I've been in a low-level hypomania for about ten days now. As I was thinking about it, I realized that I have a wide range of "unusual symptoms" that I've never read about in any book. So, I thought I'd tell you about them to see if anyone else has them as well.
1. I tend to talk more loudly than normal. I can't imagine why but I've noticed it for a number of years. When I know I'm doing this, I try to lower the volume of my voice. When I don't realize it, I assume that others must think I have a hearing loss.
2. I tend to use "swear words." Again, I don't know why. When I'm well, I rarely swear. I've always felt that "swear words" are common and that a person with an ample vocabulary should be able to be more creative. But I find myself saying the words "fu*k" and "sh*t" with some regularity and I have to consciously stop saying them.
3. During hypomanias, I need to eat more "red meat" than normal. I used to think it had to do with the medication I took but now I know it doesn't. I somehow feel that since I've got such an excess of energy, my body needs energy-producing food.
4. When a hypomania is over, I feel like I've "given" so much of myself to others that I'm exhausted. It's no wonder that this can lead to a depression.
5. I tend to talk more to strangers--not in a bad way but it's just different. Ordinarily, I enjoy talking to people I meet while I'm out and about. If I'm standing in a line at a bank or at the post office, I might chat with the people around me. But during a hypomania, I find myself talking to a wide range of different people.
Today, while I was shooting a photography assignment at UCLA, I volunteered to take photographs of people who were tourists. I had an extended conversation with two young men who were selling commencement flowers at the medical school graduation. I chatted with a woman who sold me a book in the bookstore.
I don't think this behavior is "over the top" but it's far more "outgoing" than my normal behavior.
6. I tend to get more irritable. I know this is a typical hypomanic symptom but I wonder how many people experience it. These days, I try to count to ten before expressing myself, or as I mentioned a few days ago, excuse myself if necessary, but I wonder how others solve this problem.
7. I want instant gratification of my needs (only some of them). Whether I am sending a friend an email, writing my blog and asking people to respond, or sending a business letter, I want an immediate answer. Again, since I know this is a problem, I tell myself to be realistic in terms of my expectations and I no longer expect an immediate response, but it's taken me years to understand this.
8. At the same time, if I receive an email from a friend, I tend to respond immediately, which can sometimes be a turn-off to them. While I don't see this as a problem, I believe that others do. I guess I could stop doing this but I don't really want to. In a way, I believe that one of the values of hypomania is that I'm more honest, more open, and more vulnerable. While it may be off-putting to some, I guess I consider it a strength.
Well, these are the things that I can think of. I'd be interested in hearing whether anyone feels similarly or what your hypomanic symptoms are.