Mental Health Monday: Mania

Monday, August 22, 2022


I really struggle when people romanticize mania. Last week I was very very triggered when a large (over 5 million followers) creator romanticized a manic episode by calling it fun and productive. I commented as much along with others commenting the same thing with a similar lived experience as myself. The creator then re-uploaded the video removing the "manic" aspect, but left it up on other social media. 

I have since unfollowed this creator on all platforms as I feel the response was lacking for something as serious as mental illness as well as the deleting and re-uploading to change the language on one platform but not all of them. To me that reads like "I didn't like the criticism so instead of addressing and clarifying my meaning I am going to ignore it and continue potentially harming a group of individuals". 

That's not very cash money of them. And I'm sure if you did a little research you can figure out who it is, and perhaps we can attempt to have another 2013-ish incident wherein I disagree with a large creator and their followers harass me to the point of me leaving my blog, and all social media platforms. But let me just tell you that 2013 Rhonda and 2022 Rhonda hit different. This is a hill I will gladly die on because it's fucking harmful. 

Mania is related to mental illness, most commonly Bipolar I disorder, which I have been diagnosed with since 2014. But living with my entire adult life with misdiagnoses and self medicating and nearly ruining my entire life or ending it. About 20% of people with Bipolar Disorder end their own lives by suicide, so I get a little infuriated when one of our symptoms is romanticized. 

There are three types or stages of mania. Hypomania which for me is quite enjoyable. Hypomania is classified as being mild and while it may impact sleep and impulsivity it does not lead to hospitalization or cause psychosis. For me, when I am hypomanic I do have increased energy and tons of ideas, but I still feel like me. I'm not venturing into dangerous territory. 

The next stage is Acute Mania. This is when we can start to lose touch with reality, make very impulsive decisions that we would not normally make. Psychosis may occur where that connection to reality is not all there. This stage has us jumping from idea quickly and not making a ton of sense. This is the stage where I start to not feel like myself, but it does feel good in the sense that my mind does not realize that my ideas make no sense or that I'm not actually receiving secret messages through the songs on my playlist. This is when it starts to become dangerous. 

The third type or stage is Delirious Mania. This is when there are delusions. The psychosis starts to take over and the connection to reality is no longer there. At this stage hospitalization may need to be considered. 

I believe that most people when discussing their "manic" phase are either talking about hypomania (because it feels like a fucking super power) or they are not truly bipolar and they are referencing an intense period of productivity and getting stuff done. Anyone can achieve this, and it's not manic. It's simply getting into a good work flow and focusing. 

I discuss things I have done with manic all the time. And yes some of the stories are funny especially because I can laugh at them now. But they did hinder my life. I lost an entire career because of my actions while manic. I very nearly ruined my life on multiple occasions because I was manic and out of control. I have spent time in jail because I was manic. I have been hospitalized because I was manic. I have been in psychiatric wards because I was manic. 

I know that each person may experience mania slightly differently, but all the information I provided here that is outside of my personal experience is from the DSM. It is how doctors diagnose us. There are similarities to how we experience this illness. Mania is never going to be a good time. 

And if you want to come defending that creator or any creator who romanticizes mental illness to me just don't. Because I am not going to be super nice and understanding about it. This is harmful behavior and it needs to stop. 

I'm talking on my podcast today about mania as well. Go give it a listen. The link is on the top of this page. 

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