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  • Writer's picturethe bipolar talker

Manic in Malaysia

Updated: Jun 1, 2021

This blog entry is a lived experience narrative of a manic episode and contains triggering content.

Without even having bipolar disorder on the horizon, I flew whilst manic to Malaysia. The entire flight I looked out the window, not sleeping all night and saw the stars "dancing with me". I had a ridiculously long and deep conversation with the gentleman sitting behind me and I couldn't really tell you what we talked about. We shared stories of our travels and the innate experiences that we had - something along those lines anyway. Sleep is for the weak is what I thought and I felt that I needed to be up all night to watch while my partner at the time slept because something in the back of my mind told me we were "in danger". Now some people may be thinking what the hell?! These kinds of irrational thoughts and behaviors - that's what mania and psychosis (more severe) are based upon.

Symptoms of mania include:

  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity

  • Decreased need for sleep (for example, feeling rested after just a few hours’ sleep)

  • More talkative or sociable than usual, or pressure to keep talking

  • Flight of ideas or the feeling that thoughts are racing

  • Easily distracted by unimportant or irrelevant things

  • Increase in activity levels, either goal-directed (such as taking on new projects or socializing more) or a restless busyness

  • Plunging into reckless activities like buying sprees, promiscuity or high-risk business deals

When mania worsens, it turns into psychosis which also involves intense hallucinations and can require hospitalization to protect the individual.

If you think you are at risk of psychosis, this is a 2 minute quiz to test for you:

After landing, the mania definitely intensified. The first part of my trip was honestly quite a beautiful experience, I felt overwhelmed by the beauty of the place and how much it reminded me of India in some ways. I hadn't been to India since 2006 and I am Punjabi by background. I even remember shedding a few tears being so grateful to visit Malaysia.

I remember dancing in Kuala Lumpur's acidic rain, having the time of my life, feeling invincible. I remember not getting burnt in the rain. At this point there was no psychosis, just a positive euphoria. The hotel we were staying at was awesome and there were lots of officials and police personnel staying there. I would see them at breakfast and we later made friends with some of them when hanging out at the rooftop pool. My partner at the time and I were still having a great time, although he was getting suspicious of my behaviour. I was swimming in the pool and truly the life of the party - very loud and extroverted. This was definitely a highlight of the trip for sure.

At some point in the trip that I can't quite describe, the mania turned into a terrifying psychosis. I started thinking I was possessed, I was getting tracked down. I started participating in rituals in the bathroom looking into the mirror. We were travelling from Kuala Lumpur to the Cameron Highlands - a beautiful tea sanctuary which is a major tea supplier. We had a driver who picked us up and dropped us off. The entire time we were travelling there which was a few hours I was thinking that if I did something wrong the car was going to blow up so I tried to sit as still as I could the entire time. When we arrived, I thought that the village wanted to sacrifice me.

These kinds of disordered hallucinations continued for the rest of the trip. In the second week, I called my sister telling her to come and get me from Malaysia - she was 15 at the time. This finally raised a state of emergency with my partner at the time who made sure for the rest of the trip I was supervised at all times. For that, I will forever be grateful. I could not even imagine what would have happened to me if I ran around in a state of psychosis in Malaysia. My family just wanted me home.

We missed the flight home because I had made the booking and forgot the schedule. We stayed in the airport for a day where I kept on walking around, going to the makeup store, walking to the bathroom to check the mirrors and other annoying shit (excuse my language, but that's how I felt about it).

On the flight home, I was one step closer to safety but in my head I was still in a state of emergency. At-least I would get treatment soon - maybe not straight away but relief was not far.

That's it for this entry, if you want to read more, let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear about your experiences aswell.


This website provides well-researched articles on bipolar disorder but does not substitute tailored professional advice. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in the entry and feel concerned, contact your GP or call the Mental Health Access Line on 1800 011 511. In the case of an emergency, call 000.

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