What it Was Like to Experience Mania For the First — and Last—Time

Francesco, Giovanni, Paolo and my boots.

“Quando è troppo, è troppo” is the typical Italian expression that refers to the acceptable limit of something, when you don’t stand a person or a situation. It is very similar to “It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back” that we literally use as a similar metaphor, to express a drop that finally fulfill the vase that starts overflowing. I don’t remember exactly the specific drop, a remember a lot of drops and a lot of overflowing. It was me in July 2015, it was my first (and last) mania.

I was living two different lives, in a desperate need to take back all the winter months where I was depressed, wasting my time crying and complaining. I was acting like a complete different person, I was full of energy, doing twice of the things I could normally do, so many meetings, so many emails, the overflow due to my first mania.This sudden mood change put my family and friends in a constant anxiety status. I didn’t sleep at all, writing at the computer almost 18 or 20 hours a day. I felt like finally I was doing what I was supposed to do, I have never felt so powerful. All the things that happened to me in the mania period brought me to the edge, to the break, to the moment when I started living in an “I don’t care” mood. To final final drop.

I was working as a freelancer, social media was my ground, my virtual office, until when I started hating social media and almost all the people that were appearing in my stream. I couldn’t stand none, so I cancelled almost all the people I know, one after another from my networks.

I remember everything of that day. After a horrible night at the EXPO with a disabled friend, I was totally sick of Milan. I stayed awake writing a delirious email to some of my dearest friends about what an EXPO should look like, and how it should be accessible for all, not only journalists. This email included hundreds of references about my very private life. The email ended with my next move; going to Rome and trying to start building a better world with a very revolutionary approach. I went to the central station, booked my ticket, and found the binary. I bought the most expensive seat, it was one of the last one available. I was on time. The train had some issues and that made me mad. Another drop!

I was storytelling along the way, seated on the train, every post on my wall was about what was happening, who I was deleting and why.

I was free for the first time.

In Rome, I spent more or less 24 hours. I met great people, old friends, and made new friends. Didn’t slept for the third night in a row. I was less worried and more in a Zen mode and was convinced that my life was supposed to change and the only thing I could do was not to obtain profit.

I stopped a couple of nuns at the stations because I really wanted to tell them about my new life, but I think they thought I was under the influence of drugs.

The same though the guys from the police had when I jumped into their office because someone stole my mobile phone. Actually I know who stole it — the girl I was talking to before the train left. I gifted her lots of things I had in my bag, because I was in this sort of charity “I don’t need things” mood, but probably she didn’t care, she wanted my Galaxy.

Finally, I got on the train to Milan, all the seats were reserved, so I was lying on the metal stairs between one carriage and another. It was really painful, and I was really tired. I had to jump on in Florence because my back was broken. In Santa Maria Novella station, I was a dead woman walking. Accidentally, my sight met the eyes of Beppe. I sat on the floor with him, and he offered me his lunch. I told him about my enlightenment; he told me I was wrong. His girlfriend arrived, probably a bit jealous; she wanted me to go away. I gave her my brand new limited edition sneakers with Japanese flowers. I gave her my huge flower bag. I gave them my tablet, even if there were some very personal pictures, unforgettable smiles I shot on the beach at the creativity festival in Cannes that I didn’t backup. But, I trusted Beppe. I made a sketch and a rap for me.

I went back to Milan, at home, with no phone, no tablet but at least my pc so that I could connect with my closest friends.

It was a Sunday morning, everybody was still sleeping. When everybody woke up, I rested.

When I woke up, I couldn’t move, my body didn’t let me go further than the bathroom.

I was alone.

One of my dearest friends brought to me some food. I spent the following days in Emilia Romagna with one of my university flatmate. She took care of me like mum.

In those days I started considering technology as the devil, especially the mobile phones, it seemed to me that millennials like me were completely poisoned by those screens.

I hated the chargers cables that were in my rooms. I wanted to use only alkaline batteries. I didn’t think the concept of all-in-one was a great idea, I preferred separate mediums like a phone, a camera, an alarm clock and a calculator. I bought a camera. All these mania weeks are reported as a visual story through my pictures.

I knew my brain was too wasted to write, but my eyes were incredibly open.

When I went back to Milan, I found an ambulance and my mother home.

My mother brought me my favorite boots. I really appreciated that and wore them immediately. I didn’t want to forget that moment; I’ll never forget that moment. I took this pictures. Francesco, Giovanni, and Paolo visited me. I was fine they said.They said I was fine. I thought I was fine.

I definitely wasn’t fine.

I moved to a couple of friends’ homes because of course no one would ever leave me alone that night. I didn’t sleep. My only concern was: I want to escape.

Another day another ambulance.

Different shoes, same skirt.

This time the doctor was so convinced that I was sick that he wanted to inject me. He lied to me saying he talked to my personal family doctor who agreed with him to give me that syringe. It’s very hard to write this part. That was the worst moment of my life.

No one trusted me. Everybody was lying to me.

I made two phone calls, one to my best friend and one to a relative. I accepted to jump in the ambulance only with them. They arrived in 5 minutes, and we went to hospital for a so called T.S.O. In English, it sounds like mandatory treatment. In few words you are considered too sick to decide about your health, the doctors decide and you can’t argue. All the other patients were super lovely and friendly. I quickly became friends with all my colleagues and the nurses too.

On the second night, at sunset hours, the other patients were showing me the view from the last bathroom of the hospital. It was the Duomo of Milan. The golden statue: “la Madunina”. It was the kind of last floor view I have always dreamed to have in my ideal house. No matter the cages at windows, it didn’t felt it was a prison.

The view.

I really felt like home.