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What is the Difference Between Mania and Hypomania?

One of the main differences between bipolar I and bipolar II is that bipolar II experiences hypomania and not mania. Last week I wrote from the perspective of a hypomanic mind, but what is hypomania really? Is hypomania fun or is it just plain crazy?

Mania

In type I bipolar, a defining characteristic is mania. Mania symptoms include:

  • Abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood
  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
  • Distractibility
  • Increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequence

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In order for the mood to be considered manic, these symptoms must cause a “marked impairment in… functioning… or relationships with others, or to necessitate hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others, or there are psychotic features” (official diagnosis criteria).

It’s that last part that’s really key; mania must be severe and result in danger to yourself, others, relationships, employment, etc, typically leading to hospitalization.

Hypomania

For bipolar II we experience hypomania, which I like to call mania-light. All the crazy with half the impairment. It includes symptoms like:

  • A distinct period of persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood
  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
  • Distractibility
  • Increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences

The mood must also be unusual for the individual and noticeable by others. And now the important part, “the episode is not severe enough to cause marked impairment in… functioning, or to necessitate hospitalization, and there are no psychotic features.” (official diagnosis criteria)

Diagnostically, mania must be at least seven days whereas hypomania has to be at least 4 days.

(Other complexities like mixed-moods and rapid cycling aren’t discussed here.)

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Mania vs. Hypomania

So if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll note that the symptoms of mania and hypomania are virtually identical, the key differentiator is the severity. Mania is very dangerous because people don’t just act abnormally; they typically endanger themselves or vital parts of their lives. Mania often requires hospitalization due to the damage they are doing. Hypomania, on the other hand, may be an unusual mood, and it may cause some harm to the person or their lifestyle, but not to the point where they need to be hospitalized. People in hypomania buy five pairs of shoes, people in a mania buy 50.

Is Hypomania Fun?

So, if hypomania doesn’t get you hospitalized, and doesn’t severely endanger your life, is it fun? Well, it depends who you ask.

Some people say hypomania is enjoyable, happy, fun and the only break they get from their depression. Some people feel they’re more like the person they were before bipolar disorder than at any other time. They’re also fun to be around, creative and are social butterflies at that time. Oh, and the sex tends to be really good too. So, yes, some people really enjoy hypomania and find it fun.

On the other hand, some people get extremely irritable and even angry during hypomanic phases. They become very dissociative and disconnected from the world around them. They feel constantly bombarded by thoughts they can’t control and obsessed with fragments of music or literature that repeats endlessly in their mind. They feel possessed and like they’re being crushed by a very fast, very powerful outside force they can’t control. This is not in the least bit fun.

I Prefer Hypomania

If I got to choose between mania, hypomania and depression, I’d pick hypomania. True, I do feel awfully crazy and disconnected from the world when going through it, and true, the obsessive thoughts are tormenting, but the energy is such a great change of pace from the depression that I’ll take it any day. I’m more creative, can put more energy into achieving goals, and just plain get more done.

But that’s a personal thing. Would anyone care to share their experiences with hypomania?

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

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100 Responses to What is the Difference Between Mania and Hypomania?

  1. Vanessa Castellanos says:

    Also I have the need to go to the gym everyday no excuses but it does help me with my mood very much !

  2. Faye says:

    I haven’t been to my doctor about this because I wanted to read up on it first(great blog by the way, it was a great help) but from the symptoms described, I’m pretty sure I have hypomania. For about a year now, I’ve been.. well I think depressed? I’ll just sit in my room all day, talk as little as I can, I won’t go out, feel awful about my self, think about things over and over and just feel totally lost. But then about six months ago I started to feel really happy for no reason at random times. I’ll feel really happy and awesome about myself and my self-esteem will go through the roof! I’m also usually shy and awkward around people but in this crazy mood I’ll be running around like a little kid, laughing and singing in public. I’ll also get distracted really easily and want to bye everything. I kinda remind myself of a little kid when I’m like this. There are occasional times where I’m just ‘in the middle’, but normally I’m either really high or really low.

  3. Lee says:

    My husband was hypomanic with sociopathic tendencies. This made him “Fun and Funny and Bad with Money”!

  4. Katrika says:

    I guess I prefer depression when the hypomanic state becomes frightening or uncomfortable and I’m sort of desperate for sleep that might bring me back to a balance (especially if I’m having the obnoxious sounds or things seem to whiz through my field of vision).

    And I prefer hypomanic when in a deep and painful depression, because I’m so desperate to stop the pain. Especially when crying 4 hours straight.

    Most of all I prefer stability. But if I have to choose between hypo and depressed, I’d pick depressed. In all the pain of the depression, I’ve never had the fear of hospitalization. But in hypomanic states I have felt pretty sure I could be close to some kind of precipice where I might lose track of reality.

  5. Julia says:

    Bruce,

    Mixed episodes are the most dangerous of all the types, and they’re also the most difficult to treat. Of course this is in general.

