What Mania Looks Like to Me


What is a grandiose idea in bipolardisorder? Most people believe that’s something like believing you are Jesus or a superhero. I have had bipolar disorder for most of my life and never experienced such feelings. I never understood what it could feel like until recently. I was reading an article one day and started to see a much clearer picture of what it looked like from my perspective.

Like a lot of people with bipolar I disorder, I tend to gravitate toward the manic side of things. I spend a lot of time in a hypomanic state.

I have a very creative side to me. I start projects that I usually don’t finish, and sometimes I talk about household projects that never even get started. In other words, I talk a lot. So much, in fact, that my husband has learned to just let me ramble about what it is I want to do to the house. He knows it won’t come to be because I won’t actually save the money to do the project. I laugh now when I think of my most recent redecorating project. Thankfully, my husband knew once again that I wouldn’t get to do the project because of lack of funds.

I have four boys, all teenagers. I am a young mom who loves glitz and glamour. I honestly thought I was going to paint my living room silver and gray with a hot pink trim and then hang sayings on the walls such as “reach for the sky” and “live, laugh, love” in gold glitter. I thought I would do it right away because the urge was killing me.

After about two weeks, once the mania wore off, I realized that this was my way of grandiose thinking. I seriously thought that, in a house with four teenage boys, I would have hot pink trim in the living room. I was so glad I didn’t do it! How embarrassed would my kids have been to have their friends over to a house with pink trim on the walls?

After speaking with my husband, I realized that not all grandiose ideas are the same for everyone. I never thought I had experienced them, but I just experienced them differently from other people. I have a great grasp on my reality most of the time. Sometimes when my creative side comes to life, I get these grand ideas that I believe will make all the crazy thoughts disappear. With this revelation I was once again reassured that I had the right diagnosis.

Mania can strike me even when I am in recovery. A late night out, a missed dose of medication, or another trigger I don’t even know yet could all set me up for a manic episode. I often have grand ideas that cause tension in my family. One time I even went back to school for theater, of all things. I truly believed I could become an actress or do the makeup on set. I truly thought I could leave my family for six months at a time. I have never spent more than four days away from my husband, and we have been married for almost 19 years. The thought makes me cringe now, but during the mania it all made sense.

Grandiose ideas are not the same for everyone. Not everyone believes they are the Second Coming of Christ. I believe I can become someone I can’t or believe I can create something beautiful in my house that isn’t actually beautiful. It doesn’t mean that my mania isn’t as extreme; it actually means that it makes it more unrecognizable. I have to be on my toes often about my feelings, I never know when I am going to have an idea that will tell me I am already in full-blown mania.

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