How it feels to be Manic

Back in November, I went through the biggest – and toughest – manic episode I’ve ever been through. I ended up in hospital, being sectioned for several weeks.

Since then, I’ve gone through a (much smaller) episode but, thanks to my loved ones and mental health services, I was able to stay at home – a fact I’m incredibly grateful for.

Whilst everyone’s experience is different, here’s how I felt during these times…


What’s been the most exciting day of your life? Your wedding? The birth of your child? Perhaps a time you went on holiday, or got a new pet.

Well, times that by a thousand, and you’re getting close to how I feel when I’m going through a manic episode. Everything about the world feels more exciting – colours seem brighter, sounds are crisper, and life feels infinitely more joyous. 

It feels like there’s constant fireworks going through my mind and things that previously seemed mundane suddenly feel positively exhilarating. Doing a load of washing? Exciting. Taking the dog out? Thrilling. Cleaning the bathroom? Super fun. 


With this excitement comes the desire to go on adventures – to travel to distant lands by train or plane, and go exploring. 

Trouble is, I become reckless and, with these trips, come big risks – for instance, I’ve planned to swim in the sea in the middle of Winter, and have had the desire to jump from cliffs to test out my ‘flying’ ability. As a result, people try to stop me.

Whilst, looking back, I can see that people are acting in my best interests, at the time, it doesn’t seem like it. It feels like they’re trying to ruin my fun – to stop my excitement, and bring me down. I get annoyed, thinking those I’m closest to are working against me, and it sucks.


When going through my most recent episode, it felt like I was living a different reality to everyone else. Whilst they thought my plans were a bad idea, I believed the opposite. 

I was hearing voices that weren’t there, and I found it hard to not give in to that what they were saying. 

Luckily, I’m very close to Vicky (my wife) and my mum, and they both kept reminding me that I could trust them. Vicky reiterated the fact that she’d never let me down before – that, through everything, she’d always been on my side – so why would that change now?

The more that time went on, the louder the voices got, and the more confused I became. It was hard knowing what my best course of action was – should I listen to my head, or trust my loved ones? As the increased dose of my medication kicked in, I began to come back to the same reality as everyone else, and my confusion lessened significantly. 


When many people think of a manic episode, they imagine someone who’s full of energy, talking louder and quicker than everyone else in the room and, for me, that was largely the case. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t sit still.

I spent a lot of my time trying to go to the gym (which didn’t go well, as I couldn’t concentrate on what I was doing, so came close to falling off the treadmill). My mum and I went for multiple walks each day and, when I tried to rest, my legs constantly shook, my body trying its hardest to get rid of the excess energy I had.

Even though my mind was energetic and raring to go, my body started to ache. My muscles became sore, which was largely due to my lack of sleep – they weren’t being given the chance to recover so, as the days went on, my muscles became increasingly achy, but I simply couldn’t stop moving around.


One of the things I found hardest about being in hospital was how lonely I felt. Because I couldn’t sit still, I was unable to join in the same activities as everyone else. Whilst they would go into the crafts room, and do word searches or paint pictures, I had to constantly be on the go. 

On the rare occasion I went to the arts room, I’d grab a sharpie and draw temporary tattoos on my arm (which usually involved a Venga bus and lyrics from the band’s biggest hits). At one point, I borrowed a pair of scissors that were on the main table, and gave myself a haircut, which was a disaster. I couldn’t cut straight, and my hair ended up being several different lengths (which, luckily, have now grown out). 

When I went to the daily meeting (which was used to discuss things we were grateful for, and ways we could improve the ward) I stood in the corner, struggling to engage, and dancing by myself. I couldn’t keep up with what others were saying. When meal times came around, I couldn’t sit still to eat, so I’d just go to the toaster, grab a few pieces of bread, and continue the party in my room. 

Luckily, as I began to get better, I started being able to join in with activities more. Staff put on a dance and karaoke session, which I enjoyed thoroughly. I also went to the on-site gym and, on the final day before I started my home leave, I was finally able to sit at the crafts table, completing a word search alongside my fellow patients, which felt like a huge achievement. 

In conclusion…

Being manic is bloody hard. 

It isn’t just about being full of energy, or feeling excited about everything. It’s tough and, the emotions that come with it, are hard to navigate.

Thankfully, I’m in a better place now, and am incredibly grateful for all the love and support I’ve received. I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who understand and accept the emotions I’ve felt – a fact I’ll always be grateful for.

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 posting it in the first place). But, a huge thank you to everyone who’s bought me one so far – and 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s