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How Memories of Mania Help Me Today

Sometimes I become a robot to get out of bed.

I don’t miss my manic years, but there are times I draw on memories to help me get through hard times. Sometimes it can be for just one day when I find myself struggling.

Mint Foto/Pixabay
The sky is the limit
Source: Mint Foto/Pixabay

When I was hypomanic I was living in NYC. I was in my twenties and the disease was really starting to invade my daily existence and hinder my life. I would be up for days and suffer from insomnia and my eyeballs would burn because although my mind wouldn’t rest my body needed a break. Those were some bad times with inconvenient memories.

Not all the memories are bad though. When I felt like I couldn’t get out of bed and didn’t want to move, not just because I hadn’t slept but because I was possibly entering a cycle of depression, I would will myself up. I would tap into the manic side of my brain to intercept any pending mood of depression. I would tell myself, “Get up, get dressed, put on some make-up, walk out the door, go somewhere, do something, get moving. The sky is the limit!”

On more occasions than not, it worked. I forced myself to be active and put my body in motion. It was the manic voice in me that talked me up and out the door. That voice was the fundamental push I needed to not allow myself to remain inside and do nothing truly productive.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been on my mood stabilizer for almost two decades and there are times I think about those memories of not wanting to get up and be active in my day. I lean on those tools I used to troubleshoot any inability to feel like I can’t function like a normal human being and enter society. I give myself the same speech. I also tell myself not to think about it so much and just make it simple. I draw on that manic internal voice solidified in my memory and tell myself to sit up in bed, walk to the bathroom, wash my face, put on sunscreen, and get dressed. I have to talk to myself step by step and make myself function. As I move forward, every baby step becomes easier.

It’s almost as if I start off as a robot, and slowly become human again.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that get me through a rough day or a tough time and doing minor tasks add up to a full day. I might not make it to the gym today and complete a full workout, but I can walk around the block. Maybe I don’t want to go to the grocery store, but I can go down the street and pick up something from a local fruit vendor.

We are all creatures of habit. Sometimes it is easy to fall into bad habits or no habits at all. I am not going to beat myself up because I didn’t run three miles, and maybe I just walked for 30 minutes. I am not going to put myself down because my expectations are too much in a day when it started off with me on a path of doing little to nothing.

I just know that in those days in New York City, when I was medication-free and sometimes had trouble functioning, talking to myself and allowing the manic side of me to direct me worked. It made all the difference in a potentially worthless day.

Recently, I’ve found myself struggling. Like today, I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to leave my place. I didn’t want to do anything. It also happened to me yesterday. I just wanted to stay inside and be stagnant. But today can easily become tomorrow, which can turn into the next day and a week might go by with nothing changed. These are the crucial times that voice can shift that behavior and proclivity to fall into a depressive state, or that place you don’t want to be.

As I said, I don’t miss my manic days but I do hold onto some memories that have helped me in the past. I thank that manic voice that although it has been tempered with medication over the years, it is still there with the positive memories that have allowed me to find the strength to help me today, and for whatever comes tomorrow.