Thursday, January 19, 2012

Am I Getting Better or Am I Just Manic?

I have been feeling better the past few days. I have been relatively happy and able to handle things pretty well. My impending sense of doom has been gone since yesterday afternoon. I should be happy about this and would like to think that this means I am getting better. However, I know this probably means I am actually getting sicker.

What Is Happiness? (Photo by Jeff Norris)
How do I know this? Well, I am feeling better even though I have not been very strict with my diet. I just got a bunch of files cleaned up in my office and I have written four blog posts in the past three days. All these signs tell me that I am unreasonably happy. I am probably manic and this could get bad pretty fast.

However, knowing all of these things and paying close attention to what is happening may mean that I can stop the mania from getting out of control. In order to do that I need to make sure my diet is strictly adhered to, make sure I sleep, don't overwork myself, continue to record how I am doing, keep up my exercise, take my medicine, and have Jeff keep a close eye on me.

It makes me sad to know that I can't just enjoy being happy. Happiness is usually actually a sign of illness for me and I wish instead that this were something I could just celebrate. I wish I could see this as a sign of getting better and hope for the future. Anything is possible, but I know from past experience that when I let this happiness run rampant, it quickly turns into mania.

What I am hopeful for is that I can get through this without a severe manic episode. I hope this happiness is productive and not destructive. I hope what I learn from getting through this will mean that I am getting better at treating my illness. It will never go away, I know that now. What I am learning now is how to best live with it so my life is balanced and productive.

If you have bipolar disorder, how do you manage your mania and let it be a productive time in your life without it spiraling out of control?


Rev. Katie


  1. Oh my goodness Kat, I could have written this myself!
    How do I handle manic? I usually stop everything and go to bed! Yup, pretty scientific huh? I have a TV in my bedroom. I don't even take any reading or drawing or sewing with me because my purpose is to shut down voluntarily before my brain hits a high which would eventually lead to a crash and who knows how long that would last? It usually works, sort of. When I feel the wonderful ideas that have been racing around in my mind start to settle I usually know that I am safe, for awhile.
    But oh how I hate to stop when I am on a roll! How I love it when I 'feel better' but it is bittersweet.
    So that answers only one side of your question.
    The flip side, how do I make use of the mania to enjoy being productive? I don't. It is simply too dangerous. As soon as I recognize that my 'feeling good' is mania, I shut down until I calm down.
    I have had to learn a new way of being productive without mania. Granted, I don't get as much done, but it is safer.
    The thing is that if I shut down voluntarily, the depression that always follows mania is less severe and doesn't last as long. I can often divert the crash with rest....
    It is a crazy life, literally!

  2. I really appreciate your blog as I continue to learn to live with my own bipolar episodes. An increase in medication is pretty effective for me if/when I recognize hypomania and do not get seduced by the good feeling of it. I also take extra medication for sleep (benadryl works fairly well for me.) Over the fall I have had a few cycles manic/depressed, manic/depressed, manic, which is unusual for me.

    I am currently enjoying a few weeks of what I consider normal mood and hoping it will last. I hope your current better feelings are also the start of a lasting normal/good mood.