I’m not crazy, but…
Sometimes I feel like it. There are times when I feel fine. But there are times when I definitely am not. It’s like my mind is on fire. The thoughts are constant. They run over each other and I can’t keep them straight. Other people can’t follow or keep up with what I’m talking about. I feel like I can tackle gigantic projects, all by myself. And other weird things happen. I buy things I don’t need. Not one pair of shoes but maybe seven. Sometimes not even the size I wear. I obviously didn’t need them, but can’t stop myself. I get so impulsive. I’ll do just about anything, try just about anything, sometimes resulting in life-changing badness.
When you are feeling like this, it could be mania. Just about everyone knows what depression is. At some point, everyone experiences sadness, so depression is not hard to imagine as really bad sadness. A lot of people have heard about Bipolar Disorder, but few actually know what it is. It’s often thought that if you have mood swings or anger outbursts, then you must be Bipolar.
Bipolar is more than a mood swing!
Bipolar disorder is an illness of mood that can have episodes of depression with the other side being mania. People don’t seek help when they are manic. They seek help when they crash. Most of the time mania feels great, ecstatic, otherworldly. All of your sensations are heightened. Colors more vivid, urges unstoppable. The desire to spend, to use, to seek all pleasure, despite the risk.
Distractibility: cannot keep focus on any one thing, constant shifting attention.
Insomnia: the decreased need for sleep, can’t sleep for days, or at full energy after only an hour or two of sleep.
Grandiosity: feeling like the king/queen of the world, unrealistic power.
Flight of ideas: racing thoughts, constant flow of random thoughts.
Activity/ Agitation: super creative and starting many tasks that go unfinished.
Speech: pressured speech, increased talking that is very difficult to stop.
Thoughtlessness: increased risky behaviors (driving 100 mph, indiscriminate sex, stealing, spending excessive amounts of money in the thousands).
How can I help myself?
The single most important thing is to protect your sleep. Just because you can go without sleep, doesn’t mean you should. Don’t stay up all night playing games or watching movies because you can. Sleep deprivation can trigger a manic episode.
Build a support system. Family or friends who know you well enough to recognize when you’re spending too much or when your behavior becomes erratic.
Other things you can do that don’t involve a co-pay:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 West Virginia Black Heritage Festival has been canceled but that doesn't mean we're taking a break!