When you hear the word “mania,” what do you think of? I used to think that manic people were the real crazy ones, unlike depression and anxiety. And culture will tell you that too.
Counselors, on the other hand, describe mania as being so happy and full of energy that you don’t realize how damaging it is. It’s called “euphoric mania.” Picture someone on top of the world happy, doing a thousand tasks at once, getting everything done, and having the time of their lives.
But it’s not always that way.
I have never experienced the euphoric mania. Instead, I have bouts of feeling like I can’t focus on anything; hating everyone and everything all at once, including myself; and not being able to sleep but wanting to sleep more than anything else. I decided to research this one time when I couldn’t take it anymore and found out the name: “dysphoric mania.”
Dysphoric mania, also known as mixed mania, is euphoric mania’s uglier, crappier cousin. Instead of feeling on top of the world, Healthy Place has found subjects feel “agitated, uncomfortable, irritated, depressed, pessimistic and filled with negative energy” (link).
Dysphoric mania is called mixed mania because it behaves like a combination between depression and mania. Instead of being pure manic energy, it combines with depression to create an agitated, tense state of uncomfortable energy that can’t be expelled.
This isn’t a rare occurrence, either. I recently joined a bipolar support group on Facebook for support, though I am undiagnosed, and asked them if they experienced similar things. Out of the pool of people, nearly 50 responded with their own experiences and more than 40 liked the post. It is much more common than you think. Even my husband, who has bipolar II, has testified to experiencing this form of mania.
If someone you know experiences mania like this, make sure to be sensitive to their needs, give them space, and provide comfort when they ask. If you are experiencing dysphoric mania, I hope you are able to get the help you need, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. It could take you out of a dark place and give you the peace you’re searching for.