One of the reasons bipolar mania is so hard to treat is that it can make you feel very good. You may have increased energy and motivation and be more creative, self-confident, passionate, and inspired. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?
The problem is that no matter what you encounter in the world, whether it’s the latest news on your favorite technology or something more sinister, like a physical threat to you or someone you love, you see it as something positive, exciting, and ultimately desirable. And that little mental health glitch can get you into some serious trouble.
Feeling Too Good Can Decrease Your Problem-Solving Skills
A 1994 research study showed that people who were happy were not as good at thinking deeply about problems that needed to be solved. Although they tended to have an overblown perception of their problem-solving abilities, they mostly gave answers that were stereotypical.
It seems that when you’re happy, your mind gets a little lazy. You don’t have the feeling that the problem needs to be solved. You’re fine, and you can’t see beyond that. Imagine if your happy feelings are so over-the-top that you refuse to even consider the question of how to deal with a problem. That’s what can happen during bipolar mania.
You’re Not as Good a Judge of People When You Feel Fantastic
People who are extremely positive seem to have more trouble recognizing the faults of others. In a way, that’s nice. But what if that person wants to hurt or take advantage of you? You may fall for a scam, get into a relationship with someone who just wants to use you, or fall for any of a variety of bad deals. And, that’s why people who experience the highs of bipolar mania often put themselves in financially and emotionally risky situations.
You’re More Likely to Take Physical Risks
When you’re sailing on the current of a major bipolar high, nothing seems impossible or scary. People who are in that state may put their health and even their life at risk. They may drive too fast, drink too much, take illegal drugs, have unprotected sex, or do just about anything if it seems exciting, whether it could easily kill them or not.
That Amazing Feeling May Be a Prelude to Severe Symptoms
Some people who have bipolar mania begin to get a little nervous when they start feeling excessively positive. That’s because they know what happens for them next. Bipolar mania is sometimes more serious than just trouble with problem-solving and risky behavior. It can be a sign that you’re about to go into full-blown manic episode complete with psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and delusions.
Does all this mean you should try to be sad? That you should never get excited or do anything that isn’t safe and sure? No. You can be very happy and positive and still be mentally healthy. If you have bipolar mania and are concerned that you feel a little too good, simply get some feedback from a friend or therapist. With a little perspective on the subject, you can make a better decision on what to do next, whether that’s to get help with bipolar medications, talk more with a therapist, or sit back and enjoy the ride.