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What It's Like to Be Manic While in COVID-19 Quarantine

One night of restless sleep, six days of being in quarantine, and all of a sudden, I am manic. For many of us with bipolar disorder, the switch can happen that quickly. Soon I will be going days on end without sleep, my decision-making skills will lessen and psychosis will set in. So, here is what it’s like being manic during quarantine due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the new viral strain in the coronavirus family that affects the lungs and respiratory system.

It’s one o’clock in the morning and I’m up writing down every brilliant (or so I think) idea I have. A few hours later, I will look at that notebook and not be able to read a bit of what I wrote. I’ve already committed to getting more work done than I am capable of, but that doesn’t cross my mind at the time. I’ve also spent $300 on things I don’t need from Amazon and by the time they get here, I might have come down from mania anyways.

I start pacing around the living room talking to myself. I am even replying to myself. My thoughts are jumbled, and my speech is pressured. If someone was watching me, they would say I wasn’t making any sense.

I’m angry my phone is not blowing up, because I have texted as many people as I can think of. Who knows if my text make sense or not? I am frustrated no one has replied. I crave interaction with others, and for this introvert that is rare.

Paranoia increases, as if it wasn’t high already with this pandemic. My fears of catching the coronavirus are now off the charts. I’m paranoid I already have it. Every moment I am questioning myself. So I begin to sanitize the entire house for the twelfth time today. I begin to consume as much information about the virus as possible. I am determined to become an expert as if that will save me from getting it. It only makes my paranoia worse.

I can’t sit still. I sit down on my couch and a few minutes later, I’m up again. I sit down to eat a meal and I can’t finish it. I try to do some work standing up and my feet are moving nonstop. Finally, I go on a walk and I start to run. I think this will help burn off some energy. I get back home and it’s worse. I feel the constant buzzing of agitation pulsing through my body. I want to feel an even more heightened rush of adrenaline.

I either hyperfixate on something or I can’t concentrate at all. I try to sit down, and watch television and I flip through channel after channel. I get up and try to do some work and I become fixated on one single detail within a project I am working on.

Finally, I start to panic. My anxiety is high. I can’t breathe. I start to question my sanity. Do I even exist? So many questions my fragile and compromised mind cannot answer.

So, if you are facing mania during this time of social distancing and quarantine know you are not alone. Quarantine can make anyone a little “stir-crazy” but especially someone with bipolar disorder. Handle each moment as it comes. Remember this is for your safety and the safety of others. Take your meds regularly. Finally, if you need to, reach out to your doctor for help.

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GettyImages photo via Wojtek Skora