It’s been a while since I last posted and I was feeling guilty.
I am on “pregnancy safe” medications at the moment whilst we try to get pregnant- unfortunately I have been on this combination before and it proved ineffective, but there is apparently no alternative to go onto the ones that do help me. As a result I have been on a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs again. I didn’t realize until a week ago that I had been riding a mania bout for some weeks- when I finally did realize I have tried to reign myself in and talk to my psychiatrist.
So what is a manic episode?
I have been reading this morning about the ins and out of manic episodes in search of an aid to recover. I found a great booklet “bipolar Affective Disorder- a guide to recovery” Now i will take a second here to state that I am not a huge fan of the term “recovery” I have learnt the hard way that Bipolar and other mental disorders are more (in my opinion) about acceptance and understanding, people can recover from mental disorders but for most it is more about management of the conditions.
The guide to recovery really simplify in laymen terms the ins and outs of bi-polar and the types. When describing mania it opens with the sentence:
“Mania can be extremely destructive and cause considerable
impairment in social and occupational functioning.”
I can honestly say that I unfortunately know this all to well. Typical symptoms of a manic episode can include (but is not limited too):
- Rapid speech
- Euphoric emotions
- High States
- Increased sexuality
- Inability to focus on projects and finish them
- Irritability and Agitation
- Decrease in Sleep
- Racing thoughts
- Appetite change- normally I find eating less
- Need to be active more
- Loss of self-control
- Loss of judgment
- Increased spending
- Increase in ego
- Impulse control issues
- “creative” or “bizarre” thinking
- Desire to partake in risk taking activities
- Delusional thoughts
- Increase in alcohol and substance use
Depending on your extremes will vary your diagnosis.
My manic episodes
Over the years my mania has got out of control- but I can only say that now because I look back and recognize that the situations I got myself into were as a result of being bi-polar in a manic state. My experiences are linked to alcohol and abuse of alcohol combined with hyper sexuality, loss of control and inhibitions and an extreme boost in self confidence (normally I have limited to no self confidence). I am self destructive when I am in a manic episode.
Getting black out drunk and hunting out men to sleep with to prove I could, extremes in inappropriate flirty with colleagues/ friends or complete strangers- leading to sex in public or risky places. It feels like your on a lot of cocaine without actually taking the drug (btw if you are bi-polar avoid cocaine)
More recently I found my spending becomes uncontrollable and I become fixated on things that I feel an urgent need for or to do- but then never complete whatever my obsession is before jumping to another urgent need. I realized last week that I had barely slept in over two weeks and it was starting to hit me hard- but no matter what I do I cannot slow my thoughts and need to be continually moving enough to sleep. The upside to being in a manic state is that I have lost weight from not being able to sit still.
Honestly- I have no idea other than the meds. Understanding and learning to identifying a manic episode will help you soo much- but I don’t find it means its over- I normally have to do something so extreme that the regrets cripple me. Unfortunately you will often find (in yourself or the loved one with bi-polar) that as soon as the mania ebbs you will get a really low patch of depression. Unfortunately I am often to the point of contemplation of suicide by this point. It sucks because its a loose- loose- you can feel incredible at times during manic episodes but really screw up your life by doing something stupid through lack of self control, and after you have peaked the only way is down which is a horrific slump.
All I can recommend is be vigilant- try and learn your / your loved ones signs of mania. Try to avoid alcohol and drug use during these episodes- try to focus your mania on exercising to burn some of the excess energy. Seek your medical professionals help if the episode is unusual to you or you start to reach into the psychosis or self destructive level of mania- which can be harmful to yourself and others.
If your a parent with bi-polar watch out for this in your kids from a young age- I can safely say that if i was medicated when i was a pre-teen I would have a lot less regrets in my life but bi-polar wasn’t really heard of then. Don’t be afraid to seek medication advise- I learnt the hard way that its not a realistic expectation for me to believe I can one day be medication free.
If anyone has suggestions on how to overcome mania please let me know as I am always searching for things to help!