Growing up, one of my absolute favorite movies was Twister. I wanted to be Helen Hunt's character - a cool, independent woman who drives around the Midwest chasing tornadoes and trying to drop little robot-looking things inside of them.
On occasion, that movie would make me tear up a little at some of her lines - something like "the tornado skipped that house, and skipped that house, and took mine." If I remember correctly, the tornado killed her parents and that's why she was so close to Aunt Meg.
The reason that Helen Hunt is trying to drop little robot-looking things inside of a tornado is to improve the tornado warning system. At one point Jami Gertz's character, the stupid fish-out-of-water girlfriend of Hunt's character's soon-to-be-ex-husband who comes along for the ride (hijinks ensue), asks "but aren't there already tornado warnings?" and Hunt's character explains that they're not good enough, they're not nearly good enough.
I had a manic episode last week (or the week before? the weeks tend to blend into each other during such times) but luckily caught it before it got really bad. (Or did I?) I mean, it was still bad - paranoia, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, emotional rollercoaster, inappropriateness, and lack of judgement. (In positive news, I lost 4 lbs.)
The nice thing is - I've been able to catch it so much earlier. I'd say since I got back from Italy I've probably had 4-5 severe manic episodes (two of which resulted in job loss, one of which was a full psychotic break). The signs have always been there, but I've had to hone my skill of reading them and reacting. It can be fun to have a certain level of mania, but then the world drops out from under you and it's no fun anymore. And for a long time, because of the fun of mania, I've been resistant to calling my doctor right away. I'd say, even this time, I called him a little too late. But at least I called him.
The other difference with this time is that the past 3-4 episodes were my fault because I went off my meds. (Not intentionally. Bipolar people have one of the lowest rates of successfully staying on our medication. Some of this is because people feel better and don't want to deal with the side effects. In my case, it's an issue of forgetfulness.) This time I did not go off my meds - I think I've only missed two doses since my last psychotic break. I did everything exactly how I'm supposed to. And I still started to lose my mind.
This is scary for a few reasons, but thank god I'm getting better at recognizing the signs. And I know as I continue on the crooked path of my life, I'll keep working at it. So maybe after all these years, I did wind up a little like Helen Hunt pushing robot-looking things in the middle of tornadoes.