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Hi, name's Mike. I am sorry that this post is so long, I'd really appreciate it if someone could give me a little insight... I've written down the events that happened in the past 7 or 8 months, I was wondering if I might be showing symptoms of early schizophrenia, or if this sounds more like bipolar...

Over this past summer (may 07 to late august 07) I had what I am pretty sure was some kind of psychotic episode. I don't know where to start, or what details are important.... I'll pull up random stuff, like individual symptoms.

I started smoking marijuana a lot around the time frame of July/April. I'd smoked before then, but around this particular time I really got into it, maybe once or twice a day I was getting stoned. Usually I would have a good time when I was stoned, I would smoke before I took a shower at night, and I'd think a lot. I've always been a very reserved/introverted person. I enjoyed smoking because it let me think in ways that I hadn't thought before. It felt like I'd have an epiphany every time I smoked. Not important, though, the story doesn't revolve around my drug abuse.

Well, one night I got really stoned, and I know that this night was the night when the episode definitely began. I was lying in bed, listening to music, when all of a sudden, it felt like something tripped over in my mind. I forget what it was that I was thinking about, it felt like I'd realized something, and that realization just changed everything. I felt like I had "everything" (I use that word tentatively) figured out. I remember I cried that night, for a long time, tears of joy. I kept thinking "finally I get it, after all this time I understand." I realized that I didn't have to do anything that anyone had ever told me to do. I realized that I'd been living life with expectations over my head that were imposed on me by the insinuations of others and nothing more. It occurred to me that I could do absolutely anything I wanted, and that my choices were mine and mine alone.

Anyway, after that night, I dumped my girlfriend, got a second job, and changed my major to psychology (I felt like it was my calling or something... it seemed like I'd been pulled to that major but I'd ignored my intuition)

I went out and bought a truck, a crappy old ford ranger. I spent way too much money on it, but for some reason it seemed like it didn't matter. It was just money; money is a tool of possession, and possession is just the act of selfishness. Money didn't matter because God (or who/whatever) didn't intend for us to live in the manner that our society dictates. The truck was a rust bucket and it died after two weeks.

I smoked more than a pack a day at this time. I became extremely sociable and very funny. The right words just came to me, I could make anyone laugh, I could spark a conversation with a complete stranger (something that I had always had a very very very hard time doing, and since I've returned to "normal" I have a hard time doing it again)

I had no money. Two jobs gave me an income of like 1600 a month, which is good for a college student at home with no expenses.... I have no idea where it all went. Seriously, I spent all of it as soon as I got it and I have nothing to show for it. I may as well have just lost it all through a hole in my pocket.

I became very promiscuous.... I'd only ever had sex with one person. I am not unattractive physically, I'm actually good looking (if I can say that without being conceited), I just have issues I'm very insecure, so I've never been good with women. But, when I was going through this, I just seemed to grow a pair of balls for once in my life. People rubbed me the wrong way and I stung them. I started speaking up to people. I started flirting with girls, a lot, and I got a lucky a few times. I got like 400% more action that summer than I'd gotten at any other time in my life.

Somewhere things went bad. I started having violent panic attacks when I got high... one night in particular I had to leave a party; I sat in my car in the driveway, holding my head, thrashing around wildly and moaning. I literally felt like my mind was cracking. I stopped smoking weed more than once a week, and when I do it's only a little bit, because I freak out when I get really high. On a side not: I have quit smoking cigarettes (three months now), and I stopped drinking because I almost got fired for being drunk on the job (I have a serious drinking problem, I used to drink alone all the time, usually binging... I have stopped this and I am confident I can keep it up).

I became extremely paranoid of people. I would zone out everything while I was at work. I would literally not pay attention to people talking right next to me. You know how people can talk and you just can't help but overhear. I was in my own world; people would try to get my attention and they would have to grab my arm before I snapped out of it. I stopped sleeping at this time, and I didn't want to go home. I sat in parking lots playing guitar and smoking cigarettes all night. When I had conversations with people, I would retell them to myself over and over again.

Since then I've started talking to myself A LOT, it's almost like my inner monologue has just been vocalized. I speak to myself about my actions... "open the door, put the key in the ignition, good... good, now start the engine." Also, I'll say things as comment to my thoughts.... for instance, if I'll think of something someone said that makes me angry, I'll just blurt out "fuck you," or "I don't care," much to the surprise of people who are around me.

I also notice that my mind has been dulled. I lack a sense of context. I used to watch movies and I'd be able to guess what the characters were going to do, or I would remember the little comment from the beginning of the film that turns out to be important in the end.... now I lack that ability. I am not quick when I talk to people anymore. I prefer to just be in my own world, when I talk to people I feel very anxious and I don't like to make eye contact. I have become boring because my short-term memory is very poor (I think that is the lyme disease, though. I have very bad lyme disease that makes my joints snap. I don't think lyme disease can cause all of these problems though) I drive places and I don't remember driving.

I feel incredibly depressed. I sleep all day. I have dropped one of my classes and I am thinking about dropping another, because I do not care anymore, and I know that my apathy will lead to my regret later. I think it's better to drop the classes because I don't want to put the effort in right now; if I drop them I will avoid getting bad grades, I can take them later when my mind is in the right place..... I forget to take care of myself....little details like making doctor appointments and going to cash my paycheck, or remembering to call someone when I tell them I will.

Does this sound like early-stage schizophrenia, or does it seem more like bipolar disorder? I read that people with bipolar can be misdiagnosed as schizophrenic. How are the two disorders related?

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