Recently, I had an insane experience, and I mean that literally. Just before the Fall 2023 school year started, I was acting off. I was hypersocial, elated, and did not sleep for 3 days. I also suffered from racing thoughts, in which it is hard to look somewhere and not have thoughts flowing at a million miles per hour. It wasn’t long before I had to be hospitalized, and was given a diagnosis of hypo-mania. At first I had a hard time accepting that I could have suffered an altered mental state, but I figured it was alright as long as it was over.
However, that was just the beginning. The hospital, though instructing me to begin a partial inpatient program, assumed I was back to normal once I informed them the racing thoughts had stopped. Unfortunately I soon began a transition from hypo-mania to a loss of reality. Hearing and seeing things, I had begun a state of psychosis, which was especially scary. Once you’ve lost touch with reality, your brain often grasps at straws to understand the things it's seeing. I alternated from believing a multitude of irrational things: thinking I was dying, my parents were dying, I was in the afterlife, I was speaking to God, or I had hurt someone. Everything felt surreal, like a dream or a movie. I even had strange thoughts about myself, my sexuality, and the sexuality about those around me.
Among many things, one strange subject had entered my mind: Seinfeld.
For reference, Seinfeld was an extremely popular show in the 1990s, ranging 9 seasons and holding the record for the 4th most watched series finale. Often referred to as “the show about nothing,” Seinfeld presented a new way to portray comedy with a few episodes of long, drawn out sequences, namely, “The Parking Lot” and “The Chinese Restaurant”.
The way “The Chinese Restaurant” is filmed specifically is what my psychotic brain latched onto. The entire 23 minutes is shot in real-time, which was a very new concept for a sitcom. The three main characters wait for a table at a restaurant, getting impatient as time is running out before they can catch their movie. We watch them slowly unravel, all while they deal with their own individual storylines. The episode is slightly unsettling as it appears to be happening with you, in this contained environment, as the characters fall further into anger. Meanwhile, the restaurant manager continues to tell them, “it’ll be 5, 10 more minutes”
During the episode, Elaine, one of the main trio, says, “Where am I? Is this a dream? What in God’s name is going on here?”
For whatever reason, my brain connected the feelings of foreverness, confusion, and anticipation to a concept I had long been grappling with: Bisexuality.
My delusional brain thought that Seinfeld is only for bisexual people, because of this episode, which takes place in a snapshot of time and feels like it doesn’t end. I had an awakening about bisexuality in that it also never has an end. There may never be one moment that perfectly explains bisexuality or allows you to understand bisexuality. Feelings come and go, and sexuality is fluid. Life carries on forever and there may never be one moment where you perfectly feel a 50/50 split of attraction, and can confirm that you are indeed bisexual.
It is normal to doubt our sexuality, to think a crush on someone means we are gay or straight, or that a lack of feelings towards one gender eliminates that feeling completely. In reality, that is not the case, the uncertainty of bisexuality continues forever. Paradoxically, that is why the certainty of it must also continue forever. Accepting that we are who we are, that we grow and change, and that there can technically never be proof of bisexuality, allows freedom to exist.
In the same way the manager continually reassures them “5-10 more minutes” we may also think we’re on the verge of perfectly understanding ourselves. We may think we’ve narrowed down exactly which type of men or which type of women we are attracted to, when in actuality we may never fully understand, and we may change. At least in my logical mind, I constantly would believe that I’ve figured out who I am exactly, but this mental energy is wasted on constantly re-evaluating instead of being. It took this episode, and this realization, despite it being during stressful circumstances, that I am bisexual, end of sentence.
Similarly, the three main characters finally cut their losses at the end of the episode, allowing themselves to meet their own immediate needs instead of waiting, regardless of what might happen at the restaurant. So, while it may be a stretch, Seinfeld’s neverending episode proved to me that constantly awaiting proof of bisexuality is a waste of energy, and can never happen. There is no proof of bisexuality, it just is.
These thoughts, and many other strange and interesting thoughts of sexuality and love were certainly amusing at times, but losing grasp of reality and myself was extremely scary. I didn’t know what I was seeing or who I could trust. Experiencing psychosis and mania feels both euphoric and isolating. I was lucky to have support from my family, friends, medical professionals, and access to medication which eventually helped return me to myself.
It’s extremely important to seek help if you’re acting unlike yourself.
I can’t say whether these symptoms immediately mean anything, nor am I providing a diagnosis for these symptoms, however, some of the warning signs that I experienced were, a constant stream of running thoughts (racing thoughts), inability to sleep, hyperactivity, being extremely social, speaking very quickly, and a constant sense of joy. I later experienced weird interactions between my brain and myself, as if they were separate entities, leading up to the psychotic episode.
The UM Psychiatric Emergency Service can provide evaluations and recommendations if something about you feels off.