Mania can be described as that "on top of the world feeling" a person with bipolar disorder feels. It's not just any happiness, it's not just any high. It's dangerous, it's obsessive and it's validated, in our minds, to be 100 percent real at the time.
And that's the danger of it.
For me, falling into a manic state is like going to a party with the girl everyone warns you to stay away from.
When mania comes around, it convinces me to stay at the party for a while, not just for the night. It convinces me to stay for days and weeks on end.
When I get there, mania walks me through meeting different people: lovers and friends of all kinds. I'll drink beers with the guys and dance with the girls.
Nothing can stop me — this is euphoria. At this point, my manic state will remind me that the best is yet to come.
Mania has me laughing uncontrollably, talking more than I should and convincing me to experiment with everything around me. I'm still looking to have that last shot or get that final high. Mania convinces me there's no such thing as too much of anything.
No matter how much I do, it won't be enough. I'll keep searching for that earth-shattering, lightening-speed feeling in a place, a person, a thing. I'll search for it in one more dance and one more hour.
This feeling of happiness can't be fake, mania reminds me. It's so real it hurts. And eventually, it does.
That's when mania becomes the friend who leaves you when the party's just finishing.
Nothing can stop me — this is euphoria.
Mania doesn't care how long you've felt on top of the world — mania cares that it brought you to this place where you can do anything. And isn't that what you wanted?
Mania knows you can't get enough. But for now, it's leaving. And it's going to leave you right where the largest mess was made.
And that is in your conscience: The place where you feel like everything that comes after the mania is your own fault.
The anxiety from the decisions you've made based on a temporary emotion, the panic from thinking your life will never fall back into place. The realization that some things will just become lessons learned. The things you thought were funny are the things you cry about now.
Suddenly, the party is over. The mess is there for you to clean up alone. You'll have to pick up the pieces of yourself that you left with those lovers and friends who you cannot reach anymore.
The things you've said and the places you've gone all seem like a distant memory. Mania was not real, mania was a state of being. And just like that, the rug has been swept out from under you, once again. Your old friend, depression, has come back to pull you into your familiar discomfort.
Depression walks you through the empty shot glasses, the messy bed, the memories of your happiest days and reminds you that you should probably take off your shoes – you're now here to stay.
Depression makes sure your bed feels extra comfortable, your favorite foods taste even better and the people closest to you don't feel so comforting anymore. You will need them, but you will avoid them. And you will get cozy in your misery.
You'll remember when you would get up every day and make your food, get to work, head to the gym and read your favorite books without a problem. You had all the time in the world, and now you're fighting with yourself to get up, shower and get on with the day.
Missing mania becomes a reality you're embarrassed to admit. You know who you are in that state isn't much better off than the person you are now. The happiness wasn't real; it was fabricated. And the depression was only something to anticipate.
Before long, depression is all you know. The mania party is a distant memory that has left you feeling less sure of who you are, in a body that doesn't feel like your own, in a place you've always been.