I wanted to be a rock star. No, I was GOING to be a rock star. I was sure of it. I even had concert dates picked out, locations, a lineup of songs and clothing all picked out. I was incredibly shy, but that didn't matter. My plan was to do it all virtually. And I was manic.
For most of my "bipolar career" I've had more downs than ups. Depression kept me in bed for weeks at a time while my family stood by not knowing what to do but trying everything. I felt like I was drowning and had no hope of ever breathing fresh air again. My favorite foods, music, new clothes, children's drawings... all thrust upon me with hopes something might snap me out of it. When a change in medication would finally bring me back to the surface, it was hard to believe I had been that low.
But then there are the highs of mania. One night I stayed up making a complete golfing scrapbook for my step-son (12 hours, no breaks), and another I painted sunroom doors in little tiny flowers from top to bottom (another 12 hours before going on to the next activity). I have cleaned things that don't need cleaning, been the life of the party, worked for days straight and had a grand old time of it. I came up with an idea for web cams for women in the kitchen so they can talk to each other and get through the mundane task of doing dishes (a topless version came later for men). Mania sounds great, right?
Well there is also danger. Danger of overspending. The worst I've done is bid on useless items on eBay such as Liberace hand towels, but many bipolar people blow their whole life savings. Risky behaviour is another possibility with drugs, alcohol and sex at the forefront. Risky driving is a worry. During a manic episode I once turned left into an oncoming Hummer. The driver had to slam on his breaks to avoid hitting me. While a feeling of euphoria can accompany a manic episode, it is often followed by regret of poor decisions.
The key is to try to stay balanced. For me, that takes medication and a knowledgeable doctor. It takes exercise and good sleep. It requires sound nutrition and a loving support system.
And when I'm low it takes remembering that a little spark of that rock star exists somewhere inside of me, even without mania.