Managing moods can seem unexciting, especially since mania can put us in silly situations! Here is one of my mania-induced funny moments—and how I worked through it.
Is Managing Mania Boring?
I know I can seem all doom-and-gloom! You must manage your mania! etc. I still believe this, but it doesn’t mean that my mania wasn’t really, really funny many times in my life.
Here’s a story about Manic shopping that got out of hand at a department store.
I have a type of bipolar called ultradian rapid cycling. This means I can go in and out of mania and depression in day or sometimes even an hour. It’s pretty awful, but I used to have some awesome euphoric manic episodes that I thought were the real me! I loved them! I courted them! I spent all of my money!
It’s Kind of a Funny Story…
One day, I’m in a department store that has everything. I decided I’m going to buy everything I can that’s on sale that I can then give to the homeless in my city when the weather gets colder.
This is a very manic thought. It’s an end-of-winter sale. We are in spring—we still have to go through a summer and a fall before these items can be used! But, no! I have to clothe homeless people in the winter, and what better time to buy these items than during an after-winter sale!
I start in the kids department. I fill my cart. Then teens. I fill it more. Then adults. I fill it to the brim. And then I see the scarves. Oh, I love scarves. I even drape them around me in the summer!
The Moment of Recognition
Then I hear two women talking: “I never know what to get.”
Oh my goodness, don’t say that around a person in a manic episode. I turn to her and say, “I can help. I have done this for a lot of people.”
(I should reveal here that this is not a lie. I have done work as a stylist for men. Something I really like and was good at, but I didn’t want to have it as a profession.)
I helped them pick out scarves and then earrings, … and I then heard a tiny voice in my head say, “Julie, you’re manic.”
I didn’t realize it until then:
- My shopping cart looked like a tower of clothes.
- I was telling people what to wear in a store.
- I was talking nonstop.
- I was really slaying it with the scarves on these ladies!
- And I didn’t realize I was manic.
As I had this thought, one said to me, “You are good at this. It is your job?”
And, folks, I said something I have never forgotten. I said:
“Yes, I am a film stylist.”
That is a lie. It’s a freaking manic lie. It came out so smoothly, and, as they walked away, it dawned on me that once again, euphoric mania had me in its grip.
Know the Plan. Work the Plan.
I have a plan for when this happens. I put everything back, and I leave the store. This time, I managed to put almost everything back. All of the on-sale winter clothes, but I still bought myself a scarf!
This is a funny story. It was like an I Love Lucy or Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode—lying to get out of a situation—but I wasn’t lying on purpose. My manic brain said that. It lied. And if I didn’t have my mania plan in place when it finally dawned on me that I was manic, I would have had a basement full of clothes for the homeless that would sit there until I gave them away a few years later, when I realized that I forgot I had bought them!
I don’t allow mania in my life anymore. I’ve taught myself to stop it within the first few hours. I do miss the funny times. But, overall, my life is so much better now that I’m not spending all of my money and lying to strangers!
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