Friends of Mania


All of my bipolar blogging buddies. I really, really need your help.

I wish I could write this more smoothly, and with a lot less pressure and distress. I hope this doesn’t come out a jumbled mess. I’m writing texts and emails to people and leaving out whole paragraphs, because somewhere between my head and my fingers, it slipped away. And I don’t mean it dissolved. It disappeared, though I do remember the thought process. It’s pretty confusing for a lot of people right now.

I’m a virtual stranger to mania. I mean, mania itself, not the watered down hypomania version. Hypomania and I have seen some good, bad, and ugly. There were giddy periods of time filled bubbly optimism and boundless energy. It was as if gravity had released some of it’s grip on me, and I could float free and light like a feather. The good.

The bad. The dysphoric hypomanias. Some see them as mixed episodes. I always thought of it as an angry, energetically, bad mood. They didn’t qualify as mixed, because there was no mania. Those were dark times, often short lived.

The ugly. Screaming fits, aggression, hostility, anger, resentment, the whole nine yards. But, they were just so brief. I never went through with most of my destructive, impulsive urges. Mostly, I’d internalize my anger and let it run a rampage in my mind. Turning the glass cannon toward myself.

Hypomania. Mild manic symptoms. Instead of not sleeping for days, I’d sleep between 4-6 hours each day in a week and go on better for it. Impulsive urges weren’t centered around spending hundreds of dollars on something I don’t need. They were simpler, like stashing $20 so I could buy a new blouse. Or grabbing a handful of dollar journals. It was never a make or break situation.

The rest was always there in some varying degrees of severity. Sometimes, the flight of ideas was so overwhelming that my conscious thought would turn into a detuned radio. It would fracture, and I’d have to spend some time piecing it back together. It’s always been like that. I have dozens of notebooks with scribbles all through them. Dozens of drafts sit in my queue here on WordPress.

The flight makes me ambitious. Overly ambitious. But, never so much that I ever chased an unattainable goal. I could still have a realistic view of my strengths and weaknesses. And I know where my talents lie.

I’ve hardly ever been distractable. Although, I have to laugh while writing this. I’m so far off course, I’d be surprised if anyone is still following. I may go off on a tangent, but at least I think I’m still developing my point.

So, back to the point. I’m treading deeper into these waters of mania. I didn’t realize it at first. But, I see it now. Sleep is always the first symptom. When I see my sleep dropping off, or getting to sleep is impossible, even while medicated, then I know. It’s coming.

This time was worse than ever. It would’ve taken elephant tranquilizers to take me out Thursday. I had a 30 hour day. I could have gone on, but I promised C.S. that I’d sleep. That day clocked about 3 hours. I was drinking Saturday night and still only slept 4 and a half hours. Everything seemingly went back to normal, until last night.

It was one of those nights where I glanced at the clock. 2:30AM. I’ll get 5 hours. Whatever. 3:45AM. I should probably get to bed. 5AM. Maybe I shouldn’t sleep at all. 6:30AM. I have to sleep a little.

2 hours and 15minutes. 8:44AM I woke to a text. And there was no problem.

I’m mental health counseling a friend in crisis. I’m watching my son. I’m folding and cutting inserts for my journal, and having email conversations with my husband. I’m writing this, and there is no end in sight.

What about my mood? I’m not euphoric, but I’m not my now typically temperamental self. I’m not gloomy, and I’m not expecting storm clouds. There’s no happiness, giddiness, bounciness. There is an air of superiority, a nice solid stance, and a good, sturdy grip on things. I can take on the world. I can take on my life.

And no one is going to stop me or change my mind about anything.

Mood? I don’t feel anything. I am thinking brain. I am analyzing brain. Robot mind. Not unaware of emotions, but just not feeling anything. No flatness. Just plain nothing. Because maybe I don’t have to feel anymore.

And maybe, just maybe, I am pulling through all of this after gathering my reserves. Maybe, I’ve broken free of all of my chains. Maybe, I’m free.

And maybe, just maybe, it’s possible that I’ve completely lost it.

That’s not the half of it. Not even close. Doesn’t scratch the surface. Maybe I’ll write a rambling post later. I just wanted to get some opinions on whether I should concern myself just yet or not.

