A Bipolar Victory: Knowing the Signs of Mania

Soon after the pandemic began, I could feel my mind starting to speed up. I was reading too many news stories about what was going on. I was doing what some people now refer to as “doomsurfing,” which is reading all the negative and almost-apocalyptic predictions about what’s going to happen in the world because of the virus.

I knew I had to slow down, but I was having trouble. My grandfather noticed it – I was talking faster, moving faster, everything was fast. These were all tell-tale signs and red flags of a manic episode.

Thankfully, I’ve read enough about Bipolar now to know what was going on. I know what my warning signs are for dangerous manic episodes and I know what to do when I spot them. Sometimes, this just means slowing down or as I call it “shutting down.” To me, this basically means getting away from stimulating activities and getting some sleep.

I feel that Bipolar – like any mental illness – can be such a hard condition to manage because it’s a subtle foe. At times, it’s hard to trust my own mind because it can work against me.

Sometimes, though, other actions need to be taken. The symptoms I had seemed more serious, so I called my psychiatrist. We talked on the phone for about fifteen minutes and I described my symptoms. He adjusted my medications over the phone and, sure enough, the symptoms soon started to ease up. I was able to get sleep and stabilize.

Bipolar is a subtle foe

This story may not sound like much, but I saw it as a huge victory in managing my mental health. I’ve educated myself enough about the disorder that I was able to recognize what was going on and take the necessary action. In doing so, I avoided further suffering and also avoided subjecting my family to suffering. In all likelihood, I may have avoided a psychiatric hospital stay.

I often don’t give myself enough credit when I do things well, so I wanted to acknowledge the mental health victory. I usually focus on the things I do wrong. I feel that Bipolar – like any mental illness – can be such a hard condition to manage because it’s a subtle foe. At times, it’s hard to trust my own mind because it can work against me.

That’s why I think reading as much as I can from the experts about Bipolar and how to manage it pays off. I’ve been diagnosed with type 1 Bipolar, which I’ve read means I’ve had at least one full-blown manic episode (and I’ve definitely had a few).

Red flags of manic episodes

Here are a few of the signs of mania, as described by the website Very Well Mind:

  • Reduced need for sleep. This is a big sign that I look for often. Lack of sleep over a period of time can lead to manic episodes. That’s why it’s so important for people with Bipolar to keep a normal sleep/wake cycle.
  • Increased rate of speech. I’ve experienced this one, too. When I’m in the middle of an episode, I can’t see it sometimes. But someone who’s a witness of an episode will be able to tell. I’ve been told that, when in an episode, I talk faster and have pressured speech.
  • Flight of ideas. This is a tell-tale sign for me. I consider myself a creative person, but when I start “connecting the dots” and getting more ideas than I can handle, I know I need to slow down.
  • High self-esteem/grandiosity. I’ve experienced this one a lot, and it can be embarrassing. When in an episode, I usually think I’m some sort of genius.
  • Increased interest in goal-oriented activities. This one ties in with some of the other signs, like high self-esteem and flight of ideas. When in an episode, I usually have the intense urge to write and think what I’m writing is absolutely brilliant.
  • Psychomotor agitation. This is another sign that is hard to tell for the person experiencing the episode. It basically means I have trouble sitting still and I’m prone to pace, wring my hands, and fidget.
  • Increased pursuit of risky activities. I listed this one last, but it’s certainly not the least of the symptoms of an episode. I have done very risky and dangerous things in the pace while in the grips of an episode and, thank God, I haven’t hurt myself.

The bottom line is, the more I educate myself about Bipolar, the symptoms and red flags of mania, and how to manage the disorder, the better chance I’ll have to live a normal and fulfilled life. And when I do have little victories along the way, I want to celebrate them.

2 thoughts on “A Bipolar Victory: Knowing the Signs of Mania

  1. Keep the faith.x July 9, 2020 / 7:49 pm

    It’s imperative you trust yourself, trust your reality if you become manic document all of your ideas. If you feel Brilliant you need to document why this is the case it will serve as a reminder when you feel less than brilliant. Don’t let a manic episode pass without creativity. It would be superb if we could bottle mania everyone feeling top of the world with no concern for how they are perceived. Ultimately we should all suit the wearer not the starer. If you feel brilliant you are doing something right. The bigger the plan the bigger the outcome. Furthermore you are not mentally ill, God doesn’t make inferior people. Back to my original point always trust yourself if people don’t appreciate you that’s their problem not your problem. Equally as important & what everyone needs to realise is not to get frustrated with someone they have no control over. You are capable of substantiating feeling top of the world. We need people like you at your best. Nowhere in the Bible does it say doubt yourself. TRUST YOURSELF trust everyone we can only let ourselves down not others. Get through it love is the greatest thing we have. I have been manic numerous times & have adapted I never become violent with people. If someone is a dick that’s their problem not your problem. Remember if you complain it’s because you know a better way. Share the improvement. Next time you become manic document it. If you don’t intend on causing harm you never truly cause harm. We need your golden touch when you felt brilliant that is because you are brilliant. Thank God for God. Ultimately we are all on the same team no one deserves to be depressed

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