Signs that Mania is Coming

It was just before seven on a Friday morning when I decided to put on my favourite trainers and leave the house to visit Blackpool.

There were only a couple of hours to go before I was due to start work. Trouble was, I had no intention of actually doing the shift. Instead, I had much more important things to do. 

At 07:06, I posted a photo online, wearing a combination of a party dress, a pyjama top and a Burger King crown, informing everyone where I was heading. 

Thirteen minutes later, I shared a follow up video, explaining my plans: a swim in the sea, followed by testing out my new ‘flying’ abilities. 

Not long after, the police were anonymously tipped off – and, thankfully, I didn’t make it any further than Leeds station. My wife met me there, and took me home, where a police man arrived and, long story cut short, I ended up being sectioned. I’m 41 days into my hospital stay, and it’s safe to say that I’ve come along leaps and bounds. Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, my mood is much more stable.

The start of manic symptoms

Looking back, even though I’d had symptoms for almost a week before things got really bad, my admission still came as a shock to many (including myself!) I can now see some hints that a manic episode was on the horizon. But, because I’d been on holiday the previous week, it was easy to attribute these ‘signs’ to the excitement of our trip. Besides, it was depression that I was used to dealing with – I’d never been hospitalised because of mania before, and so I tried to push any ideas that something wasn’t quite right to the back of my mind.

However, upon reflection, here’s some of the signs that a manic episode was about to rear its ugly head….

Less sleep

When my mood goes up, the hours of sleep I get goes down. I’m usually an in-bed-by-ten kinda girl. I love an early start – and tend to get up at around six or seven each day. However, as my holiday came to a close, I found myself getting less and less sleep each night. I’m someone who always sleeps when travelling – yet, during the flight and long coach journey home, I was wide awake. 

When I did arrive home and eventually slept, it wasn’t for anywhere near my usual duration – instead of eight hours, I slept for around five. As the days went on, this number continued to drop and, by the time I was admitted, I was only on one or two hours a night. 

More energy 

You’d think that this lack of sleep would lead to exhaustion throughout the day. Surely a person can’t run on that little sleep AND be full of energy, right?


Despite my lack of slumber, I was absolutely full of beans. No one could keep me still no matter how hard they tried. At first, it manifested itself in extra gym sessions – before it hit a stage where I was on the go 24/7, believing I was the star of a huge party, where I simply couldn’t stop dancing.

Big ideas and lack of safety

Whilst the excessive exercise proved an issue on its own (largely due to an ankle injury I have that’s not fully healed) – the main concerns came when I started to spout out ‘big’ ideas. Firstly, there was the TikTok account I made in the early hours of the Wednesday morning. It was dedicated to potatoes, and I was convinced I’d gain millions of followers if I just kept it up. 

I work in radio, and was due to start a shift later that day, producing a regional show. However, I had it in my head that, instead of our usual content, we should instead go around Leeds, making TikToks for my new channel. I sent the show’s presenter a lengthy message, explaining my ideas. My wife (who, by this point, was very concerned) got in touch with my boss and, needless to say, I didn’t end up doing the shift. 

The ‘biggest’ – and most worrying – ideas made an appearance on the Thursday – the day before I got sectioned. I started the day by trying to book a flight – I didn’t mind where, I just wanted to go abroad. However, looking for my debit card woke my wife up, and she quickly put an end to it.

By this stage, she was getting increasingly worried and took the day off work to ‘keep an eye on’ me. At one point, we took the dog out for a walk. We went our usual route, meaning we passed a train station. As we reached it, I decided to try and jump on the tracks, convinced I could outrun any train that came nearby. I saw it as a fun activity – not something that could potentially kill me. At several points, she had to physically pull me back. 

Once home, I started talking about my newfound ability to fly – and kept trying to leave the house to go partying and make content about potatoes for my new social media account. 

Getting irritated when ideas are dashed 

Trouble was, every time I came up with a new ‘brilliant’ idea, Vicky was quick to dash it – and I started to feel irritated. It felt like she was trying to ruin my fun. Looking back, it’s clear she was just looking out for me, and trying to keep me safe. 

It got to a stage where she got really upset – something I’ll always feel guilty about. She was doing her best to care for me, but I just wouldn’t back down. I was convinced she was working against me – and wasn’t even trying to understand my view point. 

I also got annoyed when friends tried to intervene – it felt like I had no one on my ‘side’ and, the more time passed, the more frustrated I felt. 

Racing thoughts

On the Friday, whilst I was being assessed for sectioning, I was asked about how ‘busy’ my mind felt. The analogy that I used was that it was like my brain was made up of hundreds of roads running parallel to one another. Instead of cars, it was ideas that flew by – but they went so fast, it was impossible to keep up with them.

Because my mind was going so quickly, my talking became faster too. I’d describe myself as a bit of a chatterbox – but I took it to a whole new level. Every conversation I had became one-sided. Whenever anyone else spoke, it went completely over my head – and I’d continue to ramble on as though they’d never spoken. 

So, what’s helped?

I’ll be honest – the main thing that’s helped has been finding the right combination of medication. I’ll write a post about meds at a separate point – but we’ve finally found a combo that’s slowed my brain down, and allowed me to think a bit more logically. I can now have two-way conversations, and I no longer believe I can fly or run across train tracks unharmed.

It’s been a difficult journey – and it’s still one that I’m very much on – but, finger’s crossed, it keeps going in the right direction, and that the number of roads continue to dwindle down til there’s just a dual carriageway left. A motorway at most.

