My Brain is Exploding…Into a Thousand Manic Pieces

I had to stop my anti-depressant a week ago. It was making me sick. Really sick. Stomach pains, nausea, the works.

I saw my psych this week yet again, and we took another ride on the medicinal merry go round to see where it would take us next.

We landed on what she’s calling a “mild mood stabilizer.” Mild in terms of the severity of it’s side effects. She’s been trying to keep me off of Lithium, Depakote, Lamictal, and the other “big guns,” as she calls them because she knows that severe side effects can render me incapable of taking care of the boys….but she’s working overtime to get me on something that works and helps me maintain a healthy fluctuation of moods because anything too high or too low also renders me incapable of taking care of myself and the boys…and school…and life. Problem is, I haven’t gotten this new med yet. It’s in the mail. On it’s way.

I apologize if my sentences are running on…or not making sense at the moment. I’m trying to be coherent, but that’s a hard task when it feels like the world is spinning at 500mph-in your mind. My mind has been exploding with ideas and energy all day, scattering my attention into a thousand little pieces…

I stopped my anti a week ago, and by Monday when I went to fill out my mood chart, I noticed I was giddy. Too giddy. Laughing incessantly. Silly. Goofy. Fun. Overjoyed. Elated. Euphoric. Happy. Smiling. Busy. Productive. Feeling creative & optimistic. I was all the best parts of me multiplied by at least a thousand.

I had started my ascent into a manic episode.

Whether or not it’s hypo, hyper, or full blown mania doesn’t really seem to matter…what does matter is that for the first time I’ve learned enough about BP and myself the months following my diagnosis that I can recognize the signs & symptoms and understand the state that I’m in… which means I can take the necessary steps to take proper care of myself while I’m in it and run preventative maintenance before the inevitable low comes….

Because the low? It’s going to come. But what I’m learning is that its severity depends on how well I take care of myself before it hits.

I’m at a stage with my BP that I’m coming to terms with it and understanding how it works; I’ve spent the past 6 months  identifying my triggers and paying attention to how I respond to what’s going on in and around me. Mood charting has helped me start to see the pattern and frequency of my cycles. Learning to be “in the moment” has afforded me the ability to take a moment while my thoughts are racing to assess how I’m feeling-even if it’s only for a split second. That split second? Makes all the difference.

When I first started reading about BP, I came across some statements from people who said they live for the highs. Living through this current episode, I can finally understand why, and I agree. Sure I can see how dangerous they can be, I’m not denying that. But I can honestly say that when placed in the confines of proper self-care, the highs are manageable. Livable. Like I said, I’m me, but I’m the best parts of me more of the time. I can take care of my boys, play with them, nurture them, read to them…My house is cleaner, my meals taste better, I have the energy to exercise, read, and interact with people….I can take better care of myself when I’m feeling manic…

But I can also understand when it’s entering the not so safe zone…

Talking too much too fast…

Feeling “scattered” mentally…

On Energizer Bunny mode one minute…

Unmotivated the next….

Lack of concentration…

A little snappier than normal…


Impulse control starts to diminish….

Feeling like I’m going 500mph…

Driving and just getting out the door to run an errand takes me 3 hours….

Yea…when I start to feel like that, I know I’m in trouble. So I have to find ways to make my world slow down, spin slower…allow the manic feelings to run their course, just in constructive ways.

Like getting fresh air…

Baking….lots of baking.


Sitting on the floor with the boys and watching them play…


I would say prayer, but I pray on the go these days or as I’m writing a letter to God in my journal. It’s the only way I can focus my thoughts in these states. I think He’s okay with that…

and writing. lots of writing.

That’s why I wrote this today instead of what I planned on discussing.

And you know what? I’m feeling way more peaceful than I did before I forced myself to sit here and talk to you.

Now I feel like I can go bake 5 loaves of delish bread instead of 15. I don’t have 15 neighbors so making that much would just be a waste. And we can’t be wasteful, now can we?





