How to identify mania:
One way is to make a rough calculation of the percentage of support list email that is yours. Is half the email yours? That’s the support list equivalent of being at a party and running around in a frenzy trying to keep tabs on every conversation.
My personal favorite way to tell is to read my own posts and count how many times I begin a paragraph with the word “I”. If I write a post and every goddam sentence is about me, me, me, then I know that I should be talking to a therapist instead of taking energy from people whose boundaries are too soft for them to say or even think “no” or “you are a boring, self-involved twit.” When folks talk talk talk, it’s because there’s something that they want to say. Not the mush that comes tumbling out in idle chit-chat, but something important and maybe life-changing. OMFG, no, keep talking loud and fast so that you can’t hear it.
In case you aren’t aware of yourself enough to gauge when your thoughts are racing, you are emotionally labile, or you are feeling overly optimistic, grandiose, charitable, attractive, psychotic or whatever else might be part of your mania, then you have to focus on your behavior. Or more specifically to others’ reactions to your behavior.
I realize that gaining some awareness is the first step in being able to reduce your meds, get out and make new friends, do volunteer work or maybe even get job training, and eventually even stop hating yourself and your bipolar disorder. In a way, allowing yourself to be competent and independent is like sawing off the branch you’re sitting on if your continued access to medical care requires that you be sick enough to qualify for it.
Can you imagine being paid to stay sick?