Note: I’ve decided to set up a Ko-fi account so, if for whatever reason, you fancy getting me a ‘coffee’, you can do so. I’ll always keep my blogs free – and there’s absolutely zero obligation to do so (in fact, I feel pretty bad mentioning it in the first place). But, here’s the link for anyone interested: 


Hey, I'm Charlie. I'm a radio producer based in West Yorkshire. I love dogs, exercise and baking. I also have bipolar disorder and OCD. This is a place for me to share my mental health journey - the highs, the lows, and the bits in between.

15 thoughts on “Signs that Mania is Coming

  1. Oh that literally pinged as I sat down for a quick rest. I had a heart attack on Saturday and lots of really good high tech hospital help, so I was only in for a couple of days.
    Why do I mention that? Because by gawd I think I’d rather have several more heart attacks than the pasta bake of mental in issues you’ve handled (or in guess, had handled for you to start with).

    Your wife is the bee’s balls, what a star.

    Anyway, do what you’re told and I hope you recover soon. Merry Crimbles xx


    1. I can relate to bits of your post, I am a manic depressive I have battled this illness for nearly 30 years, if that isn’t bad enough I am a chronic alcoholic, I have cirrhosis of the liver and from 2010 I managed to stay away from that poison for 12 years and rebuilt my life. My mum died 3 years ago as did my fav Aunt and I still managed to stay clean, last June I picked up and I have spent the last year in hospital with all sorts of complications. My liver team at St Peters, my doctor and various agencies told me if I carried on as I was I would die, they managed to get.into DETOX at very short notice as my disease was.killing me and I just couldn’t stop drinking and my mental health was rapidly deteriorating rapidly. I have just come out of ďetox 2 days before Xmas and although I went through hell and back I completed it I was there for 20 days. I am now home and feel so relieved I am abstinent, I feel I lost a year of my life but I just count my blessings I’m still alive, I have a long way to go because like you I think I am on the wrong meds psychology wise but I have many apps in the New year and hopefully they will find the right combo the real problem if you have bipolar and just stop taking your meds like I did it leads me down a very dangerous path, the more depressed I felt the more I drank. The bottom line for me is simple, I can never drink again for the rest of my life. I’m only 50 and to think I was slowly killing myself on a daily basis is total madness but as you know this disease is so cunning and evil its unreal. I am pleased they caught you and me just in time, we are some of the lucky ones as many people like me and you simply don’t get the right help. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2023 and onwards and upwards s they sat albeit one day at a time. I wish you all the very best from Mike


  2. Hi Charlie, very interesting to hear about your manic episode and how it manifested. I am bi polar and have been stable for six years. I found Latuda from a doctor in Harley street and it’s worked for me . Is not listed in UK for bi polar but is in the USA maybe this could help you. Best Regards Dave


  3. Hello Charlie!. Thank you once again for sharing this part of your personal journey, it can’t be easy going back to a place where you are trying to get back from if that makes sense. Again your account reminds me so much of my friend, who once during an episode of mania was going to sell his house for cash in hand so he could buy a new car and travel. Your honesty within your description I think will help a great deal of people deal with what happens when they are having a bad episode, especially family members and friends who are sometimes totally out of their depths as to what is going on or what to look for as a warning. You write beautifully and with everyday language that most of us can understand, instead of medical speak which baffles most of us, and I think your words will help many. Take care of yourself on this new more slower paced journey of yours because you are certainly heading in the right direction now. I look forward to reading whatever comes next 🤗. Suzanne 🙏🏻💜🙏🏻


  4. As a Nurse who works in mental Health I find this so helpful, and will be suggesting that my patients look you up. The shame and guilt I’ve witnessed once someone realises what they have done while manic, is heartbreaking. Not only emotionally but financially too. I’m really glad to hear you feel hopeful that the medication combination is helping. Again such a difficult balance to achieve between depression and mania.
    Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Charlie – thank you for documenting your journey and so pleased you’re coming out the other end. I’m a (retired) mental health nurse, I am planning a big mental health student nurse conference in 2023 (likely to be in Sheffield). I would like you to consider telling your story in person or recorded. Have a think about it and contact me in the new year.
    Have a good Christmas.


  6. Hi Charlie I am glad you are on the road to recovery I have followed you for a while now. I feel like you are helping me to understand depression and mania a little bit more. I feel that my son is a bit like this but he will not seek help and I don’t want to push it as I feel this may push him over the edge if you know what I mean.
    I hope you have an awesome Xmas and awesome 2023.


  7. For anyone who has struggled with mental health or lives/knows someone who struggles with mental health, to hear the honesty in your story must be like two comforting arms around them, telling them they’re not on their own ! Keep shining a big bright light on the subject, it does make such a difference! x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Charlie,
    Thank you for sharing, although sad to read that you have gone through this it is also very helpful for those of us who have interest in mental health.
    I hope you get back to full recovery soon and have a nice Christmas.
    Take care Philip, Thomas and Doogles Jack x


  9. I too have spent time in a mental health unit here in Brisbane it’s so relaxing all the stress go,s . I’m not bipolar but I’m severe Anxiety, Depression, ptsd , panic attacks , mood swings
    I look forward to reading more of your story


  10. Lithium, thank god for it! It works for me, and I find it sad to know it doesn’t work for everybody, because I like the idea of a simple, natural salt, rather than a sophisticated, synthesized chemical. Mind you, lithium is not all I take–god bless those sophisticated, synthesized chemicals, too, for certain!
    A neurologically-interesting friend (the description is not my invention, somebody else thought up that charming phrase LOL!) told me she’d read it takes 10 years on average to find the right combination of medications to feel well. I was reassured that there’s lots of time to make mistakes, if I’m not there yet, it doesn’t mean I never will be, it means: it takes time.
    One positive aspect of aging: my biochemical/psychiatric problems are increasingly manageable. So, you can look forward to menopause! (I think that deserves not just an LOL, but, truly, an ROFL!!!)


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