Beautifully Manic

Intro To Beautifully Manic, a memoir of some of my better bipolar stories.

It hit me at 4am: I’m hanging out with my favorite band in Las Vegas. Coming out of a blackout looking at a blurry ceramic urinal, smelling of distilled juniper berries, clove cigarettes, sensing the ambient desperate excitement that can only be found in las Vegas.


On the flight over the stewardesses invited me back to share their hummus, snacks, and shower me with gin and tonics. I was in heaven. The flight was free too, and the room. The angels of debauchery were with me from beginning to end and now, after walking into a sold out concert I befriended my favorite band and had been drinking with them for…two…three hours?


I have to get back to Nicole. My ex girlfriend who had an extra free bed in Vegas went to bed around midnight, hung over from the day’s activities. She was about to wake up, I’m coming out of a blackout. It’s time for a second wind.


“Ammanuel it was great meeting you, mate!” Said my hero. I said my goodbyes, eying the lovely groupie who had been feeding me cigarettes the entire night. Time to head back to the hotel.


“Nicole! I just saw The Skatalites for free and tore up Vegas with the aggrolites!”

“Of course you did” she replied, amused, half awake, unsurprised by my exceptionally good fortune.


The thing is that I was born with an exceptional disease. A true faustian bargain was struck before my birth. Let’s give this kid bouts of unending energy, drive, charisma and mental acuity…and make that same mind turn in on him, put him in life or death scenarios and an extremely high chance of death at his own hand.


I took it. IQ in the top 2 percent, statistical chances of death at my own hand about 1 in 4. I was bipolar. Not just bipolar. Ultradian mixed cycle bipolar. A combination of the two most intractable forms of an otherwise terrible illness. I also was consummate lush, medicating PTSD, a musician, ex thespian, and all around partier. I wasn’t sure why but I would have intense bouts of everything going my  way with drops that led me in a pit of despair wanting to take my own life.


But there’s a catch.


I also had a spiritual awakening when I was 17 so…I also had a (relative) calm zen about all of this which confounded doctors and saved my life. To quote a few therapists “anyone else would be dead by now”


I agree. That’s why this story is worth telling.


  • Ammanuel Ravi-Desta Santa Anna