My Journey With The Phantom Menace

 – Kevin Stanley, I BBA

Ever had a person follow you around? He creeps behind you as you go on with life. As time goes by you get used to him. In a crowd you hope he isn’t there, but when you’re alone, you want him. Years pass and he finally reveals himself. And now you want him behind you again.

It all started less than five years ago. I was a cool, confident, talented, smart and principled teen doing engineering. Well, that’s where it all started. The phantom menace revealed its face to me for the first time, but it was only a peak. When it took over, I was zapped of all my energy. All my talents and strengths that I had went away. I was neither able to sleep, nor stay awake.

My identity as a person changed. I could hardly talk to anyone because my mind was empty. I didn’t have the ability to think, reason, sing, speak or innovate. I felt powerless.

My identity as a person changed. I could hardly talk to anyone because my mind was empty. I didn’t have the ability to think, reason, sing, speak or innovate. I felt powerless. I had always strived to live an optimistic life and have a positive outlook towards all things, but I became the face of negativity. I had many close friends but they did not notice it. I eventually shrugged it off as a phase and moved on. This lasted for about six months.

Then something happened. One day I got up and it’s all gone. I thought the phantom had left me for good. I had such a strong drive and vigour for life. This was when I was suddenly able to do multiple things efficiently. I got what I needed and grabbed what I wanted. I led a party life and succeeded in everything I did. I didn’t need sleep because I wanted to be productive. I was in love with everything and everyone around me.

All seemed to be going well when a sudden blow came. There was a mix-up in counting my attendance and that really should have struck me hard, but it didn’t. My phantom saved me from this grief without me knowing it. I continued in trying to be productive and I was, until one day when I got up and all my energy was gone. I did not feel like getting out of the bed. Every morning I woke up and wished the day ended soon so that I could go back into my cocoon, my lair of sorts. It was dreadful. I again thought it was just depression and shrugged it off and moved on.

Oh! Wait! Hallucinations! My imagination ran wild. I felt like a king, an angel, the devil. I created my own little world inside my head and made it my reality. 

I starting going to college again and in a week my vigour and energy was back. I felt more sharp and powerful than I ever was. I did things people wouldn’t usually do at my age and succeeded at it. Oh! Wait! Hallucinations! My imagination ran wild. I felt like a king, an angel, the devil. I created my own little world inside my head and made it my reality. At times people didn’t know what to make of me. I lost a lot of friends and gained many too.

I had forgotten about the phantom in me. It had grown very powerful. My temper flared at everyone and I refused to listen to reason. Logic left me. I always stood my ground no matter what. My hallucinations and perception of the world went haywire. Then I suddenly woke up and wanted the day to end quickly, again. I was back to my lair again. This time it was for a year. So many people couldn’t identify the phantom. Depression, ADHD, schizophrenia and hypertension were some of the names given to it. Finally, the menace, the phantom that tormented me for five years was found out. His name was BI-POLAR.

My name is Kevin Stanley and I’m Bi-polar. I have written this article just to describe my experience of five years in as short a way as possible. At this moment, I’m proud to have gone through such an experience. Let me tell you it’s an experience, not an illness. The only difference is that a few tablets have to be taken to be ‘normal’ and that is fine. We are all ‘normal’ in our own ways.

For all who are suffering from any kind of mental illness, let me tell you, it always gets better. Be positive, have the right people around you and you will truly shine. I never ever thought of suicide because I always had hope; never lose hope. To those who don’t have any mental illness, I urge you to be aware of the people around you. Mental illness is not a crime, it’s a sickness. Understand them and help them recover. I hope to write more articles about mental illness soon and make a bigger impact.

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