T he day after a high-school play in which I played a leading role, a friend gave me a note congratulating me on my performance. “Zahava, last night you were transformed into a different person,” she wrote.

It was true. Onstage, I had been bold, charismatic, and animated, while in real life, I was just a nice, regular, quiet girl from out of town. Who am I, I wondered. Am I the star actress, or just plain old me? It was a question I’d grapple with more and more as life went on.

After seminary, I became a teacher, and the mother of one of my students handpicked me as a shidduch for her son. My husband and I moved to Eretz Yisrael, and I gave birth to our first child, a boy, ten months after our wedding. I was living a dream life.

Most women feel tired and a little down after giving birth. Not me. In the days after the birth, I was feeling on top of the world. I didn’t need to sleep or eat; I just wanted to reach out to the world. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was going through the first of several manic episodes I would experience.

My inhibitions went out the window, and I spoke whatever was on my mind to everyone I came into contact with. I walked over to a single girl in the street and told her I knew whom she should marry. Even though I had just met her, I truly believed I could read her like a book.

I also opened a Yerushalayim phonebook and dialed the numbers of famous rabbanim and speakers. To each one, I posed the same question: “Are you Mashiach?”

“No,” they each replied in succession.

After making about ten of these phone calls, I turned to my husband and asked, “Are you Mashiach?”

He gave me a funny look. “I don’t know,” he said.

Hey, I thought. He didn’t say no! Maybe I’m married to Mashiach!

My mission is to bring Mashiach, I resolved. As part of that mission, I flagged a taxi to go visit a seminary teacher and tell her what I really thought of her. During the ride, I became convinced that the Arab driver was going to kill me as a symbol of revenge. He was an incarnation of Yishmael, I decided, while I was the gilgul of Rachel Imeinu. As we headed to my teacher’s apartment, I jumped out of the moving taxi and threw a 100-shekel bill at the driver.

My husband was alarmed by my behavior, as were my in-laws, who had come to Eretz Yisrael for the bris. Actually, everyone I spoke to at this point realized that something was very wrong with me. I was delusional, and saying things like, “I’ve accomplished my mission in this world, so I don’t need to live anymore.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 653)