It’s like this: If one person calls you a jackass, you slough it off. If two, three or sixteen people call you a jackass, it’s time to turn around and see if you’ve sprouted a tail.

That’s how it is with my mania. I am so freakin’ brilliant and beautiful when I am manic that there is no way I could be a jackass.  Life is great. Life is grand. Life is so wonderful. Or, I am obsessed. I cannot stop working. I cannot stop my brain. The ideas keep coming and coming and coming.

I need to exercise. No, scratch that. I need extreme physical exertion. I am reckless. I am daring. I am going to kick your ass. I am living the X Games and dang, I feel good.

Of course, I’m sick and getting sicker when this kind of mania hits. And without a bunch of people telling me I’m out of control, I wouldn’t see myself sprouting a tail. I can think of no other disease that tells you are not sick. The sicker you get, the better you feel. It’s not like that with cancer or depression. You know you are sick when your cancer or depression worsens. No doubt about it.

This is why it has become so important for me to have spotters. These are people who know me well. They know how I behave naturally and they know how I behave when I am getting manic. They have my permission to reel me in when they see me heading to the moon. It’s okay for them to call me a jackass.

I got to thinking about this a couple of days ago when a friend called and told me about the husband of a mutual friend. He is off his meds. His mania is off the Richter scale. He is verbally abusive and who knows what else. Doesn’t matter how many people tell him he is a jackass, he’s not going to turn around and look for his tail.

I used to be like this. You couldn’t tell me anything. I had all the answers and everyone was entitled to my opinion. Then it came crashing down when I slipped into a deep depression. The jig was up. I needed help and became willing to listen to people I trusted. I became willing to turn around and see if I had sprouted a tail.

I am proud to report today and I do not have a tail. But I still check every now and then.