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Manic Happiness

Is it genuine?

Is happiness Genuine, or only for the Manic?

Mania is a phase of Bipolar Disorder characterized by an abnormally heightened mood, hyperactivity, and a reduced need for sleep. Basically, I feel confident, energized, and ready to take on the world, with barely any sleep. I feel genuinely happy, and excited for life. Which is a huge deal considering the depressive lows of Bipolar Disorder, are very low. When I am low, I am insecure, and miserable. I have no confidence, no energy, and all I want to do is sleep. It’s no wonder that when I am Manic, I get irritated when people tell me to take my medicines. When I am on my medicine, I don’t feel low, but I am nowhere near the "high" that mania gives me. I’m in what feels like a lull. Almost emotionless, and numb. Scared that if I feel too happy, Mania is coming. Scared that if I feel too depressed, that the depressive low is coming. It’s an uneasy feeling to have.

My mania, makes me feel amazing. I would walk in the rain, and not be bothered that my socks were wet, because I was feeling that good about life. I would listen to my music, and sing at the top my lungs, and dance wherever I was because I figured people would look at me and see me as someone who is truly happy. Someone confident. Someone who didn’t care what others had thought. They had no idea I was struggling with a Manic Episode. The thing is, neither did I! I had been medication free for three years, and I had pretty much forgotten that I had Bipolar Disorder. When my mania started, I figured I was just happy that I had a new job, and my life was just going to be getting better from here on out. Finances would be better, and life would improve. It honestly went the exact opposite way. My mania lasted 90 days, roughly. I was what I called Falsely Happy for 90 days. I came down from Mania quite suddenly, and without medications. On my own, and unexpectedly. My music lost its good sound. My dancing stopped. The rain felt sharp, and cold. I was now depressed.

When I came down from mania, and was feeling the depressive lows, I remember sitting in my bathtub, talking to myself (or maybe to God, I don’t really recall). I was saying things like “I can’t do this anymore," and “This hurts too much." I missed the happy feeling. I didn’t know what I did that made it disappear and just vanish into thin air! It was as if one minute I was happy, and the next I was crying in my bathtub hating myself. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what was happening, and then I thought about it. I started researching about Bipolar Disorder again. Learning the signs, and symptoms again. I realized it was an episode, and that maybe I didn’t have it as under control as I had once thought. I needed help, and after a four day stint in a Mental Hospital, I made an appointment with a Psychiatrist.

When I saw my doctor, he was very straight forward, and brutally honest. He didn’t sugar coat anything, he told me I never should have gone off my medications, and he confirmed my diagnosis of having Bipolar Disorder. He was a firm doctor, and a little too intense for me, so I no longer see him. However, during our time together he said something that has stuck with me. He asked “What is your end goal here?” I replied, “I want to be genuinely happy, without having the mania. I don’t want to be falsely happy." His response was, “Is there a such thing as falsely happy? It’s a genuine feeling, and even manic, your feelings of happiness were genuine.” He was right. 

Since hearing that, I’ve made the choice to hear my music, and feel the rain again. I changed my thinking, and refused to allow a disorder to tell me when I can, and cannot feel happy. Happiness is a feeling that is true, and inside of all of us. Any time you feel happy, never think its not real.

Rachel Bonneval
Rachel Bonneval

I have Bipolar Disorder, & after a Manic Episode that lasted 3 months, and a 4 day stay in a Mental Hospital, I have been on the road to recovery, trying to survive each day, and get my life back. For myself, my marriage, & my kids. 

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