Tuesday, February 7, 2017

What is Mania Like?

I think many people relate to depression. Lots of people have been sad before. Many people have fallen into the dark pit of despair and managed to climb out of it. But I don't think people really have a grasp of what mania is like.

Mania is incredible. Mania is destructive. Mania is the highest high of your life, yet it's also a cliff and you just jumped off into the abyss.

People think mania is just happiness, giddiness, and euphoria. While those emotion can happen at the beginning, it doesn't stay that way.

Mania also includes psychosis, grandiosity, and delusions.

The less commonly noticed symptoms include less need for sleep, rapid speech, inflated self esteem, poor concentration, racing thoughts, risky behaviors, and excessive energy.

I've suffered from mania, and I've done incredible things while manic. I have created amazing things, yet while in the throes of mania, I've destroyed relationships.

You become another person while manic. You're high, you feel like you can control the world, you're going to accomplish great things. You become delusional, and can't see reason anymore.

You might feel like creating an online business and spend your life savings buying things for it. Or you might decide you need a brand new wardrobe for the new you. You might decide your partner isn't enough sexually, and go on the prowl for a new one. Or you might just become promiscuous when you're usually not.

The worst thing about mania, is the hypo-manic phase, when you truly are amazing. When you can still listen to reason, when you feel on top of the world, and you have ideas that are brilliant. This phase usually doesn't last long, and before you know it, you're into full blown mania.

And then there's the crash. It usually feels like you've literally hit a brick wall going 100 mph. You might wake up in the psych ward, you might wake up on the streets, you might not wake up at all. But it's there, and there's usually the deep depression that follows, where you're in a shame spiral because of all the incredible things you did while manic.

I remember the last manic episode I had, I was convinced I was going to start a jewelry making business, and sell my wares to my friends. I bought necklaces, and lockets, and trinkets with money I really didn't have. I was obsessed. I was crazed. I was fixated on this one thing. I felt amazing. I was in control. Until I wasn't. I couldn't tend my kids because I'd flown into psychosis, and wanted to kill myself because I wasn't a size 6 anymore. I was barely holding onto reality, and it was terrifying. I finally went to my doctor sobbing that I needed help, and I was admitted to the hospital.

I know a lot of my bipolar friends miss the mania, and struggle with medication compliance because of that. I miss the hypo-mania, but not enough to risk full blown mania. It's fun for awhile, but it becomes horrific very quickly.

Mania is an uncontrolled beast that resides inside every bipolar person (well, bipolar I person), and it is something that will never be tamed, at least, not without proper medication and therapy, IMHO.

So although there is some 'fun' included in mania, it's doesn't stay grins and giggles, which is an excellent reason to try and keep it tamed. Even when it's hard because you miss the euphoria, you have to remember that it's not just that, there's also usually a side of remorse and embarrassment included with it. 

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