The first phase of mania is intoxicating and euphoric. I was confident and super-humanly productive today…I felt joyous as an indefatigable energy pumped through my veins. At first I was infallible, but as the thoughts jetted faster and faster through my brain, I began to notice small errors and somewhat poor decisions. Now I am at mach one and am fighting the agitation that is interfering with my ability to focus. I know the course…agitation will exacerbate into rage and if I don’t find the brakes, the mania will threaten my well-being.
I know what to do. I should reach out for a calming hand, but I hide it from those who have signed on for this erratic journey. I should take the medications that will slow me (and dumb me) down. Sounds simple, but when you spend a large portion of your days incapacitated by black depression, it’s hard to let go of the rush. I lie to myself and say I’ll be OK, I’m just excited. Look at everything I accomplished today. Who can I call to talk to…or, more accurately, talk at, as the thoughts race through my brain? Let’s email. Let’s Facebook. Let’s write a significant essay. Let’s clean the bathroom and wash four loads of clothes. Let’s get dressed up and go out for a drink. STOP! “Danger, danger, Will Robinson.”
After years of suffering and repeated hospitalizations, I was finally correctly diagnosed as a rapid-cycling bipolar 1 at the age of 49. It has taken seven years for me to truly know the beast and to find a successful medical management plan. I lost a successful career, most of my friends, and almost lost my life on several occasions. I am my worst enemy and my best ally…It’s my choice to make.
So I’ve fought the urges and taken meds to stop the fast-moving train. I will get much-needed sleep tonight and wake up a little lower on the mood grid tomorrow. If not, I’ll call my doctor and alert those closest to me. I have a responsibility in managing this illness and the pleasure is not worth the pain…I will not let this illness beat me.