Great question! First lets explore the definition of hypomania.
Symptoms of Mania – the “Highs” of 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.