Yours always,

Loony, Lovelyñ Lulu

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17 thoughts on “Friends of Mania

  1. I wish I could help. My husband is bipolar and experiences mania like what you are describing. I don’t know if there is something he does to tamp it down. I know a lot of times he just has to go with it. The best he can do is stay away from his triggers (talking on the phone, watching the news) and do something calming/relaxing. He has found that watching animal shows is helpful to him. I did enjoy reading your post.

    • Being BPII has left me a stranger to mania. And it’s been getting worse. This time, I’m not in a bad place, but I recognize how dangerous this can turn really, really fast. Even in hypomanic states, it can go from speeding along to fiery train wreck in a second.

      I’ve tried the whole relaxing thing. Do something tedious and mind numbing to calm things down. It doesn’t work anymore. If I don’t do anything engaging, I get bored and start acting impulsively. I have to be actively and constructively engaged at an appropriate energy level. Enough for a constant burn, but not too much to spark more.

      Unfortunately, I have to go to work very soon. And there’s a lot of high energy kids with high energy activities and lots of people. Ugh. I’m hoping a Xanax might bring me down a touch, but I worry that it’ll just make me less inhibited. Inhibition and anticipatory anxiety are the only two things that keep the impulses in check sometimes.

  2. I’m a stranger to mania, myself, Lulu. I’ve never felt euphoric or energetic in a positive, go-go-go, do-do-do kinda way. My mania’s almost always attached to dark, angry, explosive — and crazily racing — thoughts. I’m not sure if I’m much help either, but, with the exception of your sleep and thought patterns, you sound sorta…normal, to a degree. Maybe this is the calm before the storm — you know yourself better than anyone else does. But I say go with it. Stay in the present and accept whatever emotions do and don’t arise, but be mindful of those subtle changes that can herald an onset of mania. I guess I’m saying deal in the now and be aware without overthinking yourself (a crappy habit I know I tend to have) because sometimes that can make things worse. Take care. I’m sending positive thoughts your way and hoping this isn’t a prelude to anything unwanted.

    • I’m too high and I know it. Have you ever gotten the thrill of climbing high into a tree? For me, it was the satisfaction that my body was strong enough to do it, the pride, you know? And then, there’s the amazement at how high it is, and this feeling like you want to go higher. And then, there’s this brief, rational pang. What happens if I fall? Do I die? How bad is it going to hurt? Can I even get down safely? Then, it’s gone, tossed away in wild abandonment when there’s another glance higher into the tree.

      I’m saying illogical, untrue things to myself. I have an answer for everything. It’s hard to explain, because the way it spits out is so ludicrous.

      Brain: I am so smart. I am above all of this anymore. I don’t need emotions. I don’t need restraints. Those are the things that have been the weights all of these years.

      I have all of the answers. To everything. I can fix it all and do anything. No one can hurt me, and I’m never coming down. That’s the problem. All of those greedy, jealous hands pulling me down, stomping me all of these years. I’ll show everyone. Because I’m a hell of a lot stronger, smarter, and quicker than anyone gives me credit for.

      I’ll show them all. One way or another.

      Severe delusions of grandeur, and it’s just subtle enough for me not to catch until I dial it back. I’m pretty humble. Even if any of it were true, and I rarely think so, I’d never blurt it into my conscious thought like that.

      And it’s funny. I feel nothing. How the hell does that work? It’s my first day back to work this week after a long weekend. It’s raining and I look a mess. I don’t care. The rain feels good, and I don’t have to be beautiful for anyone. I’m beautiful to me, and I can’t believe I’ve ever thought differently.

      Dial this back to previous posts.

      I wish I could say that I’m making this up. I wish I could say it feels like a rebound from the hell I’ve been going through for the last four months. I want so much to grab it and run like hell with it. But, I know this can turn dark very fast. If I run with it, will I even be in earshot of reality anymore when it goes down in flames?

  3. I want you to know that I haven’t left you or forgotten you. I am still very much conserned. I very much think it is past time for conserning yourself in my opinion. I am glad that you are still aware at least in part of your state of mind. I am still praying for you and before I say anymore, I want to think and pray somemore. I am so glad to hear from you, and I will comment again this evening after I have had some time to think. (((hugs)))

    • I don’t know why I can’t make myself budge. I really don’t. I know there’s been something wrong. I know it’s been causing hell. And I was almost convinced by the amount of distress.

