One of my biggest triggers is coffee and if I drink more than three cups I usually fall into a crippling manic episode (although I was diagnosed with manic depressive illness over two years ago, I am just now realizing that caffeine is a major trigger for me. I wish I had realized that earlier, it would have saved me a lot of frustration and grief). Most days I can control myself; however, there have been a handful of times, over the last six months, that I have forced myself into a manic episode by ingesting too much caffeine. The following is an account of one of these episodes (warning: the following is very graphic and could potentially be a trigger):
I was sitting in front of my laptop, playing a video game and drinking my fifth cup of coffee. Sweat was pouring down my face and my mind was racing. In an effort to curb the racing thoughts, I turned the volume up and hyper-focused on the game. It worked for a few minutes, until I realized my cup was empty and I needed more coffee. After refilling my cup, I started playing half life 2 again. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize my anxiety was rapidly increasing, forcing me closer and closer to a manic episode. I ignored all of the warning signs and continued playing half life 2.
About twenty minutes later I hit rough a rough point in the game. Without thinking, I picked up my coffee cup and slammed it on the table in frustration. Coffee went everywhere- splattering the walls, ceiling, table, chair and floor. Then I realized my laptop (it was a new macbook pro) was covered in coffee. I fucking lost it. My mind was racing- Why the fuck does this keep happening to me? Why does this keep happening to me? Why does this keep happening to me? Why do I keep fucking everything up? Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. My life is fucking falling apart, how do I keep fucking everything up?? Instead of cleaning up the mess, I started pacing around the room, screaming at nothing.
You have really fucked up this time. You destroyed the present your parents gave you, you don’t give a shit about anything. All you care about is yourself. Your fucking pathetic. The voice in my head that had tortured me for most of my life was screaming- it filled my mind until I no longer could control my sanity.
I blacked out. The next twenty minutes was a blur. I don’t know how I regained my consciousness, but when I did I was scared at what I had done. Blood was dripping off right hand, my ankles were swollen and my apartment was a complete mess. Walking around, I found a wall that had various indentations covered in blood-I had punched it until the skin on my knuckles had completely ripped off. Various metal chairs were scattered around the apartment and I realized I had kicked them across the room (I was lucky I didn’t break my ankles). I walked into my bedroom and found one the closet doors on the floor. When I looked inside the closet I found a massive hole. Picking up the door, I realized I had ripped it off the track and slammed it against the wall.
I didn’t know what to do, so I called my dad in a panic and told him that I had spilled coffee on my macbook (I wasn’t ready to tell him about the damage I had done to my apartment, I would save that for another day)-I begged him to tell me what to do and eventually he calmed me down. After the call, I went back to the table and cleaned up the mess. Later that evening I went to a local apple store and I had one of the technicians examine the macbook. Unfortunately, it was completely fried…
Blacking out during a manic episode is a very real and serious problem that needs to be addressed and understood (as well as triggers). As such, I want to open this discussion up to my readers:
Have any of you ever blacked out during a manic episode?
How many of you know what your triggers are? Is coffee one of them, or something completely different? And what do you do to avoid your triggers?
I hope you are all doing well