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Maria O'Hare

Drama


5.0  

Maria O'Hare

Drama


Maniac

Maniac

6 mins 260 6 mins 260

I have suffered both hypomania and full blown mania. I have bipolar disorder type one as I have had major depression, full blown mania, mixed episodes and psychosis. Hypomania is a milder form of mania, which is categorised by elation and hyperactivity, whereas mania is categorised by periods of great excitement or euphoria, delusions and over activity.

When I am manic I have extremely severe racing thoughts. The best metaphor I can use to explain what it is like to have severe racing thoughts is, when you look at clothes in a washing machine when it is turned off, you are able to see items of clothing. However, when a washing machine is on full spin it becomes impossible to see individual items of clothing. These items of clothing represent my thoughts. When my thoughts are racing on full spin, I am unable to decipher what each thought is. When I am like this I find it extremely difficult to speak as I race from one topic to another, forgetting what I was previously thinking about. I also find it very difficult to answer questions as when I begin to answer the question, I have forgotten what the question was. It is as if I am accessing more of my brain capacity than normal which causes far too heavy a flow of thoughts. A quote which I find quite relevant here is, ‘’Madness is to think of too many things in succession too fast, or of one thing too exclusively’’ (Voltaire).

On occasion my thoughts have raced far too fast leading to psychosis and I have become almost catatonic. It is like the thoughts have spun so fast that they have spun out of existence. On two occasions this has been particularly bad. It was as if someone had taken all the thoughts out of my head and I was unable to speak at all, remember or feel emotion. I was unable to do anything: I could not dress myself, I could not get from A to B without being held by the hand and led, I was unable to work out how to do a urine sample in accident and emergency. These instances were the most terrifying experiences of my life as I thought I was going to be in a catatonic state, unable to anything for myself, for the rest of my life in a psychiatric ward. In these cases, I have been rushed straight through accident and emergency and was told I was not exhibiting symptoms of bipolar, but rather symptoms of schizophrenia. This makes me wonder sometimes if I am schizoaffective which is both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

When I am manic I hardly sleep at all. I will be up all night moving furniture around, changing rooms about, walking the dog in the middle of the night, compulsively cleaning and generally in a very energetic restless state. I need to be active all the time doing multiple tasks all at once, however, it is difficult to complete any one task due to lack of concentration and racing thoughts. I would get up in the morning after having no sleep and run three miles due to my excessive energy levels. I become over excited about everything. I am an extremely creative person and this is emphasised when I am hypomanic or manic, so when in hospital during mania, I am never out of occupational therapy. I have been so manic before that I left the country with a minute’s notice. I impulsively overspend and I am still in a lot of debt today because of this. I make poor decisions so I can become a danger to myself and others. I am often extremely euphoric when manic, however, this is not always the case with mania.

A common misconception with mania is that you are always happy. Take it from me, this is not always the case. I often become extremely agitated, irritable, reckless, self-destructive and aggressive. I am unsure why, but I have often blacked out my actions when manic. I will tell you a few stories of my actions during mania that may shock you. So, please bear in mind that I was unwell and my actions were not a conscious choice, as I am in no way an aggressive person.

During agitated mania, on one occasion, I tried to run over my partner at the time with my car. It was a blessing that he ran out of the way and I missed. I have trashed my whole house on many occasions. I have tried to jump out of moving cars. On one occasion, I left my flat at around three in the morning and kicked every other flat door. On another occasion, I blacked out, therefore I am only aware of my actions from what I have been told happened. I smashed everything in the kitchen and apparently had a knife to my throat, then tried to stab my late partners friend, but my partner stopped me (just as I had stopped him from stabbing his father by grabbing the blade of the knife. He suffered with schizophrenia). The police and an ambulance were called, however, when manic your physical strength is elevated, so it was impossible to get me into an ambulance. Apparently, I did a backflip and kicked the police man in the head (I cannot even do backflips). After this about six other police officers came running in and I was restrained. I was taken to a cell and was assessed by a doctor in the police station. I was losing my speech and could only explain to the doctor that my brain had crossed wires. I was sectioned straight into the psychiatric ward. On another occasion in hospital I kicked a piece of furniture at a nurse while I was trying to break the window latch to leave hospital. I was immediately restrained and injected. I have also set my blankets on fire while in hospital as I could not break the window latch to jump to my death, so, I had decided I wanted to burn to death. I was put under immediate 24-hour observation. On another occasion when I blacked out, I slit a cross shape into my late partner’s chest for which I have no memory of doing. I blacked out. This was most likely related to the religious nature of my delusions when I was unwell. As I said, when manically unwell, I really am a danger to myself and others. I have many more stories, and I could write a book on them, so, I will not go into any more detail.

‘’Do not judge me by my past as I do not live there anymore’’ (Auliq Ice). Do not judge me by my actions when manic as they were not conscious decisions made by myself as I was severely unwell and completely unaware that I was unwell (which is normally the case with mania). I truly regret my actions; however, I realise now that I am in recovery, that this was not me. I must look forward in life as dwelling on the past will never allow me to progress both in life and in terms of recovery. To anyone who is reading this and can relate, please don’t beat yourself up about things that you have done when you are unwell as this is not the real you. Forgive yourself as I have, even though it is difficult to do, as living with guilt is impossible.


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