I have often felt that hypomanias are one of the least understood aspects of this illness. Is being hypomanic a bad thing? I don't think so. Do you?
If all you feel when you experience a hypomania is a slight elevation of mood, what's wrong with that? What are the other symptoms? I'm assuming it differs for everyone.
Are there stages of hypomania? When does a hypomania become a mania? How would you define a 1-3 hypomania? A 4-5? When it turns into a 6-7, is that when it becomes a mania? How does it feel at 8-9? What's a 10? What do you think?
1-3 For me, this just means that I feel good. I have a lot of energy. I can accomplish a tremendous amount in a day. I have a feeling of joi de vivre! I enjoy being with people again. It's a better than "normal" feeling. I can write lists, organize myself, move ahead with projects, and renew old acquaintances.
4-5 I feel better than good. I don't just like being with my friends; I love being with them. I don't just play the Autoharp at my mom's assisted living facility; I entertain the residents and make sure that everyone feels included. I don't just enjoy writing; I love writing. I don't just blog; I feel it's my calling (just kidding).
The downside at this stage is that I have to self-regulate (because the mood stabilizers don't work for me). However, after so many years, I know the symptoms and work hard to control them.
When I find myself talking too much, I try to stop. If I'm on the telephone, and my husband notices this behavior, we have agreed that he can signal that I seem to be going overboard. Whether I hang up or not is my choice. In person, without my husband around, I try to think if I'm having a dialogue or a monologue. If it's the later, I stop talking and give the other person a chance to get a word in edgewise.
One of the ways I calm down and lessen my energy level is to take a walk around the block or do deep breathing exercises. If I'm driving, I take my harmonica out of my purse, and slowly breathe in and out with it. It works and I find the music calming.
Spending money during a hypomania is no longer an issue. As I mentioned in another post, if I think it's going to be a problem, I give my husband my credit card (I only carry one) and my checks as well. However, it's not really a problem anymore. I know that hypomanic people tend to spend too much money. I know that we have a budget and it's not okay to spend money. If I truly need to buy something, I pick a little gift for myself that's under $10. Last week, I bought myself a new mechanical pencil at a museum shop and that was the extent of it.
I've never been promiscuous so this isn't a problem for me.
I know that sleep is very important so I make sure that I sleep eight to nine hours every night. If I can't, I try to increase my level of exercise so that I'm more tired. If that doesn't work, I try doing breathing exercises and relaxation exercises before I go to sleep. I also take a hot bath. If that doesn't work, my doctor has prescribed sleeping pills that I use with great caution because I also know they're addictive.
(to be continued)