The Long Road to Diagnosis (Part 3)

Things had been improving all week. I was out of the strict confines of my bed and back into the perils of civilisation, embracing the ease of socialising once more. I had regained the identity I had so violently lost and eager to get back to the books, making up for the valuable time that had been spent in a fiery fit of rage. The library soon became a second home, as I began to spend the twilight hours sifting through the pages of textbooks with meticulous, and utterly unnecessary, detail. It began, as you would expect, with the books most beneficial to a law degree, but I soon found my thirst for knowledge greatly satisfied by the likes of Schrödinger, Planck, and Bohr in the enticing world of quantum physics, just as I have done since the age of 11. Although entirely useless for my course, it was a temptation I could not resist, and soon I was not only enjoying the scientific greats but the irresistible lure of classic novels too. As the week wore on, I spent longer and longer in the library, and before I knew it I was leaving at 4am or 5am rather than midnight or before as I had so intended. Again, time was becoming an abstract concept which held little meaning in my day to day life. The difference now was that it was the time spent outside of my bed that was passing by at a rather alarming rate, although I cannot say I was unsettled by this. At the time it felt completely natural, and as I was functioning perfectly well on just an hour or so of sleep a night there seemed to be no reason to fight against it.

However, what felt natural at the time certainly wasn’t. Not only was I avoiding sleep, but I also found myself to be physically unable to do so even if I tried, and soon I could only rest peacefully once the sun had already risen, and even then only for an hour or so. Before that time I was kept awake by a powerful compulsion to keep myself occupied at all costs. It’s an extremely difficult sensation to try and describe, but perhaps it can be most likened to an itch you’re being forcibly restrained from scratching; every atom in your body is focused on that itch, and only once it’s been scratched will you feel any form of relief. For me, that itch was the desire to be constantly learning something new. A burning desire that ran through the very blood in my veins, and that unfortunately, no matter how hard I would try, I could never quite satisfy it. It seems a ridiculous notion when articulated in plain English, and one I don’t particularly expect to be well understood, but it was the fuel that I was becoming unnervingly dependant on during this exciting rush of activity, and it was certainly proving to be efficient.

It had now been about 10 days since I had started to recover from the disruptive bout of depression, and I was instead facing the opposite end of the spectrum. At this point ignorance was still serving me well as I continued to hold this new found motivation as no more than a genuine enthusiasm for life. I failed to recognise the extent to which I was being driven, and the increasingly abnormal behaviour I was presenting. My head had become filled with an abundance of racing ideas that made concentrating on anything in particular almost impossible, and I became very conscious of myself shifting between speaking a hundred miles an hour to being uncharacteristically quiet for I found that the endless quarrel of conflicting thoughts severely inhibited my ability to formulate coherent sentences. Even sitting in lectures I would spend the time filling notebooks with mindless scribbles and childlike doodles, tormented by the unrelenting bombardment of redundant thoughts that had now dominated every corner of my mind. I had yet again become unproductive, unsociable, and completely preoccupied for reasons I was utterly unaware of, and as frustration built, and coursework deadlines drew ever closer, something had to be done. 

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