Is Mania A Defense Against Depression?

“Much madness is divinest sense-
To a discerning eye-
Much sense – the starkest madness”

– Emily Dickinson

Is mania a counter- defensive action against depression? Depression is simply symptoms that underlie a disorder, mania in many instances appearing as a series of transitory flights that create euphoria. Mental disorders are usually artfully denied, the denial acting as gauze; willful denial acting as an opiate. The people around me actively participate in the denial delusion, crediting external influences for my current mental state. Depression and paradoxically the psychotropic drugs (medication that can induce anxiety, nervousness, impaired judgment, mania, hypomania, hallucinations, feelings of depersonalization, psychosis and suicidal thoughts, while being used to treat the same symptoms) all cause the self (in my experience) to become a sub-form of itself.

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Others perceive mania and hypomania to reveal horrifying parts of themselves. People often find it difficult to reconcile with the behaviors that are being presented during these episodes, perceiving these behaviors to be part of their denied inner psyche. Their ‘sick’ self has no accountability and the later ‘improved self’ has apologizing and explaining to do. Ultimately both mania and depression represent defensive actions of the self to counterbalance and stabilize (to an extent) the unstable mind. Often the transformation of the self that is experienced by the person with the mental disorder is the most disturbing part about being ill. Patients often find that doctors don’t engage with the topic of ‘self’ in their target to stabilize their patient, but for me I have to believe that my idea of ‘self’ has to be there in its completeness to truly feel well.

Losing your ‘self’ is a grief issue and needs strategies in place to either remedy the situation or for the patient to come to terms with their ‘new self’. Strangely I don’t feel like the same person I was 6 months ago, but I also believe that’s about progressing through life, but when your ‘self’ is altered through depression/mania and medication it is perceived differently from growing into a new person. It becomes a forced transition through the experiences and environmental factors around the person. A man with bipolar disorder said “Because everyone there was grieving over the loss of another person. I was grieving for myself. For who I used to be before I got sick and who I am now.”

It is my honest perception that mania and depression are defenses against each other. Manic-depressive patterns surround the struggle against personal annihilation. Mania embodies a transitory liberation from a subjugated, annihilating tie to emotionally important others, whereas depression represents the reinstatement of that tie. The liberation versus reinstatement is a constant mental struggle and retaliation, more importantly does this illustrate the chemical imbalance trying to over-rectify its irregularities? These are just my over analytical subjective bipolar musings.

**My thoughts are a bit haphazard today and hazy, sorry if some stuff doesn’t make sense, eh Epilim is really making it difficult to not become a marshmallow.

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3 thoughts on “Is Mania A Defense Against Depression?”

  1. For me, I think that at least hypomania is a defense against depression. Sorry if I’m not following everything you wrote, but I definitely feel that I am trying to balance myself or over-compensate. Throughout my life I have naturally reacted to my depression by inhabiting a hypomanic mood. Most people would not know I have any form of depression due to my hypomanic behavior. Eventually I got pushed over the moon a few years ago and ended up with a full blown manic episode. Thank you for articulating the loosing of the “self”…bipolar disorder certainly interferes with the unity of the self and causes a LOT of confusion!

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    1. I think I’m a bit like you in that regard. I definitely don’t come across as overly depressed, my friends just think I’m busy all the time, they don’t see me not getting out of bed, when they see me, I try to be always in good spirits, guess eventually it transforms into hypomania. Glad to hear you’re the same x 🙂

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