You know, mania might be considered a kind of superpower. Just check out some of these benefits!
- Learn much faster than the average person.
- Full energy with just a couple hours of sleep.
- Suppressed appetite.
- Accelerated weight-loss.
- Greatly enhanced productivity, critical-thinking, and innovation leading to promotions and financial rewards.
- A suddenly outgoing personality.
- and so much more!
What’s not to like? This superpower has enabled me to become more successful in 5 years than most people will be in their entire careers. I’ve learned more things than a lot of people will learn in a lifetime.
Here’s the thing though:
I’d give it up in a heartbeat if I could.
The truth is I’m sick of manic-me leaving depressed-me hung out to dry. Manic-me promises greatness and elevates me above mere mortals, only to abandon me, and make me watch as it all crumbles like a house of cards.
Manic-me got a great job that depressed-me has absolutely no interest in doing. I can barely get out of bed each day knowing the job that lies ahead of me. Now what?
Manic-me tempted me with the joys of countless hobbies and skills from brewing beer, to programming video games, to playing the piano. Each time I was abandoned on the cusp of discovering joy… on the cusp of growing a curiosity into a passion. Each time I have been deceived by mania’s lies, then forced to watch as an all-consuming pursuit decays into nothing; it’s like watching a loved one waste away before your eyes, and I know it will happen again and again.
I’m reminded of the Greek myth of Tantalus, who was made to suffer for eternity by standing in a pool of water below a low hanging fruit tree. Each time he reached for the fruit, the branches would recoil such that he could never satisfy his hunger. Each time he bent down to drink, the water would drain away such that it was always just out of reach.
I am a modern day Tantalus, constantly denied the fruit of a true, sustainable passion or purpose – forced to decay for eternity, just beyond the reach of what could sustain me.
If you have bipolar disorder I urge you to please not fool yourself. Mania is not a superpower. It’s a purveyor of false hopes, and a truly devastating partner to the destruction that depression already wreaks.