You can’t in any whole capacity understand the mania of the past through the lens of the present. What was originally termed ‘mania’ in the past currently exhibits little resemblance to the ‘mania’ experienced by people with bipolar disorder. Mania has always existed as a form of madness, in contemporary psychiatry ‘mania’ signifies as an episode or as a pole on the affective spectrum. There is a strong need to transform the image of madness, re-framing mental illness as a positive, at least the hypomanic edge that it correlates with. When you’re truly manic the repercussions of your actions never gain much thought, there is a certain amount of ‘glamour’ attached to mania, a sheen that creates easy oblivious actions which have little association to your ‘normal’ train of thought.
The bliss of oblivion. Many people would prefer to be the manic sprite instead of the depressive shade that haunts their homes when darkness encroaches. There are no romantic notions towards depression for those who experience it recurrently; depression is a beast that slowly eats away all the feelings inside, leaving you numb and vulnerable. The clinical terms used to categorise bipolar disorder act like an oversized ad-campaign sign on a main road that reads ‘manic-depressive’. It feels like an endless resistance to the labels, the labels becoming the straightjacket of mental illness, restrictive and confining.