everything becomes a challenge. Thinking straight, keeping a single thought in my head, knowing reality from fantasy; all challenges. I would be lying if I said that the feeling I get when in a manic state is anything but exhilarating, it is also exhausting. The thoughts run through my mind at a speed that I cannot keep up with and the important things are often lost in the fray. It is difficult to explain the whirlwind of thoughts and ideas to someone who has never experienced mania. It is like being in a hurricane, protected from the wind and rain, but not the chaos. How odd is that. There are those who will read this post and say to themselves, “I know that feeling … I get it”. At the same time, there will be ones who read it who say “that gal is as nutty as a fruitcake”. But the reality of it is that I’m not nutty, or crazy or over the edge. I am simply, at the moment, in a state of hypomania.
Manic stages are a part of my existence. It took me a long time to realize that these episodes were, for me, part of normal life. It is so abnormal to most people and they find it absurd on so many levels and simply, even if they try, cannot comprehend that the mind can warp at such a speed. It is both fascinating and confusing, enlightening and disturbing. I wish that there were words in my head to explain what I feel when I am in a manic state. Though I have never tried cocaine, from the descriptions of those I know who have, it is similar to the feeling that comes when the hyperactivity takes over my mind and body and reality becomes blurred with fantasy; dreams become real and thoughts are not to be trusted.
I find it addictive, the feeling that nothing is impossible and all things are within my reach. It is nearly a letdown when this feeling begins to ebb, which it must, if I am to survive; a disappointment to know that the chaos of my mind will, once again, become somewhat normal. Being in this state does not change who I am at the core, but it changes what I am to the observer. Try as I might, I have not found a way to harness the charge of energy that overtakes me and throws me into an atmosphere that is full of everything. Again, to one who has never experienced such a moment, it is hard to explain.
Imagine being in a forest, a beautiful forest with the leaves alive and every growing thing beautiful with springtime in the mountains. Now imagine that all the growing things have a personality and can interact, on a personal level, with actions and words. Being in a manic state is similar to that. So much information. So much stimulation. It is like having goosebumps all the time. Who doesn’t like goosebumps, right? But constantly? Not such a great thing. But I am not alone in my experiences. There are so many others who are in or soon will be, in the state I am in. I count myself among the lucky ones that the manic cycles last only a few days as opposed to a few months, for I fear that I would really try to fly if it lasted more than a day or so. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones. But to those who live with this feeling day after day, month after month, I can understand how it would be so easy to try to find a way to put an end to everything. To make it go away. I spent one entire year of my life in such a state and am still wondering how I lived through it. If it were not for the support of my family and friends along with the faith in my God that He would, eventually end this state of chaos, I could not have survived it.
There is nothing wrong with feeling this way, but it is difficult to function in a normally functioning world while in this place. It takes extreme concentration and is, on every level, exhausting. Knowing that there are others who face the same experiences is a help, but it doesn’t make living through an ordinary day any less stressful. It is like fighting fire with gasoline. The more I try to contain it, the more out of control it seems to be. As much as the hypo-manic state makes me feel invincible, I am always glad to see it come to and end, for once again, I can feel normal in the sense of what the world deems normal. I am different. I don’t mind that. As a matter of fact, I embrace it, but being different has its limits and I am, almost always, happy when my thoughts slow down and I feel like I am, whether I am or not, in some modicum of control. I would not change my experiences for anything, for they make me who I am, but if it were in my power, I would change the perception of myself when I am not myself. But life is life and I live with it. And I’m not the only one. That brings me comfort; knowing that I am not alone in my struggles. I am encouraged. And so a former blog post about encouragement comes full circle. Nothing is as powerful as the sharing of life experiences. It connects us all; I am not alone and for that, I am grateful.