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Why I Appreciated My Friend Telling Me I Was Manic

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Why didn’t I listen to my friend a few months back, when he said I was acting manic? Because I’m always in denial when I am either hypomanic or manic. And mostly, others are also in denial. They just want to see me as happy as I appear. They’re just as excited about my new plans and goals — no matter how far-fetched — as I am. They are just refreshed because I am not my baseline, sad self. Or worse yet, depressed.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

I believe every bipolar person needs at least one friend or family member who will tell them when they’re behaving in a manic or mixed way. I am lucky to have a friend who tells me when I’m manic, even though I don’t always listen to him. Or if I do, I don’t take his advice to do anything about my heightened state.

I made big plans to move to another country, get married to and have kids with a man I never met in person. I thought I was as cool as John Lennon and started dressing like him. I was attractive, glowing, excited and I found someone else to take over the lease to my apartment. I threw away many essential belongings, as I would no longer need them. And more. But I won’t go on about the details, as some are embarrassing to me still.

I didn’t sleep much, if at all, back then, but the sleep began to take over my life and reality started hitting me. Depression began to creep in. Who was that person? Where would I live? Well, I was offered to stay at my dad’s, but that was way too far away from my psychiatrist and therapist. It occurred to me to sleep in my car and join a gym to shower (not that showers were important to me).

I landed myself in the hospital. “This can be a voluntary stay, or involuntary — you choose,” said the psychiatric evaluator, as I sat ashamed in my paper scrubs. I signed myself in, knowing I needed help. Once in the hospital, I was given a medication change and adjustment. One of the drugs was for an eating disorder and was fast-acting. It not only kept my binge cravings at bay, but it lifted my mood. I only stayed there for a week and used every resource available to me to try to find housing.

I actually found (and moved into) an apartment the day after I got out of the hospital. I hit the ground running, as they say. But some unfortunate news came a few days later: I would no longer be able to ghostwrite as many articles as I typically did. In fact, only one-third. Not enough to pay the rent for my new apartment. So, I applied for over 25 jobs in the next couple of days. I was on autopilot. I have some interviews set up now. I don’t really feel well enough to work more right now, but this is how I will survive. It’s not as if getting disability is quick and/or easy.

I took a break from applying for jobs yesterday, and called my friend. I thanked him for pointing out that he thought I was manic back then, even though I didn’t listen. “You know, I didn’t tell you this, but you seemed like a completely different person back then,” he added.

Yes, and that is how I feel as a person with bipolar. Sometimes, like a different person.

Thinkstock photo via baquitania

Originally published: September 27, 2017
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