I had what I’ve decided to call a ‘manic attack’ last night. I am curious as to whether other people have experienced this.
I have depression, but I hardly ever cry. I really wish I could, but I just don’t. I get to the point of having all the physical symptoms; tightness in my chest, flushed hot cheeks, a retching sensation that normally comes with sobbing – but no tears. I feel like if I could cry it would be such a relief.
Maybe I try too hard. I think I want to cry so badly that maybe the pressure stops me being able to let go. Very occasionally in a therapy session a few tears escape, silently, but I tend to dissociate instead. My therapist has cried in our sessions more than I have.
I think to an extent I conditioned myself not to cry. I had these awful counselling appointments when I was a child. I hated the counsellor. I hated her claw-like long fingernails, her perfume and being left there alone with her to talk about things I didn’t understand. Being there was so distressing, but even at that young age I knew that I had to prove I was OK if I wanted to escape it. So I’d stop myself from crying by pinching myself really hard, or biting the inside of my cheeks. The pain distracted me enough to stop the tears.
Going back to the manic attacks, I think they seem to happen when I need an emotional release. I’ve only had a few, but they are quite unsettling. I start laughing and I just keep going. It hurts my throat and my stomach and I have tears streaming down my face. I get to the point that I can’t breathe because I’m laughing so hard. This sensation is unpleasant, but it is also quite funny, because I’m usually laughing at something nobody else found amusing. The fact that they are all so confused by how hilarious I seem to find it just makes me laugh even more.
It’s basically like hysteria, uncontrollable to the point that I think I might pass out from not being able to breathe. Although less debilitating, my manic attacks seem to have a few things in common with panic attacks. I’d be interested to know whether others have experienced this, or whether I’m just a whole lot nuttier than I thought.