My Experience with Mania

Author: Ricardo Pavão


My first manic episode was about 4 years ago, and now I understand that before that I also had long periods of depression. I can say that experiencing mania was a really tough time. I was hospitalized 4 times, basically once every year, without the doctors totally understanding what was happening to me. I would lose the complete sense of reality, thinking that I was a chosen one to change the world, like a God figure. The hallucinations were so vivid that I thought that they were true. Now looking back, we all know that this does not make any sense. But that painful state of mania stayed for a long time, years. The truth is that for me medicine was not an exact science. At some point I started on antidepressants, which seemed to be effective at first, but soon after I experienced another manic episode. I was hospitalized and the doctors concluded that I had bipolar type I. It was a relief to finally have a diagnosis and to know that I had a treatable illness.

Since I was diagnosed in April of 2023, with the medication my doctors prescribed, I’ve been stable without any other manic episodes; along with depressive episodes, these were my biggest fears. With the diagnosis, I eventually decided that I wanted to live and work in a less stressful environment. The city of Lisbon, where I’ve lived for more than 15 years, was no longer the best option for me. I’m originally from the Azores. So I decided to go back to my hometown, São Miguel Island. São Miguel Island is so beautiful and usually a calm place. I understand that very stressful environments can lead to states of mania, or even depression, so I avoid that to the max.

Mania can be a really scary thing when it comes to its maximum state, especially hallucinations. But for me the red flags are: insomnia, racing thoughts, talking too fast, extreme irritability, and extreme anxiety. Knowing all these factors can help you and your closed ones to detect them before they become severe. Your brain, I think, then remembers and somehow lets you know, like “hey don’t you think there’s something fishy going on here”.

With my not so long experience I know that it is really important to take your medication, have healthy routines, practice some sports, listen to music, etc. Do something with your life that pleases you, besides work! It’s extremely important to have hobbies and socialize with others. Since I’m a shy person, back in my teen school years I was really reserved. I thought there was something wrong with me. Like how people could be so mean, and how was the human world was so vicious?  But with time, I focused on making my part of trying to be nice to others and to the world.

Besides all the dark times of mania, all the experiences that I had made me stronger and more capable of dealing with bipolar disorder. You often don’t say this about diseases, but today I’m proud of being bipolar.


The content of the International Bipolar Foundation blogs is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician and never disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read in any IBPF content.
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