Normal people never question their happiness. If they have the energy to clean the house, call up all their friends and family, exercise for sixty minutes or more, and can still make it to work and school on top of all that with a smile, they call it a good day. Imagine doing that on two or three hours of sleep and never yawning once. Now you’re getting close to the experience of mania.
Words explode from your mouth, the limbs seem electric, and your mood is one of total agreement. It’s the best day of your life. This is not to say that the bipolar mania experience is always one of calm. Anxiety is the beast that often lurks under the surface of the condition eventually raising its head a few days later. For me, this seemingly perfect day is always subject to intense scrutiny. Is this the beginning of hallucinations and suicidal thoughts? Or is it just an innocent blip on the continuum of life?
How to tell. That is the problem. It’s why I use a mood chart and I recommend googling several of them to find the best one for you. People with bipolar disorder are wise to chart their moods to best identify patterns that emerge. I found that winters tend to be my manic time while summers tend to find me deep in depression. My moods are opposite of (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder!
Below is a poem I wrote to describe this experience of evaluating those super good moods. It ends with scenes of crushing anxiety, the ultimate signal that something is wrong. Again, this is my own interpretation of what I experience and may not match your experience with the disorder. If you can relate or not, give me a shout and let me know what you think of this first draft and don’t forget to sign up for e-mail reminders every time I make a post.
When Contentment Draws Suspicion
When contentment draws suspicion,
watch out for verbal fireworks, spit
spraying adjectives, and abuse of the spirit.
The manic in me charts mood carefully
with pencil pointed and sharpened but
where the line wavers and grays, I pause
to ask God if I am too happy. Somewhere,
a house is burning on fire with embers
whirling in the January wind and I wonder
if my pet will die tonight.