Bipolar Mania: Manic versus Enthusiastic
For individuals who suffer with bipolar mania the onset of the first manic or hypomanic episode is very difficult to recognize. Sometimes even after multiple episodes it’s hard to recognize the seriousness of the problem. Often a spouse or good friend is the first to alert you that you are making a transition from enthusiastic to something they don’t understand.
Only in retrospect did I realize that from about 1966 I was crossing the line between being too enthusiastic to a state of manic. There were times when my fast thinking, fast doing fast joking, staying up all night to develop and print my black and white photos were not normal but I thought I was just energetic.
Synonyms for enthusiastic include energetic, forceful, kinetic, gung-ho, charged up and animated; any of these synonyms for enthusiastic could apply to being manic.
So you can see the conundrum. How is the average layman able to tell the difference? How could I tell the difference? How can anybody with bipolar disease tell the difference? Being unable to recognize when you have crossed the line from exhilaration to being out-of-control is difficult.
Others Can Often See Bipolar Mania
If you have had a manic episode, often your wife or friends are aware when you have one. If you think you could have bipolar disease, and a family member or good friend tells you that you are starting to ‘fly high,’ they are probably correct. You need to learn not to get angry or defensive. If you keep escalating the exhilaration becomes irritation. You will hurt yourself, disrespect yourself, or hurt others emotionally or physically.
A manic individual, who either has never been diagnosed, never treated or does not realize he or she is crossing the line, can get hurt or hurt others. If you’ve never been diagnosed with bipolar disease but you have experienced episodes of depression and now someone tells you that your behavior seems ‘manic’ or that you are speaking too fast, or you are too energetic, or you feel your thoughts are coming too fast you should consider the possibility that you are actually bipolar. If these symptoms are recognized by your primary care provider, he or she must refer you to a psychiatrist ASAP.
Dr Paul Golden