When I was entering into my fourth and final year of University I experienced a manic induced psychosis. It was possibly the strangest and most frightening experience of my life. I experienced paranoia, delusional thinking and auditory as well as visual hallucinations. It was triggered by a LaSenza scout who contacted me to ask that I send in my portfolio to be considered for a Fall Photo shoot.
At this period in my life I had been pursuing modeling as a means to supplement my meager income. The majority of the shoots I did were in the nude so when it came time to send in my portfolio I was afraid of my nudes being leaked – the paranoia already beginning of what would ultimately result in a full blown psychosis. I emailed the scout asking for a waiver to ensure my nudes would be delivered safely over the big wide web. She did not understand what I was asking for and thought I was already asking for a contract to which she gave me attitude and stated that if hired I would receive upwards to $10, 000 but that I would receive no compensation for sending in my portfolio. She clearly did not understand what I was asking for.
This inspired me to don my journalistic cap and write a piece on the exploitation of models by major companies such as LaSenza. My editor loved the idea but did not understand the delusional reasoning behind my wanting to pursue this article which was to take down LaSenza and expose them for the unethical way they approached aspiring models. When my editor overheard a conversation between me and another writer of my ultimate idea and plan to take down LaSenza she decided to kill the article because she was afraid of being accused of slander and with good reason. However, during the process of researching and writing this article my paranoia grew indicating the onset of my psychosis.
My paranoia got so bad that I believed LaSenza was possibly following my every move trying to stop my attempt to expose them as a power hungry and immoral company. My paranoia became so severe that in a state of delusional thinking I actually believed they were watching me through my laptop. I had left my photo booth app open and saw the green light that indicated my webcam was on and thought it was them tuned into my laptop watching my every move. I did not stop to think rationally and realize I had photo booth open but minimized on my laptop. I even tried to stiff the pizza delivery guy when he accidentally forgot to bring his debit machine, thinking he was a spy of LaSenza who had tracked my whereabouts down. The scary thing is that in the moment all these delusional and paranoid thoughts seemed valid and rational but looking back I can’t help but laugh at how insane I had acted.
Unfortunately this was only the beginning of what was to result in my most delusional thinking. I began reflecting on my experiences as a model for the article I intended to write about how photographers and companies take advantage of amateur models and came to the conclusion that I had been taken advantage of. I even went to a photographer I had previously worked with under the guise of writing a piece on specifically waivers and their necessity for models without proper representation. It was ironic because I was trying to expose him for taking advantage of me when really I was taking advantage and misleading him on my true intentions for my article. I no longer have the recording of the interview but something tells me that I may have heard what I wanted to hear from him or that I even hallucinated his answers as proving me right – that he did in fact take advantage of me. What I do remember of the interview (again this could have been exaggerated in my mind or even hallucinated) was him confirming that photographers take advantage of amateur models without representation by paying them an extremely small fee than reproducing their image and selling it for more than ten times what they were paid.
I left that interview feeling smug but also dejected because I thought I had proved myself right – that I had been exploited as a model without representation. Again, this was only the beginning of what was to become my biggest and grossest delusion, that I had been raped as a result of my exposure to the underground modeling industry.
The deeper I got into the writing process for this proposed article and reflecting on my modeling experience, the more I reflected on relationships I had had with other models, photographers and other people I had encountered while working. One of these reflections was on the time I did a fashion show for Melia Concepts at Lobby Nightclub which is attached to Mansion Nightclub. During a run through for the show I had the entire club to myself to practice my dance number because I had the lead role in the show in which I was supposed to lip synch Kristen Bell’s famous “Doctor Long John” scene from the movie “Burlesque.” I noticed the DJ who put on the track so I could practice was someone I had slept with previously on one occasion, a.k.a. a one night stand, and that the minute he realized it was me who would be performing in the show immediately bolted and took off down the corridor to the adjoining club.
This resonated with me and in my paranoid thinking I thought he was guilty of something, something that I did not quite recollect. I began remembering the events of our one night stand and the details of that night did not seem to add up. I blacked out half of the sex because I was ten shots deep since it was St. Patrick’s day and I had ended the night in Mansion nightclub which is where he worked as the assistant manager. I remember not going home with him that night but having forgot my leather jacket in his office with my bus pass in it. As a student in the city of Ottawa, my bus pass might as well have been a bar of gold, it had that much value. I remember him texting me asking if he could come by and drop it off and possibly come up to hang out for a bit. I was also really sick and hacking like a disgusting 80 year old smoker when he came up and passed me my jacket. He sat on the bed and immediately began kissing me then one thing led to another and we were having sex. The next morning I woke up and instinctiually had the gut feeling I needed to run to the pharmacy and pick up Plan B because I remembered enough to remember he didn’t use a condom. In my paranoid and delusional thinking I thought this was the first indication of foul play since I had never, not even with partners of years let a man have sex with me without a condom. The memory of him bolting when I went to rehearse my part for the fashion show only seemed to confirm my delusional thoughts and I thought he bolted cause he knew he was caught and that his victim had come to face him.
I went to the hospital demanding a physical to prove I had been raped two years ago, which in hindsight was simply insane.. I showed up at the hospital around one in the morning with this bizarre request and the nurse on call asked me if I had been drinking, assuming I was drunk. I demanded to see a female doctor and only a female doctor is who I would agree to see but they were short staffed that night and the only doctor on call was a male. The nurse then asked me if I had ever been diagnosed with bipolar disorder which at the time I found strange and thought nothing of it until two days later when I would officially be diagnosed with this lifelong affliction.
I left the hospital that night not feeling satisfied and still extremely delusional. I felt that I needed a physical to prove that I had been raped and give me grounds to hopefully go after and catch my rapist. I woke up with the same determination and showed up at the women’s sexual health clinic the next day with the same bizarre request. The lady who did my intake interviewed me and asked why I believed I had been raped two years ago and how I thought it happened. As I explained I began to ramble and talk excessively about my past, a classic symptom of mania in bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder who are experiencing mania tend to “talk a mile a minute.” I began to reflect on the nurse from the emergency room the previous night and her question of whether I had been previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I began to ramble about how my father must have had it because he was a raging alcoholic with anger issues who could never seem to express himself or behave properly. Then I started to hyperventilate and exclaim, “I must have bipolar disorder!” The nurse at the sexual health clinic looked extremely concerned by my speech and behavior and suggested she call me a cab to go to the hospital to be properly checked out.
I arrived at the hospital and immediately went to emergency explaining once again that I needed a physical to prove I had been raped two years ago and that I feared I may have bipolar disorder. They told me to wait in the waiting room and this was when I experienced my first visual hallucination, however, my delusional brain thought it was a memory. I saw the club assistant manager “in my memory” forcing my head down to give him oral sex. I felt drugged and like I could not refuse and ultimately performed the act. I snapped back to reality and immediately fell to the hospital floor rocking back and forth saying, “It’s ok, it’s ok, you’ll be ok.” The emergency staff noticed my strange behavior and immediately admitted me for a psych consult. When the doctor realized I was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as I insisted it had been over two months since drugs were in my system (which was true), she admitted me into the psychiatric unit for a three day observation.
Stay tuned for chapter 2 of The Secret Diaries of A Manic Depressive Girl