Do we ever know when we are manic? Not really. We think if we take our meds, we’re fine. Those meds are the safety guard rails. Right? And, in all honesty, we crave a little mania. We are ‘smarter,’ ‘more clever,’ maybe more ‘spiritual,’ definitely more energetic.
I never really understood mania. My husband always knew when I was ascending into mania. I just thought I was having some really great days, ever the happy manic. When I was young, I really thought the manic me was the real me, just waiting to surface.
Then came a year-long mania…and I was on meds the whole time!
It almost killed me. I refused to believe I was manic. I took my meds religiously – a lesson learned from 3 previous episodes. So I couldn’t be manic, right? I was semi-functional – driving, cooking, good personal hygiene … making new ‘friends.’ However, everything was skewed in my mind. I thought I had a handle on things. Wasn’t I the clever girl? Not quite!
FEATURES OF MANIA NOT OFTEN DISCUSSED:
- Totally self-absorbed – we are fascinated with ourselves! I had no idea I was so…”smart, funny, interesting, or that people liked me so much!”
- Total lack of discernment. I saw the ‘great potential’ in everything, especially myself. Couldn’t others see this?
- Lack of perspective. Poor judgement about everything, especially myself.
- CREATE DRAMA in our life, about anything, about everything. And, insists imposing our drama on everyone, even total strangers. Of course they will find you ‘interesting, special, and fascinating’. Meanwhile we are making an ‘enemy’ of anyone who refuses to see how special we really are – mostly relatives, friends, the people we know and love, our support system, etc.
- Money, money, money – no responsibility or accountability with the bucks! May feel a sense of “purpose” in asking others for money. Then squanders money everywhere – buying items you think hold great importance, when they may simply be junk – no judgment skills. I once bought a rickety old VW Beetle. No title. Paid cash. It never made it home. Ended up filing bankruptcy when I fell into the depression. Then everything was cold, hard, a metallic world.
- Attacking the very people trying to help, trying to reason with us, results in Isolation.
Well, it seems to me, 30+ years from diagnosis (Bipolar I with psychotic features) and 4 major episodes, that Bipolar disorder and all it’s “cousins” are the ultimate self-sabotage. I would love to think I’m done with it. But, my greatest lesson is…vigilance. I can never let my guard down!
And neither can you!
(Stay tuned for the big one: psychosis)