Missing My Friend MANIA

Started my new meds.  My Pysch progress report would read, “Mania is gone and by all measures depression seems to have lifted”. This is progress and I should be happy, the medication has shown some success in balancing out my life. But, I miss my mania.   I say MY mania, because I imagine to each person there’s something independently personal about it.

I miss my mania because she came unexpected, crept into my life with her new perspective, different from the old drudge of depression. She brought with her energy.

I finally had the physical energy to formulate an exercise plan so I could achieve my long time goal of getting back into shape and losing weight. Every day I worked out for at least an hour, sometimes longer as I pumped music and lost track of time, lost myself to this new discipline.

Mania replaced the drudgery of slow moving depression. She brought an emotional and mental energy with her, and self-esteem. Years of depression meant low energy and after doling out scraps to my family it meant little or nothing left for myself. She told me I could change things about myself that I have struggled with for so long, she showed me a future I wanted.  She made me see I could actualize the self I wanted for such a long time.

With emotional and mental energy, I could sit and write every day, ideas would just come to me, words had special meaning, I didn’t have to sit and ponder in my thoughts. She told me to get off the couch, she wanted more for me than just dishes and laundry, she had ideas about going back to college, finishing what I started before I became so devoted to everyone else but myself. She gave me back a sense of self, she was a whirl wind of bravado.

I miss her.  I want her back, but I realize that she and I were unlivable to others. While she propelled me forward, she was bold and wasn’t afraid to take all that energy and direct it in one direction, on me. She was the selfish. She moved so quickly that she lost patience for those that couldn’t keep up. She drove and voiced things more aggressively. She was irritated with the small details of life and didn’t want to be bothered by them. My husband hated her, he preferred the slow me, the couch me, the more accommodating me. My children didn’t have words for the morphs that transpired in my life. But I could see while she valued me, she wanted less to do with them. She couldn’t be bothered to read a book to them or show affection, she was onto the next thing already, missing some pretty important parenting moments and opportunities. My best friend dreaded her presence as well, communication became more complicated to keep up with and self-preservation was at the forefront of her thoughts.

Now I’m left with how to reconcile what she started. I still see what she wanted for me, but I question if those goals were just too lofty for where I’m at in my life.  Is going back to college now doable, while helping three children get through school? My skinny self is almost unobtainable, exercise is burdensome again, and comes after my long list of other obligations, the pounds are creeping up again. Writing is more of a chore, the words are there but I have to make the effort to formulate them into sentences. Everything is taking more effort again, with much less of the enthusiasm.

Grieving her absence. Trying to accept that she can’t be a part of my life. I don’t think this makes any sense to my husband, children, or friends so I don’t even try to explain it. It’s my grief alone. Struggling to not be resentful over the fact that mental illness has resided in my life for so many years and made certain goals seem unobtainable. At the same time, trying to be grateful for the fact that I’m not bed ridden with depression, but that I’m functioning now. Trying to grasp onto the fact that I’m lucky, that some with mental illness aren’t as fortunate and bare an immense burden much larger than mine. I’m trying to reconcile it all in my mind. I’m trying.

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16 thoughts on “Missing My Friend MANIA

  1. I 100% completely resonate with this. That reconciliation is so difficult and frustrating. I, too, wish there was room for Mania without being so destructive to others.

  2. Reblogged this on lily pups life and commented:
    I believe (although I am not positive) that many know a lot about the depressive side of bipolar but not as much about the manic side. Here is a great explanation of mania.

  3. I really appreciate this post and your blog. My father is also bipolar, and he has a hard time expressing to our family and his friends exactly what it is he is going through. It has really strained several of his relationships and made family relationships difficult as well. As you note, it is different for everyone, but reading someone’s experience helps me to have a bit more compassion. Thanks for your openness!

  4. So well written. I have never been professionally diagnosed with anything but I have highs and lows. I started Zoloft after my 3rd child was born for mood swings and needless to say now 3 years later I am still on it but have cut my dose in half from what it was. I have been exercising and eating right and over the past week have been feeling better then I have in a very long time…I am just hoping it’s not a “high” and soon I will crash.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I’ve taken Zoloft for over 10 years now to treat depression and anxiety and it was definitely beneficial until recently when I had to add a second medication to it to treat the Bipolar Disorder. Wishing you the best on your journey.

  5. Fortunately this BPD is in the neurosis stage, the person is capable of keep in contact with reality. In some stages the person could experiment psychosis stages, where reality is distorted…The subconsciousness is a very tricky entity trying to have a secondary gain or benefit from some of neurotic symptoms and the person, unknowingly, is attached to it. I knew a person who could not go out of the house to look for job, etc, because every time She did, started vomiting. She apparently suffered a lot; but at the same time, unconsciously, She enjoyed the protection of being inside home with her mother taking care of her. Maybe nothing to do with the post, but I wanted to share some experience. Thanks a lot.

    1. Thank you for your contribution. I know I am fortunate to only experience hypomania and not full fledged mania, perhaps I should have documented that more accurately in my post. My thoughts and prayers are with your friend and those that suffer to a greater degree.

  6. Funny, how I visualize my mania as having a female identity as well. Sometimes she’s a happy cheerleader type, but let her stay awhile and she turns into a raging bitch.

  7. For over 13 years, my husband refused any type of medication. He refused any type of therapy for that matter. Although at that time, we didn’t know it was bipolar. He was very high functioning, and what I saw from the outside were mood swings, but nothing that was so severe that I was alarmed. But, I had no idea what was truly going on inside of him as he kept that from me. So I supported him in his decision to stay away from meds. He absorbed the depression, and the demons as he called them, to the point where he felt more comfortable with them rather than without. That sounds like you with your mania. It is hard for anyone who does not suffer to comprehend what it is like inside, I know that I didn’t understand. What I do understand is the courage and bravery and the strength that my husband once had, and that you have, and anyone else with a mental illness has to take on a daily basis. I hope that you have found the right meds and the right therapies so that you can function as you did with the mania, but instead now without it. Good luck to you… All the best!

    1. Thank you for your comment and for standing by your husband while he goes through his mental health journey, I know it can be so hard on both the individual as well as their family. Best of luck to you and him.

  8. My mania was like stepping from black and white, into color. A Technicolor dream coat with a yellow-brick road leading me from a flat, grey, desolate, winter prarie back to the Arizona desert sunset.

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