So you see the word "mania" and what do you think? Fun? Wild? Happy? Out of control? Energetic? The answer for me was: all of the above - except the energy, unfortunately, was an illusion.
Everyone knows that depression is bad. It hurts, and no one likes to be sad. To be clinically depressed is even worse. But very few know that mania, or being manic, can also be very bad.
I think everyone has felt like this at some point - you're basically on a natural high. Only I would get too high. I looked like a crack or meth addict. I would think I could do everything. I would find a good idea and then begin to get the necessary supplies to follow through. But instead of getting one set I would get 3, or 4, or 7, or 10.
I would schedule my day with too many things in it, and do the same for my children. I would buy things. LOTS of things. Many, many things that were more than we needed. I don't start one blog, I start 5. Really. I have 5 blogs. I post for a while, and then forget about them.
I could not shut my brain down. And to go with that I talked faster and faster and faster - and couldn't stop talking! And as I talked faster I began tripping on words and shaking. And I would not stick to one subject necessarily. I could go through 10 subjects in 30 seconds. I'm surprised my friends and family weren't exhausted just listening to me!
Speaking of shaking, that was a fun new symptom for me. I do lots of crafts which require fine motor control and my hands were shaking so badly that I could not work on them. I hated that.
I was also irritable and my fuse was extremely short. I would blow up at my kids at the drop of a hat. Nevermind crying over spilled milk, how about going into a screaming fit about it? (Me, not the kids). I terrified them often, and I apologized, but the damage was done. I have wonderful kids though that have forgiven me often.
I would be mad at everyone (road rage much?) and my husband could do NOTHING right. It wasn't like he was trying to be wrong all the time - he just was. I did manage to bite my tongue though because there is no use in calling him out about giving the kids the wrong food, or not telling me that he was going out to the garage. I realize that these were major infractions, but in my benevolence I forbore on reaming him for them. I just seethed quietly. Much better, right?
Being manic is exhilarating. I feel invincible, I feel extremely creative (which I am), but I have a hard time channeling that creativity, or even getting it all down on paper or otherwise. It's like trying to channel a fire hose spray onto a delicate flower bed. Some things get watered ok, but most look a total mess.
I don't have more energy - I have less. I don't sleep. I still need the same amount of sleep, but I can't go to sleep, and when I finally do drift off I can't stay asleep. Naps become necessary. Think of it this way: your brain eats up tons of calories - and when it won't shut down it eats more, leaving less energy for the rest of your body, But I usually don't lose weight. Probably because I often eat more looking for that energy to complete the millions of tasks I have over-scheduled myself for. I NEED sugary items. Oh, and do I stay on task? No! Not at all! I have trouble with that when I am not manic, but when I am... ooh! Shiny!
I also have anxiety, and being manic it blows it sky-high. For me being manic is like riding a bike downhill. It's fun. LOTS of fun. But you can see that the hill is getting steeper and you don't seem to have brakes! That and I remember former crashes from going down the hill before. Then it starts getting scary - and you can't get off! Not without help anyway.
So I got help this last time. I talked to my doctor and he prescribed a medication for me. Which triggered a panic attack for me. LOL I have a hard time with medicines - I've had lots of bad reactions. Despite that, the mania I was experiencing recently was bad enough that I was no longer functioning well, and my life was HARD. And I knew if it went on for much longer someone (or someones... I'm not naming any names) was going to die. Maybe me.
I'm no longer taking that drug, but it got me where I needed to be. And right now I am still in the mania stage, but it's much more subdued, and I have brakes again. I still am doing a little to much, but I can stop and reign it in. My anxiety is back to hiding in the corner content to leave me alone.
It's better. I can live here. And my family is better off for it too.