My Mania (Happy Hour Shanghai’d)


You’ve been there no doubt, among friends as he lobbed the volley across your bow, the venerable question, similar in fact to a different question asked coincidently, at the same inopportune moment but by an anxious and adversarial opponent. These unexpected questions immediately illicit an aimless and incomprehensible teeter-tottering, a rambling as you trying to buy time; you eye-ball the inquisitor attempting intimidation; finally, you size-up your buzz and with resolute conviction attempt to answer millennia’s enigmatic math word problem: If it took 3 (enter drink of choice) to get this buzz, how many more will it take to keep it?

The adage, “quit while you’re ahead” immediately springs to mind, as do other 20/20 hindsight anecdotes.  But if you hesitate when asked, it’s likely that your next stop will be the Twilight Zone.

When I was trying to decide what experience might help describe my experience of hypo-mania, the Happy Hour Glow, that injection of confidence, power, and entitlement right before the inevitable “do you want another” question felt close.  Close enough.  The big difference between Happy Hour and Hypo-Mania is choice: You choose to drink.  I don’t choose hypo-mania.

But if we removed reason or choice from the experience, for me, my experience, or, how hypo-mania feels in the beginning of an episode is very similar to that buzzy, invincible, gregarious, handsome, well-deserving, flush-with-cash, ultra-capable, electrifying, one-of-a-kind, tell-it-like-it-is feeling moments before the bartender greets you at the fork in the road.

My episodes of hypo-mania can last several months and stretch into years.  At some point, like drinking one too many, the invincibility begins to sour, bitterness edges out respect, and consequence becomes a quickly discarded garnish.  By that time nature is doing its best to expunge toxins and take-out; by instinct you discover your bed; by morning regret arrives before the newspaper and promises of self-control hack through the dense thicket of your mind.

But me?  Me and my Mania?  We’ve been awake all night on e-bay bidding on those Rolex watches; we’ve been on Amazon looking for iPad’s. . .it’s just Day 2. . .