One of the most common misconceptions about mania, is the fact that many believe it is solely a euphoric and extremely happy state of mind in which your self-confidence flows as of that of a great river, and nothing could stand in your way. Although those feelings can and do occur, mania is not necessarily an enjoyable experience, and it certainly has its dark side.
With mania, everything can spiral out of control within the blink of an eye, the individual who is within the the state of mania may fail to recognise this at the time, although that is not always the case. The individual can and very well may be aware of the distress they are in and the damage they are causing, yet it still remains out of their control.
Mania can cause a range of symptoms which can cause a vast amount of distress to the individual, and those around them. This includes:
– irritability and agitation
– anger (to extreme lengths in some cases)
– racing thoughts
– a lack of attention / concentration
– grandiosity and a sense of invincibility
– psychosis (hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thinking etc – even in those who do not suffer from a psychotic illness)
This can cause an individual to say or do things that are completely out of character, such as making risky decisions and engaging in dangerous behaviour, being rude or aggressive, and spending money excessively or inappropriately. In a manic state, a person may lack social inhibitions to a significant degree and have an impaired sense of judgement, which is why doing the things previously stated can be extremely easy to do.
As mania also tends to cause a person to suffer from insomnia, this can create a vicious cycle where the insomnia makes the state of mania far more intense, and vice versa.
The crash is inevitable, and eventually it will come. It is most common to come to the realisation of exactly what you have done throughout your state of mania during this period. Which also adds more distress, frustration, guilt, and shame to fuel the crash, as well as the episodes of depression which tend to follow.
It is important to remember that mania affects each individual in very different ways, including the dark side of mania, therefore symptoms will present themselves differently in each individual and may not be easy to identify.
More often than not, it can be exceptionally difficult to talk to an individual in a manic state about their behaviour, as well as attempting to talk them out of bad decisions and dangerous situations. Due to the effects of mania, they may see no problems with their behaviour, especially if they are experiencing states and thoughts of grandiosity. However, this does not mean that you should not be there to support them in every way that you can, although it may be immensely difficult, you may be able to help keep them from harm as well as break through and talk some sense into them.