I have been in a relationship with someone who has lived with depression since his childhood. He recently and abruptly began to act irregularly. He became infatuated with a girl (hour long conversations) that he does not know. Sleeping for only 3 hours a night, irritable and angry, and he broke up with me quickly after we’ve been together for 7 years. His family has a history of bipolar and it appears he is in a hypomanic state. He keeps contacting me for “break up” logistics that are not necessary. He has not gotten himself treatment for his depression, and at this point does not see his current state.
I am wondering how long do these manic episodes keep up and what does it look like after?
It does sound like your boyfriend just may be in a hypomanic or a manic state. And these states can be different for every person, and sometimes are even different for the same person each time they go through it. Symptoms vary, and the way it is handled varies. Another thing that varies from person to person is how long the manic episodes last and what it looks like afterwards. For some people, the manic times only last hours or days. For others, it can last weeks or months. I didn’t think there really was an average on how long the manic or depressive states can last. BUT I did some research and found out that there is an average length of time! For people with Bipolar I disorder, the average length of either a manic phase or a depressed phase is about 13 weeks. Now, that is only an average and I only found one study stating this. It can still be different each time, and for different people.
Now, for the second part of your question-what does it look like after? Some people, after they go through a manic episode crash, and they crash hard. They get really depressed and never want to get out of bed or do anything. Sometimes, though, a person can experience mania and, when they start to come down, their mood may be able to stop at an even, middle-of-the-road, not too happy, not too sad area. I think there is a higher likelihood of this happening with treatment and careful observation by a Pdoc.
I do want to say, though, that if your boyfriend keeps contacting you for ‘break up logistics’ and he just won’t let it go, it may be a sign that he is not sure he wants to end things. It may just be his current state of mind that is causing him some confusion. If you can, give him some time to get out of his manic swing, and see how things play out from there. Also, try to get him to see that he needs treatment. It can be way more difficult to convince someone who is manic that they need treatment than it is someone who is depressed. Hopefully you can help him to see that he needs help.
I’m sorry I couldn’t give you more definitive answers… Bipolar Disorder is really individual to each person. Only time will tell exactly how long a manic or depressive episode will last. Medication is usually necessary to even out one’s moods. I hope I helped you at least a little! If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail us!