Monday, September 27, 2021

Running Wild(Manic)


Mania. Most people don’t understand it. The definition of mania is mental illness marked by periods of great excitement or euphoria, delusions, and overactivity. Common in people with bipolar disorder. But what does it look like to people on the outside? 

Most people probably won’t notice a case of hypomania, which is just a mild form of mania. But the problem is when people do notice something off, they ignore it. This leads to a greater problem. 

Most people in a manic episode don’t realize they are in a manic episode. You see, unlike what TV and movies portray, mania doesn’t just consist of staying up all night and cleaning. No, during a manic episode for me I obsess over different things. I don’t even know anything is wrong at first.

See, for me, it starts subtle. I have more energy. I sleep less, go out more, have that extra drink at dinner. Slowly, the euphoria takes over, I feel on top of the world. Nothing can hurt me. I take risks that I shouldn’t. I start drinking more. Spending money that I shouldn’t. Then the delusions start.

This is where my family starts to notice. I become paranoid, thinking people are out to get me. My mom tries to talk sense into me. I tell her nothing is wrong. In my mind it just confirms, everyone is out to get me. I get into trouble at work. I become quick tempered. I snap. I keep spending money I don’t have. Start hobbies I won’t see through. Get into unhealthy relationships. All the time pushing people away, thinking they are out to get me. 

This last time, my mania led to hallucinations. I thought a “shadow man” was out to get me. My journals are full of entries about him haunting me. I was scared, desperate. I finally reached out. With the help of my support system I received help. I started taking my medicine again. Slowly and with help of my support system I came down. 

Rebuilding what I wrecked is the hardest part of mania. When I start coming down, I realize the devastation my life is in. The shambles that I have to fix. This is what happens after mania for me, I slowly sink into depression. 

Mania is not like this for everyone. This does not mean I’m “crazy.” I have my struggles, but we all have our struggles. I denied and hid my mental illness for so long. Never admitting to it for fear of judgement. I have now realized that owning my mental illness, admitting I have struggles, can help someone realize they aren’t alone. That you don’t have to fear the stigma. 

My goal is to be a voice to help end the stigma of mental health. Even if that means making people uncomfortable by being so honest and open. Admitting you need help is the first step. And hopefully ending the judgement and having more resources available will be the last.

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