This story is based on an actual testimonial; the name of the individual has been changed.
Below are the observations made about someone slowly slipping deeper into mental illness, about the psychological changes that gradually set in.
Marie-Catou is 20 years old. She is a very reserved person. She had been going through a difficult period in her life: she didn’t smile much, and she seemed rather sad. That summer, she went on a trip outside of the province. When she came back, she was full of life. Smiling and happy, she talked endlessly and seemed to have gained a lot of self-confidence. Everything was going well; it was like she was floating on air. And with each passing day, Marie-Catou’s state would change. She was immensely excited about her summer, her plans for the future. She would laugh and talk constantly, her eyes wild as she recounted the wonderful experiences from her summer. Marie-Catou began to express herself more freely, more often, and she was very excited. She didn’t notice that she had started to repeat herself. With each passing hour, she seemed more and more self-assured.
As time went by, Marie-Catou’s excitement remained. She had a ton of projects in mind. And she continued to repeat herself, becoming increasingly incoherent in the process. Even when she was at rest, she would talk incessantly. Her project ideas became increasingly grander and unrealistic. This person who had been so closed-off was now building castles in the sky, and she didn’t seem to know how to come back down to Earth. She was truly losing touch with reality, with her own self, and the world she was building was causing her to become increasingly despondent. Her journal was full of writing, jumping from one subject to the next so much that it all became a blur. Marie-Catou remained in this state up until her visit to the hospital.
Each time she spoke to the psychiatrist or a nurse, she would tell her story. And they would always ask, “Did you take any drugs?” Marie-Catou was in a daze; she was distressed; she was lost, in every sense of the word. She wondered if she was going crazy, and putting the pieces back together inside her head was no easy feat.
After she was hospitalized, Marie-Catou’s family began to understand a great many things. She had experienced a psychotic episode as the result of a bipolar disorder mania.
This testimony was taken from the Marie-Catou fascicle on bipolar disorder, page 2, 2011.
The fascicle is available at L’Accolade’s resource centre.