Signs Of Bipolar Disorder

by Mark Ivar Myhre on October 10, 2011

In my last post on bipolar symptoms I revealed some of the details of my experiences in the past with bipolar disorder.  (And in case you’re curious you can read about the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder on this page – signs of bipolar disorder.)

As I was finishing up the last post, I said I’d made peace with the inner maniac inside me. But as soon as I wrote those words, I heard a voice inside loud and clear that said, “No you haven’t.”

So I figured I better stop writing and see what was going on. I discovered quite a bit about my inner maniac in the last few days, and it was quite surprising. It’s not what I wanted to find, that’s for sure.

You see, in some sad sick way I’d actually almost deified this part of me. Put him up on a pedestal. Almost proud of him, I was. I admired his moxy. He was the wild and crazy part of me, while I was much more scared and cautious and reserved. He was the Fun Guy. When it came time to tie a bell around the cat’s neck, my inner maniac was the mouse who would do it.

“I’m crazy. Don’t make me prove it.”

I counted on him almost like a big brother who was always there ready to kick somebody’s ass if they messed with me.  My spotty employment history was pocked even worse by getting fired from a good percentage of the jobs I did manage to obtain. Thanks to an inner maniac who couldn’t keep his mouth shut when the boss was a buffoon or a blowhard or guilty of some other crime.

So after such a colorful history, rich with bipolar tradition, it was sad to actually get up close and personal with my inner maniac and see what he was really made of. This part of me which I had idolized and idealized turned out to be much less lofty than I gave him credit for.

Here’s what I found:

When I first heard that voice the other day telling me I had not yet made peace with my inner maniac, I wanted to ignore it. But I’ve spent way too much time working with the inner parts of me. I’ve also worked to retrieve my power from them. The more power I take back, the less I hear my ego or some other ‘lesser’ part of me speak.

I can’t let inner voices go unchallenged.

When I say ‘voices’ it’s really just thoughts in my head. But rather than coming from my own conscious mind, they come from some other part of my consciousness. From what I’ve been able to gather by talking with and observing others, I’d say many if not most people do indeed have ‘voices’ in their head, but these voices are usually considered just thoughts from the person’s own mind. With practice and discernment, you can usually get to the point of recognizing if the thoughts are your own or from some other part of your consciousness.

Anyway, I knew I had to investigate. So I go into meditation and ask my inner maniac to come forth. “Show yourself to me. I want to talk.”

I see a giant of a man, about eight feet tall or taller, and looking exactly like me. Same body proportions. Only bigger. I reach out and touch him, to feel his energy, the way I always do. It almost makes me cry. I don’t know why.

He looks transparent. Not solid at all. Weird. And after a few words of saying nothing of substance (which I instantly recognize as my ego talking) he has no more to say. Disappointed and a little confused, I leave the meditation to go think about this.

Maybe I wasn’t on my game, and I just need to go back there and try again. The second time I go back, I again feel his energy, and it again touches me. What is that? Sadness? Remorse for all I’ve done? A weariness that goes so far beyond words? A loneliness? Probably all of the above.

This energy I’ve spent so much time hiding behind has created a lot of pain for me and for others as well. I’m probably tapping into that. Lots of forgiveness has already happened. Lots more, I suppose, wait to happen. So much I’m not proud of.

What a contradiction. Proud of the maniac, but not what he’s done.

In this meditation I feel the repressed energy that gushes up from down below. Just feel. Bring some of that unresolved energy of the past into my heart. Just feel. No excuses, no justifications, no rationalizations. Just feel. I open my heart and feel that energy – the jumbled, contradictory confusing energy. I don’t have to figure it out. Not now. Just feel it so I can bleed it off so I can get clear about what in the world is going on here.

Third meditation. Still no coherent message; no meaningful dialogue with this part of me I call my inner maniac. But now I start to see. I start to see through it. I start to see what its made of. And I’m disappointed.

Now I understand why bipolar disorder is so misunderstood. Why the signs of bipolar disorder are so elusive. Why experts say it can’t be overcome – only beaten into submission with drugs.

The signs of bipolar disorder are constantly shifting and changing because the inner maniac is constantly shifting and changing. It’s a moving target. It doesn’t stay the same. It can manifest in different ways.

Here’s why:

I discovered my inner maniac is actually a composite, like an alloy. It’s made up of various other parts of me. For example, it consists of my inner martyr, my inner outlaw, my inner addict, my ego, my inner sociopath, my inner adolescent, my inner adolescent, my inner chauvinist, and a few others as well.

Let me stop right here and briefly explain chauvinism, lest I be misunderstood. Chauvinism exists as an energy that blankets this earth. The tip of the iceberg of chauvinism consists of putting women down. But that’s such a small part of it, it hardly even counts.

Chauvinism uses domination as its tool to keep people small. It creates a lose-lose reality. I believe all people have an inner chauvinist inside us, not just men. Because chauvinism is not about men debasing women! Or women debasing men.

You can read about the principles of chauvinism here.

