Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Depression to Hypomania

Coming out of another depression has been exhausting once again. Today was a medication withdrawal day because when you take a stimulant as an antidepressant (like I do), you have to stop it the moment your depression ends rather than titrating off it. The reason for this is because stimulants can cause hypomanias—although I already seem to be in one.

How can I tell? It's the usual stuff: talking too much and too loudly, spending way too much time on this blog (literally hours spent redesigning the heading, changing the margins and the layout, adding other blogs), having too many ideas, and in this case, feeling somewhat irritable and annoyed.

For me, the best hypomania is when I feel good (actually a little too good), but I also feel this amazing sense of well-being and love for mankind. Although it sounds silly, I really do. It's like I have some sort of connection with everyone I see, and I feel so charitably toward them. It's not just opening doors for old ladies (which is what I guess I am to people who are 20 and younger). It's like the old AT&T commercial where I want to reach out and "touch someone." Actually everyone, although not literally, of course.

But this hypomania isn't one of those peak periods. I have more energy but it's not that amazing kind of energy. I'm not depressed but I'm not happy either. Over the years I've learned how to try and notice behavior that's "off." I could become easily annoyed but I'm aware of this symptom, and so I try to remember to breathe a few times, and it passes. When I noticed I was talking too much and my voice was loud--even to me--I stopped talking so much and lowered the decibel level. I've also learned not to act on my many ideas; a person can have grand thoughts without doing anything about them.

Questions for Today: What symptoms do you have during hypomanias and how do you overcome them?

P.S. Yesterday was the 18th anniversary of my father's death. I meant to note it in my blog. "Hi, Daddy. Can you read my blog in heaven? How are you and mom doing? I know you were thrilled to have her join you. I miss you both very much, and I love you dearly!"


Tony C. said...

Just had a week of depression then a week of hypomania, and the rollercoaster seems like its on the way down again.
When I'm up, I talk too fast, think too fast, my writing becomes almost illegible, i become touchy-feely, verbally agressive and swear.
I was told yesterday I have to come of my meds, as they are damaging my liver. Oh well, lets see what happens now.......

My Life with Bipolar Disorder said...

My hypomania is very similar to yours. I have more energy, feel happy most of the time, talk faster, think faster, write or type a lot, have a lot of ideas on what I want to do or can do, more friendly and connect more easily with people, keep wanting to do charity work and gets excited easily. I also worked a lot on my blogs and tend to write very long posts. I also left very long comments on others' blogs. I haven't quite learn how to manage it! Even recognizing the signs is still hard for me. But starting on a new job recently helps a bit as I was occupied with the work and very tired after that and forced to rest.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Tony C: I'm so sorry to hear about the liver damage. I read that certain medications have that affect. I hope you'll be alright!

I forgot that I, too, sometimes use "swear words" when I'm hypomanic. What's interesting is that I ordinarily don't swear or try not do. It's a conscious personal choice.

If I'm not prying: :what do you mean by being verbally aggressive? Is that different from being argumentative? Is this conscious behavior and do you try and stop it?


Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

That's interesting that we're so alike that way. Since my illness was diagnosed 15 years ago, I spent years without understanding that the behavior you and I both share is symptomatic of a hypomania. I only wish I had known earlier. It's a constant struggle to identify it and try to keep it within a "normal" range.


tony c. said...

by verbally aggressive I mean, I tend to become argumentative, short tempered, and only my sense of logic is correct.
I try and stop it but sometimes its too quick for me.
Being a quaker, the swearing and argumentativeness is somewhat at odds with my "normal" state.

Lizzie said...

My hypomania is much similar to yours as well. There are a few differences. I start shopping. I especially shop on the internet. I also want to keep the hyper feeling going and drink lots of Red Bull which adds to my talking and thinking faster. I think the worst thing is I start using swear words and blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

I believe I, too, used to be much more argumentative and short-tempered during certain phases of hypomania. Again, it's something I've tried to work on, but it still happens, although with less frequency. I try to remember to stop talking and breathe.

Probably, if I could just stop talking altogether in a hypomania, I'd be much better off!


Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Lizzie,
Again, I keep on forgetting symptoms. Shopping used to be a problem for me as well. Finally, I decided if I couldn't control myself, I shouldn't have credit cards. So I cut them up and gave them to my husband. And I gave him my checkbook as well.

Because it was my idea and not his, it was okay, but after a year of having to ask for money to make purchases, I broke myself of the habit, and took everything back.

You and I must feel differently about hypomania. I try to reduce its impact in every way I know how. I like feeling good but not out of control!


Syd said...

It's been almost 2 years since my last bout of hypomania and I must say that having been terminated unexpectedly from my job today, I sure could use some of that boundless energy, optimism and enthusiasm for my pending job search.

As for symptoms, the most obvious were insomnia, yet feeling more wired rather than sleepy the next day, zillions of ideas (mainly business ideas or book ideas), loving the world and feeling a connection with everyone and racing thoughts and being frustrated that others couldn't keep up when I was trying to explain something.

JayPeeFreely said...

I figure my recent activity on ideas might be best described as hypomania. I ruminate on a bunch of ideas - but I usually get a reality check and forego their pursuit. Of course, I think that plenty of non-diagnosed artists created things while in the midst of these hypomaniac periods. (Dickinson, Poe and plenty of others.)