Jason Y writes:
Seems like some of them can go into a rage when not on meds. Breaking phones, computers.
I do not know much about schizophrenic violence, but I can definitely attest on a first hand basis that during the manic phase of manic depression, people can be quite violent.
There are different types of manic episodes: Hypomanic, euphoric, and irritable/angry/violent/paranoid. They can also be psychotic at times, but manics usually are not psychotic.
This post will describe the irritable/angry/violent/paranoid manic.
These types tend to be psychotic for briefer periods and wild, violent, dangerous, and criminal yet not psychotic for longer periods
They can be very verbally hostile and violent, pretty much trying to pick fights and start fights with various people nearly every day. They scream, yell, threaten and menace people a lot. They also do minor violence like throwing food around, throwing objects, breaking windows, throwing cordless phones. In addition, they smash toilet seats and they are very found of smashing holes in walls and doors.
It is not uncommon for them to acquire weapons during this phase, either guns or knives. Sometimes the guns don’t even work, but they use them to threaten their enemies anyway. Showdowns with enemies with one or more parties armed with guns, knives or swords are fairly common. Manics grab baseball bats, poles and sticks and chase enemies, usually ordinary strangers, down streets howling abuse at them and throwing the weapon at the stranger as the stranger runs away in terror. The manic will explain that the stranger out for a stroll at night was really one of the enemies in an elaborate disguise.
Mania is a time of extreme aggression, guaranteed violence, regular menace and often enough brandishing of weaponry.
Housemates of manics often end up arming themselves to defend against the manic, often with knives. Some carry weapons around with themselves fulltime to defend against possible attacks by the manic. Housemates frequently pull weapons, often household knives, on manics in self-defense during fights and showdowns.
They also steal a lot like drug addicts, and if you live with them, pretty soon you are going to have to start hiding your money, car keys, dope, etc. They will even sneak into your bedroom at night while you are sleeping to steal car keys, money, etc.
They are basically a total menace and a lot of them act like sociopathic criminals and seem to become almost completely evil. A guy I know has a relative who goes manic from time to time and when he goes manic, my friend says, “He turns into Charles Manson.”
They have no attention span whatsoever and are always leaving doors open, leaving the stove on with things cooking on it, forgetting things, etc. They start something, get halfway through it, get distracted and go off to something else so everything ends up half done including meals and just about any task. Their personal hygiene declines a lot for some reason. Often they take to wearing the same clothes for days on end. They sleep in their clothes, often with the lights on and music blaring. It’s not uncommon for them to start smelling bad after a while, possibly because they sleep in their clothes, don’t change their clothes often, etc.
If they are smokers, they will dramatically increase their smoking often by 2-3X the previous level. If they are drinkers, they will often drink very heavily to the point where they are drunk most of the time. If they are driving around when they do this, they will soon get one or more DUI’s.
Property destruction is very common, either their own or other people’s property. They may even destroy most of their own property for no apparent reason. They can also destroy other people’s property, smash up objects or steal others clothing, pile it and set it on fire. They may also set some of their own property on fire, especially clothing.
Manics commonly make public loud, often violent and menacing public scenes which can attract the attention of the police. The manic runs out to the divider of a major highway, takes off their shirt, screams and yells violent threats and sets the shirt on fire in the highway median. Or the manic runs onto a highway median with a baseball bat and runs up and down the median swinging the bat wildly and threatening their enemies.
Arrest and imprisonment during a manic episode is very common. The friend I quoted above says the family member who goes manic always gets arrested at least once during most every manic episode. They are often arrested for minor crimes like DUI or disturbing the peace. Often people who are victimized by the manic are reluctant to press charges because the manic is so obviously insane that it seems wrong to hold them criminally responsible for whatever they have done. If they are arrested, they are usually released very quickly. The manic will raise Hell in the jail, destroying his cell, rattling the bars of his cell endlessly and engaging in a lot of loud screaming and yelling, often with threats or violent overtones. They raise such Hell in jail that they often attract the attention of jailers. The ensuing confrontation will typically end up with the manic being beat up, sometimes badly, the by the jailers and police in the jail.
