Mania sounds simple enough. I mean how many of us heard our mother telling us not to run around like a maniac. I know mine did. Little did she know, that one day she would find out I truly struggled with Mania. Does that make me a maniac? I hope not, but it probably does.
Mania the Feeling
Being manic is like being a gerbil on a wheel. Spinning round and round, thoughts going ninety to nothing and thought bunnies inside the brain having baby thoughts all willy-nilly. It all sounds funny like a brain behaving as the roadrunner and beep-beeping all over the place, but living with a brain that is on fire, is not easy. It is exhausting, except you can’t sleep because you have too much mental energy and sometimes too much physical energy.
This is what happens for day after day for up to a year. Imagine 365 days of a racing brain and no rest no matter how tired you are. Imagine being so tired but unable to rest, relax, and stop overthinking.
Sometimes I wake in the morning and my thoughts are going so fast that I am physically paralyzed because of the energy I am using is so much that I have none left to even move my fingers. This happens more times than I can count in a month.
Heading for Burn Out
Mania is like having your mind on a runaway train going downhill and your body is trying to catch it. There just isn’t enough energy. Mania is not for the faint of heart. It wears and tears on a body and even when you do not want to dwell on it, you can’t resist. Human nature makes you want to be in control, and your mind will not comply.
What can you do to live with Mania?
Mental projects can sometimes be organized enough to deal with the overwhelming chaotic mental state that mania causes. Being super organized lines up those overactive ducks into a nice neat row. Counting allows one part of my brain to race up and down the number scale while the other part of my mind can round up the rogue thoughts and process them one at a time. It takes practice, but it can be done. Having post-it notes with all the rogue thoughts listed gives me a chance to weed through them and process the important ones while discarding the others. This mental task running alongside the counting will bring some order to the storm.
Forcing yourself to sleep is another step that helps combat the mania or at least keep it manageable. When your doctor knows that you are in a prolonged manic phase, he can prescribe something to help you sleep without making you feel drugged and lethargic in the morning.
Waking from a restful sleep can sometimes trigger the paralysis, but remaining calm as the brain sorts itself out will help prepare you for the day.
Stay on your medication. For me, mania is more acceptable than depression. I also tend to feel very proud of my efforts while manic. I feel as if I am infallible and indestructible. Knowing that is part of the disease keeps me managing my symptoms. All the while, I am on the fast track to burn out.
Share your tricks
How do you cope with mania? Share your ideas in the comments below. I know I can always use new and tricky ways to deal with my mania.