Ok.  We’ve all done it.  We’ve alllll been naked.  Most of us are embarrassed to be seen nude.  I’m not.  I’ve never been, BUT there are some times where I could have kept my clothes on.  Did I need to take off my clothes in the middle of Sky bar on Sunset to go for a dip in the pool, in the middle of a party?  No.  But I did.  I didn’t even think twice about it.

When you’re manic you just go.  You are a doer.  You will not be told what to do so other people shouldn’t bother.  Especially a Bipolar II Chronic Hypo-manic individual.  Those clothes are OFF.

When I worked in county psych wards, the patients who were manic and were put on “hyper-sexual watch” either walked around naked, made inappropriate sexual comments or gestures or, one of my favorite memories, they just whipped it out.

“It” can be any male or female sexual parts.  I could have been in the middle of a conversation on a discharge plan with a patient ready to go, and WHOOP there it is.  Then I would have to start over ‘cause I can’t get anyone a bed anywhere if they are on sexual precautions and every move counts.  I knew I would have to walk into a treatment meeting the next day and the nursing staff was going to report hyper-sexual behaviors.  This prolonged patients’ stay so the doctors could tweak their meds and I had to wait to find placement.  What meds should they take…let’s see…what antidepressants kill the sex drive?  Let’s bump up the Prozac, add Cymbalta and… let’s try Zoloft as well.

I tried Zoloft once and no thank you.  Cymbalta too.  Nudity left my life along with the drive for sex.  So I quit.  But these poor patients are stuck in a pendulum swing of hyper-sexuality, to no sexuality, then back again, over and over, as they go in and out of the system.

I know sexual side effects from meds is one of the major “bad” side effects, so imagine if you didn’t really have a choice and your body just kept changing involuntarily every time a pill changed, or a dosage.

Once the flurry of pills hit the system of these patients, they become stale.  Slow.  Sexually suppressed.  I was finally able to present some notes without sexual precautions listed.  I could find a place for them to rest their head. And I would hold my breath and wait for the call.

“Erica, we have one of your patients here.  He was discharged from your unit and found naked on the street.”

“Ah…which one? I’ve had a few the past few weeks.  Let me guess…X?”

“Yeah, how’d you know?”

“Cause he whipped it out.”

My heart always went out to my patients in the ward.  Especially when it came to meds that changed their bodies at such an accelerated rate.  When you are locked up you are forced to take medication.  When you’re not, you can do your best to monitor your own sex drive and nude sprees.

So I was kicked out of Sky bar.  So what?  There are plenty of pools in Hollywood.  And I’ll be swimming in some soon!