In my last blog post on this topic, I discussed the simple fact that it can be hard to tell the difference between the two. As a bipolar person, this can be scary, never knowing where your next manic episode is going to come from, or, if you should just enjoy the moment to feel happiness, for real.
I know that for me, this has got to be one of the hardest symptoms that I live with everyday: mania. First of all, it looks different on different days, depending on current events and my mood, and second, it feels different at different times, too.
Sometimes, my mania is super full of energy, completing tons of tasks in an amazing short period of time or on time, looking my best, actually going to the gym, successfully working on this blog 🙂 , working on my book, brainstorming for other projects, all while keeping my house from looking like a tornado hit it from the trough of the week. This is honestly when life feels good.
So, why does it terrify me?
Every bipolar person has heard it all before: high highs, low (LOW) lows.
The crash is always near.
The sucky part, however, is knowing that fact, and not being sure of how to prevent it or stop it once it starts up.
You just want to enjoy genuine happiness, and not the fake persona of it that you sometimes have to mask on, at work, at school, with family or friends, or even a significant other. You smile for them all. Maybe, your loved ones know you have mental illness. Maybe you share some of your darkness, maybe you tell them about some of what’s really within you – but when you’re manic, how would you or those around you know to prepare for that crash coming? When you are smiling, few are most likely going to question something they are just grateful to finally see on your face.
So, what are the symptoms of a manic episode? Well, I don’t know about you, but I can share mine:
- Feeling invincible
- Thinking that I am queen of the universe; overly confident
- Spending lots of money with no regard to my savings
- Overly sexual; promiscuous
- Narcissistic behavior; focusing solely on myself and little regard for others
- A surplus of energy; can’t really sit down for long periods of time
- Talking non-stop; posting non-stop on social media for validation and attention
- Super emotional; extremely happy, excited and motivated to “take over the world” and complete as much as possible. Wanting to stay busy
- Impulsive; getting in my car and driving for hours out of the city for no reason on a spare of the moment decision (example; have done this a countless amount of times)
- Insomniac- can go at least three to four (yes, you read that correctly) full days without a proper amount of sleep or no sleep at all and still be full of energy
- Nail biting and nail skin biting – anxiety is also at a high peak during this time
Is there any way for me to control this before it starts or when it begins?
Here a few things that I am currently learning to implement to stay in the driver’s seat of my happiness, sanity and peace of mind:
- When I experience one or more of these symptoms, I make an appointment to see my therapist and psychiatrist, especially if the symptoms are major. I describe my symptoms to them, and work to develop a strategy on coping skills. This is something I would recommend doing in the BEGINNING, so that you will be able to cope over time as manic episodes continue to come about.
- I pray. I rely on GOD, my higher power, to give me strength, discernment, tranquility and a clear mind. I specifically ask for those things in my prayers, so that I may be able to make more sound decisions during a manic episode.
- I meditate. I utilize meditation albums on Tidal (that’s what I have) to calm myself, control my breathing and level my thinking. I search for inner peace during this time.
- I do my aromatherapy process to center myself and calm down. I spend a lot of money on candles. A LOT, and it’s honestly the best investment for a person with bipolar, depression and/or anxiety disorder. In particular, I love love love lighting eucalyptus, lavender, mint, black cherry and cedar wood candles, primarily because of their fresh but super strong smells. I recommend none other than the great Bath and Body Works for your supply.
- I call a friend. I pull from my support system for reflection, guidance and care when I feel myself going through a manic period. My friends are often able to speak the words that I need to hear, or to just help me find my balance when I need it the most.
To be completely honest, I am still a work in progress. This list is far from complete, as I am still learning ways to cope and grow. As I gain new skills, I will certainly share them with you!
How do you cope with your manic episodes? Can you tell the difference between your ‘manic’ and your ‘happy’? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time ❤