Manic Out Of Your Mind

Excited brown manic woman holding hands on head

Floridly Manic

When someone becomes manic, it’s very obvious to spot; they will be grandiose, agitated, have a pressured speech and experience flight of ideas and racing thoughts. The contrast between mania and being normal is like night and day. Mania is what is necessary to be diagnosed with bipolar I disorder. Think of a flat line on a piece of paper that represents your normal mood when you are not manic or depressed; depression is like a really deep pothole on the line and mania is like a really steep hill.

Bipolar patients’ mood can fluctuate from the pothole all the way to the top of the hill where they become manic; they are now on top of the world! Many manic patients will feel euphoric, as if they are naturally high; they don’t want to come back down the hill because it feels amazing to be on top of the world. Unfortunately, manic patients cannot survive at the top of the hill due to the nature of their illness.

When patients are manic, they often lose their job because they become nonfunctional and overly-distracted. Unless they work in a creative industry such as making music or acting, most manic patients cannot maintain their job; they are just too hyper, talkative and a distraction to themselves and others around them. Their grandiose ideas also get in the way, coming up with big business ideas and sometimes even burning thousands of dollars on unrealistic objectives. Many also go on wild spending sprees!

Depending on whether they have insight into their illness, patients either know that they are manic but don’t want to get treated for it, or have no idea what is happening to them. When they do have insight, they often don’t want to get treated because they love the thrill of the experience. Think of your body on steroids; you have so much more energy to lift that extra pound of weight in the gym as opposed to being natural. Now think of your brain in the middle of a manic episode; you have so much more mental energy to get things done throughout the day, but not necessarily in a productive manner.

Mania is like steroids for your brain. You can sleep three hours a night and still feel like you have just consumed five cups of coffee and it’s only 3 am. You wake up in the middle of the night with unlimited energy while the world is fast asleep. Is that normal? Of course not; it’s a mental illness! But for manic patients, mental illness or not, they love the joyride and the last thing that they want is a psychiatrist telling them, “You have to take your medications to be discharged!”

Oh no . . . that is definitely not something that they look forward to and so they avoid a hospitalization at all costs. It’s usually a family member that ends up calling EMS or bringing them into the local emergency room because they have gone completely bonkers at home. Even though mania might sound fun, trust me when I say that it’s not a mental illness that you want to experience; this is based on the patients that I have personally seen and treated!

Do you know anyone who suffers from mania?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Manic And Drugged Up

Manic woman with long dark hair with hand on face with open mouth

When Mania Destroys Your Relationships

Depending on the severity of the mania and the person behind the illness, conversations can be quite pleasant or destructive with manic patients. When they’re pleasant, they revolve around interesting and grandiose delusions such as working with famous actors or become the next Stephen King. When conversations are destructive, you may be seen as an enemy and even be attacked during an interview.

Patients usually enjoy being manic because they feel elated, have a lot of energy, think and talk very fast and feel like they can accomplish anything; roadblocks are not often in their way. But with mania comes many consequences due to potentially destructive behavior, such as throwing things out of the house, sending unexpected large sums of wire transfers, destroying property, banging on doors, becoming verbally and physically aggressive, etc.

When someone becomes manic, the potential for destroying a relationship is extremely high; it can happen as quickly as in a few minutes. All it takes are some disgustingly evil words and perhaps even actions and the bridge is burned. But it’s not their fault because they are not being themselves when under the influence of mania; it’s part of their mental illness known as Bipolar I Disorder.

Bipolar I disorder is when a patient experiences mania; depression is not a requirement but they may also fluctuate into a depressed state of mind when they’re not manic. If a patient only has depression but has never had a manic episode, it’s not bipolar. You can think of bipolar as a disorder of great mood instability: rather than a flat baseline where most peoples’ mood lie, mania is above the baseline while depression is below.

