Mania's Magic Glasses

During a manic episode you can say some very hurtful things to the people you love. You can do some very hurtful acts towards people who care about you. Is this how you really feel towards them? Are these your innermost feelings being exposed? No not at all. It is the result of a deranged mind.

During a manic episode one is not able to think straight. One's capacity for logical thought is severely diminished. One's access to the normal rules of civilized behavior is impeded. One loses contact with reality. It is called psychosis. But one's head is not empty. There is definitely something going on in there, something going on very fast. I call it mania's "magic glasses."

Mania, or depression, is like wearing a pair of magic glasses over your eyes. Everything you see, everything you perceive, everything from the real world outside must pass through these magic glasses to reach your inner self. In mania the magic glasses make everything appear much brighter than it really is. In depression they make everything appear much darker. Nothing can get through to you without being affected by the magic glasses. There is no escape.

The magic glasses are inside your head, firmly entrenched between external reality and how you perceive and interpret that reality. In addition to the magic glasses, your mind is also running a fantasy of some sort. You may believe yourself to have god-like qualities, to be superhuman, to be special in some way, certainly to be someone other than you really are. The magic glasses filter reality according to the fantasy you are running. External events will be interpreted to conform to the internal fantasy you are living in. You will respond to these events, not as they are, but as you interpret them to be through the magic glasses.

For example, in depression, the simple fact that the rent needs paying will convince you that you are about to be evicted from your home and will end up destitute in the streets. In mania, believing yourself to be extremely wealthy because of all of the money your newfound abilities will earn, you may ruin yourself financially from unbridled spending. Anything someone says to you has to pass through the magic glasses and is interpreted as part of your internal fantasy. Even what you see on the television passes through the magic glasses and can become evidence to support your belief in your fantasy.

In mania, what one says and what one does is based upon a deranged mind that has little capacity for logical thought and is overwhelmed by a fantasy that one is acting out. No external argument can dislodge this fantasy. External facts cannot disprove it. Medication is the only recourse. It is not unlike a dream state. As in a dream, there may be some tenuous connection to actual events, but it is grossly distorted. If things are said, if things are done, they proceed from this distorted vision. They bear little or no relation to one's normal self or true feelings.

I'm sorry, you can't go home until you're better.