The Siren Call of Bipolar Mania

Last Updated: 15 Oct 2020

In the midst of a depressive episode, mania can call to you like a Siren. Its song is alluring, promising freedom and joy. But chasing the melody of mania is sure to lead to disaster and wreckage.

Illustration of left and right sides of brain with music notes in black-and-white or in rainbow colors, representing bipolar disorder and the siren call of mania over depression.

I hate bipolar depression so much, I often think of taking a substance that will pop me into mania.

There is a good chance you have had this desire as well. Most people will try this—many times—before they realize that mania is not the answer for ending bipolar depression.

The Threat of the Thrill

In Greek mythology, underwater Sirens lured sailors to their deaths. Mythology teaches us lessons we can use today: what thrills us and seduces us can also destroy us.

My life, when manic, was a constant chase of excitement, booze, and men. It was not pretty, and it almost led to my death. It is so intense that when I am not in a relationship, I am celibate. I can’t control bipolar manic hypersexuality on my own.

Choosing Stability

Depression has been back in my life for a few months now. I know why. I am on a new sleep medication, and I decided to go back to craniosacral therapy to help with my head injury. Both caused deep depression. I stopped the craniosacral therapy and will probably have to stop taking the sleep med.

This is a deep and mythological kind of depression. It torments my sleep and tells me that my life is pointless. It’s dangerous.

But so is mania.

I choose the stable life. I want to live until 90. I want to be healthy, and I want to work. Mania will never allow this.

So, when the Siren of mania starts singing, I choose to focus on stability.

Your thoughts?


Originally posted September 6, 2019

About the author
Julie A. Fast is the author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder, Get It Done When You’re Depressed, and The Health Cards Treatment System for Bipolar Disorder. She is a columnist and blogger for bp Magazine, and she won the Mental Health America journalism award for the best mental health column in the US. Julie was also the recipient of the Eli Lilly Reintegration Achievement Award for her work in bipolar disorder advocacy. Julie is a bipolar disorder expert for ShareCare, a site created by Dr. Oz and Oprah. Julie is CEU certified and regularly trains health care professionals, including psychiatric residents, social workers, therapists, and general practitioners, on bipolar disorder management skills. She was the original consultant for Claire Danes for the show Homeland and is on the mental health expert registry for People magazine. She works as a coach for parents and partners of people with bipolar disorder. Julie is currently writing a book for children called "Hortensia and the Magical Brain: Poems for Kids with Bipolar, Anxiety, Psychosis, and Depression." You can find more about her work at and
  1. Can you try and switch to other sleep aid? Have you tried melatonin? I’m concerned if you’re not able to sleep because not sleeping is a trigger to mania at least in my case. Thank you for helping me so much in the past year. You make the world a better place. Xo

  2. Thank you.

  3. I understand the lure of mania all too well. Although it’s only hypomania, feeling something besides depression is too tempting at times. It has caused me to not take my medication just so I can feel that way. This, despite knowing that I will end up crashing after a couple of days.

  4. My problem with mania is shopping. There are so many good Christmas Sales! So, I throw stuff in shopping carts or lists on websites and try not to buy them. Sort of like window shopping. It really does help to say ‘I can buy that later or think about it for awhile’. The depression happens when I don’t go out, shop or don’t speak to friends.
    then I do want to start the mania with online shopping. That’s when I quit using my Computer for awhile. That works. Then my meds and sanity kick in. Keeping the balance is tough!

    1. I spent over $14,000 on stuff I didn’t need while manic and have almost zero memory of any of it.

  5. I have been dealing with bipolar mania all my life. It’s like I am on a bycyle that cannot stop. I should get off but I cannot! I feel like my hands are glued to the handle bars!! It’s lasts from hours, days and sometime even longer. I feel it coming and it’s like I am forced to ride. Later on its goes to depression but does not last long. My brain is saying I do not like this and my brain switches back to mania. I feel one step forward and 2 steps back

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