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Explaining the Mania of Bipolar Disorder With Chocolate Easter Bunnies

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I developed the metaphor of the “Chocolate Easter Bunny of Happiness” to explain my experiences with bipolar disorder.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

In this scenario, each person periodically receives the same allotment of chocolate. With mania that allotment can become divided into 50 chocolate Easter Bunnies. Add a dash of random creativity and maybe 100 are possible, though so thin many get broken along the way. To get the high number, they are all hollow, and poor quality milk chocolate since that is the fastest way to get a chocolate Easter Bunny. Mania is — if anything — about speed. So yes, mania devours bunny after bunny after bunny. All those bunnies give an illusion of happiness because there is just enough chocolate in each one for “the quick fix.” This requires more and more massive numbers of bunnies. Now on a wild sugar high, all those hollow chocolate Easter Bunnies are suddenly gone. Then the only thing left is that sick tummy feeling and the sugar crash into collapse. This is the bipolar experience.

Without mania, that original allotment of chocolate becomes dedicated to one single solid chocolate Easter Bunny — dark chocolate, maybe some orange or berry flavoring — handcrafted in artisan excellence. Because of the richness, only one or two bites can be savored at a time. Satisfied, the rest is wrapped up for later. Maybe the next day or a couple days later another bite or two is just enough. Each brief encounter delights the senses, creating fulfillment and satisfaction. Now that one solid chocolate Easter Bunny maintains a steady chocolate paradise sufficient to last until the next chocolate allotment.

I think mania can only provide superficial happiness based on artificial quantity and manipulation. Ultimately, I don’t think happiness can never work like that. True happiness, solid happiness, comes in slowing down to experience the pure sensuality of each day this life brings to each of us.

Chocolate Easter Bunnies are best when they are whole. And so am I.

Thinkstock photo via AND-ONE

Originally published: June 3, 2017
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