Living Through Mania
Being bipolar sucks. I know before I accepted my diagnosis I didn’t think that my manic phases were a big deal because basically, mania is the level the world prefers we work at. I felt super productive and active. I had the energy to perform great at my super stressful and fast paced job, all while not being too tired to exercise my heart out when I got home. I was losing weight and stretching myself thin every single day…I was doing the socially acceptable thing. The depression, on the other hand, didn’t have the same socially acceptable effect, what a surprise!
During my manic phases I typically talked nonstop and had a very hard time controlling the topic I was talking about. However, I would typically find the humor in everything and make people laugh and feel jealous because they thought I was so happy. People thought that I never got sad, until they hung around me for a long time. Then they would see me drop. They would see me come into work with no expression, no happiness, no fast talking, and no energy. They really acted more annoyed with me when I was feeling depressed. I felt like people preferred the manic me, even though I could feel my hyper, manic energy stepping on the nerves of some people. I felt drained being so up and then crashing so hard.
After getting my medicine under control and finding what works for me, my manic phases have leveled out. I’m not on the roller coaster of emotions that I was once on. I am able to calculate my actions and behaviors and typically calm myself down in a stressful situation. I don’t feel the need to talk constantly or have sudden shifts in moods. I don't feel the urge to self-medicate with alcohol or pain pills just to calm myself down. Instead, I'm more of a steady type of person. Emotional, of course, passionate, definitely...but swinging way back and forth on a swing of drastic feelings...no. I am still productive, but in a healthier frame of mind.
The weird thing about mania, and the main point I want to highlight, is that sometimes (depending on the level) it can be socially accepted, and even perpetuated. The scary part about this is that mania is a very unhealthy mindset to live in. It may seem very productive, in fact a ton of people, including myself, didn't see it as a problem while juggling a full-time job, full-time school and full-time self-reliance. But honestly, that type of manic mind has lead me to places I've never wanted to travel to. If you're bipolar, please remember that mania may be exhilarating and seem very fun..but it never ends in a good place. Take your medication, go to therapy, and remind yourself that you do not need to be manic to live your best life.