Missing Mania – Throwback

This weeks Throwback Thursday was first posted August 23, 2014
manic

 

A Reminder

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Missing Mania

For those who aren’t bipolar, being manic sounds like a damn good time. Feeling euphoric, inflated self-esteem, long periods without sleep, increased sex drive, and increased drive to achieve goals. Who the hell wouldn’t want that? Mania may sound great, but all the things that sound wonderful can come with consequences – sometimes very serious consequences. It’s similar to drinking too much – a feeling of euphoria, but none of it real. The life of the party, but really annoying. The Mayo Clinic provides a good list of symptoms of mania, as well as depression.

Following are some of the symptoms of mania and how they affected my life.

Manic Spending

I love to shop. When I was in my twenties I had excellent credit and had multiple credit cards, two of them had $20,000 spending limits. I became a shopping snob. It was only high end retail for me. Being the life of the party I was always more than happy to buy drinks for everyone and always felt great doing so. Everyone was my friend. Wouldn’t you be?

What It Was Really Like:
A person in their early twenties with $40,000 just to play with? What fools came up with that idea? Those two credit cards were the last time I had good credit. I maxed them out in a very short time and after thirty years I’m still paying the price. Here and there I’d clean my credit up enough to get new credit cards with low limits and high interest rates and a couple of cars as well. Every credit card I’ve ever gotten wound up in collections. Twice I’ve had cars repossessed.

What Changed:
I’m still not great with money, but I’m trying, and it’s getting better. I don’t buy the best clothing or have the nicest things. (Thank God for Target and Old Navy) My husband and I live in a small one-bedroom apartment, but it’s home. I’m not going to try and fool anyone – sure, I like bright and shiny things as much as the next person, but I accept and am grateful for the things I have.

Manic Sleep

Talk about productivity. Being awake for days gave me the opportunity to get a lot done. Homework, business reports, cleaning house and more.

What It Was Really Like:
While some hallucinations could be fun, the ones caused by lack of sleep were usually nightmarish. The hallucinations weren’t anything specific, they were more like what I presume an acid trip would be like. Things twisting and melting in a frightening way. It was in a manic, sleepless state that I would decide to walk naked around the neighborhood. Luckily it was always at 2 am and I presume no one saw me.

What Changed:
Like most people in my family, I have a tendency to stay up later than I should. I try to stay up to get things done, such as writing blog posts, but eventually I fall asleep, whether I want to or not. When I do sleep I enjoy a healthy 7 – 8 hours of rest. Not only do I think I can concentrate and be productive – I actually can concentrate and be productive.

Manic sex

In the past, each time I had sex it was exciting. As soon as one partner would leave I’d call another and invite them over. I regularly had multiple partners in one night, much to the envy of friends and roommates.

What It Was Really Like:
The sex may have been exciting, but once a sex partner went out the door I had to call another because I felt empty, hollow, and unsatisfied. I would then find the need to pick up the phone and invite someone else over.

What Changed:
By choice I’m loyal to one individual and plan to stay that way for the rest of my life. Today I don’t just have sex…I make love. Unlike my past exploits, I don’t have an empty feeling after having sex, in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Manic Knowledge, Ability and Drive

Probably one of the best things about being manic is the extreme “high.” The belief in stronger energy and ability. Feeling on top of the world like nothing could go wrong. Goal driven

What It Was Really Like:

Regardless of how goal driven I was, goals were rarely reached. I was easily distracted, had racing thoughts, and it would be physically painful to try to have a conversation – racing thoughts and easy distractibility made it too difficult.

What Changed:
My goals are smaller and usually achievable. It can still be painful when I listen to a long conversation, but I’m more adept at handling it. I’ve learned to meditate to help with the racing thoughts and I don’t get distracted as much by choosing to live in the here and now.

There are moments that I miss mania. Most of it has to do with what I wanted it to be rather than what it was. It’s a good feeling not being a debt ridden, sleepless, over-sexed, success-driven person. I am certain that seeing my pdoc once a month, taking my prescriptions, and seeing my therapist twice a month are all part of the success I achieve. Oh, I still get manic states that make it difficult to function and I also still get depressive states that make it nearly impossible to do anything. However, I don’t live in those states all the time like I use to. I hope that in my lifetime we’ll find a “cure” for depression and bipolar disorder, but until then, I think I’ll be okay.

What do I miss about being manic? Everything….. and nothing.

  9 comments for “Missing Mania – Throwback

  1. July 24, 2016 at 09:52

    Finally made it here – having had mania many times, with all sorts of flavors, I relate! Your comment “I’m aware my meds can turn on me…” is chillingly true! Let’s pray that never, ever happens for us! Xo

  2. July 22, 2016 at 04:36

    This deeply resonates with me. As you know, I recently wrote about my own dance with mania, and I wrote it TO mania because, you’re right, unless you’ve been through it, you just don’t understand. The exhilaration always comes with devastating consequences. I’m so glad you have made the changes you needed to make to get yourself stable!

    • Bradley
      July 22, 2016 at 07:33

      Yes, when I read other peoples blogs, I’m grateful that I’ve found what works for me. Of course, I’m aware my meds can turn on me at any time.

  3. July 22, 2016 at 00:03

    Nicely described. I don’t have it but in the early years after I stopped drinking I experienced weeks on a high followed by weeks on a terrible low while my brain was adjusting to life without alcohol. I much prefer my situation now – stable, content even. Oscillating between massive highs and lows is no good for anyone.

    • Bradley
      July 22, 2016 at 00:46

      Good to read you got sober. I hope your experience makes you appreciate your stability today.

  4. July 21, 2016 at 11:17

    I once attempted to explain mania to someone who was finishing up their schooling to be a therapist, thinking it would help them be a better therapist. I explained it as such: Like careening down a highway in an out of control car, stereo blasting, with no brakes. You have no idea where you’re going or when and if you’ll ever stop safely. The would be therapist said yeah, like cocaine. To which I replied that perhaps yes, but with drugs you know it will eventually end, mania can last days, weeks, months. I don’t think he got my point in the end.

    • Bradley
      July 21, 2016 at 18:10

      It’s sometimes very hard to explain depression and mania to someone who doesn’t experience it. I hope their schooling helps them.

  5. July 21, 2016 at 08:44

    Thanks for this, it truthfully portrays the paradox of mania: it takes you so high, but also brings you so low.

    • Bradley
      July 21, 2016 at 09:19

      Yep. I always feel great, but when I come down I realize I got nothing done

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