Your Music Goes Good With a Beer and My Mania

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Your music goes good with a beer and my mania. That should be in quotes. I heard it yesterday evening on the car radio. Made me laugh.

Brillaint Memoir of Living with Manic Depression by a Brilliant Lady.

Like Cyndi Lauper’s song “Manic Monday”, mania is a fun concept and can be used for a good laugh to spice up conversation – or a pop song. That is when it doesn’t actually refer to actual mania. Then it’s not quite as funny, unfortunately.

Just Another Manic Monday

Fun, punchy song like most of her music with fun lyrics:

It’s just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
Cause that’s my funday
An I-don’t-have-to-run day
It’s just another manic Monday

And the gal on the radio sounded funny too.

When Most Say Mania They Really Mean Hypomania

I worked at Microsoft years ago as a contractor doing some of the zillion front-end web development tasks they needed done. It was fun. I loved working there alongside many other Generation Xers. It was the start of a nice full-time, successful work period; from the time my son was 6 months old until he was 4 1/2 or so.

Thanks to a booming economy and a college degree, even someone like me who had a spotty work history at the time – and a mental illness too – could find work.

I shared an office for a bit with a nice guy and one day via some conversation he made a comment about Steve Ballmer who was CEO at the time and one seriously loud, forceful guy. The yang to calmer, geekier Bill Gates’ yin.

He said something about Steve Ballmer being “manic”. He’s not actually manic, I corrected my co-worker, but a bit hypomanic. Then quickly hoped I’d not said too much, given myself away.

Why would I know or care about the difference? Make a point to correct something that was just said in jest, in the normal casual way the term is often used?

Because I had lived at that time with Manic Depression for more than 10 years, and knew how serious actual mania is. I’d been hospitalized a couple of times because of it.

I only wish I was like Ballmer and crazy-smart and successful. Us true bipolar sufferers – now called BP-1 – have to live in fear we don’t actually become manic. And it often hinders successful functioning in the world, including the ability to have a successful career.

And no, there is no medication that will assure you remain stable after being diagnosed. Like many, I was intolerant to lithium. It caused a worsening of my condition.

Other psychotropic medications can create additional mood disturbance as well and are a leading cause of disability.

Related post: Antipsychotic Medications Made Me Psychotic.

When Mania Isn’t Fun

Mania in general is usually a period of ramped-up, uncontrollable energy. A physical state of being where the body goes into hyperdrive and the person has little to no control over it.

And the person did not take cocaine, speed, etc. but it is like they have. And it is pretty terrifying. Once the fun part gets run through – in a few days, week maybe, depending on how rapidly the person cycles – the feeling great like you are ‘on top of the world’ part ends.

During the manic episode you may have been overly-productive or just busy, busy, busy and not getting a ton done in actuality… but who really cares. You feel GREAT! Until it ends. The high state never lasts forever. And when it ends, it can leave a wake of destruction behind.

Just like someone who goes on a coke-binge and ends up in jail because of their reckless, out-of-control behavior (or even a psych ward) – a manic depressive person can suffer serious consequences from actions taken during a manic state.

And when the mania is not from an activity or action they had control over (recreational drug use, misusing prescription meds) it is one of the most tragic parts of the actual illness. It is not the person’s fault. They – like me – inherited a medical condition that creates this biochemical situation, and they have to live through the episodes and the painful aftermath.

You realize what happened after it is over, rarely before or during, especially when young. Most young adults are a bit crazy at times. Mania in adults is actually rare.

Quoted from WebMD.com:

“It’s rare that newly diagnosed mania is seen in children or in adults over age 65.”

Source: Bipolar Disorder.

As you live with this illness – at least for me – these states do become more recognizable. And can be prevented. Or at least halted much sooner than occurred when the illness first bashed its way into your life. Without your permission.

A few years of the cycles, medications during times of crisis and life in general – helps to learn how the illness affects you. You learn what hypomania states are for you i.e. when you are actually starting to ramp up, and how they can progress into actual mania.

I wrote about one of my experiences a few months ago here: I Was Hypomanic and all is Fine.

I do not take psychotropic medications, yet was able to get through the episode. From past experience I recognized what I was experiencing and just let it take its course. While I made sure I got some healthy exercise (took walks) and went to bed at a decent hour.

Today is not Monday but I am going to have a bit of fun. Have special evening plans. I’ll just make sure not too much fun. Definitely don’t want to become manic 🙂

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