It’s an elusive energy that consciously seeks to remain hidden. But I digress…

The reason my mania was so hard to even talk to in meditation is because it’s really just an ever-changing, shifting composite of other, lesser, parts of me. It was more martyr than anything else. Martyr. What is that, exactly?

It’s another less admirable energy that blankets this earth. The energy of martyr says, “I don’t create my own reality. Reality happens to me.” Martyr separates me from my power, my realness, and my authenticity.

The antidote to martyr is to feel beauty.

My inner martyr, along with many other parts of me, came together in some unknown way to form one overarching energy called mania – my inner maniac.

The reason it’s so hard to pin down is because there’s a constant dynamic between these parts. One day it may be mostly my inner sociopath. Another day it could be mostly martyr. A third day it could be mostly my inner outlaw, or inner addict, or even the broken man of shame, perhaps acting shamelessly.

It’s a moving target. Ever changing. So my signs of bipolar disorder shift and change as well. And all I’m left with is to say I’m crazy. Because I don’t understand and I can’t comprehend and I couldn’t even begin to explain what the hell is going on.

Because it’s, as Jimi Hendrix says, a ‘frustrated mess’.

That’s how I see it, after working with it these last few days. A week ago, I didn’t have a clue about my inner maniac’s makeup. I just thought it was handled in some way because I hardly ever feel mania anymore.

When I do feel it, I almost immediately recognize it. And I know to start focusing on my heart, and letting in my true flow of emotion. In other words, I know mania is a signal that I’m not being responsible for my feelings.

Now, what if you experience mania? Does that mean you’re not being responsible for your feelings? Well, I’m not going to point the finger at anybody. I don’t want to accuse anyone of being irresponsible. Not because it isn’t true…

But because it’s such an inflammatory statement. When you call someone irresponsible, ‘them’s fightin’ words’. But that’s not what I’m doing.

Saying “you’re not responsible for your feelings” is not the same thing as saying “you’re not responsible”.

You see? The first statement speaks to an action you take and a mindset you adopt. Probably without realizing it. The second statement speaks to who you are as a person. Big difference. A strong, healthy, positive ego can distinguish between the two statements easily. A weak, negative ego cannot. Anyway…

You can easily get trapped in mania and see no way out. Believe me, I know!

I mean, you really, truly don’t see any way out. But here’s the situation:

It’s like you are in a prison, yes. But the prison has three walls. And where the fourth wall should be, instead there’s a barrier of ‘false evidence appearing real’.

When you walk deeper and deeper into the first three walls, you experience more and more craziness. Not fun. Bad things can happen. Regrettable things. Still, if you’re bipolar, at least you know what you’re getting into. You’re already living it. It’s already your identity. There might be pain, but there won’t be too many surprises.

What about the fourth wall? The different wall? You don’t know. What’s guarding the wall? Rage and anger and an intensity that screams ‘bipolar is a disease’ and ‘there’s nothing I can do’ and ‘I will always be this way’. And other similar statements.

If I’m not willing to deal with my intensity then I’m going to have to spend my days bumping into the other three walls and proving my situation truly is beyond hope. I will live the martyred life. Just like I already am. Not much will change. Unless they come out with a new drug. (Ha-ha.)

There’s a way out of mania. I know because I took it. You have to be able to deal with your own intensity. Because that’s where your power is. If this sounds hopeless, please understand that’s your martyr talking.

Martyr says it will never happen.

Your martyr beats you over the head with the club of hopelessness. Just like martyr does with everybody else, whether they exhibit signs of bipolar disorder or not. Martyr is not limited to bipolar disorder by any means!

It’s not hopeless. If one person can heal himself, others can as well.

So am I saying to throw away your meds? NO! I don’t want your family suing me when you fall off the deep end. Of course, they wouldn’t get much…

No, it’s about starting where you are. Looking for small incremental changes you can make. How can I take greater responsibility for my feelings? Am I willing to open up my heart a little bit? Can I let go of some of the stories I’ve been telling myself?

Can I start questioning some of my assumptions? (Which takes a lot more courage than it seems at first glance.)

Am I willing to process out my thoughts and feelings on paper? Write out what I’m feeling ‘with abandon’. Without stopping to think about what I’m writing.

Am I willing to start taking a good hard look at these other parts of me? Starting, perhaps, with the biggest liar of all. The loudest voice. The part of me that’s the closest to me of all the many parts of me. You know what I’m talking about? Click here to find out.

These are how you take small steps towards the goal of healing mania. If you want to, that is.


Maya October 11, 2011 at 8:50 am

It’s interesting to know that when I’m going into a manic episode I’m not being responsible for my feelings. That’s so true. I see now that most of the time when I’m manic it’s because I feel overwhelmed by my feelings and I just let them take over. I’m not sure I understand what your solution is since this happens mostly when I’m off my medication.

O. October 11, 2011 at 10:05 am

Hello, Mark. Great article! I sent you today from your blog form an email named “Proposal” and I expect your answer with so much curiosity. Take care.

Mark Ivar Myhre October 11, 2011 at 10:31 am

Yes, I got your proposal.

I just sent you an email about it. If you don’t receive it, let me know.


Krystinna October 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I think God is bipolar too 🙂

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