I am reading an incredible book at the moment titled, “When we were animals” by Joshua Gaylord. Now although the book has nothing to do with bipolar disorder, there are elements of the plot that can be likened to mania. The premise of the story is that in a small town in America, when children reach adolescence, they ‘breach’ and as a result run riot on the night of full-moons, engaging in sexual, animalistic urges as a sense of invincibilty and great power consumes them. Any attempts to delay, stop or repress this process causes devastation, so the community learn to accept the fate of their young and ‘baton down the hatches’ until the youths come out of the other side. Breaching is not considered anything to be proud of and it is generally swept under the carpet as those who witness turn to look the other way.
It made me think a lot about mania and how breaching was described in a way not dissimilar to mania.
“I am forever gazing downward at people who live in dream worlds. The breachers, too. They run through the night but they run in sleep, they run undercurrents deep in memory. In the morning there is no shame because they were not themselves – or their selves were buried so deep that their waking minds are blameless for their nighttime deeds.”
Is this not mania summed up in one perfect paragraph? As I read this, it really hit a nerve. This could not be more true. The actions of a person who is manic can be so destructive and so hurtful to those around them, yet the harm is not intentional. It is as if the mind has been taken hostage and the body is merely going along for the ride. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that a manic person should be forgiven all havoc that is wreaked but there is certainly an element of diminished responsibility.
I think back to the hotel bed I lay in some 4 hours from home as the guy I have met online showers just metres away from me (coming from a girl who has never had a one night stand). I have numerous missed calls and text messages on my phone from my other half. I have been found out. He has hacked into my Facebook account and found out exactly what I am up to. But here’s the thing – I don’t give a fuck. I cannot be bothered to answer the calls because it will interrupt my fun. I will deal with the fallout tomorrow. Sure, I could be dead as far as he knows but just let me have this night because I am BUZZING! I’ll deal with it later. For now, I wanna go out, get drunk and dance.
What. the. fuck?
I still find it hard to believe that I was the girl in the hotel room with the Nikki Sixx lookalike. I think back on that chapter from my life as if I was recollecting a very vivid and surreal dream. How did I reach the point that I found myself checking into a hotel with this guy and bickering at the book-in desk over whether we got a smoking or non-smoking room. The woman on the desk laughed and said, “When will they realise that we women always get our own way?” She clearly assumed that we were a couple who had been together some time as opposed to black-clad rockers who had met in the flesh just an hour or so before.
Amazingly I was forgiven. I can only assume because my other half knew just how sick I must have been to have been behaving that way. Funny how a couple of nights of insomnia can make a faithful teetotaller, jump in her car one night, speed halfway across the country whilst taking up smoking en-route, meeting up with a beautiful internet predator in a hotel room and then going out for the remainder of the night and getting thoroughly trashed. I’m amazed it ended as well as it did.
But here’s the thing. I can’t quite bring myself to fully regret it even after all these years. I always thought I knew myself and what I would and wouldn’t do. Until I developed bipolar, that is. As much as it scares me to admit, I don’t know who I really am anymore. Has bipolar inherently changed who I am and my morals? Who knows. But there’s that tiny bit of me that kind of savours the fact that I have a dark and unpredictable side.
It’s like I have a tiny little Pandora’s Box of bipolar memories hidden deep within my head that no-one should ever open. I like that it’s there; it gives me a tiny thrill that I am still learning who I am…