      It’s hard for me to differentiate between external stressors, mirroring others (why, I’ll never know), or what’s really just me. What’s me, what’s this illness? I was more confused than ever.

      I can’t say I’ve totally made sense of it, because I know what’s in my head is wrong. I know everything I’m thinking right now is wrong. And I should probably stop telling myself that before I get pissed off. Perfect storm, you know?

      Anyway, I don’t want an audience for this downward spiral. Why can’t I get a handle on it and make myself do it? Right now, I don’t want to. Do you blame me? We all know what’s good for us, and yet, it still happens anyway. I know this is fire.

      And you just helped me hit the nail. I haven’t been blogging because I knew this was going to happen. (Delusion? Actual premonition? At least I’m not paranoid yet). I knew I was flying down a path of self-destruction. I knew despite my concerns and efforts that I’d self-sabatoge, because that’s what I do. I’ve been setting this up for awhile.

      It makes sense. All of that nonsense about how I needed time to sort things out. It was the same thing as a teenager sneaking around. I “needed space”. I isolated to alienate. So everyone would look in a different direction. Because making a public spectacle of this is not my style.

      It’s damn downright embarrassing. It’s juvenile. And why the hell could I stand by and let thus happen?

      The only answer. Because I didn’t know I was capable of stabbing myself in the back like this.

      • Sweety, I hope that you do not think that in any way I was meaning to be critical or scolding you at all. I just want to make sure that I say the right words that you should hear and that my words to you don’t make it worse. There is no need for feeling embarrassed for anything. You are only being human in a situation where you really aren’t sure what to do or how to act. I can even understand the feeling of not really wanting to be stable when you are in a manic or hypomanic state. What you can not forget is the damage it may be causing to your family and yourself. But I’m afraid that us online can’t do what you need to be done. You need someone local, a close friend you can trust, to just come and get you and take you to the psychiatric hospital, hopefully not against your will. You just need someone right there with you knowing all that we from afar know but can’t reach you know. To gently help you to make the choice. I hope that it doesn’t have to be in an emergency fashion. But don’t worry about how you seem to us, or that you feel juvinile. I am going to be 46 tomorrow and I have because of bipolar, had some really immature ideas and phases I have been in and it is normal for us adults to not always make the adult decision. I am just going to pray that if this is the answer, that God will send someone to you that has nothing but good intentions in their heart and trustworthy that you are close to enough to feel comfortable enough to let them guide you to go get help. That Is really the only productive thing I can do.
        But I would never just leave you and not be here to talk and let you express your feelings or forget you. None of us would. (((hug)))

        • No, Carla, I didn’t think that at all. You sparked these ideas. When I’m pouring these things out, there’s nothing behind them. No words to read into. The emotion doesn’t even read right. There wasn’t any. That was cold, hard, scrutinizing logic. It’s the only sense I could make out of it. Or, maybe just a tangent I ran with. I don’t really know. My memory is kind of failing me at the moment.

          I am naturally plagued with this over concern for embarrassing myself. Freud it, and it might come close.

          I started this earlier and completely lost my train of thought. I’ve come down quite a bit. I’m finishing this up from the Blackberry. Because my next response / post will be from my new andriod 🙂

          (Husband’s need for a new phone, not an entirely frivolous purchase. Something thought out over months).

            • I wanted to also express that the bulk of my familiarity of bipolar disorder falls on the depressive side. Of course, I was misdiagnosed originally as MDD and treated for it over a five or so year period. So, I can handle that.

              I am going out on a limb to say that I have likely experienced infrequent bouts of mania. Probably more mixed than anything, but I do remember periods of euphoria. I thought it had to do with gratitious drugs, alcohol, and sex. Probably the opposite, lol.

              But, I’ve never had to actually handle it before. Before, I could pretty much run around or stay in bed. I could cry and throw tantrums and the whole bit. If I started to get wacky, I’d have a couple of drinks until the voices finally shut the hell up. Worst idea ever. It turns out, they can sometimes get worse until I drink myself into a blackout.

              Needless to say, I’m an alcoholic.

