I have been talking about depression and going down the emotional scale. But, my hospitalizations were for manic episodes. My depression symptoms were ignored, except one time around 1988 when I was back in school going for my first Masters in Industrial Management Technology. I told my psychiatrist that I was having a particularly hard time in a relationship and could he give me something. I ‘awoke’ in a classroom with the teacher handing back tests, including mine. I have no recollection of going to classes, taking this test or anything else over the previous 5 days or so.
Most often my ‘black out’ periods were affiliated with a manic episode. Around 1989 I ‘awoke’ once in a hospital and wondered how I got here. The care-giver said I had gone up to a police car and told them that my friend needed help. My friend turned out to be a garbage can. During other manic episodes I would remember events up to hospitalization and then lose a few days to blackout periods.
In 1990 I ‘awoke’ another time with my mother in a drug store in. We were getting my prescriptions refilled. I carefully started probing about the circumstances. I remember being accepted to a teaching position in Xianyang, China after receiving my 2nd Masters degree. I was going to teach industrial management. I have no idea of how many days or even weeks had gone by. Somehow I was now in Madison, WI where apparently I had ‘lost’ about 10months of meds for my trip. We got my meds and the next day I was on my way to China.
Manic episodes were never a ‘high’ but they were escapism from depression. When recalling a manic episode I would describe them as scary, frightening, and even terrifying. I had no control. I was an observer watching somebody do crazy stuff. My reality was this ‘trip’ that I participated in and like a ‘dream’ events just happened. An idea to do something would come to me and I would do it. I had lost all sense of propriety accept within some very narrow stream of conscious mania.
I would say now that severe depression drove me to become very narrowly and intensely focused on something else so I wouldn’t feel the general pain that engulfed my life. And then, this very narrow reality took on a life of its own without any of the normal restraints derived from a broader perspective and reality. From 1989 to 1996 I needed medications to control my mania. Since 1996 I have been able to consciously control my ‘bio-chemical’ imbalances as to not need medication.