I miss being manic. I’ve read and heard those words from quite a few people. For my part, I am being treated for bipolar spectrum manifesting as depression and anxiety. The mania is an added bonus. It certainly feels that way when stacked against the other two. I have been suicidal more times than I can recall and the thoughts continue to affect me. Severe anxiety attacks would leave me trying to cover the fact that I was beginning to shake uncontrollably, although sometimes I would stiffen up instead. It kept things lively. Ups and downs, highs and lows, ad nauseum. If I could feel myself tilting towards one state or the other it was possible to force myself deeper into the emotional swing. This has troubled several professionals, but it would also mean there was a chance of pushing through faster. Admittedly, they were right and it is dangerous, particularly with suicidal tendencies or thoughts. But, that’s why I am on medication now and regularly visit a psychiatrist for updates and discussions on tweaking dosages, maybe swapping out one drug for another.
I always see some comment or meme against the use of (or over prescription) of medications. That is a worrisome notion regarding people with significant mental health issues. You cannot will away a chemical imbalance. There are limits to the power of positive thinking. I am stable now, though that has its limits. I still have episodes that are powerful enough to overwhelm the considerable amount of medication prescribed to me. I have had two such incidents recently and both mortified me. Normally I am in a foggy state of mind and feel like I cannot think my way through to the end of a sentence. That is the trade off for being stable. Be a zombie or or risk losing control of my behavior.
One or both of those incidents were influenced by a drop in blood sugar (I’m diabetic), but were compounded by recent and severe bouts of depression and mania. Yes, that is still a thing even with considerable doses of pharmaceuticals. The altered state is there, but is prevented from fully manifesting. But you can still feel the shift. It is uncomfortable at best to know that your mind is being induced to block these changes while knowing that it should otherwise be happening. Lately, it has been sufficient to actually begin to escape my drug-addled state.
Where I really feel as though this is nonsense is that I am still getting the depression, but not the mania. I’m getting one without the other, though I know it should be happening at times much like with the depression (anxiety hasn’t really been an issue, it seems). I feel like a zombie, avoiding what would be dangerous levels of depression, but robbed of the euphoria of manic episodes. The drawbacks while under manic influence include impaired judgement, whether monetary or sexual, and impulsive behavior. There is a fine line between those, but it’s there. However, the exhilaration of accomplishment makes it enticing. The brain runs at high speed and creativity is phenomenal. This does not mean that the end result is high quality, though, but that is inconsequential to the confidence and feeling of success. I become more gregarious and social when manic, with the tradeoff being not knowing if I would be Jekyll or Hyde. Sleep deprivation is the norm for me, but I wasn’t as bothered when on a high. Forty-seven hours is the longest I can recall being awake, but I spent that time recording notes and ideas for writing projects.
It is hard to see A sufficient number of pros in all that to counter the cons, but the drawbacks and the danger to a person’s health is not evident to that individual. When you spend your life going between the extremes of depression and mania, the ecstacy of the latter is a blessing compared to the pain of the former.

William Thomason is a seasonal park ranger and inflicts terrible poetry on his friends. He is being treated for Bipolar II and ADHD.