              I’m also a mother, a wife, a teacher, and a whole host of subjobs that come with those titles (including, but not limited to a muse, a psychologist, a child psychologist, a behaviorist, a scientist, an authoritator, a best friend, a nurse, a cook, a maid, a pillow, a cheerleader, etc). My problems started coming to light the day I became a wife (because I was already a mother. Kid in the oven. Long story, but I’ll get to the end. I got fitted for the dress before I got pregnant, if you know what I’m saying.) It wasn’t about me anymore. My maladaptive behavior had severe reprocussions now.

              I’ve been working on that. I don’t want to be all scarred up that by the time my kid gets old enough to notice, it will become abundantly clear. I don’t want my husband to look at those scars with fear, dread, disappointment, and anger. I don’t want to drink and be my mother, all passive-aggresive and two faced. I don’t want to take a risk on spending us into a hole. I was fortunate enough to have only a little, but very credit scarring, credit card debt at an early age. It will come off my report soon, and I have that lesson in self-control and in debt.

              I feel like it’s important for me to identify all of the things I see that can’t be anymore, and all of the things I am afraid of becoming. I am terrified of slipping into a cycle of abuse as an abuser. It’s happened before, and I am still working through the intense shame and guilt of it all, working out what was only justifications and what the truth is. The truth is I did it, because I hated the feeling of being helpless when he hurt me. I saw myself being victimized, and I wanted revenge, plus a little more. I wanted to see the suffering he put me through. I wanted to see him hurt and his face twist with gut wrenching, heart squeezing, pain. Deep seated scarring of the soul that may never go away. Because I wanted revenge for all of those old wounds that he opened up with it. And I took a lot of anger at my parents out on him, justifying it under his abuse, that I continued to perpetuate with escalating violence.

              I’m sometimes afraid that one day, I’m going to go so far beyond my limit that I’m going to hurt someone beyond any apology or repair conceivable.

              Depression is one thing. I’m good at managing my anger at myself through dozens of veils of self-loathing and denial. It’s like water. It changes forms. It’s hot, cold, and everything in between. But, the worst thing that can happen is that I can’t keep my head above the water anymore.

              Mania is like fire. Searing wildfire that blows around in the wind. Depending on the season, it can be minor or it could be epically all-consuming, forcing people to either flee, or be engulfed. It can be good, natural, and taking tired, dried up land into ashes that grow life sustaining crops in another season. But, it has far greater potential to be bad.

              I can go swimming without fear. But, I don’t play with fire.

  4. I’m not sure you are at full-blown mania yet, but you sound as though you may be headed in that direction. Unfortunately, you can’t control it via willpower. Believe me, I’ve tried. You need an emergency appointment with a psychiatrist. I’m sorry to say that you will crash, but you already know that.

    I know it’s very difficult right now, but try to focus at the task at hand. One thing at a time. Don’t try to multi-task if you can help it, because it won’t work and may just accentuate your distractedness. Try to get some physical exercise to wear down the energy. I don’t know anything about Xanax, so I don’t know if it can be used to treat acute mania (Klonopin can).

    Those are the only tips I can think of at the moment. BTW, not all mania is euphoric mania. You can still be manic and be miserable without it being a mixed state. This is naturally the most difficult mania to deal with. Good luck and I’ll be thinking about you.

    • It’s just weird. I’m not euphoric. I’m not miserable. I’m not anything. Nothing. A little anxious, but I’m always anxious at work anymore. I also forgot to eat before I left. How did I manage to forget to eat? So now I haven’t had a meal in well over 24 hours now.

      I wouldn’t eat at all, except I know I need to, even if I’m not hungry. And I know the anxiety will probably lift if I’m not in hunter / gatherer mode.

      Like I was saying to Carla, I don’t really have it pinned down as to why I can’t make myself get care. I know I need it. If it wasn’t clear before, it really, really is now. Grandiose thinking clears the path. Suddenly, I’ll start thinking I’m completely above it all. Actually, I kind of think that now. But, I know I will suffer consequences whether I am above it, deserving of it, or not.

      Back to what I was thinking before this. I immediately jump to “I don’t want to”. But, it’s bigger than that. I have enough willpower to make myself do almost anything. I know part of it is my absolute hatred of hospitals. I fear that. I can’t stand the idea of being trapped somewhere, cut off from my family, not knowing what’s going to happen.

      Part of me still doesn’t seem to think there is a problem, although a tiny part. Another part doesn’t want the burden of parenting and domestics – I don’t want to drop it all in my husband’s lap. He’s in rough shape. And besides, they’ll be some hysterical fit about how if he’s not well then of course I’m doing so much worse.

