I am currently revelling in the great destruction that is a manic episode. It is not very often that I can recognise a manic episode when I am in the midst of one; usually recognition comes in the form of regret and embarrassment afterwards when I have to deal with all of the ridiculous and destructive things I have done to make my life harder. The more destructive my high mood is the darker my episode of depression will be, making it much harder to pull myself out of it. Not being aware of a manic episode whilst it is happening is perhaps one of the most disturbing things about my mental illness; in the moment I believe I am better, I am well – mental illness? what mental illness?! Who needs medication and who needs to manage an illness when I feel so flipping awesome?! Everything I do is great and I’m going to start this, this and this and not finish any of it, though obligating myself to either finish it later or induce many panic attacks while I try to find some way out of it, who needs to pay bills when I could spend exuberant amounts of money on crap I don’t need and/or want?! and friends? I am clearly way better than all of the people on the face of the earth especially the ones that are trying to tell me I’m behaving like a moron – who needs friends?! Seriously, if I could see myself when I’m in full mania I’m certain I would die of embarrassment.
Perhaps the cocktail of new medications I am on have aided me in recognising this manic episode or perhaps I am just getting more accomplished at reading my moods but either way it is much easier to manage a mood when I know I’m having one! Although sometimes it doesn’t feel as though I am managing it very well; when I am in the throes of a manic episode I am filled with a kind of nervous energy, I can feel it thrumming through my veins, it isn’t a nice type of energy… it’s almost painful, but not – hard to explain really… I can’t sit still, I have to find some kind of activity. My brain goes into overdrive, planning – always planning, but not in a reasonable sort of way, more in a ‘that will never, ever, ever happen but I’m going to plan for it anyway’ kind of way. I get quite irritable and sometimes, aggressive. I want things done in a certain way, I get a lot of housework done at odd times of the day, like 3am… I mostly feel accomplished, confident and act in ways that are completely irrational. Sometimes I don’t have the confidence and sense of accomplishment and instead feel bad, I believe I am a burden to everyone, I get very paranoid that people are talking about me and that nobody cares about me; I get caught in an incredibly selfish cycle, its all me, me, me and those are often the most destructive manic episodes.
I don’t have many tools for managing this kind of mood other than directing the immense amount of destructive energy into something practical or consuming that is not going to be damaging for me later on. Last night I stayed awake until around 2am doing crafts, I made loads of little puppets for my kids… I know that staying up until that time doing crafts may not sound like much of a solution but there is no way that I know of to expend that sort of energy without doing something with it and to my mind it is far better to stay up late making something than it would have been to either go to bed and have to listen to the incessant chatter of my irrational brain or stay up spending money online/ making ridiculous plans … etc and so though it may not be ideal, I do believe that I have accomplished something in directing my manic energy into a harmless activity and hopefully because of this, when my mood inevitably falls it will not fall so far.
I think I know why I am so manic at the moment, it has been spurred on by the activities I have planned this week and the beginning of the kids summer holidays and the fear of failure I have in relation to that. This weekend I am going to a music festival with the kids and some friends, we will be camping – this will be the kids first time camping and my second time. I went to this music festival last year and I remember feeling anxious about it then too but this anxiety is much larger, because not only do I have to look after myself but the kids too… I keep playing scenarios in my head; trying to pre-empt what might go wrong… I have written a summer holiday plan but I have changed it drastically from those of the Easter holiday plan and February holiday plan; this plan is not a strict day by day activity sheet, it is instead a list of potential activities, most of which are very cheap or free, and my plan is to cross each one off as we do them and add any others that we may do to the list – I am hoping that this will show me just what I have managed to accomplish throughout the summer holidays so that even if I feel like I haven’t done much or I’ve had a week or two where we did very little I can still look at my list at the end of the holidays and feel good about what I did manage to do.
Something else that I have noticed about my mania is that my thoughts are scattered, nothing seems to flow in the way that I want it to and everything seems to be pouring out into this blog in a much faster rate that it does when I am in a low mood…
Now what can I do next to get rid of this ridiculous amount of energy?!