I was hypomanic and all is fine. I am on day four of the ‘when I first realized I was getting high’ realization. Awareness of the switches – especially to a high state for a BP-1 person like myself – is pretty important.
It is important as that switch for me can mean a quick change from wherever I was on the scale of ‘normal’ to an actual illness state i.e. becoming manic.
Mania is not fun times and living on the edge, at least not for me. It is not about overspending either. I took care of that issue years ago. I enjoy shopping but am not addicted to it.
After I was diagnosed at age 19 and learned about the illness I understood some of the ‘shopping mania’ I felt compelled to do at times was really more of an irrational emotional state than any real need to purchase any item.
And being low income means I have little chance to go on any flamboyant spending sprees. So impulsive over-spending isn’t a huge issue in my life at this time. I got over the ‘casual sex’ part of mania years ago as well. Awareness is key.
Mania is about becoming very erratic, impulsive, hypersexual, unreasonable usually and possibly psychotic. The impulsivity of mania does not only apply to the stereotypical ‘bipolar spending spree’ – you can become impulsive emotionally, physcially, sexually or other.
Does That Sound Fun?
It’s not. Not at all. It is in actuality incredibly frightening. And only someone who has actually been severely manic at some point during their lifetime would understand what I mean by frightening.
I become hyperaroused as well. I think I am relaxed and focused, then something that would not bother me or ‘alert my nervous system’ before is a trigger.
For the past three days of hypomania the trigger was public. It was after I made myself do something helpful i.e. getting out for a walk to the library to use a software program on their computers. As I sat and tried to keep my motions calm (I get lightening quick when hypomanic, though there is no real reason to be so) and focus on the tasks at hand a person would walk by and my brain would alert, eyes dart in their direction.
It was like I was afraid of something but there was nothing to fear. There was no heightened event going on, nothing abnormal, no real danger. My brain was in a hyperalert state anyways; and acting hyperaroused.
Hypomania Can Be More Embarrassing Than Fun
After a few of these ‘jerks of my line of eye focus’ to the left I got up and went to the bathroom. Nice lady across the table kindly agreed to watch my purse. Normally I would just grab it and leave my notebook to save the computer spot… but when I am in a hyper emotional state I am not acting normally.
At these times I question my thoughts and actions. And of course, usually at light-breaking speed. Sped up or racing thoughts is a primary symptom of hypomania and mania.
I needed to move a bit, change the stimuli focus. Then was calmer but left to walk home anyways. I prefer not to feel, look or act like a freak; meaning in a way that is not the norm for me.
Paranoia is not a huge issue for me at this point in my life. There is some advantage to living with a mental illness such as Bipolar 1 Disorder for many years – you get accustomed to some of its tricks and disguises.
Preventing a Switch to Mania
I have no secret potion, magic ritual or surefire way to offer as a preventative for someone suffering with Manic Depression – now called Bipolar 1 Disorder – who is in a hypomanic state to not progress to actual mania.
I wish I did.
I can say – and I think this is medically valid, not just my own personal experience – that making sure you get some sleep (at least a few hours if nothing else) and not acting on impulsive behavior are the primary ways to stop hypomania in its tracks.
Nice try hypomania, but you’re going bye bye soon. You have to take control over your altered mood state in whatever way you can.
I’m not in the mood to take you for a joy ride, hypomania. Sorry. Why don’t we just get some rest, make sure to eat some decent food and get out this crazy energy in safe ways like a walk outside or phone call to a trusted friend. Whatever works.
For some they rely on medication to deal with hypomania. Medications were not helpful to me when I did try them years ago, only for crisis type of situations such as psychosis of mania that led to hospitalization.
As I learned to deal better with my mood states and understand them better, plus lifestyle changes too, I have been able to have more control over their intensity and duration. I never take that learning or good fortune for granted.
I know how serious and devastating this illness can be and how frightening it is to become totally out of control if hypomania progresses to mania.
I’m Fine Now
The third day, after a pretty restless couple of nights without deep sleep, I crashed early and slept hard. The hypomania let up and I felt ‘normal’ again. Hyperalertness lessened, my time at the library computer was productive.
No medication except my daily red wine in the evening ‘medication’. I also take thyroid hormone, salmon oil and a Green Food supplement.
My normal is definitely not the same as yours (whether you are bipolar or not!) but I can promise you I recognize it when I see it 🙂
Cheers and hope you are well too, Molly
The image of a lady pulling her hair out is a free use image from ClipArtBest.com.