Starting in second grade, early signs of my illness began to manifest – obsessiveness, anger, extreme agitation and irritability, inappropriate responses to events. By third grade, I was engaging in psychotherapy weekly. As the years passed, my symptoms became more extreme, building and building, not seeming to reach a peak and abate. With the growing intensity and instability of my disorder, my mind began to awaken from slumber. It began with a hello and slight whisper. It talked to me with both joviality and malice. Simultaneously it was both my friend and my enemy, my torturer with the sole key to the prison in which I perpetually resided. Construction workers began to build superhighways with no exits and a perilous absence of enforced speed. My mind developed and grew rapidly, with such rapidity that I landed myself in the psychiatric hospital for the first time at the age of fourteen. I was depressed beyond measure and nearly catatonic, yet my mind was there. I talked. It willingly talked back, offering macabre and disturbing dialogues. Though my affect was flat and indicative of a major depressive episode, those superhighways were still running, cars speeding with disregard. I was never alone. Never.
As I recovered and shifted into several episodes of mania, those superhighways began to speed up. We continued to chat, nearly incessantly. I no longer existed in the physical world, and my connection to it was severed. People, places, and conversations could not break the barrier. My awareness of what existed around me vanished. Everything entered one ear and quickly passed through the other. My mind was solely my domain. No one had the ability nor privilege to know the inner workings of it.
My mind has never quieted. It still drowns out most of my environment and outer world, and it shrouds the names and faces of those around me. I struggle to retain information. Although, I am never without a companion, friend or fiend. I remember much of my life as trying to slow the superhighways in order to find silence and solace. I have pumped dozens of antipsychotics, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and mood stabilizers into my body in attempt to stabilize the misfiring neurons and disordered chemicals and neurotransmitters, though little of these drugs have worked. My unstable mind has yet to find silence, and surprisingly that is acceptable to me. In fact, I see it as a blessing. You may ask, why am I comfortable and embracing of the lack of silence and the incessant noise that exists within my head? It is because I am never without conversation and entertainment, and I do not know who or what I would be if silence ensued. I have come to love my chatter and my unquietness. While the opportunity to experience silence for a moment would be warmly welcomed, I would quickly sweep it away and draw my longtime companion back home.