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Mania is one of the most complicated experiences to explain to someone who does not have bipolar. Each person experiences it differently and mania in itself expresses in different ways. It can express itself as extreme euphoric highs as well as extreme irritability resulting in aggression. There was a time in a manic high during college that I became delusional and believed I was a descendant of Aphrodite. Though this belief didn’t particularly harm anyone it did inevitably trigger a period of hyper sexuality in my life that I later regretted. But that is not the side of mania I would like to focus on today. Today I would like to focus on what I feel is the more dangerous side of mania. These are the types of manic episodes where I personally have had irritability overtake me and the build up of small aggravations have led to major aggression or even full blown rage. It is in the rage periods that I describe my mania like watching myself on the television but I can’t change the channel. Life is unfolding in front of me and I’m stuck watching, helpless, unable to stop it.

Today I am going to give you a tool that, though it will not hault a full aggressive manic episode, you may find useful to prevent that episode from taking form before it happens. This method is called STOPP:


Take a breath


Pull back

Practice what works

I am going to delve deeper into what this entails, but I must preface that the STOPP method will only work if you practice it regularly in your times of balance. What I mean is, as you go throughout your days and experience minor irritations, anxieties, or small triggers, do not let them pass by without implementing this strategy. I want you to turn this method into habit so that in the early stages of mania you do it instinctually. I myself have found this practice incredibly useful in keeping the intensities of my mania at bay. My “aggressive" manias now last only 1-48 hours and stop at minor irritation without inflating to agression or rage. And that is something I believe you are capable of too!

Lets begin with S:


Take a moment to slow down. Our knee jerk reactions to things are more often than not based on our lifelong internal conditioning as opposed to external circumstances. Yes, the external is the trigger, but the reaction is internal and instinctual. By stopping for a moment we are able to look at a situation from a proactive viewpoint rather than a reactive one.


Take a breath. Taking a few slow, deep breaths can often be calming and even lower your heart rate if done consciously. You can even go as far as to introduce yogic pranayama breathing styles like nadi shodhana. Nadi shodhana (or alternative nostril breathing) is a relaxed breath aimed to calm the nervous system, amongst other things. Begin by sitting or laying down and emptying all the air from your lungs. Use the thumb from your right hand to block your right nostril and inhale slowly into your belly through your left nostril only. Hold your breath momentarily here. Before you exhale, remove your thumb from your right nostril and block your left nostril with the ring finger from your right hand. Exhale completely now through only your right nostril. Pause, then inhale again, this time through your right nostril. Switch fingers once more to exhale through your left and repeat this process 4-8 times.


Observe. Start observing your thoughts. Are they racing? What are you focusing on? What are you feeling? What are you reacting to and is it causing physical sensations in your body? Our body inf