      After that comment the one day, I wanted to scream in his face, “Why the fuck do you think I’m falling apart?! Because all I’ve done was sacrifice my sanity for yours and our son’s welfare!!!!”

      I’m trying to stay away from topics that are going to set me off. I’m trying to keep this from turning really ugly.

      Or maybe this whole thing is to prove a point to someone. To everyone, to myself, I don’t know. To identify my breaking point. How far can I go? How bad can this get on the other side? Because I know where I stand with depression. Will anyone around me have any idea what the hell is going on?

      Maybe as an identifier for others. A big red sign that forbids anyone to go past. I mean, I’m relatively harmless in depressive episodes anymore. I often imagine their mocking faces staring me down, calling me out. “You won’t do it. You never had the nerve. You’re too much of a coward to live, and even more of a coward to turn when the face of death looks in your direction.”

      Ugh, remember the woman I had the nasty fight with on the bus? Yeah, this is not the most opportune time for her to pop up on this bus again. The last time, I was in a bad way too. Today, I might actually taunt her.

      I don’t want to. But the devil’s making me do it! Ha!

  5. Hiya,

    You sound confused! Your post gives a really great, realistic impression of hypomania. This is very much how I feel when it’s reaching it’s peak. If I’m confused about where I am mood wise, I just ask myself “do I feel like myself?” If I don’t then I’m sure I’m in a mood episode. Are you doing too much for other people? Can you cut back a bit and take some quality time for you? I might be totally off the mark. You know you way better than any of us and know how you best deal with hypomania. I’m sure you know deep down what you need right now.

    Really hope you feel better soon.

    Rachel
    xxx

    • I’m trying to cut everything back, but because of this hypomanic state, my brain wants more. My body craves more. One night, I was sitting there on the sofa with my son. My husband was sitting across from me on the exercise ball. I prattled on and on about nothing. And I noticed that I was fidgeting like a kid in school. And I said to him, “I’m uncomfortably energetic.”

      I think he’s been patronizing me with walks in the evenings, in hopes that I’ll come down a little bit. I haven’t. Sometimes, the walks make it worse. Usually, they happen at an hour where I can’t take my medicine until late. I have to remember to start keeping a stash of afternoon and night meds on me, just in case I forget and I’m out. Note to self, pill case. I had to break open temazepam capsules last night in hopes that it would work quicker. I was in a bind. It was either that, or take the capsule and be up until 4am, then sleep for four hours, and go on about my day, potentially making the hypomania worse. Or not take it at all (which I thought about), stay up all night to get stuff done, and go on about my day the next day. Or the same day. Does it count as the same if you don’t sleep?

      And I wish I knew how to deal with it. Everything I’m attempting makes it worse. I go for runs, and while it tires my body out, it just puts my brain out temporarily. That’s only because the load on things my body would unconsciously regulate becomes something I have to consciously deal with. For instance, breathing, hydrating, cooling down. And then, there’s the matter of the urban jungle and dodging traffic, getting the stroller over curbs and cracks in the sidewalk, and pacing myself just right so that it’s not too easy, but it doesn’t get to the point where I’ll collapse before I get home.

      So, I started to put a load on my brain. And that just makes everything turn to jumble. The only thing I can manage right now without serious distraction are visual tasks. That’s only because I’m typically weak in visually multitasking. That leaves me with art projects. It’s kind of fun, because I doodle when I can’t find words. I’ve always wanted to become a better artist anyway.

      I still get distracted. I’m going to become indefinitely unemployed in less than twelve hours, so I’ll have plenty of time to sort this out really soon.

  6. Pingback: writing, distressing, resenting, and respecting « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

  7. Dear Lulu:
    I can’t express to you enough, exactly how hard this hit home for me. I thought; at one point, that I was reading my own blog. I have been trying to find out more about Manic and Hypo-manic episodes because (aside from doctor’s diagnosis) I have been frustrated; severely frustrated every day. I have been on every script imaginable, all of which I hate. Just quit Lamotrigine about 3 weeks ago. Lost 35 lbs–needless to say I hate that sh**.

    I can’t decide if this is a blessing or a curse. I found a lot of information about Thomas Alva Edison to be rather comforting–although that brings me to one of my biggest fears.

