I get different types of mania, and they are of different severity. Most are quite slight - I will just be a bit jittery and giggly, might be a bit more creative and have trouble sleeping. Nothing I can't handle, and in fact these can be quite useful as I am much more productive.
Sometimes though, and these are getting rare now, I get a severe one where I can no longer function at all. Most are somewhere in between.
If I am "on my way up", as I put it - ie at the beginning of a mania, I usually start to notice my thoughts jumping about a bit. I start enjoying art and music more, I dress in brighter colours and my sex drive starts increasing. I become more outgoing and spontaneous, and I generally fidget and move about more.
As the mania continues, I start to breathe faster, talk more. I twitch and tap and stroke things - walls, fabric, leaves - I become super sensitive so it all feels really interesting. I eat and drink less and start staying up really late or lying awake in bed.
I have too many ideas to fit in my head and start leaving myself notes which, when read back, make very little sense. I have music running in my head constantly and hum or sing along.
I feel like everyone is watching me and I am the focus of everything. Colours are brighter and everything is beautiful, almost unbearably so. I start talking out loud to myself in public.
|Everything seems more vivid and super real.|
Usually around this point I start to lose awareness of what I am doing.
If things carry on, I start finding the extra sensitivity overwhelming. Every little sound is magnified so I either seek complete silence or try to drown it out with really loud music.
I might decide that I can't cope with feeling all these feelings and try to isolate myself, wrapping myself up tightly in blankets in the dark so as to reduce the amount of senses that are overwhelmed.
Even things like looking at some textures starts to feel painful. I have a constant knot in my stomach that can only be slightly relieved by moving about, by drinking and dancing, by shouting and flirting and jumping and running.
If I do one thing or stay in one place for more than a very short time I feel trapped. I start going for long walks, just because to stay still seems impossible - I walk until my legs hurt too much to walk any more.
Being the focus of everything takes a sinister tone. I still laugh out loud, but I feel compelled towards more laughter, more activity, more attention. At the same time I am losing all my inhibitions.
I feel like I, and only I, have the answers to the world. In fact, I must be getting messages from God, or the cosmos, or something. I start hallucinating.
I see myself heading for disaster almost as an outsider, and I am powerless to stop it. Sometimes I will ask for help and then run away from the help when it comes.
I somehow feel on top of the world and terrified at the same time.
I'm afraid I get vague there, as I don't really remember anything of any of the really severe ones after that.
My point being that the standard happy/sad image of bipolar goes nowhere near covering it. Nowhere near.