Here’s What It Feels Like To Experience Bipolar Mania, Because It Isn’t Just ‘High Energy’

It started creeping up on me before I could notice it.

I was sleeping less, I was working on tasks I’d previously neglected, I felt happier than usual. I started projects, lyrics, cleaning my room; I had never felt more productive.

When I did notice it, it was a night I couldn’t sleep at all. I was having hot flashes, racing thoughts despite taking my anti-anxiety medication, and I was hyperaware of everything around me.

Cooped up in the car on my way to Anaheim for a music convention, I managed to keep calm, and I looked forward to sleeping off my mixed feelings.

But I couldn’t sleep. Again. This was my first experience of peaking mania.

Three songs raced through my head at the same time. I was hot. I imagined drawing, something I don’t do. I was cold. I created images in my head that weren’t connected to anything

I’d seen or experienced. I lay there, staring at the ceiling, realizing that even though it was 5 in the morning, I could run a marathon. I was nauseous. I felt terrified. When I did drift off, I had nightmares; I was only able to come out of them by calling out for my mother to wake me up.

Part of this was my own fault — I had forgotten to take my bipolar medication and downed a double dose of anti-anxieties and Tylenol PM instead.

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