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How do you know when you're manic?


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Hi folks,

I've been a depressive my whole life. I had my first hospitalization when I was 8. I've cut, withdrawn, run away and attempted suicide. Depression, as a diagnosis, has never been in doubt.

Over the last few years I've been locked into a pretty tight yearly cycle of bleak, black depression and okay-ness. Today I felt the depression starting to lift (it's a very distinct feeling, like waking up on the morning after your last exam). I've felt good and buddingly confident all day.

Tonight I called a friend to talk about some thoughts I'd had regarding my cycle and my meds. I was feeling happy and excited over some discoveries I felt I'd made about myself. His first and strongest reaction was "hey, you seem very 'animated' today". He said he wished he could be there with me to provide an anchor. I had to reassure him that all I planned for tonight was the end of my Silver Surfer movie and bed.

This all fed into a question I've had for a while. I've been through all these diagnostic sessions when I've been blackly depressed. In each case they've said "Well, you don't seem manic to me". But, how would they know? I was depressed. What if what I think of as being happy and functioning on all four wheels is really a manic state? How can I tell? I already have a big problem because I'm afraid to start anything new because I know my depression will just come along and stomp on it. What if I con't trust the good times either?

How can I know?

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I wish I could say somethng inspiring right now. :P

But I can relate to what you say. Although my cycles seem to be quite short so I'm not sure where I fit having never had a diagnosis.

But have had a really dark week and suddenly felt brighter the other day and was talking to some people...and I think they were shocked by how "animated" I was.

So I never know if I have some sort of manic problem, or the ok times are normal but seem elevated after the bleak.

Oh I've confused myself a bit now!! Have I just repeated what you said or disagreed!?

And I know about not trusting the good times. But I think maybe you'll find it's best to try and see what happens, rather than never try?? Just a thought. They say better to regret something you did rather than something you didn't do.

None of that helps really but just wanted you to know I hear you :)

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So I never know if I have some sort of manic problem, or the ok times are normal but seem elevated after the bleak.

Calla, thanks. It always helps to be heard. What you said above is exactly how I feel. Sucks to think that at my age I still haven't learned how to recognize "happy" when it bites me :(. And you're absolutely right about just getting on with things anyway. A good friend here just reminded me that we just have to enjoy the good bits when we get em. The fear thing is mostly about school. I started working straight out of high school and never got the chance to go to college. It's something I still really want to do, but I'm afraid of starting and then having Mean Old Mr Blues come along and lay me out flat again.I'll get over it (I'm hanging on teeth and toenails waiting for CBT therapy to start in September so I can learn to defuse some of these thought bombs). I guess it all comes down to "Keep Calm and Carry On", huh?

Hope you're still feeling brighter. Let's both decide to enjoy it while we have it :D.

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From this article on the Main Site

Movement on an Energy Continuum: Bipolar Disorder, Mania and Manic Episodes

... There are defined criteria (in the DSM) that must be met in order to say that someone is experiencing a full manic episode. For example, manic episodes must be present for at least one week's duration before they can be diagnosed (although they may last far longer than that). Up to several months duration are possible.

A variety of symptoms are possible during a manic episode. At least three of the following symptoms need to be present before the diagnosis can be made:

* an inflated, expansive, grandiose (and possibly delusional) sense of self

* reduced sleep needs compared to normal

* pressured speech (talking so fast the words don't have time to get out the mouth)

* subjective sensation of racing thoughts (often called a "flight of ideas")

* distraction or derailment of thought occurring significantly more often than normal

* an increase in goal-directed activity (purposeful behavior), or physical agitation

* a marked increase in participation in risky but pleasurable behavior (such as unprotected sex, gambling, unrestrained shopping, etc.)

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Oh I think you should definitely go back to college. I reckon that would be a great thing to do. I loved my days at college and if you never did I think it's about time you did!! I bet it would only be scary for the first hr at most then I bet you'll love it.

Yeah I hope CBT does some good things for you. I'm trying to teach myself. At the moment it only helps when I'm feeling a bit stronger. So I just need to practise till it sheds light on the dark times too I guess. But like you say enjoy the moments when it works! And you will have someone to guide you which will make it much better.

And yes carry on and stay calm... panic and hide has been the motto for far too long hey!? :(

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Thanks Luna. I'd like to talk that list over with a diagnostician. not that another diagnosis really interests me. I've got sooooo many labels already.

Calla - yeah I'm really thinking about it. I'm thinking about studying electronics - I already repair computers and I'd like to start building music toys and robots.

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Music toys and robots?? Sounds like some serious intelligence going on there! :eek:

Would be great to explore that further I'm sure. My job is quite technical but my brain isn't!! It's been more luck than judgement so far!! :(

But education and all it's distractions and rewards sounds like a great idea.

I hope it goes well for you. Then maybe I can pm you when my laptop starts misbehaving......joking!!!

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It's weird because out of all of the symptomes of mania the only ones I haven't experienced, to my knowledge anyway, were pressured speech and distractability. When I was in my mania's I always had almost extreme concentration. But I'm almost positive that I've been in some pretty extreme mania's considering all of the other symptomes.

I'm starting to wonder if I'm going into one now. Well, it'd officially be a mixed state because I am really depressed but I'm starting to feel the... uuhh.. hankering or tingling I get before I do something completely out of the ordinary and get a few months of energy finally. I'm a bit worried actually. Since it's happened a few times now I think I'm starting to recognize the feelings I get right before a mania.

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