As I write now, it is 3:25 AM Monday morning, and I CANNOT SLEEP. Unfortunately, I’ve been up, wide awake, since 2 AM. This is not my everyday norm, but it is part of the norm for me when I am experiencing Bipolar Mania.
As you already may know, from my previous blogs, I have Bipolar Disorder, which comes with extreme highs in mood and energy, and extreme lows in mood and energy level. Currently I am experiencing one of those highs, and have been in this euphoric state since the beginning of February of 2019. I’m learning that my mood and energy level changes are cyclical, and happen around the same times every year, (approximately every 6 months or so).
So you may be asking, why is this such a big deal? I’ve had many friends say to me, “I have trouble sleeping and have mood changes too. Does this mean I may be bipolar as well?” Obviously, I’m not a doctor, and cannot answer that question for anyone with absolute certainty, but I can offer my experience with the disorder, and help them decide if they need to look into their own mental health with a professional. I usually share the following with my friends to help them decide if they need to look further into their sleeping and mood changes.
When I am in a Manic Episode, I need very little sleep or no sleep at all, and can function normally for some days, without being tired at all. My moods are to the extreme. If something makes me happy, I’m ten times happier about it than normal, and I feel like I’m on top of the world, where nothing can bring me out of my happy/euphoric state. Everyone is my friend, including strangers. I talk a lot, so much so, that I’ve talked to where my voice goes away, and I still try to talk. There is no fear at all of people, places or things. I could go into a room of 500 people, and give a speech about anything, and not be nervous one bit. For example, at a church retreat when I was a teenager, I gave a speech in front of 300 plus teenagers, about Christ and what he had done in my life and in the lives of other teens that I had shared the word with. This sounds great, but I usually do not like to speak in front of large or even small crowds, so it’s not in character for me. I feel like I’m rich, both literally and figuratively, which means I feel like and usually do, buy anything I want, without regard to my budget or how much money I have. I bought so much stuff in a Manic Episode one time that I went to fill up my car with gas, and was denied at the pump, due to insufficient funds. I had no idea I had spent all of my money. I ended up, having to beg for change from strangers, and had no shame in doing so. Eventually, after 4 or 5 days of no sleep at all, or about 2 months of less sleep than normal, I start to have psychosis. This is where the fun stops!
Psychosis for me is scary. I don’t know who I am, sometimes believing I’m famous, and even one time believing I was Dave Chappelle. It’s funny now, but for a long time it was scary to me that I thought I was a man. I get really paranoid, thinking everyone is talking about me, or that people are following me. One time, I drove in my car for hours, across multiple cities in the valley, believing random strangers were following me. Crazy, right? Eventually, It gets really bad, and I have to admit myself into the Behavioral Health Unit (AKA Psych Ward). I’m one of the lucky ones, and always take myself and do not get 5150’d (Involuntary Commitment).
The point of telling you all of this is so you can be more informed on Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar Mania as a whole. So many people throw out the term “Bipolar” to explain other people’s behaviors, but a lot of times have no idea what the disorder actually entails. My hope is that my experience can help shed some sort of light on the disorder, and help people to understand it, and decide whether or not they believe they may have the disorder, or know someone who does, who may need to seek professional help.
I hope this explains a bit about the disorder, as it pertains to mania, and hope it helps someone find the help they need. Hopefully I can get some better sleep in the upcoming days and not go through what I just explained above.