9 Ways To Prevent Independence Day Mania

Last Updated: 5 Jul 2019

While we are setting millions of legal (and illegal) fireworks, there are also a number going off inside me––just as I knew there would.

Happy 4th of July to my American friends!

While the U.S. is setting off gosh knows millions or billions of legal (and illegal) fireworks, there are also a number going off inside me. I knew there would be; I just forgot about it for a while.

Independence never comes easy, nor does independence from this illness. Ever.

That’s a depressing thought.

Now I know I discussed mania already this year and probably quite a few times since I began blogging for BPHope, but alas, it a subject near and dear to my brain and heart. I covered some of these tips that post in February, but I’ve added some here today.

Then I was complaining about the snow while using my lightbox. Just after that post, who knew, I headed for the snow-filled mountains and valleys of Vermont in March. Thank you, Vermont Studio Center, you slowed down my mania while I was locked in my studio working on my next book(s). Thank you too, pneumonia, as you made me sleep twelve hours a day and you gotta love sleep to ward off mania. That slowed things down a bit from my typical spring mania.

When I returned home though, the rain put a damper on it. Thank God! After all, I couldn’t go to the beach and catch too many rays in the rain. No lying back at Aunt Carol’s pool or looking over the ocean from under my umbrella. (I only spend a half hour or hour out now after that very tan, very manic summer. That was a rough one!)

The bad weather has merely delayed the inevitable arrival of a little mania in the mail; and what a good thing.

But it’s back, predictably. I knew it would come, I guess I was pretending it wouldn’t. Like one of those silly little games you play with yourself. And since it’s here, I thought maybe, just maybe, I might be in good company.

Which brings me to some tips I gave you in February from my book and a few ad-libbed ones thrown in for good measure.

So, if you’re feeling manic, or for good mental health in general, why don’t you try:

  1. Turning on a white noise machine or fan to block out unwanted noise for your best, uninterrupted sleep.
  2. Blackout shades anyone? Style is nice, but sleep is better. (Or, you can have it all if you put up both.)
  3. Pay attention to the amount of sun you are getting. We recently purchased a UVA-100 umbrella. We stay under it at home in the backyard at our table (sans watering the garden, etc.) and bring it to the beach when we go. They say twenty minutes is all you need and much more can send us to mania-town. Too much sun isn’t good for your skin anyway.
  4. Try moving your bed if it is near the windows. Being near the light could hurt your sleep and wake you sooner. (My psychiatrist recently suggested sleeping with an eye mask on!)
  5. Reading in bed is an excellent way to fall asleep, but avoid books that make you want to stay up, like action thrillers or scary, dark ones potentially causing nightmares.
  6. With tips you are not good about enforcing, tell you loved ones and ask for help. (For me, it is spending.) For example, in late spring or early summer, every year like clockwork, I hand over my credit cards to Nora.
  7. If you are experiencing hypomania or depression, step up appointments with your psychiatrist and therapists and put your inner circle on alert.
  8. Listen to loved ones when they point out your mood has changed (I know, I know, this one is sometimes difficult) and try to remember their words that it will pass. I have learned to believe them even if I don’t feel like it. Sometimes, I’ll look at pictures around the house or on my phone to enforce this.
  9. Minimize time at social events. This past year I blurted out two comments that needed months of damage control. Also, make sure you have your own “getaway” car so you’re never trapped if uncomfortable, depressed, manic or anxious.

Be careful with your fireworks and if you feel them inside, get in to see your doctor right away!   🙂

*Partial excerpts from: Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival: Tips for Living with Bipolar Disorder, Post Hill Press. Authors: Wendy K. Williamson & Honora Rose.

About the author
Wendy Williamson had her first manic episode while studying at Virginia Tech, eight weeks before graduation. It was then she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type I. After being downsized from corporate America, Wendy wrote her memoir of honesty and hope entitled I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar. She co-wrote her second book: Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival: Tips for Living With Bipolar Disorder with author Honora Rose. Wendy writes for BPHope.com and The The Huffington Post. She has written for: BP Magazine, Bipolar Disorder for Dummies: 2nd Edition and The Two River Times. Her book has been reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly and National Alliance on Mental Illness’ The Advocate. Wendy is the founder of The Red Bank Writers Group and has been interviewed on over forty radio stations worldwide. Catch up with Wendy on Twitter and at her website.
  1. Hi Wendy, can’t wait for the new book. When the seasons change, I do too. A few friends told me I was overly sensitive and intense. I didn’t get the memo. I felt really productive and motivated, and fed the flickering little flames with accelerant. But something inside me told me to start seeing my ‘all cash’ clinically seasoned wizard of a shrink once a week. After 15 years, he knows me well. We discussed med changes.

    Before it went completely ablaze, I saw my primary, who specializes in psych patients. ‘You know you’re manic, don’t you?” He asked. I started sobbing. This guy, who I’ve always thought was cold, embraced me (a nurse was in the room) and said, “It’ll be Ok, Allison, don’t worry.” I told him my foot hurt…a lot. He sent me for an X-ray. I had two fractures, and in my manic state I’d barely noticed them. By continuing to overexercise, ( I have exercise bulimia-which prolongs the mania) I’d made them worse! Next day: Med changes. 30 day depression. Barely stayed out of the hospital. Talking about my depression to my peer mentor made it worse. Unable to exercise for a while and eating food for comfort and serotonin boost, I gained another 15. Trying not to beat myself up, but the eating disorder demands to be felt too.
    My writing is better but I can’t feel any satisfaction from anything right now. That’s the price I pay for supporting the hypomania until it burned me.
    As for sleep and the TV being on or lights disturbing me, I have a few tools to prevent me from missing sleep. I have to wear an eye pillow to black out TV or outdoor lights. Sleep is important to me but not too much.

  2. I’m a huge fan of your books!

    These are brilliant tips, and I loved how you ended with the line “Be careful with your fireworks and if you feel them inside, get in to see your doctor right away! ” Inner fireworks is a *PERFECT* way to depict mania of all levels!

    I actually passed on a major social event on the 4th – one that I’ve always forced myself to attend each year, and while yes, I felt a little bit of guilt, I was SO happy to be “free”! I actually did a happy dance.

    In life, I can’t always get away with avoidance, but this time around I soaked it in. I was beyond stoked to not have to show up at a hectic scene & pretend to be nice to people who had turned their back on me. I chillaxed with my dog on our deck & watched a video. Bliss!

    You’re not writing to the wind, and I know a lot more people will read this post over the next couple days/weeks/months etc. & be super-thankful you took the time to write it. :)))

  3. Love your tips and will try to remember them! My husband always thinks i’m so strange, wanting the overhead fan whirling away, even in the coldest of weather – but it DOES blank out, or at least blur, the myriad of racing thoughts demanding my attention. AND THE SUN…. I used to love it so much but now enjoy a nice rainy day so much more. Love your writing! Keep it going, PLEASE 🙂 xo

    1. Yup, I try to remember them, myself. Thanks for the compliment–I needed it! Sometimes I think I I’m writing to the wind and should stop. Good to know someone’s reading! Keep on keeping on! 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for your tips they are really good. Im just coming out of a down time and it’s 12 am here in nz and I couldn’t get to sleep feeling wide awake it was good to read your tips on sleeping. .Keep up the good work ..It’s good to know we are not alone with this dreaded bipolar. …

    1. Thanks, Beth! I appreciate it! We’re never alone…

Leave a Reply

Please do not use your full name, as it will be displayed. Your email address will not be published.