If you are very manic, you MUST seek assistance from a psychiatrist.
There are no choices in this matter. Your decision making capabilities will be substantially impaired, even if you don’t think so, and even if you think you are functioning normally. You will not be able to sort this out on your own.
If you are very manic you will be doing some or all of the following:
1» You will be likely to be getting into arguments or quarrelling continuously – and it will always be the other person’s fault. And your temper and response in the arguments will be either loud and possibly violent or cold and viciously mean. Or both.
2» Alternatively, you will be super charismatic. You’ll be able to sell a project or a plan or an idea. You’ll be excited and confident and you will be able to transfer your excitement to other people.
3» You’ll want to carry out whatever idea / plan you have immediately, and you will have no problems spending money to make it happen now. The fact that you are spending lots of money will not worry you or slow you down at all because you plan is such a good idea..
4» Some of your plans are likely to be pretty durn odd or impulsive. Like organising a two week spur of the moment vacation with your partner with no advance warning. Or adding an extension to your house.
Even though the plans will feel as if they have been churning in your mind for some months, the action is likely to be spur of the moment and you won’t necessarily bother to inform other people that you are starting up.
5» Your physical coordination will be way off. You won’t be able to sit still for long and you’ll have pesky problems with doing manual tasks.
I’ve only reached this stage a few times in my life. It’s terrifying. Well, it’s also exhilarating, but exhilarating in an out of control way. I was aware of all that I was doing, and I knew that some of the things I was doing weren’t good for me in the long term, but that did not stop me from doing them.
If you are this manic, you must do the following
1» Listen to your family / friends
You are not perceiving the world quite correctly and you are not making quite the correct decisions. Yes, you are competent, but you are also making mistakes in the way you handle situations and you are making choices that may be technically correct but which are not the ones you would make if you weren’t manic.
If you are manic enough, your family and close friends will certainly notice. So when they tell you that you are manic, you must listen to them and do what they tell you to do. They are understanding what is happening around you better than you are and their suggestions are more likely to be appropriate.
You will feel as if you know better, but that is just the mania. It pays to trust the people who know you and love you.
It is important that you plan with your family / friends ahead of time to agree to listen them. It’s true that you may not listen to them even if you do make plans, but if you don’t make plans your chances of following what they tell you to do drops substantially.
2» Isolate yourself
As soon as you realise that you are manic, isolate yourself. Now is a good time to go home and spend the rest of the afternoon watching television. If you are not in a place where you can get into trouble, then you won’t get into trouble.
Tell you boss you are ill and you are going home. And go home, not to a bar, restaurant, Apple store, bookstore, Macy’s, Walmart, etc.. Do NOT go anywhere where (1) you can buy expensive stuff or lots of stuff, (2) anywhere noisy or with lots of people, or (3) anywhere you can buy alcohol. You self control is not likely to be good enough to restrain you from impulse actions.
If there are children or spouse at home, then you need to isolate yourself from them as well. Consider the bedroom or a study, and close the door behind you. If you interact with other people, you are likely to get annoyed with them.
Surfing the net is ok, provided you don’t have a habit of buying stuff on the net. Television watching is better – collect a DVD or two on the way home.
Or better yet, get a magazine or two and show up at your psychiatrist’s office, even if you don’t have an appointment. Ask for an appointment, even if you have to wait for for the next 4 hours (or even if you can’t get one until the following day). The waiting room is a quiet place with few distractions, and help is right there if you need it. Tell the receptionist that you aren’t doing well and you prefer to be somewhere close to help and that you promise to sit quietly (and then leave them alone to do their job).
3» Take medication
Once you realise you are getting very manic, take your anti-manic medication immediately. If you know you have manic episodes, you are supposed to have your anti-manic medication with you at all times.
If you don’t recognise that you are getting very manic, and your family / friend tells you that you are and you should take medication, follow what they say.
Standard rules apply. Do not take overdose on your medication – this is likely to make things worse. More is not better in the world of psychoactive medications.
4» See your psychiatrist immediately
Once you realise that you are very manic, call your psychiatrist and request an emergency session. It does not have to be a full length session, but you do need the psychiatrist to see how you are acting.
Make sure that you have your psychiatrist’s phone number on your cell phone or phone list. Make sure that your parents / partner / siblings also have it on their cell phones so that they can make the call if you are not able to. Alternatively, have it listed as “Psych” on your cell phone, so they can find it if they need to.
Negotiate with your psychiatrist so you are able call at any time to make an emergency appointment. This includes calling at nights or on weekends.
Request a meeting for sometime the same day or as the first thing the next morning. If it is a weekend, request a meeting as the first thing on Monday morning.
My experience has been that it is usually impossible to get short notice appointments with a psychiatrist, but emergencies are just that, emergencies.
If your psychiatrist is not prepared to give you a contact number for emergencies, or an appointment at short notice when needed, then they aren’t doing their job properly. I’d recommend that you find another psychiatrist.
By the way, do not abuse the privilege of being able to call your psychiatrist directly – you’ll annoy them. Emergencies phone numbers are for emergencies.
If the appointment is not until the following day or the following Monday, I strongly recommend that you stay isolated until the appointment. That way you can’t do anything silly. If you have stuff to do, then I suppose you must, but definitely avoid social functions, parties, meeting with a few friends, or clients. Tell them you are ill.
It may sound as if you are having as if I am overreacting to a situation where you appear to be functioning pretty well. However, being very manic is a serious problem – on par with getting a stroke. Just because you haven’t collapsed in the street does NOT mean you are well. Do NOT treat it lightly and do not assume it will just go away.
If you are the one observing someone who is very manic, treat it as serious. If the person does not want to deal with the problem – a fairly frequent occurrence because we don’t necessarily perceive being manic as a bad thing – then you intervene and take action, even if the very manic person does not want you to.
Get the medication they need and make them take it. Encourage them to go somewhere quiet, either by cajoling, or persuading, or well, threatening them with four hulky friends. And grab all the help you can get from the people you know This is not a time to go it alone and there is nothing embarrassing about asking for the help you need.