More complicated pictures of mania is when drugs are involved. Some manic patients may be abusing methamphetamine which causes similar symptoms as mania: euphoria, a great amount of energy, days without sleep, no appetite, weight loss, a lot of strength, agitation, unpredictability, aggression, violence, paranoia and even psychosis. If a patient tests positive for meth but they have a history of bipolar disorder, it becomes a challenge to discern the correct diagnosis.

As you can see, drugs have no boundaries: they can create an addiction in any person, regardless of whether they have a mental illness or not. As I stated in one of my previous articles, mental illness and drugs go hand in hand as if they are a tag team: one infects a person first and brings in the other for the kill. Mental illness kills by relying on suicide, while drugs kill by relying on overdosing.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Mania: A Forest Fire Out Of Control

Manic and angry man yelling on cellphone

Quenching The Residual Flames

When a person becomes manic, their world flips 360 degrees. Many patients with mania love the experience because they feel energized, on top of the world and feel like they can accomplish anything; imagine being on an ultimate adrenaline rush while feeling high. This high doesn’t go away without medications and can last even weeks to months at a time. But as with any high there comes many potential negative consequences; mania is nothing more than a forest fire out of control.

The reason why manic patients can’t remain in their mania is that because they start to get out of control. They may unexpectedly leave the house in the middle of the night and put themselves in danger by interacting with strangers. They may try new activities based on grandiose ideas, thinking that they will be able to accomplish something great, resulting in potential embarrassment, humiliation and trouble with the law.

When someone is manic, they are no longer themselves. They may become irritable, vulgar and physically aggressive, swinging for no good reason. They may see you as a threat when you’re just trying to help calm them down. You cannot allow a forest fire to burn indefinitely; it will destroy everything in its path. The same applies with a bipolar patient who is in a state of mania.

There are reports of manic patients spending 2 months in an inpatient psychiatric unit, only to return 5 days after their discharge because they became noncompliant with their medications, resulting in another full-blown manic episode. Can you imagine spending 60 days in the hospital only to return back 5 days later? That’s when you know that your mental illness is out of control.

Mania is like the UFC of fighting; the ultimate potential aggression is at play. The difference is that this aggression is not enjoyable to watch because it’s sad to see a person suffering from a mental illness. Manic patients tend to lose their jobs because they become very disruptive and disorganized and they also have the potential to become psychotic, such as hearing voices in their head. Their hospitalizations are often lengthy because it takes time to get them back at their mental baseline; a premature discharge will likely lead to the reemergence of manic symptoms.

The residual flames of mania must be quenched for good before a patient can return back home.

Do you know anyone who is diagnosed with bipolar I disorder?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

A sad looking man with his eyes closed holding a flower to his head

Mania And Depression

Many people may have undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder. It is important to be educated on the topic in case you or someone may have the illness. Bipolar means you are not in the “middle” in regards to your mood. For two weeks, you are feeling depressed while at other times when not depressed, you are manic. The only requirement for a Bipolar I diagnosis is mania, but it may be accompanied by depression.

What is depression? It includes: decreased interest in activities, low appetite, decreased sleep, psychomotor agitation or retardation, suicidal thoughts, apathy and guilt. What is mania? It includes: racing thoughts, irritability, uninterruptible speech, excessive energy, decreased need for sleep and grandiose thoughts.

Bipolar II is when you have depression and hypomania; hypomania is just a less intense version of mania. Generally, people with Bipolar I become nonfunctional and can no longer work if not medicated; their mania causes too much distraction to continue being productive. People with Bipolar II can still function but can greatly benefit from medication.

Is Bipolar dangerous? Yes it is! Who would want to shift moods from one extreme to another? On one side, a person is depressed and may commit suicide. On the other side, a person is manic and may get in trouble with the law. Bipolar needs to be treated, and thankfully, people do well on medications. Medications such as Lithium and Valproic Acid work great.

But it is always best to include psychotherapy in the treatment process, which includes talking to a psychiatrist or psychologist who can help you understand more about your personality and how to handle your illness. Overall, always seek professional help to be officially diagnosed with Bipolar. I believe every person who has Bipolar can have a successful life if treated!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)