Unless you have been in the presence of someone with mania, you really can’t understand the intensity of it. My former husband had bouts of mania often during our entire marriage. Of course, I didn’t understand what it was at the time.  I guess I just accepted it as maybe not completely normal, but just his normal. I told myself he was just intense sometimes, that that was just how he was. When he was manic, he wasn’t really aware of it. Everything would be sped up. His mind would race and his eyes would dart around taking everything in.  You could feel the charge in the air around him. He seemed to be a coiled snake ready to strike. You had to be careful what you said, your tone, your body language, and facial expressions. Anything could and did set him off. I would try to distract him, reason with him, but you could not shake his fixation on whatever it was he was obsessing about until the manic bout was over. He could be in this state for hours or days even. When he was manic, he was violent, aggressive, illogical, and very dangerous. There was actually a coming down stage too. I guess the intensity has a physical effect that would leave him exhausted and he would need to sleep. He would cry in deep wracking wails and sobs, apologize, and be suddenly be lucid. He claimed not to remember the things he said and did during his episodes. Part of it was blocking it off in my opinion so that he wouldn’t have to take responsibility, like a self protection mode. He always said he couldn’t control it. This was most of my 32 year marriage.  I was just a small town country girl and had no knowledge or experience with the facets of mental illness. For so many years, I just accepted it and did my best to adjust myself and our environment to his needs. That’s all I really could do. The first twenty years, my life was just a constant state of confusion. Then the last ten years I realized he was truly mentally ill and his behavior was a symptom of it. It’s sad really.  He will never have a normal life with joy and happiness.

I wish he had the capacity to understand the havoc, pain, and suffering his words and actions cause those around him.


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