The emerging blogger series is aimed at community building through giving mental health bloggers who are early in their blogging evolution the opportunity to have their work seen by a wider audience. It’s also a way to introduce you as a reader to some newer members of our community.
This post is by Brittany of BiPolarMania.
Psychosis is a mental disorder characterized by symptoms like delusions and hallucinations that indicate a break from reality. Paranoia is a common symptom of psychosis. When I was entering my final year of University I experienced a manic psychosis which is exactly how it sounds: I experienced psychosis as a result of a full blown manic episode and this episode would inevitably lead to my initial diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder Type One. A person with Bipolar One has had at least one manic episode in their life. Now what is mania you may ask?
According to WebMD, ” A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated mood and high energy, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life. People in manic episodes may spend money far beyond their means, have sex with people they wouldn’t otherwise, or pursue grandiose, unrealistic plans. In severe manic episodes, a person loses touch with reality. They may become delusional and behave bizarrely.”
This abnormal behavior can be any or a combination of the following: Flying suddenly from one idea to the next, Rapid, “pressured” (uninterruptable), and loud speech, Increased energy, with hyperactivity and a decreased need for sleep, Inflated self-image, Excessive spending, Hypersexuality and substance abuse. I can tell you honestly that I experienced all, and I mean ALL, of these abnormal behaviors leading up to my psychosis and ultimate break from reality.
During the summer leading up to my manic psychosis I experienced flying from one idea to the next quite often. Often picking up projects then dropping them for other projects before I had barely time to start, let alone finish. I came up with several art projects targeted to different galleries and never even got past the idea stage to produce the art because my brain was racing too quickly. I could not hold down any one idea, let alone bring one of these thoughts into fruition.
Racing thoughts is one of the most known and common symptoms of a manic episode. I also experienced an increase in energy and never felt the need to sleep and if I did sleep it was for short intervals of time like two to four hours. My psychiatrist to this day asks me how my sleep is because it can be the first indication of an oncoming manic episode.
I would also stay up all night abusing drugs both the easy and hard kind, ranging from simple marijuana to MDMA, and even cocaine. Substance abuse and experimentation are a symptom of mania and in the months leading up to my diagnosis I definitely experimented, not only with drugs but sex. In a month span, I had sex with six different partners, some once and others on more than one occasion. I even had a pregnancy scare which led to me slowing down on that front but I could not deny this undeniable urge to screw. Hypersexuality is a problem among bipolar individuals experiencing mania.
The final and last abnormal behavior I am going to address is rapid, uninterruptible, and loud speech. It was this behavior that almost led to the doctors thinking I was merely drunk than experiencing a full blown manic psychosis.
I came into the hospital loudly demanding a pap smear for a rape I claimed happened two years ago. I could not be interrupted as I spun a tale of great delusion. “He was the assistant manager at a club here in Ottawa. He drugged one of the shots he gave me at the club then took me home in a taxi. He forced me to sleep with him and I could not react or resist other than to look at him while he was doing it, seeing as I was drugged with Special K or the like. I want a Pap Smear to make sure I do not have an STI and I will not accept a male doctor for men have done enough to me!”
I was practically shouting this nonsense at the intake nurse when she stopped me by abruptly putting her hand up and asking, “Miss Gushue, have you been drinking? Because none of this is making sense to me. How can you suddenly have regained a memory of a rape from two years ago?” I fired back “I am not drunk and I repressed it! It has finally slipped through the cracks of my brain because I am finally in a place to deal and cope with it.”
The hand comes up again, “Have you been doing drugs?” At this I got extremely defensive because for the past month I had actually cold turkeyed it. “No, I have not!” I roared, and I mean ROARED. The nurse then asked me if I had ever been diagnosed with bipolar disorder which at the time I found strange and thought nothing of it until two days later when I would officially be diagnosed with this lifelong affliction.
I left the hospital that night not feeling satisfied and still extremely delusional. I felt that I needed a physical to prove that I had been raped and give me grounds to hopefully go after and catch my rapist. I woke up with the same determination and showed up at the women’s sexual health clinic the next day with the same bizarre request.
The lady who did my intake interviewed me and asked why I believed I had been raped two years ago and how I thought it happened. As I explained I began to ramble and talk excessively about my past, a classic symptom of mania in bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder who are experiencing mania tend to “talk a mile a minute.”
I began to reflect on the nurse from the emergency room the previous night and her question of whether I had been previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I began to ramble about how my father must have had it because he was a raging alcoholic with anger issues who could never seem to express himself or behave properly. Then I started to hyperventilate and exclaim, “I must have bipolar disorder!” The nurse at the sexual health clinic looked extremely concerned by my speech and behavior and suggested she call me a cab to go to the hospital to be properly checked out.
I arrived at the hospital and immediately went to emergency explaining once again that I needed a physical to prove I had been raped two years ago and that I feared I may have bipolar disorder. They told me to wait in the waiting room and this was when I experienced my first visual hallucination, however, my delusional brain thought it was a memory. I saw the club assistant manager “in my memory” forcing himself on me. I felt drugged and like I could not refuse and ultimately performed the act.
I snapped back to reality and immediately fell to the hospital floor rocking back and forth saying, “It’s ok, it’s ok, you’ll be ok.” The emergency staff noticed my strange behavior and immediately admitted me for a psych consult. When the doctor realized I was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as I insisted it had been over a month since drugs were in my system (which was true), she admitted me into the psychiatric unit for a three day observation.
This is the end of the first part of Brittany’s story. You can find part II here.
Visit Brittany on her blog BiPolarMania.
Thanks so much Brittany for participating in the emerging blogger series!
You can find a listing of all of the posts in the series directory.
Do you want to be the next emerging blogger?
- personal blog focused primarily on mental health and illness
- relatively new blogger, with WordPress following <100 preferred
Interested? If you fit the criteria above:
- email me at mentalhealthathome (at) gmail (dot) com
- let me know the topic you’d like to write about and include your blog name/URL