What You Need to Know If You Think Bipolar Mania Is Fun
A lot of people think the mania part of bipolar disorder is fun for people — that it’s simply a really high mood and feeling great, but that isn’t the case. For me, I’ve had a few manic episodes in my life but most of mine are hypomania, which is a less severe form of mania but still life-altering.
Mania and hypomania aren’t fun; it isn’t just feeling “high” and getting a lot done. It can be destructive, scary and confusing. For me, it’s talking so fast that people don’t understand what I’m trying to say, which is incredibly frustrating. It’s behaving in a reckless way that can be dangerous for myself; it can be risky and it can hurt those I love. It’s making detailed and complicated plans for my life that won’t make sense when I’m stable. It’s feeling as though the world is going too slow, and not understanding why it won’t keep up with me. It’s feeling irritable and uncomfortable in my own skin. It’s losing touch with what is actually going on around me, and not being myself at all. At times it can be terrifying hallucinations — both visual and tactile, in my case — and thinking paranoid things which aren’t true. It’s far from fun and exciting. Yes, it can feel as though you’re on top of the world for a short period of time, but most of the other symptoms don’t even allow me to enjoy that part of it.
Possibly the worst thing about hypomania is crashing down to the deep, severe and horrendous depression after it, because it can only last so long, and inevitably what goes up must indeed come down. It can leave you feeling so low and guilty about your actions, which were completely out of character, and it leaves the possible devastation you have caused during your hypomanic episode. It can be hard to come back from, but we mental health warriors do just this. We come back from it, we try to learn from it, we help our support systems learn from it and we hope we will be able to deal with it better the next time.
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