I’ve written a lot about depression lately for obvious, sad reasons, but it occurs to me that I haven’t really written about the other side. Manic episodes are often extremely intense periods where everything feels exciting and awesome. You’re really high energy. You want to do everything! Life moves pow pow pow. Oh, that sounds awesome. It’s…not. It’s terrifying.
If Aspies are prone to depression, then we’re definitely prone to the other side. I should stress I’m not saying I go into true manic episodes, which often last a week or so. No, mine are far milder, a day or so in length but I definitely hit manic states. Today’s was a very mild one even as such go but it made me think.
Today’s state was likely triggered by a nice combo of not having eaten, drinking a mountain dew, a beautiful day, and a really interesting time at the comic shop. Most of my manic triggers start similarly. See, if a depressive incident starts from darkness, a manic incident starts for me from feeling great. Nothing wrong with that. Here’s the issue though: a manic episode can spiral just as hard as a depression episode and get scary.
When the episode hit, roughly about noon, I was electrified. Heart was racing. The radio sounded great. Even songs I hated felt kinda great. So I started to drive further than planned, opting to go into southwest Little Rock rather than driving home. Then pow! Why the hell not keep driving south to a used book store. Woohoo! So I did all that and it kicked ass!
Here’s the problem. On the drive home I started trying to think of plans to carry out. I could see a movie. No EVERY MOVIE! I could buy every soda I want! I could do anything and every–bam. That was when I realized I was overstimulated and in a manic state. So I forced myself to finish my trip by going home. OK, not all that impressive.
Here’s the thing. I’ve had episodes that did spiral. A lot of them in fact. Usually they ended with too much money being spent and extreme depression. When I start to hit a high point, it becomes addictive. The crash that comes is nothing less than hell. It’s a mental storm that collapses. It’s painful. I have ended such overstimulation with bizarre claims against people and lots of tears.
And it’s hard because the episode is awesome. I let myself stop from getting intense today so it was a great day. I mean, when you’re in a gleeful state having a great time, well it’s great. A great day and a manic state start exactly the same. You really dig it! There’s really nothing wrong with it until it escalates.
How do we stop ourselves? You have to step in, tell yourself that this is going on. Recognize that you could crash. Recognize that crashing is coming. Deep breath. Force yourself to pay attention. Slow activities. Choose to destimulate. Keep a few nice things going. I’ve found eating helps. Then hopefully get some rest. Oh and make plans! That really helps!
Manic states happen when you’re stimulation prone. Keep moving on though. If you do, a manic ep will be just a great day. Yay.