If you experience mania, you won’t complain of problems. You feel fantastic. It’s others around you who see you aren’t yourself. Mania symptoms vary, between people and, over time, in one person.
Your elevated mood can be infectious and it’s as though you’re the life of the party. You’ll tell friends you’re feeling great or never been better. However, your behaviour will be recognised as excessive by friends or family. You may also be irritable and experience rapidly changing emotions from laughter to tears to anger and back.
You may also find you need less sleep or won’t sleep for days, yet be full of energy and have an increased appetite for food, sex or other pleasurable past times. Or you might have a sudden need to spring clean the house, mow the lawn and paint a wall – all in one morning. With severe mania there may also be signs of psychosis (loss of touch with reality).
Experiencing mania can also change how you process thoughts, or your ability to concentrate. For example, you may feel like your thoughts are racing and friends may notice you constantly changing the topic of conversation or that you are easily distracted.
With these changes comes an increased sense of self-importance that may start out as increased self-confidence. But then, you start to lose touch with reality. For example, you might borrow money and start a business in a field where you have no experience. If the mania is severe, you may lose touch with reality, believing perhaps, that you have a special relationship with God, Jesus, the Queen or that you have special powers.
A characteristic and early feature of bipolar is the loss of insight − losing awareness that your behaviour and experiences are due to illness.