Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Dear "Want to be manic",

You found my site searching for this term. Trust me, you do not want to be manic. Maybe it sounds fun. Maybe it sounds like some drug-induced high (ok, maybe it is, I wouldn't know). But really, no. Mania is humiliating. You do so many things you'd never do when not manic. I've yelled at people, cursed at them, made bad decisions, fallen in love with terrible people, and on and on. And I'm fortunate because in the bad decision arena mine have all been minor.

Mania also just doesn't feel good. It can feel good for a while. I think some people get a lot more enjoyable highs than I do, but I'm speaking of myself and since my site was on of the top 10 on this and the others concurred, I think it's generally true. I live my life in a perpetual moderate-severe mixed state with very little time better than that (maybe 3% of my life is less than moderate mixed, at best). A mixed state means you are both depressed and manic simultaneously. Therefore, 97% of my life I have manic symptoms. I know them very, very well.

What mania usually is about is feeling like the world is moving way too fast. Sure, it's fun in a way to think faster than everyone, and it used to make me appear smarter than I was because I could reach conclusions faster than others. But now my thinking is much more muddled. Rapid thinking is overwhelming and intrusive. It is impossible to focus, and unfortunately most of life requires some degree of focus. The best example I can think of is to take a double dose of sleeping pills in the morning and then go to work and make the biggest presentation of your career (or take the SATs if you are a teenager) while under the influence. Although mania is much more energetic it is the same inability to focus that this would produce, plus it is combined with the absolute embarrassment that everyone can see you absolutely can't sit still. When I am like this I try to remind people that I am like this taking HUGE doses of meds to calm me down; this is somewhat impossible to comprehend, I've discovered.

I've heard it described as too much caffeine. That doesn't even come close. I remember grad school, living on caffeine and then drinking enormous mugs of frighteningly black coffee at night to keep us awake to try to learn neurology. That feeling wasn't like mania. That was the little brother of mania. That was the "oops, now I can't sleep" feeling as opposed to "I haven't slept in 3 days and I worked 12 hours on my feet and I'm still pacing around Walmart even though I don't need anything because I can't stand my apartment because it is so small I'm afraid I'll kill myself just to get more space".

Mania is experiencing every sensation far too acutely. I have very curly hair and if my bangs are a certain length they curl into my eye slightly. I have had to cut this piece of hair off at work before because it was making my life miserable and I couldn't tolerate it one more minute. It is hearing noises from 5 houses down the street. It is jumping at every little noise. It is having permission to turn your therapist's white noise machine on and off as needed.

Mania is so ugly that it makes you glad to take medications that make you slow and fat and tired. It makes you thankful to take meds that can and do harm your kidneys, liver, and thyroid. You just smile at the warnings to take birth control with this med each month, thinking that this reminder is on all your pills. You don't blink at forking over $250/month for meds. For me, mania is so ugly that in a week I'll know if I can add electroshock therapy to my treatment list, something I've decided I may prefer to my remaining treatment options. You can be pretty sure something is not fun if you are willing to ask someone if they please will give you general anethesia, stick a thing on your head, zap you, cause you to have a seizure, and then repeat the process a bunch of times.

I could continue, but I just don't want to. The point is though, no, you do NOT want to be manic. EVER.


Anonymous said...

manic is my favorite!

Just Me said...

Then you've never been truly manic. You've maybe been hypomanic, but true mania is something you dn't want to repeat. Hallucinations are scary. Mixed episodes are horrible. (That's where most of my mania is so that's what I know best). I can't imagine being delusional is a good thing.

Trust me, full blown mania is the worst feeling on earth.