    –Losing this Hypomania mode that I’m in. I love it. I am super-motivated, I have great ideas, I can type so much better, and I seem to be able to deal with reality in progressive ways.

    My HPM Downsides:
    -I have a million projects going on at once. -I lose everything (and blame it on “the black hole” that resides at my house). -I get intensely focused on whatever I’m doing as long as I feel that the goal is easily and quickly attainable, and I’m on to something good; but then I get a new (actually, many new) ideas that pop up out of nowhere and I jump to those instead—I can’t finish anything!.
    -I look forward to seeing my fiance’ after his shift is over (about 9 hours of excitement and tender thoughts) and when he finally arrives, I seem to have nothing to say or not the slightest idea of what to do with him; I feel so damn guilty all of the time!
    -I never feel accomplished doing anything, as if–after hours of working at a project with my heart and soul–it ceases to be important or provide me with any pleasure; almost as if it’s no longer challenging.
    -I feel like I’m not stimulated enough, I take adderall (prescribed 30mg XR 2x/day) and I even have to take extra because I get so dazed out my eyes glaze over and everything is static fuzz.

    Have you ever been blinded by eye-strain so bad that everything is blurry up close?–I’m sick of having to hold art and my computer 3ft. away from me to read it.

    No matter what I do or take; be it homeopathic or synthetic aids, tranquilizers, allergy medicine, meditation, exercise, climaxing, etc. NOTHING WORKS. NOTHING.
    How is this possible? I don’t blame Michael Jackson at this point.

    But I’m scared. I don’t want this to end. I’m rapidly running out of my adderall and my doctor wont prescribe anything different or any other dosage. As soon as this is out, I won’t be able to get a refill until October. I’m screwed.
    That’s partially why I’m in a frenzy–trying to accomplish as much as possible while I still have the drive. I love this part of me that has the super-hero tendencies and willpower to do anything- I don’t miss out on the beautiful mornings that I normally would off the meds, and I already feel like there’s not enough time in the day.

    I don’t want to be sleeping all day, getting fat in front of the t.v., not being creative and painting and blogging and talking to friends I haven’t seen in years (I get so isolated, I speak to no-one; do nothing; don’t care; let the bills pile up—I can’t even muster the courage to answer phone calls.)

    I’m so glad I’m not alone in this. I don’t know who I am anymore–seeing what I’m capable of during this mode; it makes me feel like I’m going to be important, make a difference (can’t figure out how-but desperately trying)–I have done this adderall tag thing for at least two years now, I gain just about 50 lbs. when I’m off of it (I run out, like I said earlier); and I lose about 30-50 lbs. when I’m back on (top). I can’t trigger this without it. I’m searching for ways.
    I don’t want to feel like a slug again. I’d much rather not miss out on life because of my depressive stage.
    There’s got to be an answer- and damnit, I’m going to find it if it kills me.

    Thank you so much.
    (now that I’m outside smoking my 500th cigarette of the day)
    I’m going to continue the search online and maybe sleep somewhere in between
    wait…sleep? What’s that? (an astranged visitor of every 4th day or so.)

    -Felicia McConville
    “The Red Panda Press” @ WordPress.com
    fmcco1989@gmail.com

    • I wondered if I had ADHD at one point, because there are a couple of diagnoses in my family. I heard comorbid ADHD and BP are common. But, I remembered the one time I took it as a street drug (yes, I’m in the age group that discovered you can abuse prescription drugs). I didn’t realize it, but my husband told me the next day. I was being a complete jerk. That was prior to my diagnosis. And I really never thought about it again until the ADHD thing came to mind. I wasn’t being a jerk. I was being absolutely manic, like manic to the max. A mania to end all manias. Thank goodness it was temporary until the Adderall wore off.

      Here’s the deal about this post. I was on month two of what was an on again, off again manic / mixed episode. For real manic, not the kind of manics I’ve had before. I have atypical mania, as my doctors have come to discover. That’s because my mania is typically mitigated by the fear of abandonment and disapproval. So, whereas some people spend, have risky sex, and gamble, I’m prone to other things. I didn’t realize that panic and mania for me are two things that are very much intertwined.

