What gifts, Mania? What roads flowing liquid through the dreamscape? What treasures piled like tart grapes? What moons shining?
For awhile, mania is a lovely thing. This time, I am driven to write. In the past few days, I’ve finished my novel, crafted two short stories, outlined the first few chapters of the next novel, and gathered notes to write at least three more short stories. I wake up in the morning with scenes and dialog fully formed and spewing from my head.
I come to a resting place, a place where I would usually put the story away and let it percolate in my subconscious for a day or days. But now, the rest lasts the length of an episode of Mad Men, and I’m back at the computer with the perfect solution, the perfect turn, the perfect word.
I know I’m manic. I feel the obsessive itch. To counter it, I push away from the stories and play with my art. But, there, too, I am flooded with potential. The cards I make can take me over an hour to assemble. I made a dozen cards this weekend, all different, all elaborate, all beautiful.
This is the place we of the bipolar persuasion yearn for—this place of making, this effortless disgorging of ideas and images that takes form as something real and whole. This is the Promised Land and Enlightenment and good Rock ‘N’ Roll all bundled together. We’ll do anything to stay here.
But, it doesn’t last—not the clear, cool mind, not the ease, not the glee. Mania shifts into agitation and deepening impulsivity. It tears away sleep and clouds the mind with grand delusions.
I started buying DVDs on eBay to keep me entertained next week after my surgery. The mania shoves me to keep buying. I posted my new stories here. The mania sends me back ten-fifteen-twenty times a day to look for comments, to look at the photos, to tweak one more word. Small irritations detonate into rage.
The gifts of mania are the gifts I carry with me always. My talent for making came with my blue eyes and my German bones. No shift in brain chemistry opens a door or closes it. No mood determines my potential. My inborn gifts come through because I use them. When I’m manic, I just use them more.
So, I shift, and shift again. The thoughts will slow from their frenzied pace. The body will tamp down the fires. And I will still be a Maker.