This is my first time I am sharing my experiences of life-changing manic episodes. When I say life-changing, I mean mania that develops into a psychosis, and renders the mind uncontrollable and actions that morph into a whole new reality, that is when decisions on life take a turn for the worst.
My first manic psychosis was when I was 16. I was undiagnosed, (although the doctor thought it would be interesting to put me on antidepressants when I told him I was depressed). I had just started college and was doing A-levels at the time. I wanted to be a vet. My life was good, I felt good, in fact better than good, my thoughts were racing away like a horse at the grand national, and I was the jockey riding this uncontrollable horse. I won the race……and I entered a whole new reality.
After becoming so high that I hadn’t slept for nearly a week and a half, missing classes and wearing feathers in my hair, my brain decided I was a native American orphan. (I only know this because a kind friend told me). I had apparently made up a name for myself, which I cannot write here because I fear being too exposed…..but I can tell you that the name had 12 letters and 5 syllables.
My mum then told me the rest of what happened in that manic psychotic episode….she told me that I had become aggressive towards her and made threats. I had a piece of paper in my hands at the time, and I looked at it…my mum had changed my name legally be deed poll, to the wacky name I had somehow made up. ..she said that she was frightened that I would do myself harm if she didn’t change it.
I was 16 years old, so I was not legally able to change my name myself. I did not know what to do. After the manic psychosis, I had crashed down into a depression, and this information made it worse.
I kept that name for 17 years…I was too paranoid to change it, I was bound to it. I have old passports, mortgage, bank accounts, loans, degree certificate..all in that horrible new name.
Thankfully, after some rehabilitation and some spiritual direction from my parish priest, I was able to fully confront my past experience, and I changed my name legally back to my baptised name which I use now. However I cannot change back the name on several legal documents, including my divorce papers.
This was the first life-changing bipolar event.