Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Man, The Mania and the Maniac

Well, it's June again. Must be time for a manic patch.

It seems like I get my depressive patches in Winter and my manic spells in Summer. I used to think this was because Christmas can be depressing (getting together with relatives you can barely tolerate) and my birthday (a day I didn't have to share the celebration with anyone) is in June.

But it seems more likely that my neurochemical cycles just worked out like that. I'm mentioning this because there's a chance that I might be going into a manic patch.

I'm back on the sweet, sweet oblivion of Risperidone at the moment. I have to think of it like that, otherwise I might hate taking them enough to stop. The Risperidone hangover is actually quite pleasant. Enforced lethargy for sure, but not in a totally bad way. My eyes have been swapped for marshmallows, my skies are made of parachute silk, an infinite amount thereof. No matter which straight line I choose to walk, I never see the end. I will never be able to walk somewhere without the gossamer dance of silk tickling my hair. Well, it will wear off in a couple of hours but I wouldn't be much of a poet if I didn't exaggerate for effect occasionally.

I'm not sure if I'm manic or not, to be honest. It's very hard to tell when you're going through it - you usually only find out about it afterwards, when the guilt kicks in or the credit card statement arrives. It's something that is only apparent in retrospect, at least to me. This is why the opinion of others is so important, preferably those who have seen it before.

My wife thinks I might be becoming manic and that's enough for me. She's been through it all often enough to tell. I become a completely different person. I like to think I'm a nice guy most of the time. Yes, I have a somewhat odd sense of humour. Yes, I have difficulty with some social situations. But generally, I know enough of the ways of humans to get by without making anyone uncomfortable. When I'm manic, all my housetraining goes out the window. I lose the usual filters that tell me what is socially acceptable. My brain just works too fast for them. I become inappropriate and offensive, I speak without thinking and unfortunately the fact that it's entirely involuntary hasn't stopped me from losing some good friends because of it.

I used to love the mania. I thought it was payback for the depression in some way, my body talking to me and saying 'so, I hear you had it rough with the depression. Have some mania - you'll forget all about it'. That was what it felt like. Being manic is an amazing feeling. I've never tried cocaine, but it's what I imagine coke to feel like. Flying, full of energy, buzzing with ideas, words falling over themselves in their rush to fall from your tongue, the brain despairing of the mouth that can't keep up with it's frenzied instructions.

But over time, I came to realise that the mania is far more damaging to me and those around me than the depression is. I have a responsibility to prevent myself from becoming manic. Eternally vigiliant.

So I don't really care if I'm manic or not. It is a chance I'm not willing to take and it's much easier to get the genie back in the bottle if you don't let him out in the first place. Prevention is better than cure. Worse case scenario if I get manic: everything in my life turns to shit and everyone hates me. Worse case scenario if I'm not manic but take the meds anyway: I get a bit drowsy in the mornings for a while.

So I drank the Kool Aid. I was even the one who suggested it.

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