Question: Can you describe the experience of mania? Are there greater creative possibilities during a mania than during a state of mental balance? Do you miss mania?
Answer: Hypo-mania and mania are the symptomatic candy of bipolars, of which I can only speak of the former. Mania belongs to the bipolar 1 sufferers, who seem more like cocaine-tripping bipolars when they are under the influence of mania. As a bipolar II - it is the version more often associated with female bipolars - I have experienced hypo-manic highs, but they are more intellectually focused episodes, a sense of distilled mental and spiritual states.
Different, not greater creative possibilities hail from a hypo-manic state. I believe artistic expression is at its best when the artist, him or her self, is fully present and able to integrate high-minded principles and far-flung notions. Hypo-mania could be likened to the LSD trips that are purported to have made some of the mid-sixties rock bands legendary. Notably, the music of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band made a difference in the pop music world, but I believe that more mature and grounded work came from those same musicians, when they were less overtaken by the outside force of a hallucinogen.
To miss the effect of hypo-mania would be to crave immaturity, its appetites and short-sighted pleasures. I learned much from my bipolar symptoms over twenty years (depression, hypo-mania, suicidal ideation, psychosis, poor judgment) and understand now that all of them are augurs of severe mental suffering, even the ones that taste like candy, feel like sex, and act like LSD to a psychedelic rock star. As we bipolars age we need to be the constant keepers of reason, not in any way sentimentalists. Mental health is aided mostly by keeping one's head in times of travail and temptation, when the mentally ill need to be reminded most that they are not normal, but can live exceptionally well, if they keep a good progressive sense of themselves and steer from self-pity and a leaning toward self-gratification.
-The Blue Bear
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