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A Note to Myself for When I Miss My Mania

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To myself for when I miss my mania,

You’re bipolar. I know it’s been hard to admit to yourself until now but after an official diagnosis, there’s finally a word to describe the chaos you’ve been going through for years.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

After a terrifying bout of what you now know was mania, you’ve finally realized there’s something wrong. Now you’ve slipped into depression and you’re missing that euphoric high. You miss the days when you had all the energy in the world, as you lay in bed unable to get up the energy to do anything. I’m here to tell you that your mind is playing tricks on you and not everything was as great as it seems.

You can romanticize being a free spirit all you want, but deep down you know better. Even though you tell tales of your spontaneous world travels to others, you know that feeling like you’re on top of the world — that everything is beautiful and thinking, “How could you ever be sad?” — one moment, only to be crying on the floor of a hostel the next isn’t healthy.

You can romanticize dramatic relationships all you want, but deep down you know better. You think you had torrid love affairs, the stuff of poems. However, you know sleeping with random men you just met because you were feeling every emotion too deeply for words isn’t healthy. Your poor judgment, combined with your erratic, seemingly “quirky” behavior, may have been attractive to some. However, it also led to a series of self-destructive behaviors that caused you to lose a good friend and have to pay for an abortion. That’s anything but healthy.

You can romanticize not needing sleep all you want, but deep down you know better. You thought you were the cool party girl, but recklessly spending over $1,500 in less than a week on drugs and alcohol is anything but cool. Plus, during these all-nighters, you couldn’t stop your thoughts from racing and had only anxiety-inducing panic attacks to greet you in the morning. You might’ve thought you were being productive and creative like the “crazy artist” trope you identify with, but in reality, all you had were “amazing” ideas combined with a mind so scattered you were unable to accomplish anything. That wasn’t creativity.

These feelings of euphoria may seem amazing at the time, but you know they have devastating effects on your wallet, on your body, on your overall mental state. It’s like you’re borrowing happiness from your future self. Being manic means the crippling depression is just around the corner. Stability may seem boring and routine may get stale, but it’s what you need more than anything right now.

Going into a manic state isn’t the way to get over your depression. I know taking medication and going to therapy seem like lost causes, but they can only help you. Happiness may seem like an impossibility right now but being manic won’t fix that. You don’t miss your mania; you miss feeling alive. One day this fog will lift and you’ll feel alive once more — this time, without leaving a path of destruction in your wake.

Thinkstock photo via tatyana_tomsickova.

Originally published: April 5, 2017
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