Bipolar and the urge to stay in the mania

After almost two years of depression and mixed episodes I finally slipped into mania. Why finally? Because I think I was secretely waiting for it and I welcomed it with my arms open. And it was a mistake.

Let me talk about that sweet toxic state of mania. It overwhelms you, yet you feel completely capable of doing basically anything. It consumes you, yet you still have enough energy to be creative, plan things, catch up on chores. Sooner or later, it’s going to take you over completely, yet you still think it’s perfectly fine to feel that way. And then there’s that euphoria you’re feeling almost all the time… Long story short — it feels super duper amazingly awesomely enlightening! But I’m not here to tell you a short story.

Mania is not just a good mood. You are feeling better and more energized, sure, but also you tend to overestimate your abilities, you feel so elevated, you can quickly lose control of yourself and the grip on reality, you can go on a shopping spree even though you don’t really have enough money, some people might even quit their jobs or be recless while driving. Also, there’s so many ideas and plans that you’ll end up not finishing anything, because you jump from one task to another. It can ruin you. While you’re manic, you might not think about the consequences, and while an episode like that won’t last for ever (it definitely won’t), the left overs of it can be rather unpleasant. Also, for most people, the higher they go, the lower they’ll fall afterwards.

Usually there’s enough symptoms to catch it beforehand. For me, I go into hypo-mania first. Hypo-mania is basically a lesser version of mania. I am more creative and have more energy, so I end up in doing more at home or for my blog. I start talking more and want to see my friends. I plan my future and start making notes every other minute. I am very hopeful and it does feel great! Especially, when this happens after an episode of depression. While hypo-mania might be OK to have if you manage to keep it under control, mania is where you have to really get a grip on yourself. And theoretically I knew all this. I did! So why didn’t I stop it? Why the urge to stay in the mania?

The answer is rather simple, to be honest… You simply want to feel good. Who doesn’t? You want to embrace that energy flowing through you and you don’t want it to stop.

Just imagine this:

you can do anything

you’re the best person on this planet

you’re future will definitely be great, now that you have energy

you will do everything right from now on

you’re probably cured

you’re creative and motivated

you have enough energy to do your chores and then some

you’re bright and beautiful

your ideas won’t fail

and so on…

AT LEAST YOU THINK THAT.

When you’re in mania your brain is putting you on a high, creating a feeling that stimulates you, makes you happy and lets you think you’re invicible. Who wouldn’t want that? Especially after months and months of depression, sleeping all the time, feeling tired and sad and worthless. I bet you wouldn’t say ‘no’ to that almost ultimate happiness, now would you?

I knew what was happening. When the hypo-mania started, I caught it almost immediately. I have enough symptoms that give it away and I have a mood diary, so it’s rather easy to see the difference this big. Besides my boyfriend noticed it right away too. I wasn’t completely clueless, I did things to balance it out, to stay calm and tried not to stimulate myself too much, which is all good ways of dealing with hypo-mania. So what happened?

Well… I wanted to feel great! Not just great — I wanted to feel like the king of the world. I wanted to feel in control of my life again (even though mania does the exact opposite in the end). I wanted to feel full of energy, just like before. And I let myself go. It felt great, until it didn’t.

I decided to brainstorm about who I want to be and plan what to do next in life. I got carried away so much, I started shaking, couldn’t write properly anymore, broke my pen. I started seeing things around me. I couldn’t sit in my chair anymore, so I started dancing and singing, I turned the music very loud. When I didn’t know what to do next, I ran from one room to another, started browsing on Amazon, ate a little bit, ran back to my room. Then my body gave me a signal. I felt brilliant and then the next second, I knew with every inch of my body, how sick I actually am.

I texted my partner — typos in every word — typing and deleting — asked him to call me. How happy am I to have such a clever partner? He called me on the landline, so I had to sit down and stay put while I talk to him (we have a really old phone, the one with a cable…). I was happy. I actually was through the roof! Yet he was concerned, asked me to calm down, asked me to take my medicine. I trust my partner and that thrust I have towards him made me remember why I shouldn’t be manic. Mania and depression are the very symptoms of bipolar disease that you should treat, so they don’t occur as much or are not as severe. While this is something that’s clear to you when it comes to depression, mania can seduce you, so you forget all about the downsides of it. But you shouldn’t.

I’m still shaking a little bit and right now, I’m starting to be afraid of what’s going to come. I am trying to calm myself down, yet I want to do things. It almost feels painful.

As awesome as mania can feel like, do keep in mind, that it’s a terrible thing your brain is trying to do. It can leave you with a lot of consequences and you’ll feel worse when it’s finally gone. Bipolar disease can be treated and you’ll be able to have a beautiful life, but not as long as you keep on bouncing between depression and mania. You want to have a healthy range of emotions, you might feel more energized one day and a little bit depressed the other and that’s OK, but mania is not a happy place, even though it feels like it. Besides, once mania is over, depression is waiting for you. I understand the urge to stay in the mania, but it’s something to be treated, just like you’d tread fever when you have flu or headaches when you have migraine. Don’t let mania trick you!

Yours Truly,

Milly | sevenseasaway

***first published here

*** If you’re hypo-manic or already having a full-blown mania, contact your doctors immediately so you get a proper treatment before it’s too late!