Mania, the incredible feeling of euphoria, energy and spirituality is something I have deeply missed since starting bipolar medication. Despite wanting this whole time to be stable, now that I am I miss the highs of Mania.
Medication and Mania
Since being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I have been put on an antidepressant, antipsychotic and then finally mood stabilisers.
I was initially put on the antidepressant Duloxetine and the antipsychotic Chlorpromazine when I was initially diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Chlorpromazine has no business treating Bipolar Disorder, it is an age old drug that has little to offer the condition despite stating that it is suitable to control mania in the leaflet that comes with it. The antidepressant sent me haywire, cycling between depression and mania every 3 days as opposed to every 3 weeks to 3 months. This is a common reaction amongst Bipolars when taking antidepressants as there is nothing protecting you from the manic side, then you crash.
I was then properly diagnosed and put on the antipsychotic Aripiprazole which stopped the rapid cycling and also lessened my experience of mania significantly. I still had odd symptoms, the odd period of racing thoughts, bursts of creativity and ideas, hallucinations, but my mood felt stable. I wasn’t euphoric, I wasn’t irritable or bursting with energy any more. This was when I started to feel the medication was pointless, I was still experiencing symptoms all except for the ones I love about the disorder. Why take it then?
I was then put on the mood stabiliser Lamotrigine, which was the medication I had hoped to be put on in the first place. Lamotrigine is effective at treating bipolar depression but does little to prevent mania. However, this addition to the cocktail I was already taking this meant that I became perfectly stable.
Before I knew it, every day felt the same, the same mood, they started to blur into one. I started going out more, to try and keep myself happy and interested without the buzz of mania, but nothing satisfies me. I started drinking heavily, going out every night, sleeping very little but still no euphoria. I missed it.
When I am manic I am so full of energy, creativity and happiness. I have a connection with the universe that I lose when I feel stable, I lose my control over things around me when I am not manic. The world is brighter, more colourful, I have music in my brain all the time. It is like a drug and I crave it when it is gone. Especially as I am not experiencing the depression that follows a mania comedown to much of an extent with the antidepressant combination I have continued to take.
Coming off Medication
A while ago I wrote about how this struggle was tempting me to come off my medication completely, but I fear the extreme heights of mania or the complete lows of depression. Since then I have decided to take my medication into my own hands and stop taking the Aripiprazole, in an attempt to go a little bit hypomanic whilst not allowing depression to sneak in or the antidepressant to run riot on its own.
Since coming off medication I have felt a little bit happier and more alive each day, I feel closer to my true self and I feel closer to the world around me. I am however, indulging in risky behaviour more which is something I need to be extremely careful about. As long as I don’t do something too crazy that would risk my job or my relationships it is okay, as soon as I feel I have gone too far I will start taking the medication again.
The Dark Side of Mania
I am not recommending that people follow in my footsteps, mania can be life destroying in its extremes and the anger and irritability that comes with it can be awful to experience. I am simply being honest about my struggles trying to accept a more stable version of myself and my life when I have gotten so used to the intense highs and lows of Bipolar Disorder and found so many things I love about being bipolar.
To anybody in this situation I would advise that you be careful if you decide to go off your medicine, and only do so if you experience mania in a mostly controllable and undamaging way. If this is not the case I would suggest staying in your meds but seeking a therapist to work through your emotions about being stable. Something I should probably do myself!