I was thinking about the time I was manic. Picture it: August, 2004. I got hired to work at KidsPeace in Bowdon, Georgia, and it made me feel giddy with success. This was what I was supposed to be doing with my life! Working full-time and supporting myself! Now I could feel good about my efforts.
The job started at the end of the month. Before I moved to Georgia, I was living here at my dad’s house. An old high-school friend invited me to a party up the street, where several mutual acquaintances were living and sharing rent.
None of them (including the young man who I’d always thought of as my soul mate and childhood sweetheart) were glad to see me. I was ignored and scorned, so I decided to leave the party. After all, I hadn’t really been invited in the first place. [Blush.]
But when I left the house and found my friend outside to tell her I was going to go home, she begged me to stay. “Please! Please stay at the party! Don’t leave!”
She was buzzed. I told her, “No one’s happy to see me, and I just want to go home.”
“No!! Please, you can’t leave!”
I had to get somewhat forceful with her, because she was literally hanging all over me begging me to stay. Once I finally separated myself from her and wandered home, I could tell that the last nail had been placed in the coffin of my relationship with high-school friends.
I was manic, so my response was to shove the bad thoughts from my mind. Bye bye, bad thoughts. It doesn’t matter. Life is good!
So I packed up and moved to Georgia to begin my new life as a full-time late-night youth counselor at a residential treatment facility for mentally ill and unhappy teenagers. I was so freakin’ high on the fact that I was working full-time that my good mood didn’t deflate.
I made friends with my neighbors, who introduced me to a man the likes of which normal, non-manic Meg wouldn’t give the time of day. For some weird reason, we were all hanging out in his mobile home one night, and I urged my neighbors to skedaddle so I could be alone with him. They seemed hesitant, but they eventually departed.
The next thing I remember, it was morning, and I was back in my apartment, alone. I was thinking, “It’s no big deal. It doesn’t matter. Life goes on.” To this day, I have no clue what he and I did together. I have a hazy image of his dark, mysterious bedroom and of his bare chest. No clue.
One of the residents at KidsPeace asked me, “Are you always in a good mood?” And I said, “Yeah, pretty much, I guess,” with a shrug. I didn’t think anything of it at the time.
I’d go to wild parties and play truth-or-dare with abandon. I’m ashamed to write the dares I partook of, but my neighbor, who later became a coworker as well, was quick to tell everyone at KidsPeace about my exploits in graphic detail.
I never locked my apartment, and I allowed my beloved spaniel, Echo, to run free by a major highway instead of taking her out on a leash. I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s likely, too, knowing how evil my coworkers were, that they broke into my apartment on their off-nights and went through everything to find info they could use against me. (I’m not exaggerating their evil ways. I wish I were.) The ringleader was one Gail Teresa Lackey, a lowlife cretin who is lower than primordial ooze mixed with sewer waste. Just worse.
Then there was a crash. In late winter, early spring of 2005, the situation with my bullying coworkers collapsed around me. I went off my antidepressant. I’d been taking it out of habit because a general doc had prescribed it a few years prior after a five-minute visit. (Why, why, why, why, why do doctors always guess “depression” before anything else? Use your brain, doctors! There are other mental illnesses in the world!)
I figured I didn’t need the drug and that taking it was pointless. In retrospect, going off it may have been a mistake.
My coworkers started making casual comments around me about the “trigger” spanking issue I have. To be clear, I never told them it was an issue for me. But if they broke into my apartment (which I can see them doing), they could’ve read my diaries or something.
But I thought the universe was conspiring against me, that Evil Spirits were making everyone in my presence mention the issue. (“Did your daddy ever spank you?” This was a clueless male coworker who laughed mirthfully when he randomly asked, as if he was in on a joke. “Oh, my kid misbehaved last night. I let her have it with the hairbrush.” That was Gail. She’s really a sad waste of humanity. I know this is probably wrong of me, but often, I pray that she’s dead. It’s possible. She’s nowhere on social media. It’s also possible she’s doing hard time. She was the one who poisoned me with Alka-Seltzer for laughs. That’s actually a felony.)
That trigger situation repeated itself with maybe six or seven coworkers in rapid succession, and I lost my sanity. The Evil Spirits wanted me to suffer. It took years to realize that the true darkness lies within the hearts of humans.
I didn’t get good psychiatric care in Georgia. The psychiatrist I was referred to was the walking ego type. I explained that my coworkers were out to get me (true), and he didn’t believe me one bit. He chalked it up to mental illness, rather than its causing mental illness. He sort of said, “You’re just paranoid. I’m sure your coworkers aren’t really out to get you. There, there, little crazy person.”
I moved home from Georgia. My parents, who must’ve been clueless, kept saying to me, “You need to find another job.” And I kept explaining that the Evil Spirits wouldn’t allow me to function at work because they didn’t want me to succeed. You’d think my dad would’ve realized that was crazy talk, but he kept pressuring me to find new employment. I tried my hardest. After all, it was what was expected of me.
So I went back to work part-time at the reading center in early 2006. I was working with a bright five-year-old girl one day when her little sister got a spanking in the lobby. I heard it. We all heard it. That night, I tried to kill myself. I didn’t even know why, because I’d already blocked the incident out. I thought I was just embarrassed over something silly I’d said to a coworker. The spanking incident was a hazy memory in my mind, as if it had happened years ago and not hours ago.
There I was in the mental hospital, bored senseless. I attended a learning session on the unit about how to journal. It was excruciating. The man told us, “You can write in a blank book. You can write in a notebook. You can use your computer. You can write a poem. You can write a letter. You can write to a friend.” I’m surprised he didn’t teach us the alphabet. Afterward, when I met with my doctor on the unit, I swore I’d never try to kill myself again if he’d just release me.
After I got home, I went back to work at the reading center for the rest of the summer (as had been our employment agreement). I had no memory of why I’d tried to kill myself, and I still expected myself to function in the workplace and be successful.
About a year later, after a handful of other failed job attempts, I talked myself off the ledge of suicide and finally realized I needed to quit working. Yes, it was expected of me, but who the hell cared? I’d never go back to work, I vowed, unless I darned well wanted to. I applied and was approved for federal disability within three months.
Recently, I filled out their paperwork that they use to determine if I’m still disabled. My perky, upbeat attitude had them saying, “We want you to meet with our psychiatrist, because you seem as if you might be fine.” See, I have a great attitude, but it makes people disbelieve what I’ve experienced and how I still perceive reality.
So I had to meet with this guy maybe a year ago. I had to get really personal and tell him stuff about my childhood. He asked, “Which of your parents committed this abuse against you?”
He flinched. “I see. You want to keep your disability? Run along and get outta here. I got it covered.”
Anyway, I was discussing mania, right? The only other times I’ve been manic were brief and usually involved my foolish decision to quit taking all my meds. But that’s another story.