The Truth About Mania


I think many people relate to depression. Many people have fallen into the dark pit of despair and managed to climb out of it. I don’t think, however, people really have a grasp of what mania is like.

Mania is incredible. Yet, it 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 emotions 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 struggled with 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 feel like you can control the world and you’re going to accomplish great things. You become delusional, and you can’t see reason anymore.

You might feel like creating an online business and spend your life savings buying things for it. 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. You might just become promiscuous when you’re usually not.

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

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. Yet, 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, 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 to my kids because I’d flown into psychosis and wanted to kill myself because I wasn’t a size six 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 friends with bipolar miss the mania and struggle with medication compliance because of that. I miss the hypomania, 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 person with bipolar disorder, and it is something that will never be tamed, at least, not without proper medication and therapy.

So although there is some “fun” that comes with 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 it’s not just that. There’s also usually a side of remorse and embarrassment included with it.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Image via Thinkstock.

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