I've had a few depressive episodes since I've lived here, and a couple mild manic episodes. All of which I was able to deal with holistically, nothing he really didn't understand. It seems as though depression is easier for "normal" people to understand than out-of-control manic behavior. Mania can be scary to both the observer and the person who is in its throes. If your support group/person is not aware of how you experience mania and what you need when it's happening, they could inadvertently do the wrong thing. It's very important to discuss what type of behavior is to be expected and needed before anything happens.
Last night I was triggered into one of the worst agitated mania episodes I've had in about six years. It took me about a half an hour to remember everything I've learned, but once I utilized my holistic tools I was able to get it under control within about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, poor Greg was beside himself. He'd never seen me like that and did what he instinctively thought was the right thing to do. He didn't want to leave me alone and kept holding on to me or doing that patting thing he does when he thinks he's being comforting. Exactly the opposite of what I needed. I did not want any more tactile stimuli and I wanted to be alone. I knew I'd be ok, but didn't know how to reassure him, nor did I want to upset him further by telling him to leave me alone.
This morning, when I was more "sane," I explained to him what happens when I have an agitated mania episode and what I need him to do, or rather what I need him not to do. I urge those of you with a mental illness to discuss with your loved ones ahead of time what type of support you need instead of waiting until it's too late. Be specific, and understand that what you say may cause further concerns. But as long you keep the lines of communication open, you should be ok.
Just like many of us have formal advance directives about what to do when we can't care for ourselves, it's vital to have two-way communication about what we need from our caregivers when we aren't able to clearly explain what we need at the time we need it most.