neighbor friend lonely. It hurts that I myself feel alone and can’t work through my condition better.
But: I want to do better. I need to be better.
My friend thinks it’s bad to have an ideal, that you should be better. If this is true, I’ll learn it on my own terms. Because right now, I feel I need to be better. I must do better. I need to stay sane. I need to be all right. Hence why I’m writing this piece, to show I can be rational. To show I can be okay. To show I’m nothing to fear. Aberrations happen. The world is full of flukes. Human systems are not deterministic by any means. They are unpredictable, even chaotic. Yes, the ideation scares me, but understand, at least the specific symptom of mania is dangerous only because people don’t understand it. If they sought to understand, I’d honestly be okay. But they don’t, and so, they get confused and want to destroy me.
But: I made it. I survived the jolt to the brain, the mania.
I made it.
And I will continue to make it: That’s my promise. At this point, I’ve realized too much is out of my control, whether getting the support I need or understanding my mind, feeling at peace with myself or feeling loved. But none of that matters. I need to just relax. I’m okay. My world is not filtered through pain. There are good things. Mania can be good, if I just keep learning how to channel it right.
It’s completely okay.
I’m all right.
And, I can do this.