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wundayatta's avatar

How do you decide that you are manic?

Asked by wundayatta (58349 points ) October 9th, 2012

Tonight, in my group, a fellow was talking about doing some woodwork. He described himself as manic because he started getting really into it and was doing the work faster and faster.

I’m not so sure. That sounds like getting into a flow of work to me. But it’s tricky, and bipolar folk are always wondering, am I manic, or is this normal? Am I depressed, or is this normal? When should I start to worry about what is happening.

Another person had a full blown manic episode and ended up in the hospital while she was still fully compliant with her meds. That’s pretty scary. It happened to another guy as well.

So how do you know? And if you suspect, when do you decide to do something about it? And if you decide to do something, what do you do?

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9 Answers

augustlan's avatar

I’m not bipolar, but have my own issues that I often don’t see. Sometimes it takes another person mentioning it for me to realize I’m in the middle of a panic attack, for instance. I mean, I know I’m anxious, but I don’t realize how bad it is until someone says, “Um, maybe you should take a Xanax.” An outside view is often helpful.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

My girlfriend says go to your GP is what you do about it and the best time (according to my gf) is to do something about it when you start to feel like you’re losing control. She is more than qualified to answer the question having BPD, no?

imgr8's avatar

When my boyfriend gets manic, he is the last person to think so. Of course my boyfriend is 16 and I hope this person has a better understanding of how he works than my boyfriend does, assuming he is an adult who has been diagnosed for a number of years. Im no expert but it seems to me that if you describe yourself as manic you either know yourself and how you work well, or not very well at all. I agree with @augustlan that an outsiders perspective is important and I also agree with @lightsourcetrickster that if you believe you are manic you should see a doctor before you pass the point of no return.

wundayatta's avatar

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked if I was getting manic or depressed and I wasn’t. I have also asked others the same question, and they may or may not have been. But there’s also the other problem. Many a time, I feel manic or depressed, and no one outside me notices. I think that other people can provide information, but in my experience, they don’t usually know much. However, other bipolar folk have a better sense for this, I’ve found. They still aren’t always in agreement with the person they are talking to.

Nimis's avatar

How do I decide that I am manic?

OR

How does one decide that one is manic?

Not really qualified to answer the latter. As for the former, I decide that I’m manic having a manic episode when I can’t step away from it.

Sure. Everyone’s pulled all-nighters or skipped meals because they were on a roll. But there’s a difference between not wanting to step away and not being able to step away.

Is it loud? Is it drowning out your other thoughts?

When I am on a roll, things flow like a mountain stream down to the ocean. I let it lead me to this crystalline destination.

When I have (what I think of as) manic episodes, it feels as if I am both hurling and hurtling all at once. I actually feel nauseous.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Being bipolar is difficult. I’ve found monitoring my moods to be troublesome. I don’t usually notice I’m manic until my credit card is at its limit, or I haven’t slept for 2 days, or I suddenly realize after a conversation with a stranger that I just revealed very personal information.

I notice I’m getting depressed more easily, because I take care of my needs less. My posture declines. My sleep increases. I don’t shower daily, and the nadir is not brushing my teeth often.

Edit to add: I forgot to mention what I do when I realize what’s going on. First, I talk to friends about my behavior, and then I talk to the professionals: my caseworker, my nurse, and my therapist.

KNOWITALL's avatar

My mom is bi-polar and she can rarely tell when she is manic. If she calls me and she sounds manic, which is talking about extravagent dreams or talking really fast or acting really ‘high’ on life, I’m not sure how to describe it but I gently ask “are you taking your abilify, mom?” before saying anything else…lol

It may take an outside opinion for some people.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve only been manic once. My brain was going a thousand miles a minute. I thought that maybe it was moving so fast because it knew it was going to die soon, perhaps due to brain cancer. At one point, I asked one of my employees whether I had said anything inappropriate at a seminar I organized.

My job is to bring in the brains and let them talk. I provide the audience. But I felt like I was understanding things easily that I had no knowledge of. Esoteric statistical techniques made sense on my first exposure. I was asking questions about them, and people seemed to be taking my questions seriously.

But I couldn’t imagine why. I knew I knew nothing. Yet I couldn’t shut myself up. I had to ask. And people took me seriously. Thus, I needed a second opinion on whether I made sense, so I asked an employee. Turned out later she was as crazy as I was. Oh well.

If I ever get manic again, I know what it will feel like. Of course, it’s just hypomania, so it’s not much to worry about. Except for what comes later. The mixed state and the depression… very painful.

At my age, with my life experience, I knew something was wrong, although I didn’t know what it was. I could control it to some degree in ways that I think young people would not have a chance at. But eventually, it became too powerful and I was ready to leave my family and quit my job and live on the street.

By then it’s too late. If I had gotten help a year earlier, maybe a lot of things would not have happened. But I wouldn’t have believed I was sick at the beginning stages of the mania. Now? I don’t know. Things are under control and maybe I’ll never experience that again. I honestly don’t know if that is a good thing.

KNOWITALL's avatar

That sucks, W….I love my mom very much and I try not to let anything she says or does embarass me anymore. What has really helped her a lot was volunteering and working at our local NAMI, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, that way she has a lot of support and an outlet of her peers. Something to think about maybe, and you can message me anytime you need to talk.

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