by Christine F. Anderson
Christine writes about mental health/mental illness in her column, Forever Different, where she shares from her own experiences as someone who has bipolar disorder. Christine has also started a Facebook support group for those with Bipolar Disorder: www.facebook.com/groups/foreverdifferent.
We hear the term thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean to be “grandiose?”
Well, some people think that they are better than other people; some people think they cannot be understood by anyone else unless it’s someone very special who understands them. Some people feel that they have special capabilities, at times even entering the delusional—they think that they are the only person who can solve all of the world’s problems.
I recall episodes of grandiosity that I’ve had; it’s my worst symptom. It’s something that really seems to gnaw at my being. I become manic, and get to a point where I feel that I can do anything. I am invincible, and by that I don’t mean I’m going to go jump off the roof of a building and believe I’m going to fly, or survive when I hit the ground. When I’m grandiose, I think that I can take on too many projects, and I can do too many things, and do them all well, do them all myself without any help.
That’s just one form of grandiosity; the other form is that while I’m doing things, I feel that I am irreplaceable. I feel that I am powerful, important, and my beliefs are accompanied by feelings of euphoria—intense pleasure, sometimes even to the point where nothing seems impossible and every problem has an overly-optimistic solution.
It’s these feelings that prompt people, when they are both manic and grandiose together, to feel that they should initiate projects and activities. And the best way to recognize this symptom is to see if you are exaggerating, see if you’re boisterous, and see if you’re being pompous. Observers may perceive that grandiose individuals are conceited and condescending, particularly in their tone; your tone will change when you start to become grandiose.
The person being grandiose sometimes will also be impulsive. The goals that they set may be unrealistic or difficult to obtain. Obviously this has a huge impact on life, because these decisions are being made, and they think it’s fine, that they will be able to maintain this level of energy. But eventually, it will end. When this manic episode is over, they’ll be left with the aftermath, which all of us have a problem dealing with.
How does one clean up the mess? Although I don’t have an answer to that, I do know that if you start to recognize your symptoms and catch them early enough, go to your therapist or doctor and tell him or her that your symptoms are starting, you might be able to escape a full-blown episode, or at least manage it. They’ll recognize that you’re in the middle of a crisis and they need to help you through it.
So here today I’m asking that, if anyone reading this identifies with what I’m talking about, please get help, talk to your therapist, continue to see your doctor, and take your medication. I want you to stay sane, and be well.
Check out KRL’s Mental Health section for more mental health related articles, and watch for more from Christine.