The Hardest Part of ‘Spring Mania’ to Recover From

The world is breathtaking as new life springs up all around us during this time of year. It feels like one day I wake up and everything is lush and green, and there are buds and blooms abound. I get excited and full of energy. It’s this energy and great mood that also, for me, brings with it a sense of uneasiness.

Too much liveliness, for me, can also signal a manic episode coming on. I have learned to know what my warning signs are for mania and that they are typically the most volatile in spring each year. It starts first thing in the morning when I realize I am practically gulping down my coffee. I’m also a smoker and before I know it, my ashtray is full; I’ve chain-smoked my way through a half pack of cigarettes by early afternoon.

Physical symptoms are prevalent as well. I’m listening to my heavy rock music way too loud and my feet are bouncing to the beat. My hands are in constant motion doing anything I can find to keep them busy. In my back, I start to feel strong twinges of discomfort, so much so that I must continually readjust my posture.

Emotionally, things can get bad fast. My mania starts out with slight annoyance or irritation. From there, I move to crabby and mad. Once I’ve passed the point of no return, I fly past anger into rage. It is at this point I am in full crisis. Inside my head, I am screaming, “STOP, STOP!” but to no avail. Things are out of control. Following my crisis plan, the next steps can be that I’m either taking some meds after talking to my psychiatrist or on the way to the ER.

This is all disruptive and damaging to my life in so many ways. It takes me days to weeks to recover and come back to baseline. It affects my work, my social life and my community commitments. There is also the fallout for my loved ones. They love me and care about me, I know that, but nonetheless I still carry a huge sense of burden to them. I am left with shame and guilt. This is the hardest part to recover from.

I love the new beginnings of spring, even with the potential mania it brings for me. If anything, I’ve learned to take the beauty of the season as a signal to up my game in self-care and self-awareness. I am proud to say I haven’t had a full-blown manic episode in more than seven years now. I work very hard to keep that going and each year I swear spring becomes more and more special to me.

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