Please read yesterday's post for continuity.
6-7 A hypomania of this magnitude begins to scare me. And this is when I feel things are spiraling out of control. There is a moment when I know that whatever skills I've developed for self-regulation aren't working so I go to my doctor and see what my alternatives are.
Since none of the mood stabilizers work for me, it's difficult to find a quick-fix. But sometimes, taking Depakote for a day or two will stop the episode. It also makes me physically ill (it doesn't matter what dosage I take, I get flu-like symptoms that don't go away). As I've said before, neither Lithium, Tegretol, or Lamictal work, nor do a long list of other medications.
Again, I must say that prior to taking medication, my hypomanias (and I use the term loosely) were very low level. These days, I no longer experience any that are above a 3 or 4 on a ten point scale but in the past, I remember talking so fast that it must have been difficult for others to follow me. I was so enthusiastic about whatever my passions were that it wasn't "normal." I had feelings of grandiosity that were more than just being optimistic or excited about the future.
As a freelance grant writer (a former profession), I had difficulty writing grants because my thoughts were racing. Rather than narrowly focusing on the task at hand, I would involve myself in all aspects of a client's business. While my time management skills are ordinarily excellent, I would find myself spending way too much time researching potential donors, or talking to a client about issues that had nothing to do with the grant. I won't bore you with the details but there were a few disastrous years that I try not to think about.
During a hypomania that was a 6-7, I found myself more irritable and less patient than usual. Since I was aware of my behavior, I tried to take a deep breathe before I responded to people who annoyed me. If I needed a moment to compose myself, I would say, "I'm sorry but I need to go to the bathroom." I felt it was better for them to think I had a bladder problem than to know that my behavior was "over the top."
If I was at home, I would try and do deep breathing exercises or do physical exercise. If things were moving too fast, I would take a small dosage of Ativan (which I use to sleep at night during hypomanias).
I don't have episodes like this any more because as I've mentioned before, I'm off the medication merry-go-round. I only take medication during depressions, and once they're over, I go off it. While I sometimes experience a low-level hypomania following a depression, I am well-aware of the symptoms and I won't allow them to disrupt my life.
But when I look back, there was certainly behavior I exhibited that embarrasses me. When possible, I have apologized (years ago) for offending people during these episodes. I destroyed some professional relationships and it was unfortunate. A few years later, I decided that grant writing as a profession isn't for me because it exacerbates my illness (and I had stopped enjoying the work). I reinvented myself as a freelance writer (I'd been doing that work for the last 20 years as well).
These days, I no longer think about the bad times. They're over. I no longer experience those kinds of hypomanias. I'm grateful. It's history.