[WARNING: Intense Subject Matter]
March 2014, days before psychosis.
I was packing for an annual girl’s trip with grade school friends. I was unaware, but mania had been ramping for months and people were noticing, especially my work. I was agitated with grandiose ideas, and hyper goal-oriented. My brain was making so many connections. I needed this escape. .
But when I got there all I wanted to do was escape my friends. They were so BORING…
Our last night out I told them I was staying out. They begged but I stood my ground. When the bars closed a man picked me up. I knew it was dangerous but I was compelled to follow him to his hotel. I can’t count how many times I told him I wouldn’t sleep with him. He offered me vodka and I declined. I was scared but God wanted me there and I needed to find out why. It was early in the morning and I passed out.
I woke up still clothed, curled up at the foot of his bed, phone blaring. JULIA WHERE ARE YOU. I bolted out of the room. Frightened, my cousin’s wife, a local, took me to get my bag. Everybody was worried.
I missed my flight so I texted the guy and he said come back. On my way I called my oldest friend. COME TO BRUNCH JULIA, WHY ARE YOU ACTING LIKE THIS? I sobbed: Please don’t be mad, I can’t explain, it’s a feeling, I’m so sorry. And hung up.
He wanted a spa day. No. Exasperated he suggested the hotel bar. I brought my bag with me. An hour or so later I was in a passenger van with a down-and-out bartender, three men in town for a bachelor party, and the creep. The hotel bar was a great idea. I trusted the bachelor party friends immediately. They were grounded and kind. And they could tell I was in trouble. At our first stop they sent the creep packing.
To this day I believe they saved my life. Who knows what could have happened that day. My mind goes to the worst places. Instead we drank, chatted, and laughed. They generously invited me to crash with them. I was safe.
In the morning one of my new friends put me in a cab. I flew home… was fired… and I walked home from work, elated. This is when I believe I crossed into psychosis.