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David Baxter

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Unexpected Signs of Mania to Watch Out For

by Jade Zora Scibilia, bpHope.com
Sept 15, 2022

Understanding how mania affects you, personally, is a primary way to identify early warning signs of an impending mood shift. Here’s what to monitor.​

Common Symptoms of Bipolar Mania​

A diagnosis of bipolar I disorder (vs. bipolar II) hinges on the experience of a manic episode. But how can we tell whether a person is experiencing the expected uplifting of mood after a period of depression or they are in the grip of a manic episode?

Mania is recognizable not only by its more recognizable elevated mood and energy levels but also by its expansive, grandiose thinking; irritability; intense focus on goal-directed activities; and a combination of any of the following symptoms:
  • Marked increase in self-esteem or self-regard (i.e., grandiosity)
  • Racing thoughts (i.e., flights of ideas)
  • Restlessness (e.g., increased activity levels, starting multiple projects)
  • High-risk, reckless behaviors (e.g., gambling, shopping sprees, promiscuity)
  • Forced speech (i.e., becoming uncharacteristically talkative and social)
  • Insomnia or a reduced need for sleep (i.e., sleeping briefly or not at all)
When a number of these behaviors and patterns arise together and begin to affect a person’s ability to work, maintain relationships, and function as they would otherwise, it is clear that mania is to blame.

That said, bipolar is known to present differently in different people; no one person’s journey with bipolar is an exact duplicate of another’s. That’s why it’s helpful to understand some of the unexpected signs of mania.

Unexpected Signs of Mania​

#1 Altered Perception​

April Michael, bphope blogger, recognized changes in how she perceived the world around her during manic periods. She writes, “Seeing everything as more vivid and colorful than it may be in reality. In my manias, I am drawn to bright colors and shiny objects…. However, if you begin to experience vivid colors along with images that others can’t see, or you start distrusting people or believing something without any evidence, you may be entering psychosis, which can be very dangerous if left unchecked.”

#2 Changes in the Eyes​

Noted author and expert on bipolar Julie A. Fast has studied changes in her physical appearance, specifically what she dubs “bipolar eyes,” and has recognized correlations between these changes and her manic episodes. Among them is a more “sparkling” or “shimmering” quality to her eyes, which she associates with euphoric mania.
 

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