      I’m prone to OCD like symptoms. Things have to be a certain way. I start checking things and counting things. My mind is going too fast to focus on anything, so I can only really get bits and pieces. It gets confusing, and I get really scared. So, I start doing nervous habits. Some people bite their nails. Well, I pick at my feet. Yes, gross. I’ll cut my toenails down to the point where they bleed, because I insist that they feel strange, or they hurt. My teeth will hurt or feel odd, so I’ll start obsessively brushing. I’ll insist that I have to fix any imperfection that I have. I’m not as manic as I was here, but I’m still running pretty high. Right now, it’s hypomania. How can I tell? Because I’ve suddenly gotten more focused and ambitious. I am extremely ambitious when I’m hypomanic.

      When I’m manic, even hypomanic, sometimes any downer medication barely nicks it. I mean, hardly takes the edge off, at all. And worse, when that downer medication wears off, there is always rebound anxiety. Most of them work on the same receptors on the brains as each other, like benzos and alcohol. That’s usually why people who tend to be anxious have an alcohol problem. For me, the line begins to blur between anxiety and mania and they feed one another. I wrote something about it, From Manic to Panic.

      Now, here’s the problem with mania. Mania tricks your brain into thinking that it never wants to stop, because when it’s good, it’s great. And that’s like a drug. Because there’s a whole lot of bad in between those amazing moments. And eventually, like what happened to me, you’ll hit a wall. I mean, hard. I had a lot of people warn me, and I told them exactly this. I have to get to a point where I want the treatment, or I’m not going to go through with it. At least I know that I’m capable of stopping myself before I get to the point where it starts to tear away at my life.

      Now, I had a breakdown. I started having psychotic episodes pretty frequently. I didn’t realize that the medication part of the fix was going to be pretty easy. In fact, I talked myself into the idea that it was going to be hard, and I was going to go back on medication roulette. The medication change was just reducing my Wellbutrin (which I didn’t want, because I lost so much weight on it, and I knew that was something that was feeding my mania), increasing my Lamictal, and adding an antipsychotic, because I had finally jumped that fence. Actually, I think that the psychosis was always there. I think doctors dismissed my reports because they weren’t significant enough to really bother me. The fact of the matter was, I didn’t know what they were, they had always been there, and doctors told me it was normal. I ignored it, and it grew into something awful.

      I had several total breaks with reality. I mean, full on paranoid, back to the wall, violently sobbing and not being able to speak coherently. It’s not worth the fantastic parts. No one is meant to feel that good for that long. Everything in moderation.

      I think your mind knows that the Adderall is feeding the mania. Stimulants do that. I can get a little nutty off of too much coffee or cigarettes. And that’s why you tore through it so fast. Your brain isn’t sluggish, it’s hazy by comparison to the giant high you’re going through. I remember when I got into the hospital. I was so doped up that I couldn’t even be angry about it. I was kind of miffed a little later when I found that I didn’t bounce back. For a minute there, I thought I lost my bounce entirely. It was like I fell flat.

      I did fall flat. What’s what happens to a racing locomotive. It derails, and chaos ensues. If it wasn’t going too fast, then many people will have survived, and maybe a little cargo was lost. But, chances are, if it was going really fast, like mine was, it derailed and there was a glorious blazing inferno to see it off into the great beyond. But, going up in flames doesn’t mean that it’s gone. Far from it. It means that I have a chance to sift through the ashes, and start again. They didn’t just let the Million Dollar Man die, did they?

      My point is, I’m going to try to be a friend like all of my friends did. Go to your doctor and tell him / her the God’s honest truth about what’s going on with you. My doctor was smart enough to see that the Wellbutrin was feeding what would have been just a normal manic episode, maybe a little psychotic. It happened at a very difficult time for me. And he pulled me down a notch. First, tell your doctor about your head. And then own up to abusing the Adderall to try to get some focus. If he or she is good enough, they’ll find you something to take it down a notch in there without throwing on the emergency break.

      But, don’t let them get to the point where they feel they need to throw on the E break. I had Risperidal thrown at me, and it just numbed me out to the point where everything was this dull throb. Just enough energy left to cry, but not enough to start cleaning up the mess of my life.

      Which is what I’m going to go do now. My husband is about to call for break, and my son is just getting up. Yes, I realize it’s 1PM. He’s been awake for an hour, but I leave him alone so he can wake up and get himself together for the day. And he went to bed late last night. That means he’ll go to bed early tonight. Yay!

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