Sometimes manics are out in public looking and acting so crazy that police officers take them in simply because they seem so out of it. The officers do it our of sheer concern for the manic’s safety. The manic simply appears too out of it to be wandering about in public. In these cases, the manic will be held for a day or two at most and then released.
They usually do not go psychotic but sometimes they can become psychotic. Often they are seriously crazy, but if you closely examine them and think about what they are saying, doing and believing, they really are not psychotic. They aren’t crazy, they are “wild and crazy.”
For instance, a manic, dressed in rags with wild eyes, may thrown up their arms and yell, “I am Jesus Christ!” If you ask them if they are really Jesus, they will forget about and move on to some other topic, or say it was a joke or an allegory.
But sometimes there are psychotic episodes, often paranoid psychoses. If a manic does not have a single enemy on Earth, they will quickly accumulate a number of enemies within a few months of a manic episode. Many of the people encountered during the episode will be transformed by the manic into “enemies.” These can include friends, family members, employers, drug dealers, bank employees, police, etc. If you are in close proximity to a manic for a few months and don’t manage to get transformed into an enemy, consider yourself lucky.
They may stop eating because housemates are poisoning their food. Housemates, friends or banks are typically accused of stealing their money and many conflicts result as the manic confronts the “thieves” about the “stolen money.” For instance, a manic may blow through a large bank savings of say $10-15,000 very quickly in a matter of a few months in the middle of an episode. Then when they realize they have no money, they will accuse the bank of stealing their money. This will result in numerous trips to the bank and angry, sometimes menacing or even violent arguments, confrontations and showdowns with the “thieves” at the bank.
The enemies may make regular rounds to their home, leaving calling cards and destroying things here and there. The enemies come by the house and damage the manic’s vehicle. They set up surveillance stations outside the manic’s home where they keep the manic under surveillance at all times. They may become convinced that the world is going to end.
Confidence increases greatly. A single male manic who rarely dates suddenly has a girlfriend.
Most manics are not hospitalized during their episodes unless they are wildly psychotic. But wildly psychotic manics are atypical. More common is the wild, violent behavior, fleeing delusions and paranoia. Often others make frequent attempts to hospitalize the manic by calling the police. However, many manics, curiously enough, no matter how crazy they are acting, are able to remarkably pull themselves together and present themselves as quite sane when the police show up. If hospitalized, they quickly become “sane” in the hospital and are ordered to be discharged. They can become angry, threatening, menacing and even violent towards psychiatrists who are evaluating them for admittance. Some manics appeal their hospitalization, go to court, appear completely sane and are ordered released. When the police show up to take in a manic on a 5150 (danger to oneself or others) commitment call, 80-90% of the time, the manic will pull themselves together and appear completely sane to the officers. Manics can be wildly manipulative and conniving like the finest psychopaths and they can even earn the sympathy of the police officer. The manic expertly spins a brilliantly elaborated made-up stories, often with the full range of emotions from outrage to tears in a performance rivaling that of a professional actor. The manic will go on about how these evil people who called the cops on them were victimizing them and committing crimes against him in all sorts of ways. The police who have come to commit the manic often end up being won over by the manic, side with the manic and blame the victims for the “crimes” they have committed against the “poor, innocent” manic.
The fact that the craziest manics around can completely pull themselves together and appear cool as a cucumber and sane as can be leads many to believe that manics are engaging in a lot of this behavior on purpose and there may be something to that.
Manics stay up all night long making all sorts of racket, playing loud music and occasionally screaming, yelling and threatening others. You never sleep well with a manic in the house. They sleep, if at all, only a few hours a day, and often at odd hours, typically in the daytime with no particular regular schedule.
They are absolutely unaware that they are ill no matter how crazy they are. They hardly sleep at all. They quickly blow through any money they have and then they are broke and begging or menacing everyone around them for money. Then the manic begins to sell or pawn off all of their possessions in order to get money.
