I'm going to try to make some sense of this now, whether or not any of this makes it into the first chapter all depends on how much time I have until the project deadline and whether I can figure out how the hell I'm going to tell it in comic form...
(A disclaimer before I begin...some of this might disturb you. It still disturbs me. I probably shouldn't be this open about it, but it's all kinda part and parcel of this project...)
The memory of my nervous breakdown is fading, now - which makes sense since it was over 7 years ago - making it that little bit harder to tell this story. One thing that keeps resurfacing is the memory of lost identity. I remember believing that I had all sorts of incurable diseases (and that said diseases defined me, I guess) and I also remember believing I was other people...celebrities, mostly. Projecting myself onto others to make myself seem more important, I don't know.
When you're growing up all you want is to belong, to find your place in the world, figure out who you are and how you can use that knowledge to make a difference. While I was having my little episodes, boy, did I ever think I was going to make a difference! I thought I had incredible godlike power, that it was my duty to use that power to save the world, and that I was the smartest, most important person in the world who was being quarantined (on the psych ward) by the government so I couldn't foil their plans for world domination.
...No, REALLY. I honestly thought that. How messed up is that?
And that's not all. Before these scary grandiose delusions started to manifest, I just felt really good. Too good, though. I remember feeling so in touch with everything, every molecule, every living thing. I felt invincible. (If that sounds like an LSD trip to you, you're not alone - but NONE of this was drug-induced) My drawings had also gotten a lot better. I understood everything (or thought I did, anyway) as my mind was going a mile a minute. I thought I was unlocking my full potential (now you see where the godlike power delusion comes from). The world - no, the entire universe - made sense, and I had finally figured out who I was supposed to be.
...Unfortunately, no, I hadn't. Everything went downhill from there - I'll spare you the rest of the details. Instead I'll try to illustrate the two sides of this coin for you, visually. Here's a drawing I did while I was...manic.
Spontaneous, colourful, energetic...now here's one I did during my descent into full-blown madness.
Jagged. Very tense. No more colour. Those patterns are kind of interesti--DEAR LORD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING. D:
Ok, not the best example... Here's another one...
Two people with FOREIGN OBJECTS STICKING IN THEIR HEADS - A PARASITE AND TWO GIANT RAZOR BLADES. Obviously at this point I had finally figured out something was wrong, but I was powerless to stop it. (Powerless?! What happened to the godlike power you said you had?!) I had to keep on going wherever the madness was going to take me.
What makes this so difficult for storytelling purposes is that none of this was gradual. It was quite sudden and came on without warning - all I know is that it was caused by a lack of sleep. And believe me, I wanted to sleep - to this day I still have no idea what caused me to stop sleeping for an entire week for no reason. Since it wasn't gradual, I can't figure out how to make it fit into the "rising action" portion of the standard storytelling model.