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Why I Hate the Way Bipolar Mania Feels

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Editor's Note

If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

Maybe I’ve already written about this, I don’t really remember. That’s one beautiful thing about bipolar disorder I guess. Can you sense the sarcasm through my typing? Well, anyway  — I have bipolar disorder. It’s a part of my life and has been for a while. When I was first diagnosed by my psychiatrist, I told my therapist. She just said, “I definitely agree. I mean, when you’re up you’re up, and when you’re down you’re down.” She’s right. I am a super intense person. My lows are most definitely lows, and my highs are most definitely high. So, with her agreeing on the diagnosis, I started to research exactly what I had. I read about depressive and manic states. I remember thinking, “Me? Manic? Ha! I never have energy and I’m not creative, or out of control. Do I really have this?” Oof. Was I wrong.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

It took me some time before I realized, yeah, I’ve been manic. I still get manic. I’m manic as I’m writing this. Something about mania — you forget it. Yeah, it’s like a chunk of time gone from your memory. I don’t know I was manic unless I realize while I am, and I chart it. I have to be extra careful to journal when I’m manic, typically on social media so I can always find the memories.

I’ve met some people with bipolar disorder and a lot of them talk about how they love mania. They stop taking their meds just because they love the mania. They love the creative streak and the things they make. They love the carefree feeling. They love the energy. They love the mania.

That’s not me. I desperately hate mania.

I’ll put it simply — I’m a freaking control freak. And that’s honestly an understatement. I get sick as a passenger in a car because I don’t like not being the driver. I hate any place or event or activity where I am not in total control. I’ve been in Al-Anon trying to learn that the only thing in this life I can control is myself, but when I’m manic, I feel like I can’t even do that.

I feel literally uncomfortable in my own skin when I’m manic. I can’t sit still because it feels like my skin is crawling. I’m constantly uncomfortable. Life sucks during mania.

I feel everything intensely anyway, but mania, dude, mania makes it a million times worse. Every little thing sets me off. Whether it be anger, fear, stress, anything. Mania makes a mountain out of every grain of sand, keeping me in this constant whirlwind of emotion and confusion and a constant bad mood. Sure, I get a bit more creative, but I usually only get in one project before the mania gets so bad I can’t do anything else because I’m so overwhelmed. I get paranoid about everything. If my passwords start to randomly change, it’s probably because I am manic. Everyone around me becomes a threat, including those close to me, so I start to isolate. Shoot, mania is when I think I even need to quit seeing my therapist because I must make her miserable too. I think I am constantly a burden and frustration, especially because I know the first bit of mania is when I contact people for help the most. Mania is when the suicidal urges and the self-harm issues hit the most. The fact I’m not in control scares me to the point of wanting to die. The feelings that I’m a burden and frustration to the people around me scares me to the point I want to die. Mania is when I’m most sexually charged, and the fact I may act on those not wonderful feelings drives me even crazier than the ever so desperate desire to, well, you know. I can’t sleep. I can’t live the life I want to because the life I want to live when I’m manic isn’t a good one. I can’t eat because I’m so all over the place. I feel all the feelings all the time. My thoughts refuse to be organized. My perfect world, my perfectionist persona, my put-together life all falls to pieces around me when I’m manic. And I hate it.

I hate mania.

The first few days are fun. I go wild. I do fun things. Then the crap hits the fan. It’s a lot. It’s too much.

So I’m still learning to cope with the bipolar mania. I’m not there yet. I guess the point in my writing this is to say, mania isn’t something all of us are proud of. When someone says they’re manic, don’t call them lucky. Be there for your friends. Mania may be when they need you most, but it’s almost absolutely going to be when they push you the most. Mania is the test of friendship. Keep being there. I couldn’t be more grateful for the people in my life for staying. If that’s you,  you know who you are, thank you. Keep being so absolutely wonderful like you are. I’m sorry I apologize so much and that I’m so intense. You rock. Maybe this article is for you. Maybe it’s for the people who left, an explanation. Maybe this is for me, as a way of coping. I don’t know. Maybe it’s for you who is struggling with mania. Maybe it’s all of the above. But there is hope. There is pain, but there is always hope. Even as I type this long drawn out complaint, I am talking to a friend who is helping me learn to cope. I am finding hope. Go find yours. Keep on friends.

Photo credit: g-stockstudio/Getty Images

Originally published: October 2, 2019
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