What is it like for you to have a hypomanic/ manic episode?

I know everyone is different, but what is it like for you to have a hypomanic/ manic episode? What thoughts go through your mind? How are you feeling? Could you also describe one of your episodes?


Dear Manic,

I am Bipolar I, so when my Bipolar gets out of hand, this is generally what happens to me, so I have a lot of experience with this type of mood.

Before I discuss what they mean to me, here is a good reference article outlining the clinical definition of the two. http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=11194&cn=4

Hypomania itself can be a great feeling.  I get a lot accomplished while hypomanic.  I feel like I can conquer the world.  I am happy and cheerful.  I have a lot of excess energy and speak very quickly.  A lot of times people have to ask me to repeat myself because my speech is so fast.  This is the state in which I act like the Energizer Bunny.  My house is always clean, tasks are always done way ahead of schedule, and I am an overachiever.  I have a difficult time focusing on any one thing.  Even watching television is a chore when I am hypomanic.  At times, I have to watch TV with the subtitles on in order to stop my mind from racing.  In this state, you flit from thing to thing, and project to project.  You come up with new ideas. Other times you bite off more than you can chew.  For example, I offered to write this post.  I completely spaced on what day it was due.  I am now writing it at 5 am because hypomanic people lose track of time.  It’s not an excuse, but I wanted to be honest.

Hypomania may FEEL good, but it is dangerous for two reasons.  It can spiral into mania or back down into depression.  As I mentioned, I don’t get depressed very often, so that really isn’t my area of expertise, but mania sure is.  Mania is like every rational thought leaving your mind.  I am lucky in that I have never gone on a wild spending spree or had sex with random strangers (which are always the two classic examples of mania given), but I have lost my mind in other ways.  One night my husband and I were driving in his car and I got upset at something he said.  I snapped and tried to open my door and get out.  He had to put the child locks on so I couldn’t.  Another night I felt I needed to take a walk at midnight down a busy street.  No one could talk me out of it.  The following week I learned that the street I walked down had 20 registered sex offenders living on it.  In mania, all judgment leaves your brain, and until you can calm down, you act very irrationally.  It has been the scariest mood that I have experienced.

The best advice I can give to you is to learn how you act and feel in each mood, and if anything triggers it.  Many times just going to sleep would stop my mania and bring me back to hypomania.  But each person is different.  If you are on medication, be sure to take it as directed, because not doing so can trigger a shift in mood.

Good luck!

4 thoughts on “What is it like for you to have a hypomanic/ manic episode?

  1. Kimberly,
    Your answer was accurate and descriptive. The examples you gave will make it easy for people to understand just what your mind is experiencing in these different mood states.
    Great job! 🙂

  2. I agree another awesome answer! I am BP II, so I’ve had a lot of experience with hypomania and deep depression. I’m one of the rare individuals, or it could be due to age, but I was hypomanic for years! I loved it. I woke up everyday positive. I was productive, confident etc.. But, then I began to notice I was becoming overly sensitive…even more so than usual. And, I would get irritable too.

  3. yep, I lived my whole life, for about 20 years unmedicated hypomanic. Then I spiralled out of control with crying screaming & walking out @ 2am. After years of meds & CBT I am basically pretty stable now & the counselling help alot to gain insight into my condition. I am now working on getting thru’ with minimal medication because I have been pretty stable for two or three years 🙂

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