Monday, January 16, 2017

Why I can't just 'get over' my mania

Doesn't having an elated mood, possibly for weeks at a time, sound wonderful? It certainly doesn't sound like anything you need to see your doctor over, right? What about having a sense of confidence in yourself? That you are born to succeed, and can't fail. That sounds like it'd be a great trait for an entrepreneur to have. But what about impulsivity? Or racing thoughts? These sound less fun, don't they? How about engaging in risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex, gambling, or going on huge shopping sprees? That doesn't sound fun at all, does it?

Out of any of these, which do you think I can control? Which do you think I can just 'get over'?

Moving past a manic episode is almost a Herculean task. You do stupid, shameful things while in a state of mania. It's easy to hold a grudge towards your manic self because of all the suffering it brings on.

And why should I have to 'get over' it? Being bipolar is who I am. Yes, I want to control my mania, just as I want to control the depression, but do I really need to 'get over' it? That's  like telling me to 'get over' my arm, or my left pinky toe.

I understand that people want me to get better, but I'm not going to get over bipolar disorder as easily as one gets over the cold.

It's impossible to 'get over' some of these things. Maintain and control yes, but eliminate completely? Not likely.

Mania has such little good to it, yet many people with bipolar disorder are addicted to that sliver of goodness. The rush you feel, the on top of the world high, those are difficult feelings to voluntarily banish. The colors you see, the creativity you have, why would anyone get rid of these things? Because there's more to mania than just that high. And I can't get over it without help.

I can't regulate my sleep cycle, eat this diet, and take those herbs to feel at optimal levels. It just doesn't work that way.
It also doesn't work by using sheer willpower to control the symptoms. If it did, everyone would be doing it, and bipolar disorder wouldn't be considered a serious mental illness.

For me, staying sane includes therapy and meds. It includes getting enough sleep, and eating regular meals. It includes having a support system to rely on. I have to know my triggers, and learn to cope with my stressors.

There's no 'getting over' mania, but there is 'living with' mania. And thriving. 

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