Epilogue to Manic Memories by Carolyne Olson



I visit the Ward now when I go for appointments. You can’t go home again. You are the adult going back to a childhood homestead. It seems much smaller, static, subdued, ordinary and uneventful. All the places and things you used to be able to make come to life are now lifeless and uninspiring. You now lack that special power in your mind that can make a toy out of a cardboard box or that can convince you a monster lives under the bed. You try to recapture the overactive imagination. But the magic is gone. The expanding, developing mind of the child is gone. The home in your mind is still and silent.

You have swung back to normal from your high. You feel like you have swung back past normal because of where you have been, but you are at normal. That’s tough to come to realize because if this is normal, who wants it. The fiction doesn’t feel like truth anymore. Everything seems particularly ordinary, dull and flat only because your mind knows there is an enticing alternative state of fantasy and forgotten horror. Flat and dull. No, it’s not the drugs. The drugs do their thing on your brain, but this is the mind. It’s where you’ve been and what you’ve seen and felt. You will never forget the episodes you’ve been allowed to remember. You have lived in a part of your mind that 99% of people will never visit. You know it will be difficult for them to imagine this world of so many possibilities. It is an intoxicating and absorbing world. It’s a world where everything can come together for a moment in time as if planned to reveal and explain all mysteries. The meaning of the universe and earth’s role. The way to save the rain forests, stop hunger, and cure your fellow “patients”. Even realizing and feeling the excitement of the second coming of Christ. Very serious. You don’t even have to be a believer. Everything is to make sense only to you and you know it. Naturally it feels like a superior and privileged outlook. You don’t see it as a problem, things making sense to you. Who wouldn’t want to visit this world to feel and know extraordinary things? Alas there is horror to the same degree of fantasy. You don’t want that fear. Most importantly, the high just can’t be sustained. Back to the cruel world sometime.

Hopefully the words written here start to bridge the gap between the two worlds. Literally like after walking on the moon, the mind doesn’t allow you to perceive walking on the earth in the same way anymore. It can be a let down. And it can go beyond that understandably. You are susceptible. It can also be a gift, a newly expanded perspective of possibilities.

In the final analysis, realism can be as potent as fantasy. Time to take off those rose coloured glasses and face facts. The gift is just a camouflaged box full of reality, even if it is new and improved. You made it back but now you have to face the music. In this writing, my own illness has totally crystallized in my mind. The fact that I was not of this world. Had a screw loose. Lost my marbles. I was a real nutter. It did happen, but not as I remember it. To me it was my life. I was hanging on to a moving train, looking for a step up. But now I can remember it for what it was in reality. To me I was searching for something when in reality I was just lost. To me it was my play when in reality I had nothing to do with it. To me it was heaven when in reality it was catatonia. To me it was a work of art when in reality it was just a picture hanging upside down. To me it was a throne when in reality it was just an old chair. To me it was an inferno when in reality it was just the laundry room. To me I was aloft and aloof when in reality I was alone and apart. To me it was just real fear when in reality it was paranoia. To me I was all powerful when in reality I was powerless. A misfit. Fit to be locked up. Soon to be a menace on society at large. Perhaps even harmful to myself. I know the disorder exists in me. At bay. Invisible to me and others. Some days I can feel it more than others. It is a bitter pill to swallow. It was a very difficult experience.

The disorder, when active, never gives you a recess and never lets up. No time-out. You will probably never experience anything as difficult unless you are held hostage or buried alive. But if you do, you can count on the mysterious will to survive to be there in your darkest moments. Thank God for medical science. Trying to sort it all out. The mind from the brain and visa versa.

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2 Responses to Epilogue to Manic Memories by Carolyne Olson

  1. Sergey says:

    Yes it is. You can have insomnia if your mcniay or depressed. It is very common. I have bipolar disorder and have gone through periods where no matter what I can’t sleep and it lasts for days. Currently I am stuck in a cycle of insomnia that the Dr is trying to help me with but its going on 3 months. I won’t be able to sleep for 2 to 3 days then crash for a few hours and up for a few days again and it just keep repeating. I’m very frustrated at this point and sadly lack of sleep is a HUGE trigger for most bipolar people. Lack of sleep brings on a whole world of other symptoms. Even ones that might not have been experienced before.

  2. admin says:

    Yes, losing sleep is my first trigger. I’m not sure if it is the result of a stress trigger that starts the manic episode, or the trigger that starts the manic episode. At any rate, as you can tell from my two episodes told on my blog here, I have sought help and unfortunately strong antipsychotic medication and sleeping pills seem to do the trick over a few weeks. I say unfortunately because antipsychotics can really give you terrible side affects and make you feel like you are drifting and in slow motion, but they do work. Thanks for commenting Sergey!

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