"My story of mania" - Molly Kelly
I was 21 years old the first time I had a manic episode. Even though it’s been 8 years since then I still remember how exhilarating it was. It wasn’t like anything I’d ever experienced. From my point of view I was elated. At first it was like the ultimate high where I was just hyped about anything and everything. Then things changed. Mania took me down a path I would have never expected.
It started off with these grandiose ideas. It was mostly things I wanted to do and accomplish without much thought to execution or the consequences. I just remember feeling empowered and confident believing that I could do anything. I just felt everything on such a deep level. I would act impulsively. Thinking back now I was truthfully a bit reckless.
Things were beginning to get bad when I wasn’t able to sleep more than a couple hours a night. I wasn’t eating much of anything and yet I was never tired. The truth is I didn’t think much of it at the time because I was just overwhelmed by all of the thoughts and emotions I was having. My speech became rapid and I would talk over people without even realizing it. I think that’s when things got scary. I was so consumed by what was going on inside that I lost sight of reality.
When I’ve experienced mania it was like my brain was telling me all these different stories. It felt like my past, present and future were all colliding. At first it all seemed to make sense but it quickly turned to disorder and confusion. The hardest part was distinguishing the psychosis from what was real and tangible. It felt like my head was at war but the only one fighting was me.
I’ve had more than one manic episode since being diagnosed as bipolar and I have trauma every single time. I’ve been hospitalized and have spent my fair share of time inpatient. Episodes can last for months at a time and at the end I’m always completely debilitated. It’s daunting when mania subsides. I feel like I have to rebuild the parts of me that we’re broken.
I still have a lot of shame for certain things that I’ve done while I was manic. That’s something I’m working on.. I want to show myself grace for the moments where I really wasn’t in control. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I care deeply about protecting my mental health. I take medication everyday and probably will for the rest of my life to help maintain balance.
All that being said, in many ways I feel stronger because of what I’ve overcome. I’ve spent so much time healing over the last several years. I think I’ve grown so much. I feel like I really learned how to love and respect myself. I set boundaries to keep peace in my own life. I say no to things that won’t benefit my mental stability. While I don’t know what the future holds I’m confident that I will continue on with courage and hope.