The Best and Worst Time of My Life
Daniel's Bipolar Story


          I walked out of McDonalds and yelled at the man with long hair.

“Howard Stern! I love your show, man!” It was pretty funny. The guy

laughed at the joke and so did my friend Mikey. The guy did look like

Howard Stern. This was the one of the first in a long series of jokes that

was evidence of a problem that would ultimately lead to my

hospitalization. But at the time, it seemed natural. I felt good and

energetic. What was wrong with that?

            I was a part of a group that was on a mission trip to Appalachia to help out the poor. I had been raising money for this trip for the last year, and now here I finally was, on my way to the church that we would be staying at over night. (We would leave this church the next morning, and then head to our ultimate destination for the week.) I had a great time that day. I was the king of the world. Everyone liked me, and if they didn’t, then they should have. I felt so elated that I couldn’t stop making jokes. I was constantly joking about something. I felt like the most joyful person in existence.

             That night, however, I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing, and as much as I tried to stop it, I just couldn’t. So instead I stayed up all night lying on a couch, staring out the window, having an imaginary conversation with what I perceived to be a spirit. The next day, my thoughts were still racing, but my body had slowed down somewhat. I’d describe my mental state as a “crazy calm.” That day we arrived at the church that we would be staying at for the next week.

I have lots of memories from the next few days, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll only tell a few.

I remember going up to a group of people from another church and doing a Chippendale dance in front of them. When they asked me who I was, I told them, “I am… I Am!” My comment was greeted with blank stares, to which I replied, “I’m sorry…. I didn’t mean to make a God joke…” and just walked away. This was one of the more embarrassing memories.

That night, I didn’t sleep. People started to worry about me. I was becoming manic, and it showed. I started to have delusions and mild hallucinations. I call them “mild” hallucinations, because it was like I could just barely see what I was trying to perceive. It wasn’t imagining seeing something, it was more real than that, but it wasn’t quite seeing them either. I remember looking into a mirror and “mildly” seeing red flames surrounding my body. However, I was not scared, I just thought that this was a natural thing to see when one is as important as me.

That night, I stayed up all night writing in a journal. I was writing about my theories on psychology, and they were groundbreaking. I was making new discoveries as I wrote. I did not hesitate to cross out what I had previously written just seconds ago, to make room for what I was about to write. I was sitting around about ten papers, all covered in writing and drawings, and I was just adding to them, more and more. I couldn’t stop writing. The flow of ideas just kept coming. The next morning, my mind was as fast as ever, but my body was slowing down. The lack of sleep was taking its toll on my physical health.

The next two days were the worst days of my life. That seems an understatement. It was as if I was in a nightmare – in fact, I thought I was in a nightmare, and tried waking myself up several times. Delusions I can’t even explain were filling my mind with distress, and I was panicking.

That night, I came upon the realization that I was the reincarnate of Jesus. However, I knew that if anyone knew this I would be persecuted just like he was, so I tried to keep it secret. Then I realized that I was not Jesus, and that I was really a demon, and I was going to die that night and go to hell. I tried to lay down, but my heart was racing. It would not stop. I panicked. I told my mom that I thought I had to die. She took me to the hospital.

The next few months were rough for me, as recovering from a manic episode is like waiting for a spinning wheel to stop spinning. Except instead of a wheel, it is my mind. I stopped taking my medicine a couple of times, but the symptoms returned. Now I take them obediently. The doctors still aren’t sure, but they think I’m bipolar.

I’ve changed a lot since that episode, and it hasn’t been easy. However, as crazy as it sounds, I have some fond memories of those few days. The carefree, energetic feeling... the fun I had... the idea that I was the most important person in the world…it was like doing the craziest drug on the planet. And everything since then seems pale.


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