The vast majority of ordinary people have no understanding whatsoever of manic-depressive illness and are unable to identify mania even when it is displayed right in front of their face. Charming hypomanics are often regarded as completely sane and even exemplary people. People who meet them think they just met the coolest person around and are mystified at others who insist that the manic is ill. Angry, irritable, paranoid manics are typically not recognized as ill as almost everyone has zero understanding of mania. Hence there are various attempts to explain the behavior away via other explanations. Laypeople often think that these types of manics are on drugs such as glue, meth or cocaine. Others simply think the manic is a frightening, menacing, dangerous, violent criminal type of person who belong in a jail or prison. They look at a manic and can’t see the illness so they simply see a criminal who needs to be put away. Others think the manic is simply an unstable, hotheaded, violent type, a crank, a kook or a loose cannon ho should be avoided at all costs.
If they have a job, they are guaranteed to lose it in the manic phase because no one will continue to hire any human being who acts like that. Sometimes they can get another job, but then they will lose that one too. If they have an apartment, they will get evicted. And a number of times, they even lose their vehicles in a variety of ways. Bottom line is unless you have some rescue system, a manic episode is a short trip to homelessness.
The manic episode ends after 5-8 months. They often start in the spring and end in the fall, often beginning right around the spring equinox and ending right around the fall equinox. At other times, an episode begins around the fall equinox and ends around the spring equinox. The episodes seem to be tied into the seasons in some unknown way, possibly having to do with the number of daylight hours in the day.
When the episode ends, the manic’s life lies in ruins. If he had a car, it’s now gone. Any job they had was lost and any new jobs they got during the episodes were lost. If they had an apartment, they were evicted. They will have sold or pawned most of their possessions. Their body bears the brunt of 6 months of heavy drug, alcohol and tobacco use. They have destroyed most if not all of their friendships and burned through most of their relationships. These people generate a lot of hatred in others and it is common that former friends and relatives say they hate the manic, never want to see them again and with they were dead. The manic comes to, the episode ends, and unbelievably, the manic is often back to their old self, which is typically as normal as anyone else you might meet walking down the street. It is very hard to believe that this completely normal person was a crazed, terrifying maniac only a few months prior.
The manic is none the wiser for all of his wild and dangerous and destructive adventures. In fact, he has learned nothing at all except maybe that people are mean and the world is out to get them.
The manic typically refuses to acknowledge that they were ill during the episode and instead tries to explain it away in different ways. The doctor gave them some pills that made them “a little wild.” it was all the fault of those pills. They manic was “sick” or “not feeling well” or “upset.” The manic will continue to nurse all of the conflicts that they developed during the episode. The manic will blame others for all of the bad things that happened during the episode, the loss of vehicle, job or jobs, housing, arrest and imprisonment, hospitalization, fights, violence or showdowns, and loss of income, which will be blamed on “the thieves.” Even many years later, the manic will remember the episode as a time of great injustice when thieves stole money from them and everyone around them turned into evil criminals who endlessly victimized them for no reason. Housemates or others who pulled weapons on the manic in self-defense will be referred to as maniac criminals who tried to kill the poor, innocent manic. The loss of the vehicle will be blamed on others, usually “the thieves.” The employers will be referred to as terrible people who unjustly fired the manic for no reason whatsoever. All behavior done in the episode, no mater how crazed or insane, will either be denied or explained away as completely logical. A manic takes all of his expensive electronic equipment to the balcony of his apartment and throws it down to the ground, smashing $1,000’s worth of TV’s, record players, CD and DVD players, guitars, speakers, amps, musical equipment into pieces on the ground. Years later, the manic will righteously defend this behavior as completely rational and angrily blame the people who called the police on him as evil, horrible people who got him arrested for no reason at all.
If you tell the manic they were mentally ill during that period, they will either laugh it off or more commonly will angrily deny it. Some manics even threaten to beat up or punch out anyone who says they are mentally ill. When well, former manics often assault those who say they were mentally ill during the period or who say that the former manic has mental illness that needs treatment.
Manic depressive illness is hard to treat. They are usually not ill enough to be committed even during wild episodes. While manic, they have no insight whatsoever and aggressively deny that they are ill. It’s hard to treat somebody who angrily denies that they are ill in the first place. When they come out of the episode, they are often quite sane, so it appears that there is nothing to treat in the first place, and the manic has typically framed the episode in such a way as to explain it is something more than mental illness.