I want the mania back. It can be so fun. So productive. So happy. So seductive.
Mania is formally defined as “a mental illness episode marked by period of great excitement, euphoria, delusions, over activity, irritability, or impulsiveness”
But I define mania as “a break”.
Because…just when I thought I couldn’t take the intense hopelessness anymore, the euphoria would hit. Just when I thought I might not make it out of bed, in came the energy. Just when I thought I’d lost all interest in anything, the excitement arrived. Just when I thought I’d never be fun again, roll in the spontaneity.
Sure there are negative aspects of manic episodes, but they still always came as a relief. Gone was the longing looks at buses going by and wondering if someone would push me in front of one. Gone was the jealousy when I heard of someone getting a terminal diagnosis. Gone was staring at knives imaging where I could cut myself. Gone was the feeling of worthlessness.
Welcome are memories I develop with my crazy ideas. Welcome are the laughs my hyper excitement generates among friends. Welcome are the productivity I have at home and work. Welcome are the feelings of self-confidence and self-worth.
Welcome are the days I have without thinking about death.
So if you wonder why people with bipolar are resistant to medication, or go off a medication regime you think is working–consider this. Consider what they are giving up. Consider losing the break. Consider losing times when you are on top of the world. Consider losing times of immense self-esteem.
Consider losing the brief glimpses of happiness that rescue them from an often dark, scary, and overwhelming reality.
Intellectually, I know the negatives of mania outweigh the positives. I know treating bipolar can reduce the severity of depression. I know my overall quality of life is 100x better with medication, tools for bipolar management, and yes–a reduction in the swings of mania.
But emotionally….well that doesn’t stop me from missing it some days.