When I began writing Invisible Driving, my memoir of manic depression – http://www.invisibledriving.com - I had no idea if what I wanted to do was possible. I intended to take readers inside the experience of a manic episode, to share the sights, sounds, sensations, and feelings of this totally otherworldly landscape.
As the project unfolded I discovered that, though technically very demanding, this was not the hardest part. For the book to make sense it needed a context. So, like a little boy following a bit of string into a dark basement, I traced the manic behavior to its source. Without the assistance of a skilled psychologist this would never have been possible. Also, some unpleasant gazing into the mirror was required. At last I was ready to write the short, “sane” chapters peppered through the manic narrative. These chapters peel away the glitzy and colorful manic behavior until the psychological and emotional truth behind is revealed.
I understood mania to be a complex party game the mind plays with itself. The sub-conscious attempts to outsmart the conscious. Emotionally, the id roams like an unchained, hungry beast while the ego is freed from restrictions, able at last to roar with implacable grandeur. The super-ego, usually so robust among civilized, urban types like me, has about as much authority as a crossing guard.
I could see that in mania much was revealed, however unintentionally. But I also marveled at the mind’s way of saving itself, even when it was so clearly out of balance. I came away from the experience with a newfound respect both for where the mind is able to go, and, the nuanced machinations it employs to get what it needs. This chapter is entitled, Won’t Somebody Please Notice That I’m Sick?