As ‘Manic Monday’ blasted out of my phone speaker first thing this morning, the irony was not wasted on me. This will be the fourth Monday in a row I’ve been feeling manic…and pretty damn awesome. Now, you might question why I’m writing about feeling on top of the world and why that would be a problem for me. But it is. And it’s not just me. So many other people are experiencing the heady heights of awesomeness for long periods and eventually become afraid of where it will lead.
These episodes have been going on for as long as I can remember. In the nine years I’ve been seeing my counsellor, she has noticed a pattern of almost outrageous behaviour that I’m not aware of and which, on reflection, are quite embarrassing. This is because I will do things that are completely out of character and be blinded by the great nature of these things which I think are the best things ever. For example, fully believing that by joining a multi-level marketing company (MLM) I could be the ultimate best, make shed loads of money and move to Australia with my fiance and dog. The reality? I convinced people to buy expensive products (I did actually really like them), badgered them into ‘join the business’ and got myself in shit loads of debt which then left me with hundreds of things I couldn’t sell. The reality was stark and when I realised, I got uncontrollably upset and beyond comforting.
9 ways being manic affects me
Feeling really ‘high’
I’ve never taken drugs in my life but I can imagine this ‘high’ I experience would resemble taking speed. My heart is fluttery, my head is ‘flighty’ and I have more energy than I can deal with. It means that I tend to do so many things in one day to try and take advantage of how I’m feeling and not ‘waste the opportunity’.
Genuinely thinking I’m the dog’s bollocks at everything and anything
As I mentioned about the MLM experience, I thought I was seriously amazing at it and would tell everyone that it was going to change my life and that they’d be daft not to join me on ‘the journey’. According to my counsellor, I tried to sell her the products and even sign her up as a business owner! I once thought I was psychic and went around telling everyone that I could read their minds or tell what they were going to do next. I was convinced I was the next Derren Brown. I started several blogs about several topics that I thought I was an expert in (make what you will out of this one!) and wanted to known as this.
Surviving on little to no sleep
My fiance says I’m ‘being creative’ when I’m awake at 2am, 4am and sometimes all night coming up with ‘absolutely spectacular’ ideas. Recently, it’s been writing poems, blog posts and stories and obsessively writing for hours. Once, I was awake all night and consecutively watched 12 episodes of ‘Glee’ until 8am. Needless to say, I couldn’t watch anymore episode for a long time after that! The strange thing is, I don’t sleep but I’m not tired either. I’m currently going through this and it’s taking Quetiapine (anti-psychotic), Mirtazapine (anti-depressant) and Zopiclone (sleeping tablet) to get me remotely sleepy.
This is the scary bit. When I’m not sleeping enough, I tend to start seeing things at night. In previous nights, I’ve seen the vision of a man all dressed in black in our bedroom, giant spiders on the ceiling and more recently, a witch on a broomstick hovering over Karl which made me jump across him to ‘save him’. These visions are so real. When I blink, they don’t disappear and then I have an anxiety attack. The paranoia is off the charts.
Talking really fast and A LOT
It’s constant, it’s annoying and it happens when I’m feeling high. I almost explode trying to get all the information out that I want someone to know. It bursts out of me and I can’t stop it. I will go on and on until the person I’m talking to stops listening or interjects. So many times, family members have said about my incessant talking and that I don’t take a breath. I get so irritated when someone points it out.
Racing and rapid thoughts
This is probably why I can’t sleep at night. It feels like my brain is going 100 mph and I’m just going along for the ride. Thoughts flood in, then as quickly as they’re there, they’re gone. The other week, I remember thinking I’d had the best idea I’d ever had in my life and then ‘poof!’ it was gone. I was so agitated and annoyed by this so I kept a notepad by the bed.
Starting lots of projects/hobbies and never completing them
By now, my fiance is used to me doing this. I’ve taken up so many ‘hobbies’ that haven’t lasted over the years. I started a running blog, joined an MLM selling aloe products, wrote poems for a poetry book, started writing my memoirs, joined a choir, joined various online groups, applied as a volunteer for several charities, bought drawing materials, mindful colouring, joined a professional committee and attended several exercise related classes. There’s probably more I’m not aware of! I do this so I can feel accomplished and who doesn’t love getting stuff done?
This is quite embarrassing because if someone is talking, I’ll drift off into my own head where the ideas are flowing and miss what’s being said to me. It doesn’t help when I’m working. I’ll be in the middle of something, have an ‘oo, shiny’ moment and suddenly, I’m writing a poem in my head. My fiance is very used to my ‘oo, shiny’ moments and we do tend to laugh about them.
For me, it’s always been about driving and money that are an issue. Usually, I’m scared shitless of driving and am like a little old nanny behind the wheel. As soon as a high hits, I’m dodging in and out of traffic, not paying attention and speeding. Years back, I managed to get myself five tickets in one go (four for driving the wrong way down a road and one for parking somewhere I shouldn’t). Excessive spending is another scary habit. In university, I would spend hundreds of pounds on stuff. Just stuff. It wasn’t even significant. I bought a car once while in a high mood, despite the fact I hated driving. I got myself into A LOT of debt but luckily, when I came out of the high, my partner was there to help and guide me and help avoid it happening again.
At the moment, I am experiencing this euphoria and am getting lots of shit done. However, I am also being reassessed to see if the mental health team can support me because I admit, it’s a bit scary and I don’t want to get out of control.
Wish me luck! x