What do you do when someone is manic? If you’ve seen the “not to do” list for one in mania, you’re likely wondering what’s appropriate to say around someone in that mode. Here are 8 things you can say or do when in the battlefield of Mania (or as my family likes to call it, “La-La Land”). Granted, there are things you can’t help will be turned into complete and utter nonsense, but that is the nature of the beast.
- Try to understand them. They can’t control their impulses very well. It’s not them being obnoxious on purpose, though they can control it to a degree. They are chemically imbalanced in their brain – they’re going to act a little (or a lot) crazy. Expect it.
- In an urgent situation, get help. If they are severely manic, do alert their mental health specialist. Seem more agitated and irritated than usual? It’s a good idea to reach out for support as you need a network of help in those intense situations.
- Divert their attention. When I was manic I became distracted by anything big or small, so you can redirect the conversation to a topic more neutral or soothing, or lighthearted. Humor can cut the tension too.
- Avoid them. You may think I’m joking, but if you know they are in a safe place and you find yourself in the middle of their drama, give them some space. You need to take care of yourself too, and being around a manic person can be very draining. Just ask my family.
- Give them something to do. A project, whether it’s adult coloring books, or for guys perhaps its fixing stuff, we have endless amounts of energy in this phase. It’s gotta be channeled somewhere. Hopefully you are prepared. The artist needs their canvas and brush, the person with manic thoughts needs their outlet too.
- Pray for them. You don’t have to pray with them, but praying for them can help combat the spiritual forces at work against them. Especially if they are a Christian, the Devil knows their vulnerabilities in mania and can take advantage of that. Reference: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
- Be patient with them. If they aren’t going to react well to a gentle reminder of taking medicine, they may need to fall on their face or work out the stress on their own.
- Listen to them. As far-fetched as their ideas may sound, as grandiose as their imagination gets, put yourself in their shoes. How? Ask them to describe in words what they’re feeling. Or in terms of movies. What movie are they picturing themselves in? What soundtrack would be playing in the background of their life right now? Get a little taste of their passion. What drives them isn’t all bad.
Hopefully this list helps guide you in your situation with Manic Mary or Euphoric Eunice. This is not an exhaustive list of course, but they are some pointers to keep you and your loved one as sane (and safe) as possible.
Keep the faith and be brave, this too shall pass.