COVID-19 Sparked My Manic Episode
Imagine previously working and holding a job with no formal psychiatric history. You were attending your job every day and coming back home with no significant issues in your life. Until the coronavirus hit, resulting in being laid off and sitting empty-handed at home. The stress of losing your job became overwhelming to the point of newly emerging psychiatric symptoms presenting themselves. But you didn’t see them as psychiatric symptoms because on the contrary, you felt on top of the world!
Some describe it as a “natural high;” feeling so good and elated without actually consuming any drugs. After losing their job, they noticed that they were much more talkative and experienced a 1000% increase in energy. All of a sudden, their mind was coming up with many project ideas and business plans which they previously never entertained. They felt like they had something new to present to the world which they never had before COVID-19 hit.
They were also making random and bizarre phone calls to people who they never previously interacted with on the phone; family members were getting freaked out. All of these symptoms are characteristic of mania, which is classic of bipolar disorder. Patients report loving the experience even though they may deny being manic, because they enjoy the extra energy and grandiose thoughts that come with it.
But with mania also comes irritability, shouting, impulsive and unpredictable behavior. Imagine being so naturally wired that you can fully function during the day by only sleeping 3 hours at night; you feel like the energizer bunny on meth! You feel like nothing can stop you and frankly, you don’t want to be stopped because nothing compares to this natural high; you didn’t even have to take drugs to tap into it!
Fortunately, many manic patients do not last for long in society; they often end up in inpatient psychiatric care. This is where they receive medications such as Depakote and Zyprexa to target their symptoms. These patients may be in the hospital anywhere from a few weeks to even a few months; it depends on the severity of their mania and how they react to the medications.
It’s interesting to note that there are patients who were never manic prior to the coronavirus, but have now become manic after the pandemic hit. This goes to show you how the coronavirus can by such a powerful trigger for mental illness, even if you never suffered any psychiatric symptoms in the past. The mind is very vulnerable to environmental triggers and that’s why it’s important to cherish your mental health on a daily basis.
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)