Is This Hypomania or Mania?

Can you tell if you’re in a hypomania/manic state? hypomania or mania

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Great question!  First lets explore the definition of hypomania.

Symptoms of Mania – the “Highs” of Bipolar Disorder

From http://www.dbsahouston.org/bipolar-disorder

  • Heightened mood, exaggerated optimism and self-confidence
  • Excessive irritability, aggressive behavior
  • Decreased need for sleep without experiencing fatigue
  • Grandiose thoughts, inflated sense of self-importance
  • Racing speech, racing thoughts, flight of ideas
  • Impulsiveness, poor judgment, distractibility
  • Reckless behavior
  • In the most severe cases, delusions and hallucinations

 

Before I was aware I had bipolar and what the disorder was about I did not know I was in Hypomania. In fact I thought I was in a really great mood. I felt great about life and myself. I was super social and spent a lot of money and had endless energy. I worked ridiculous hours and my career thrived. I was witty, charming and felt I could do it all. Through out the course of learning about this disorder it was determined that I was in the hypomania state for years. I thought I was young and ambitious but it turns out that all that energy and all the lack of sleep coupled with my sheer arrogance was all part of this disorder.

Since my diagnoses and working with my therapist I can now tell when hypomania is coming on. There are always tell tale signs right before the storm. The first sign for me is insomnia; it seems to kick off the rest of the other mania symptoms. When I am not in hypomania lack of sleep will have me dragging the next day, if by the second day I don’t sleep well I almost in tears and so cranky.

With hypomania I can go weeks without sleeping and with the lack of sleep my energy level seems to be ten fold.  I waltz through life without a care in the world. Things are wonderful and grand. I am usually very active physically and socially during these times as well.

Insomnia is the first sign. The second sign is how much energy I have and how many ideas race through my mind. Once I realize what’s happening I don’t fight it. I let it happen. I stay physically active; I try to devote all my energy into something constructive. I basically try to use all this extra energy for the good of mankind.

I alert my friends and boyfriend what I am going through. I consciously watch my spending and try to stay away from shopping. It’s taken a lot of time and patience with myself to be able to distinguished when this mood is coming on. Individuals with bipolar love this mood and often times believe it to be their reward from the horrendous lows we experience.

Hypomania can be very dangerous if not controlled or taken serious. This is when a person can make really bad decisions that can be costly and cause harm to our personal and professional lives. So with that being said it is possible to tell when it’s coming on. Everyone has their own cycles and their own symptoms. The key is self-awareness, however this is a skill that is developed over time.  Not all people affected with bipolar will be able to tell they are in this euphoric state called hypomania.  My advice to anyone who has this disorder is to never let your guard down, always be aware of your moods. I know it’s extremely exhausting but it’s worth it in order to stay healthy.

 

~Christine

5 thoughts on “Is This Hypomania or Mania?

  1. I’ve got BP and am really I interested in the managing BP and keeping tha positives
    I’d really like the chance.to discuss it
    Dr Fiona Lobban @spectrumcentre doing some research as well
    I know she’d love to hear from you

  2. My husband, with whom I’ve been with for 15 years, told me when our third child was 2-weeks-old he no longer loves me. This was 7 weeks ago. He is bipolar II and suffered from crippling, catatonic depression the better part of a decade until 3 years ago when he underwent electroconvulsive therapy. But he hated it, and to avoid ECT upped what was a low-dose of Lexapro this spring after his depression returned (it had been two years!). We just moved a little over a year ago and his new doctors do not know him very well – the doc who gave him the higher dose of Lexapro just did med management for a few months. He has since moved onto a new doctor who would never know he was hypomanic. I believe he has been in a hypomanic state since the spring. He says his feelings for me have waxed and waned for the better part of 5 years (which marks when his depression became truly catastrophic in nature). I do not dismiss the stresses our relationship has endured, and the fact he has likely been unable to FEEL much of anything a lot of the time. He felt controlled, is tired of always being wrong and I’m right, of not meeting my needs, and of my emotional reactions when I am sad, scared, or frustrated. But he has been VERY different since the spring, sleeping less, more energized, super focused on work, and incredibly avoidant of me. Just a year ago we were buying a house and trying for a third baby, and now he’s ready to leave. He insists this has been building a long time and has called into question our whole relationship. I know in my bones how in love we were/are, but he is a different man. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I understand he needs to work things out for himself, but this is new territory for us. His hypomania in the past was very subtle, and lasted just a few days. I have attended NAMI classes, done lots of research, and work an Al-Anon program all to maintain our relationship, and though we were in marriage counseling for years he NEVER SAID A WORD about his lack of feelings, etc. I am terrified, but know at the very least I am going to mourn what I thought our relationship WAS, regardless of how things work out. We have three amazing kids, and he is the love of my life. I fear this illness was wrecking havoc on our relationship right under my nose, impeding his ability to connect and building resentments towards me for advocating for self-care, and my own needs, along the way. It’d be nice to hear other’s experiences on the impacts hypomania can have on marriage. Right now he has no sleep hygiene, no exercise, no healthy diet awareness, and is only taking the meds I ironically would like him to stop. I am bereft.

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