9 thoughts on “My Brain is Exploding…Into a Thousand Manic Pieces

  1. Honey,
    I am very angry for you.
    How dare your doctor take you off of something and NOT make sure that you HAVE the other medication to take.
    Like whoa? He or she should have at least given you samples to last you through until you got them. That is very irresponsible on his or her part. Very.
    I am so sorry that you’re going through this. You shouldn’t have to be if your doctor was more on the ball. Jerk.
    Try as much as you can to get sleep. Even when it seems enticing for you to stay up and “do” things. Burn that energy off dancing.
    Gah…this could have been prevented or the effects lessened.
    Be careful my friend.
    I’m here for you.
    PS. I take Tegretol and Lamictal…no side effects whatsoever.

  2. I second what Kim said….But I understand how easy it is to fall in love with the high. I really do!

    Lamictal worked for me short term, Depakote made my tongue numb, and Tegretol made me nauseous.


  3. I hear you Kim & Pam….
    I definitely should have pushed to just get them from the pharmacy that day, but 1) I would have been sitting there for another 4 hours because the VA pharmacy takes that long (so many people)…and I had the boys with me. I knew they wouldn’t make it that long. We’d already been there 3 hours waiting to see Dr. B and they had reached their limit. 2) I was already on day 2 of the Ascent…you know mania entices you into thinking that you can wait to get something (diminishing impulse control) I know I should have demanded to get my meds right then…but I thought the Abilify would be enough to keep me from getting too high. Today’s been the only “bad” day of mania I’ve had…that’s why I wrote this, and started reaching out to a couple of friends and my ex for help and accountability. It stopped feeling “good” or “manageable” today…so I’ve been trying to channel it into constructive ways and taking it easy. I even forced myself to nap, and my bedtime tonight will be earlier than usual…after some yoga. I’m a little frightened, mostly because I know the low is coming…I’m just hoping it’s manageable and doesn’t go too deep you know? Thank you for reaching out and for being concerned. It means so much to me, seriously. Your support (and tough love ) has gotten me through before and it will continue to 🙂 Lamictal worked short term for me,but didn’t help with my anxiety…so she switched me to Luvox, an antidepressant…honestly, I don’t think it was helping as much as I needed anyway, so when I started getting sick I knew I needed a stabilizer. I’m going to try this new one out when it gets here (it’s called Neurontin or Gabapentin) and if it doesn’t help, then I’m going to just ask for a big gun and just deal with whatever side effects come.

    I hope this post about mania doesn’t make me look irresponsible or like I’m unaware of the dangers of mania. I was just trying to show that it can be a positive thing while recognizing when it becomes dangerous and what to do when it does. that’s all….

    Jaime, the fact that you read and try to understand, offer words of encouragement and support, and that you’re just here-that is enough. It really is and I appreciate and value it like you wouldn’t believe.

  4. How fortunate you are to have such a compassionate and diligent psychiatrist. I understand how much it has helped you learn to be in the moment in order to be able to assess, even for a split second as you say, where you are on the continuum. How seductive the high must be, but how wise you are to know you need to manage it in order to reduce the effect of the low. You’ve made yourself into a magnificent teacher. And you’re not alone.

  5. In my experience, the best things to do while manic are to exercise, eat regular meals, spend time alone or with small groups of good friends, try to relax, go to a support group …peaceful things. I have several friends with Bipolar II who take Lamictal and think it is the best treatment they have experienced. It can have severe side effects, but for most people it doesn’t have any side effects. Only 1% of patients experience severe side effects. My friends who take it have families and good jobs. I have Bipolar I and I take it, but I also have to take lithium which has been a lifesaver…but I would not recommend it to anyone unless they have experienced severe mania and psychosis. I hope you are able to get back to normal soon. All the best.

  6. Hi,
    I understand what you mean with the high – if I start into one, the feeling is intoxicating and I convince my self it will be ok. I have at times been able to stop myself with meds but it is very hard to do!! 🙂
    Also, in line with what the others said, I take Lithium and the only side effect I have experienced is weight gain, but that in itself is likely to be the combination of the meds I take, as I also take seroquel which is well known for weight gain. Otherwise it works very well and I don’t have any issues with it. Of course, always go with your doctors advice, but if you ever have to take these meds don’t be scared off them by what your doctor says 🙂
    all the best with eveything and hope you are well.

  7. Pingback: Manic Monday: Speaking Up & Reaching Out « ButterflyConfessions

  8. Pingback: Manic Monday: Speaking Up & Reaching Out « ButterflyConfessions

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