How Crazy I Really Was

I better get it all down before I forget. It all sounds like something besides mania but everyone insists that it is merely a manifestation of my disorder. If you’re new here, I went “away” for a while during a complete nervous breakdown. Strange things happened to me in the psych ward I will never understand.

It sounds like schizophrenia to me, or sheer psychosis. It isn’t the kind of manic that sends you out making purchases, or flitting about sexually. It was the kind of fugue-like thing that you associate with true full-bull crazy instead of these “episodes’. I can understand an episode. They’re easy to spot now. What I can’t explain is:

Why I thought I was Allah. I would roll around somersaulting in my room in a pseudo-judo manner, gathering my power from the dust on the floor. I would “ward” off evil coming from other areas of the psycho ward with arm motions, as if I were pushing them away with mighty power.

Now no party with Allah would be complete without a visit from the Muslim Brotherhood, right? So I decided that they were there to change Martin Luther King Day into some other holiday, god knows what. I swear I heard or hallucinated one of the orderlies saying “ain’t gonna be no more Martin Luther King day no more”. Nurses who were in on the plan glared at me or nodded to me in understanding of our idea.

I had a whole list of characters in there. I had Satan there, a schizophrenic who said he was a druid. I decided he was Satan because of a big crater of a scar right between his eyes above his forehead. He did not deny he was Satan, and I recommended that he “take it a little easier on people from now on” and he agreed as long as he was equal to me, God, Allah, whatever I thought I was. I said sure, just know who really runs the roost. Satan especially likes snack time, by the way, so in case you do go to a hell, ensure you are buried with graham crackers.

The saints came marching in. I believed that St. John and St. Timothy had come, largely due to their names. One of their names was actually St. John, and shared my first name. As God, it should surprise no one that my apocalyptic soothsayer St. John and I developed a keen friendship, feeding each others’ absurd paranoia about the agenda of the ward. I disconnected routers that I thought were microphones just for fun. We cracked a lot of jokes in the lunch room, until he thought the government was chasing him for an attempted plots against Janet Reno among others. And I had something to do with it because my wife had sent me into stir with a copy of Howard Zinn’s History of the American People, in graphic novel form. Nice book. Lost it.

I believed that black supremacists, Mansonites and Indian rights advocates were imprisoned with me. I believed that every time I got on the exercise bike, a car blew up in the parking lot, furthering my great plan. I thought a poor psychotic in a diaper might be my son, and tormented a poor unfortunate nurse who I believed was my ex-wife. I saw wendigos. I felt we were in the land of the dead at some point in that unit, waiting to be returned to life. I thought we might be on a giant spaceship that would unlock itself from the hospital and was certain I had an important role on the bridge. I thought I was jumping over the international day line. Hell, I even thought relatives were there-my dad, my dead Aunt Peg, and my real mother who I thought was Warhol ingenue Edie Sedgewick. Prisoner that I was, I arranged in weeds “SOS” in the hopes that someone would see us and release us during outside time.

This isn’t bipolar disorder. This is the thinking of a complete loon. I am still in disagreement with my doctor and wife on what happened to me in those weeks I spent there. I’ll let others make the call, but I remain unconvinced that I was acting like a bipolar. I probably won’t go that crazy again, reflecting on those terrifying three weeks. But it’s in me. It’s part of me. I don’t know how it happened, and probably never will.

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1 Comment

  1. Wow! How interesting and complex the mind is. Your story will stick with me, I can only imagine the level of fear you must have experienced. I especially like the parts where you spell out SOS with weeds and Edie Sedgewick as your mother. Where I live there are people who take in Schizophrenic’s at a sort of half way house. These poor souls become well known in town. One in particular stands out in my mind. She walked all day long, street to street, store to store. One day I was in the food store in line behind her. She proceeded to tell me how and why Ann Margaret was at fault for all the ills of the world. Boy did she hate Ann Margaret. She drew her eyebrows on with thick wild black strokes and ringed her eyes in black kohl. She always had something interesting to proclaim, such as the Maple trees in town were filled with maple syrup, get a bucket! When she saw her reflection in the store windows she screamed at it. I’m not sure if she even knew it was her reflection. The thing is, she never got any better nor did any of the other residents with Schizophrenia. Remember Patty Duke? At the Academy Awards she rambled on about alien beings invading her brain. Not much later we all learned that she was Bipolar. She has gone on to accomplish much more in her career since that long ago episode. You may have set backs along the way but then again you may not. But if you do, the people who love you will surely know that you will return to them again. Thank you for sharing your story.

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