My purpose in the last few posts regarding hypomania was to learn the following: What symptoms do you have when you're hypomanic? How do you deal with them? I appreciate hearing from those people who responded and I would hope to hear from more of you. (As I mentioned, I'm swamped until Monday after my class and won't be able to respond to your comments until Monday night.)
My reason for asking these questions is to see if my symptoms are common, to learn if other people have different symptoms that I may not have identified (or perhaps I don't have), and to learn about other coping strategies.
What fuels my questions is my philosophy about this illness. When I was first diagnosed (25 years after my first depressive episode), I was somewhat relieved to learn that there was a biochemical reason for my depressions. Later, I realized that whether this illness has a biochemical basis or not (and I'm still not convinced that it's the full story), like everything else in life, I believe I have to assume responsibility for myself.
In my case, the medication didn't work and so I needed to find other ways to "cure" myself. However, even for those people for whom it does work, I believe we all have to assume responsibility for our own healing.
For years, what I so disliked about what I read in books, websites, and later blogs, was the lack of empowerment (I'm not sure if this is the best word) for bipolars (BIPS). What I felt doctors and other BIPS were saying was "there's nothing you can do about this illness except take medicine. And if it doesn't work, all you can do is to try new medicine or hope that something new will be developed."
I felt I was spending my entire life waiting...and getting sicker and sicker. Finally, I had enough. I realized that this was not a philosophy I adhere to in any other aspect of my life. Why would I accept such a passive role in trying to heal myself?
After a lot of thought, research and prayer, I believe there are dozens of things we can all do every day to feel better. I'm not saying that we can end a depression by positive thinking. Nor do I believe we can end a hypomania by utilizing self-control but I think our daily actions can make a huge difference.
I know that if I can identify hypomanic symptoms, and develop strategies for coping with them, I will feel better. I know that if I can identify the triggers that cause depressions and resolve them, I can stave off a depression or lessen its impact.
I also know that there are positive actions I can take to seek wellness, including exercise, spending time outdoors, seeking counsel when something bothers me, finding methods of reducing stress, choosing not to spend time with people whom I consider toxic, participating in creative outlets and the list goes on.
What I'm trying to find out is whether other BIPS agree or whether they feel that they must accept the limitations of this illness. I am interested in finding out about coping mechanisms that I may not be aware of, healing techniques that others have found effective, and the ways in which BIPS are empowering themselves.