Mania is tricky. It’s sneaky. It creeps up on you without you realising. One minute you’re feeling productive, happy, then a few weeks later you find yourself in full blown mania. In the midst of everyday life, it’s easy to lose sight of your moods when you suffer from Bipolar.
Mania for me is reckless, dangerous driving. It’s spending masses of money I don’t have. It’s an irrational, intense anger toward everything and everyone. For more, read Anger and Bipolar . It’s believing I can rule the world, and anything is possible. To read more of what I do when manic, check out Mania is… Paranoia follows me everywhere, whispering in my ear. It’s hearing voices that boost my self belief.
The problem I have over and over again is whether I’m in a good mood or in the early stages of hypomania. Hypomania is the lesser extreme of mania. Your self confidence is unbound, you feel constantly restless and itching to start that new project you’ve been dreaming about. A good mood and hypomania can present as extremely similar to an outsider and even feel the same to myself. I have been in a hypomanic state when family and friends believed I was just happy. What they didn’t see was that I was constantly ‘on’, like a light with a faulty switch that can never be turned off until you fix the problem. It’s a dangerous time, as relentless energy pushes me on further to do more and more. I can’t sleep or eat because my mind is desperately active; it needs to be satiated with action and excitement.
If this isn’t addressed and treated, hypomania can easily turn and I find myself in the throes of mania. Mania doesn’t always feel good. You’re not always ecstatic and the life of the party. It can be as self destructive and life threatening as depression. It’s hypomania but brighter, louder, so much so it’s like your senses are overloaded. It can be irritating and unpleasant, like when you’re trying to sleep and it’s three in the morning, but your body is constantly in an awkward position and you can never seem to get comfortable. I feel like raging and screaming because of the pressure building inside my head, but there’s no release valve. It’s not anything like feeling ‘good.’
My partner and family are always the first to see it. I have a glint in my eye, as many have remarked. I’m relentlessly proactive and take on far too many projects. My speech quickens, and I’m always waiting eagerly for my turn to speak and when I do, the speech is pressured, non stop.
I’m constantly critiquing my own moods, my behaviour for the fear of it being something more sinister. Why must I doubt my own happiness? It’s a terrible thing to be continually worrying about your state of mind even when you’re in a good place mentally.
Stability is unfortunately a rarity for me. It means I can be productive, and the world feels like a positive place. In all honesty, a stable mood often feels alien to me and I feel uncomfortable when I am. My world feels flat; not erupting into jagged cliffs or sinking into dangerous caverns.
My psychiatrist urges the need for routine. Routine is a Bipolar sufferers best friend. Even if I’m not tired, I should get changed and get into bed, the same time every night. A lack of sleep is a major trigger for me and I’m guilty of expediting a bout of mania by staying up late into the night and early morning. Having a daily, general routine stops me from over exerting myself, which again is a slippery slope towards mania.
I’m slowly getting better managing Bipolar. It surprises me often how easy it is to slide back into old routines and find myself in a manic state. I’ll try my hardest this time to not let that happen.
This mood scale from Bipolar Uk is very helpful for charting moods, if you believe you may have Bipolar bipolar_uk_mood_scale
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