By Christine Roberts
My first “visit” to a mental hospital was when I was seventeen and a half years old. I didn’t know then, but I was experiencing my first bipolar mania/manic episode. I had noticed something different about me when I was about thirteen, but couldn’t put my finger on it until much later on down the road. I was unaware for years and years of further “visits” to mental hospitals, numerous doctors, nurses, and medications.
I finally got a diagnosis of something called Bipolar Disorder / Manic Phase when I was thirty-four or thirty-five. I was so glad that there was finally a name to what was going on in my whole life pretty much to that point. My latest diagnosis as of about sixty-four is Bipolar Disorder I with psychotic features. These include delusions, hallucinations, hypomania, and such during the mania/manic episodes.
Now I had a name, but didn’t really know what that meant until my case manager at the time explained it to me with an illustration. I kind of knew what he was saying to me, but unless you are aware of something you don’t really understand. I had other doctors outside of the hospital that I figured couldn’t help me if they didn’t know what it was either, so I decided to do my own research. That took roughly ten years to put together.
All this time I was plugging along and I was getting it together little by little after each manic/mania episode, which was through experience, input by other people, and of my own understanding of this Bipolar Disorder.
It wasn’t until I was about fifty-seven, forty years after my first horrendous manic/mania episode, that with a med adjustment and I believe my own understanding at that time, I realized that I was not experiencing mania and/or being manic like 24/7 plus periodic mania episodes.
This was quite an enlightenment! I could see! A clear mind/conscious, you might put it. I now can think straight like I could before the manic/mania episodes started and the continual manic/mania fog began.
It’s now been about seven years since the “fog” lifted and I can see from a new perspective. It’s like a new me. I just kept on going. I used to think nobody can help me if they don’t know, so I’ll wait and figure it out by myself. I have to admit though, it took lots of little pieces to come together; my own experience, other people, and a correct combination of med(s) for this to happen.
There is a difference between having mania and/or manic state of mind and experiencing a manic/mania episode. I still have the mania/manic episodes periodically, but not the “fog” all the time along with them. I only experience the psychotic features during a manic/mania episode not outside of them and no “fog” outside of them either.
I have a theory about what the manic/mania fog consist of, but I’ll have to do further research. I’m thinking it has to do with the Bipolar Disorder symptoms that come along with having the disorder. An elder doctor of mine of the past told me they, meaning the medical field I take it, thought people were born with it and you had the bipolar characteristics, which are different than the mania/manic symptoms.
I had forgotten what being me was like and now I’m me again — and then some! By that I mean the me before that first “visit” to the mental hospital when I didn’t have the manic/mania “fog” or the “episodes”. Except I’m left with the horrid manic/mania episodes still that I didn’t have then.
It’s still a wonder to me that it all came about. There is always hope!
Image by Ricardo Gomez Angel at Unsplash.