Thursday, 19 March 2009

Being manic... An extract from my book

Being manic

People ask me what it is like being manic. They also ask why I have lost most friends and family. I hope my friend has helped with the last question.

I don’t think anyone will understand until they live with someone who is manic. People who work with you may not have enough contact to spot the differences. The manic experience can be very isolating. Much of the activity happens at night in the hours of darkness. It only impacts friends and family when their paths cross.

Being manic is a very lonely experience because no one is going at your speed. This appears to be impatience. The manic experience varies from person to person. I can only describe my perceptions.

Floods of ideas. The manic person has lots of ideas and lots of schemes. They will pursue many of the ideas but equally they can switch boats mid-stream.

Hunger. I have experience terrible hungers when manic. Other people have indicated that they lose appetite. I had to keep plenty of burger material in the fridge for midnight snacks.

Sleep. The manic person doesn’t sleep much. This is both a precursor and a result of mania. I used to have 2 hour power naps which recharged my batteries. Management of the long dark nights is crucial in self management of the illness. It depends on your circumstances. Money or no money. Living in the city or a rural town. Fit or unfit. Car owner or not. All these factors affect your ability to use or abuse the night time hours. In LA, I would cruise freeways or hang out in 24 hour diners. The latter are the best thing invented for a manic person. At least for me. Before diagnosis, I would trawl round hospitals at 4 am.

Sex. There is definitely an increase in libido. It is ironic because mine has been absent for several years. I am not tempted to get manic to resurrect my libido, but the thought occurred to me. I have been reckless in my manic episodes. That’s all I will say.

Being in people’s faces. The manic person is always in you r face and can be very demanding. Equally, the manic person can be totally self sufficient, not bothering anyone.

Stealth mode. I could always operate without bothering people. If I felt that I had bothered friends, I would leave quietly without notice. This made sense to me but not to friends.

Empathy. The manic person lacks empathy towards friends and family. They have no sense of what their friends or family feel. They will say the most hurtful things with no idea of the impact and they don’t care. This is one of the worse things for friends and family. They know their loved one is ill but they react to the hurt just the same. It takes a special person to detach themselves from the illness.

Speed. Because the Bipolar person rushes around everywhere, there is a great risk of causing an accident. I almost hit a Police car in LA when dashing to an ATM machine.

Travel. If the Bipolar person has sufficient funds and a passport, the world is their oyster. I flew long haul three times when manic. London to USA. LA to London. LA to Singapore. The three trips all had seemingly logical reasons. In truth, they all stemmed from the mania. They all seemed perfectly logical to me at the time.

Money. Some Bipolar people spend huge sums of money. I am not a willing shopper normally, so I spend on flights, nice hotels, sex and stuff. Things you have nothing to show for.

Talking. The manic person can talk incessantly, sometimes incoherently and rarely sensibly.

Psychosis. When things get really bad, the manic person can have grad delusions such as thinking they are the son of God or that they can fly. This is obviously not healthy and hopefully ends in a section (in the UK).

Mania is well named. You are absolutely barking mad. You may not appear so to casual contacts even to friends who know you. You can be immensely charming and convincing, as in my 250 mile taxi ride with Santa’s Cars. Basically, you are not in you right mind.


  1. Thank-you for being so honest. I hate it when people say they "wish they were manic sometimes." I'm not bipolar but I've worked with dozens of teenagers who are. It's so hard for them to adjust to the thought of life balancing their ups and downs. I'm a wheelchair user so I guess it grates the same nerve when people say, "I wish I had one of those."

    Great post!

  2. Thanks I have been through some of these before and think I am experiencing some of them now and have been for about 2 months. I have no insurance so I can not get back on my meds that will take the racing thoughts as I out it away. I dont have alot of money but when I am supposed to be putting half of it away for a payment I end up spending it on BS.OMG you hit almost everything on the head for me, a few things I dont do, buty for the most I canrelate.

  3. I'm in the process of writing my story, I am Bi-Polar and have been on the wrong medication for the last 10 years. You r so right, unless u r a manic person, you can't truly understand it. It is a silent illness ever present and affects you and those around you.

  4. I am a manic bipolar person who talks to anyone who I know likes me. I make them laugh and feel good, but for myself I cant be happy or know what it means. Ive thought about killing myself twice and tried once with alchohol from stress. Luckily I havnt been depressed more then about the 3 times. I thought about my children and when the psychiatrist told me I could wind up brain dead if I took all my meds at one time, I never considered it again. Im 72 now and I was diagnosed bipolar when I was 50 after trying to hurt someone. My childhood was a mess getting into trouble and being sent away for bad behavior. If my parents were alive when I was diagnosed, they would have understood why I was bad all those years. I am just manic now, and cant be helped anymore. I spend money on stupid things I don't need and trade cars in for different colors almost every year. If that's the worst things I do, so be it!

  5. I'm feeling very manic right now.... I don't know who to talk to..

  6. I've been singing so loud for the past two years, which I'm not normally able to do as I can be pretty shy but I've had about.. 6 drinks. By myself and wanting to cut and just fuck with people. well.. its more that I just dont give a fuck, If they are uncomfortable.. I really dont care. What do I do when I feel like this. I feel like a small par tof me that I barley even care about knows I shoudltn feel like this.

  7. I am always manic these days rushing around like a mad man and its causing me to make mistakes at work its really getting me down


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