I am a 27 yr old white male who lives in San Francisco. I have finally come down from the first manic episode of my life which began in earnest on November 11, 2000. I was diagnosed bi-polar on January 3, remained in a relatively hypomanic state for all of January and the first couple of weeks of February.
I now feel more or less as I did before this endeavor began.
I am concerned because the accounts of manic episodes given online, and in other forums I have come across, have reduced mania to mere psychological condition without giving much thought, credence, or discussion to actually what transpires in a manic episode. The actions of the manic are merely reduced to criteria (i.e. thoughtless spending sprees, inflated sense of self, irritability). Because from the outside the manic appears unstable, the manic is frightening. But the manic has many other things going on underneath that are worthy of discussion, as we all do.
I've told my story to my therapist a thousand times, so I won't do it here. But what I do want to do here is encourage those who feel like lepers, outcasts, and crazies because of the internalization of their own psychological illness, to reconsider their lives.
Please, while you recognize that you have been diagnosed with something, it is not all of who you are. It is merely a label and there are many other creative ways to deal with this diagnosis other than, "I'm so relieved to know what the hell I am." perhaps you've known who you were all along, as some testimonials in this forum have attested to...the 'I knew I was different all along' testimonial.
Don't allow society to explain to you who you are. Listen to your inner voice that directs your actions in life, and don't let the albatross of a manic depressive diagnosis, or for that matter a diagnosis of any other kind, begin to dictate to you how to live your life.
this is not an across the board rejection of using medication for the treatment of psychological conditions. Rather, this is a plea to you to consider other methods. Western medical methods are only one piece of the puzzle.
Yoga, meditation, exercise, therapy, acupuncture, herbs...all of these have been useful tools for me in addressing not only my mania but my depression as well.
and I feel relatively content these days. Not merely holding onto life by the skin of my teeth, fearing one day I will again go berzerk. but very literally, content. If mania happens again, I will address it. But it need not be incorporated into my sense of self.
I am here. we are all here.
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