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Splat. How do I distinguish between mania and anxiety?


Both come out of the blue, mania and anxiety.  I feel like I haven’t been honest with myself about the mania.  I don’t really recall many episodes of feeling manic, but not remembering doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

When I am depressed, I can hardly remember any other feeling, it’s so overwhelming.  It engulfs me, becomes all that I am, somehow, and feels like it will never end.  It’s in those all-or-nothing, black and white, long-lasting times of bleak starkness when I contemplate suicide.  Any energy I have when I’m depressed comes from either anger or anxiety.

So, have I experienced the flip-side of depression that is part of a bipolar diagnosis?  I find that I have, more than I had realized.

In the past, when I’ve been unable to sleep but still felt fine in the morning… this is how I know it’s mania and not anxiety, the lack of sleep from mania comes for me from excitement, from feeling creative and like I need to be doing something important.  I awaken in the morning and I’m not tired.  I’m the grips of anxiety, when I can’t sleep because of it, my mind is racing not with wild, creative, grand ideas, but with so much fear and worry that when I finally sleep and awaken, I feel like I’m wearing a leaden suit and the fear is still with me, like a presence.  I almost expect to hear the strains of music that accompany gruesome murders in horror films.  I can’t breathe and I feel exhausted.

Right now, I can’t seem to shut off my mind, but it’s not filled with fear.  I suspect that today, I’ll be a little too talkative, but I will be very productive.  I know I will have to take care not to be too impulsive.  And when I next see my doctor, it may be a good idea to ask about a mood stabilizer.  Evidently, the antidepressant is doing its job!

If you’ve read this and are now scratching your head, wondering what message I even attempted to get across here… Well, splat.  That is what it’s like when mania hits me, too many different thoughts and ideas fighting for expression all at once, and at the end of it I will feel drained like my ideas abandoned me and left me to fall to the ground in a heap of quivering jello.

I realize that probably makes no sense, but if I ramble any longer, I’ll be late for work.