Friday, November 27, 2015
My World, Tricked by Mania, mania-bipolar-trick By Julie A. Fast All rights reserved
I came across this article on the Internet. Julie Fast, who suffers from bipolar disorder, takes her disease head-on as she describes her periods of mania. I can identify with her as one who has bipolar 2 and had some hypo-mania in a time of great grief reaction and pain when our daughter, Lindsay and her baby, Emily Hope, were killed in a car accident- which, by the way, we witnessed. I was talking way too much and I had a hard time realizing that when I engaged in conversations. I was taking people as "listening" hostages and would not let them go.
I also had a lot of anger during this period and was trying to resume my regular work schedule even though the month before Lindsay died I, myself, almost died from Lithium toxicity. So, my near poisoning added to the grief response brought my first period of hypo-mania into the mix of my illness. Rev. Steve Bloem B.A. M.M.
No matter how good it feels, euphoric mania is destructive. Learn to identify and manage your warning signs to stay on track. Have you ever wondered why people with obvious signs of mania won’t get help?
This often happens because mania tricks those of us with bipolar into thinking that out-of-control and sometimes dangerous symptoms are actually a positive. Here’s a description of what it’s like for me.
When I’m in a euphoric manic episode, life feels wrapped in loving-kindness, with every cell infused with joy juice. (Other people might experience the flamboyant or irritable aspects of mania; for example, by becoming the life of the party or turning into an angrier Oscar the Grouch.) A rock on the ground becomes infinitely fascinating to me because my brain no longer processes information in a linear way. See how that rock has flecks of green! See how it is situated right next to the blue-green grass and how it shines in the sun! I need to take a picture! I’ll put it in in my pocket, as it will bring me luck today—this beautiful day when all things are possible. I stand up and skip down the street. What fun thing can I do next? Ah, my room needs to be rearranged. To the store! I need storage boxes! The colors are so wonderful! Look! I can get a purple box, a green one, and wow, an aqua one! My shopping cart is filling up. Oh, the delicious possibilities!
My brain has no boundaries when I’m manic—no thoughts of the work I need to do or how much money I have in my bank account. I hit the candle aisle and oh, it’s buy two get one free! I’ll get six! Why don’t I see this as mania? One reason is that my depressive episodes consume me to the point that I can hardly leave my room without a struggle. It makes sense that I would not see my manic behavior as a negative; I see it as the opposite of my horrific depression, so it must be a positive, right? I might be feeling a little pang of worry when I see the bill, but hey, it always works out. I’ll be fine! Right?
I can’t stress enough how serious mania can be, and how we must all learn what our mania looks like in order to prevent it from getting too out of hand. During this kind of mania, my brain stops producing reasonable questions and thoughts. I’m not ignoring any warning signs—my manic brain isn’t sending me any; it truly is not creating any checks and balances to keep me on track.
Although I manage my bipolar, hypo-mania still stalks me every day. If I don’t watch for it all the time, I can get tricked into thinking that euphoric mania is actually happiness. Before I was diagnosed at age 31, I believed that the hypo-mania was the “real me” and the depression was the “sick me.” Realizing that mania and depression are two sides of the same bipolar disorder coin changed my life. I now know that no matter how good it feels, euphoric mania is destructive.
I manage my mania with a plan that uses symptom listing, trigger management, and a team around me that is always allowed to tell me if I seem manic. There have been times when I’ve been in a store doing my Hyman thing and suddenly realized by looking at my cart, Julie, this is mania! Get out of here! I’ve taught myself to see what is happening and to act on visual cues because my ability to understand or rationally process what is happening is simply not there. My mania and I are in our own world.I’ve learned that taking pictures of rocks, redoing my room, and filling up shopping carts are signs that I’m sick and I have to stop and manage the mania immediately—no matter how good it feels.
A Tip from Julie:
Make a list of your or a loved one’s first signs of mania and memorize the list. For example, my euphoric mania always starts with vision changes and a sense of profound well-being. I can’t let this catch me off guard! Once you know your first signs of
mania, you can go in the management direction instead of in the I’m-going-to-give-in-to-this-mania-
For a brief treatment of bipolar disorder, please go to:
Broken Minds is available from this author and in Kindle Format, For a new copy of Broken Minds, Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. go to our web-site, Follow the link to our donation button. http://heartfeltmin.org/author-page.html .The book sell retail for $16.00 and $3.00 for shipping. I promise you that you will not regret getting this book.
Here is a link to one of my blogs that explains bipolar disorder.