This Is What A Manic Episode Feels Like


My friend tries cocaine in Vegas and only decides to tell me about it after a month has passed. She purposefully waits until the perfect moment to unlock the secret, when she knows my voice will be softer, when my disapproval will stay in the back of my throat instead of loudly announcing itself in the room.

We’re at brunch in public, so I don’t allow the growl in my mouth to escape. But it presses at my teeth like an uninvited guest.

I know the reason she does this is because of how instantly worried I’ll become. I can’t help it. My mother hen heart will start beating and clucking loud enough that all the neighbors will hear. Maybe they’ll complain. I cannot silence the parade of nerves. Trust me, I’ve tried.

And honestly, it’s not from judgement. It’s birthed out of fear. I live dreading the day I will attend another funeral I’m not ready for. I’m afraid of goodbyes that were never planned.

She confides and after she goes home, I cry with my face buried in both hands standing on the sidewalk. I am tired of the sickening punch to the gut when I remember things aren’t in my control.

But the reality is
I am used to things
out of my control.

Being manic is probably similar to a cocaine high. The only “illegal” drug I’ve ever done is weed, so I might not be a reliable source. But my friend tells me it feels like you can do everything. You are so alive, it almost hurts. Nothing is off limits.

And despite strictly sticking to OTC meds, I know exactly what she means.

My brain does that all on its own.

It’s not as if I instruct it that way. I don’t supply it with any outside source. It works without my input. When I’m manic, it tells me I am extraordinary. I’m a superhero. I can do anything and everything. And for a while, I will believe it.

Because the thing about manic is that it always seems like it’s forever. Even when you know it isn’t. Even when you’ve got an entire history of medical reports that tell you the next part won’t go so well. That this feeling has an expiration date. But right now? Oh, right now you’re soaring at heights other people can’t comprehend. Why believe there’s anything else? Why ruin this beautiful high?

When you’re in a manic episode, it’s delicious. And I’m not sure if that’s something I’m supposed to say. I should talk about the struggles of this disease. I should tell you it’s a dangerous cycle (it is) and to take medication (you should see a doctor). This is when I’m supposed to wish for a “normal” brain. This is when I tell you how hard it is.

And yes, it is hard. I’m not minimizing what I and other people in my community deal with. ‘Bipolar’ is still casually tossed as a term you use when the weather is unpredictable, or for that girl/guy you’ve deemed crazy. Bipolar is the label they slap on a character on Law & Order: SVU to explain behavior. It’s not fair. I scream every time I see it portrayed. It’s not fair. That’s not what we are.

To be manic is to feel like how we all joke Kanye feels. Kanye loves Kanye, right? So to be manic is to be Kanye. To love yourself. To think you are worthy of it all. To know you can do it all. To see yourself as a fucking supernova, so bright and luminous.

But you forget that supernovas are explosions. Supernovas do not last. They end.

And the manic always does too.

But while it’s here? I love it as much as I love any other part of me. Should I keep that to myself? Should I not admit how brilliant my manic can feel? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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