Here are six things I would have had knee-jerk reaction to had someone said them to me while I was in mania. They would have added fuel to the fire and made things escalate.
- Asking “Why don’t you use your medication?” This is a huge thing to say to someone off their medicine, and unfortunately, as much as one with Bipolar needs medication, when they are in a manic state, all bets are off. I hated hearing this from any well-meaning concerned friends or family. It’s a touchy subject, because pride is a sneaky little thing. Without pride, it would be an obvious answer to the mood swings. But because mania can feel so empowering, to me I was insulted and enraged.
- Overtly disagreeing with me in mania is also a moot point. I could wiggle my way into complete innocence and justify my side (in my mind) while I was off my rocker. When someone pointed out my mistakes, I had every good reason to deny and defy them. In the end, they just made themselves the enemy, and wasted my time and theirs.
- Talking about me within earshot. I absolutely abhorred this while I was manic, and especially while I was paranoid. If I knew anyone around me was talking about me – zing – I’m all ears. I was also center-of-the-universe at that time too, so that put my pride to the test. It’s best to keep conversations about us behind closed doors when it’s something we don’t have to be privy to.
- Alluding to my craziness. What gets me going? Even if you didn’t say it, I can figure out the direction you’re going in. I wanted to be anything but crazy – in fact I remember desperately trying to prove I wasn’t crazy, only creative, when someone gave me that look. It may be true, the manic madness can give me a crazy look in my eye, but I don’t want to be called crazy.
- Making a decision for me, without my consent. Don’t tell me you’re going to do something for me (because you don’t trust my judgment). I will automatically mistrust you and your good intentions because you don’t trust mine. I can make decisions, I just need to be gently reminded why my judgment doesn’t add up, and why yours does. Gradually guide me to see things your way. Empathize with me first and see things my way, then explain your side.
- Any and all insults and knocks on my condition or hospitalization are uncalled for, which should be obvious. But some have had the nerve…don’t be that person.