Sex, Drugs, and Stupidity: My Manic Self

“[ ] manic sex isn’t really intercourse. It’s discourse, just another way to ease the insatiable need for contact and communication. In place of words, I simply spoke with my skin.”

Terri Cheney, Manic: A Memoir

It’s cliche, yes, but nonetheless it comes with the territory. Part metaphors, part exaggeration, “sex, drugs, and mania” pretty much sums up my personal experience with the dangerous and unpredictable nature of the madness.

I hate bullet points, but the symptoms and decision-making skills associated with mania, my mania, are about as textbook as it comes. Everyone is different, though, so mania can manifest itself in different ways for different people. No matter, the madness is still there.

For the sake of not hearing me ramble on about personal experiences I’m simply just going to hit on some points.

Symptoms of Mania

  • Abnormally upbeat, jumpy or wired – Check
  • Increased activity, energy or agitation – Check
  • Exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria) – Check
  • Decreased need for sleep – Check
  • Unusual talkativeness – Check
  • Racing thoughts – Check
  • Distractibility – Check
  • Poor decision-making — for example, going on buying sprees, taking sexual risks or making foolish investments – Check

Check and mate, right?

I’m usually one of the first people who can tell I’m manic or on my way to being so, but I’m never the first person to mention it, which in a way makes it worse. It’s my fault, though, especially in the instances when I’m aware and can still acknowledge the onset of the mania. In a way, it’s like I’m waiting for some validation or something. I go from being curious as to what other people’s reaction to my behavior will be, to being embarrassed and ashamed when finally acknowledged. It’s a stupid, vicious cycle that’s on a constant loop. In moments of clarity, I can reflect and be aware of my condition and behaviors that I plan on avoiding in the future. Then, BAM! Back in the bipolar saddle again.

Whether depressed or manic, it always comes back. I can handle the depression, but the mania can take on a life of its own. And I’m far too old to worry about that.

But the bullet points are spot on. I need very little to no sleep. I’m outgoing at times, but I really step it up when manic. I would blow money like it was going out of style. And on stupid things. If it wasn’t on drugs or alcohol, it was on something equally unnecessary. I engaged in extreme risk-taking behavior (in many ways) and had no ability to see things in a rational, coherent sense. I become delusional, thinking I’m on the verge of a brilliant and great discovery or project. Other than not being able to control your emotions and mood that’s the worst for me. “Coming to” and becoming aware of how delusional I was. You believe it in the moment and then later wonder what the hell you were thinking.

I also get fixated on things. I get stuck on something while at the same time have no control of how fast my brain is moving. Cycling or not, I don’t have the ability to slow my brain down. And it can make everyday life just a little bit harder. At times, it can be totally debilitating.

It’s March and I’m a little perky (right on schedule), but I’m confident in my medication regimen. It’s worked well for quite some time, so I feel confident the mania may be lighter than usual or stifled to a certain degree.

March and April (springtime in general) are my bigtime months for the “sex, drugs, and stupidity” I can embody. However, having recently been diagnosed with a type of rapid cycling bipolar disorder I’m kind of used to the back and forth. It’s noticeable and, for my wife especially, can be very overwhelming and just too much at times. I can be over the top for a week or two and then be depressed for a week and then come back around to “normal”. Cycle continues in that sense. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

But I guess we’ll see. Hope the medication I’m on causes a subside to the symptoms.

I’ll keep you posted.

2 thoughts on “Sex, Drugs, and Stupidity: My Manic Self

  1. The first time I heard about mania, I thought that I could use something like that, seeing how low energy I generally am. But the more I learn, the more I see it as a tough struggle, thanks to accounts such as yours. Thanks for being brave and sharing!

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