After twenty years of suffering with "something" - I didn't know what - I was finally on my way to getting help having gotten admitted to a psychiatric facility. Unlike some people who find themselves in such a facility, I was not frightened or upset to be there. Quite the opposite, I was enormously relieved and not a little excited.
Enormous relief because it was becoming clear to the 'healthy' side of my mind that I was becoming a danger to myself and perhaps others. The combination of suicidal thoughts and high levels of stress that I could not manage was putting me very dangerously close to the edge. The thoughts and urges were with me almost constantly instead of occasionally. As well, I was getting advice and pressure from all sides about events in my life, from work, from almost everyone in my life at that point. I felt quite literally like I was going mad and was at the point of doing something drastic. When I went through and finished the procedures at the psyche ward - checking in, giving up 'dangerous' items, getting a room, putting on the hospital garb, getting introduced to my 'team', and so on - I felt safely away from everyone and everything. I felt safe - safe from myself as well. I could literally feel the weight ease off my shoulders. So much pressure and stress was gone.
I felt a little excited because finally I was going to find out more about what I'd been suffering from, finally I was going to talk to someone, finally I was going to get help, finally I was going to put my life on a better path. I'd lived with the signs and symptoms of Bipolar Disorder for so long it'd become almost second nature. Hell, it had, really. I'd handled it somehow for the most part but the previous three and a half years had taken a large toll. I'd lost so much and damaged so much and it was all weighing on me like never before. I felt like I could not handle another loss, another set back, another failure. The mania had become not a "friend" - a provider of energy and creative thoughts - it had turned on me with paranoid thoughts, extreme irritability, anger and rage. The least thing would set me off like a roman candle. I was becoming scary and miserable to be around. I couldn't, in all truth, even be around myself. I couldn't live with myself. I was hating myself. After a twenty year journey to reach that point, I was excited therefore about finally learning why my mind was breaking down.
The time drew near that I'd meet my psychiatrist. I couldn't stop pacing. I was becoming extremely nervous. How does one sum up twenty some years? Where do I start? What do I say? And - worst of all - what happens if he says it's 'nothing', it's 'normal', it's just something I have to learn to deal with? This was my biggest fear. I felt so strongly that I couldn't handle who I'd become. That feeling was a major driver of my suicidal plans after all. It would have been a huge let down to be told that my condition was 'normal'.
I went to my room to try to prepare what to say, what to tell him or her but my mind was buzzing around and I could hold little in my mind at one time. Finally, a young-ish man with boyish good looks knocked on my door and introduced himself. I followed him down to a private room and sat down. His demeanor put me at ease and I felt relaxed. He asked me some questions and I began to talk ... and talk ... and talk. It all rushed out in a torrent - scraps of memories, questions, impressions, more memories, relating the recent and the more distant pass. He was trying to keep up, to direct me but I couldn't be stopped. A twenty year damn had burst.