    I suffer primarily from mixed episodes, period. I’m actually currently in one and have been for about a month. I did experience 5-6 weeks of relative normalcy for me prior to that, and these cycles are significantly slowed (ie longer lasting) from before. They are also mild to moderate rather than moderate to severe. Two medications have basically changed for me from the before, (stable on lithium at 1200 mg prior to these changes) and that was:
    1) a switch from effexor (375) to cymbalta (60, then raised to 90)
    2) the addition of seroquel (eventually raised to 300, considered to be the therapeutic dose from trials

    I also take two other meds, one for severe adhd and the other for idiopathic neuropathy (which just means they don’t know why I have it, so I actually call it *idiotic*)

    Lamictal was terrible for me; I got up to just before one of the later titrations, and I realized I hadn’t felt like myself in a while. The next day it was worse and I knew it was the lamictal, so my dr told me stop it. But I had like this paralyzing effect for three days straight, where I couldn’t move but I also couldn’t not move. It felt like I was being shocked, or so I thought.

    I take lithium, but aside from that, I would think it would be a first go-to in terms of choices for mixed episodes. The reason I say that is that the studies have clearly demonstrated an anti-manic effect, especially for acute phases, but it is also among the top in preventing suicidal feelings, gestures, and attempts. The combination of the two say “mixed” to me.

    It’s not uncommon for someone with bipolar (especially a more severe form . . .and I don’t mean I vs II here, but really just simple severity) to need a mood stabilizer and either an antidepressant of some type (usually at a lower dose, and *definitely* not added until after the mood stabilizer) or an anti-psychotic (usually atypical), and in some cases, both.

    As everyone always says, the right combo is different for each person. And over time, that combo can also change. Good luck!

  6. Eliza says:

    I recently,(in the last 6 months) was diagnosed with bipolar. I have been taking antidepressant medication (pristique 100) since the birth of my second child 5 years ago. I suffered post natal depression, (not sure how I got through that), with my first child 9 years ago. I did not seek treatment until the birth of my second as I was terrified to admit that I was not the perfect wife and mother. I have had a few changes of meds in the last 6 months. My gp started me on valproate with my pristique as he though I would not get into see my psych until 3 months. There was a cancellation and I got in the next day, he prescribed me lithium. In response to a previous comment, I agree that every person is different and may respond to different medications in a completely different manner. I have recently started lamictal on a low dose. Now I am taking lithium lamictal and pristique. Such a juggling act. Anyway in case you havn’t noticed I think I have hypomania right now due to lack of sleep and the extreme exercise program I have put myself on. I have been walking 7 kms, half up half down hills and doing 3km sprint intervals against wind resistance every day. This morning I woke up at 3am cleaned the house until 5.45am when it was daylight and started my exercise regime. I happily, said good morning to everyone then came home and reorganised the kitchen loungeroom and filing cabinet, still not really tired. Is this hypomania or mania. I am assuming hypomania because I must admit, if I don’t feel sick because my stomach is twisted with agitation and anxiety I love it!!!!!!

  7. Pascal says:

    thanks everyone for sharing their experiences.

    I much prefer the hypomania phase to the deep depression I experienced around the middle of last year. It lasted for months and I struggled with just getting out of bed and being present with my wife and 2 young sons.

    I’m pretty certain I’m in a hypomania phase right now. The difference is striking – I feel so much more engaged and interested in the world around me. I wake up before my alarm rather than struggling to get out of bed. I have so much more energy and motivation to do things. But it does have drawbacks – i get distracted easily. And i’ve noticed i’m more argumentative and less patient with people.

    I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type II early last year. It’s taken the better part of the year to find the right mix of medications. Lovan (aka Prozac) in the morning and Seroquel at night. it’s the best i’ve been feeling in quite some time.

  8. Devin Lee says:

    I have Bipolar 1 with psychotic features. I wish I could have stopped at hypomania. Oh well. I’ve been totally stable on my meds for 4 & 1/2 years now. Off drugs for 5 & 1/2. There is hope. I am a happy, level-headed girl now. It’s even better. (I was so sick that, just 10 years ago, they were going to keep me in the county hospital indefinately – I escaped!)I showed them!

  9. Tim says:

    My Girlfriend was originally diagnosed with GAD. But over the past year I’ve noticed a significant change in her moods. She has anxiety nearly 90% of the time with depression attacks once a week. In addition she has at least two or three sudden anger outbursts a week several really road rage incidents. She also has increased sexual desires which she has never had before. She told me the last depression attack she had was so bad she wanted to leave this earth. When she is in the depressed mode she said she has no romantic feeling for me or any love for anyone. She is taking 25mg of Zoloft but it does not seem to be working. I’m considering leaving the relationship because I cant take the depression attacks any more. She retires from teaching next week and I fear the issues are going to get worse. I an angry at her Therapist because I don’t think they have diagnosed her illness correctly. Her family is also very concerned. The bottom line is I cannot stay in a lopsided relationship any longer. Its not healthy for me. Any advice would be appreciated. thank you

  10. Timn says:

    My Girlfriend was originally diagnosed with GAD. But over the past year I’ve noticed a significant change in her moods. She has anxiety nearly 90% of the time with depression attacks once a week. In addition she has at least two or three sudden anger outbursts a week several really road rage incidents. She also has increased sexual desires which she has never had before. She told me the last depression attack she had was so bad she wanted to leave this earth. When she is in the depressed mode she said she has no romantic feeling for me or any love for anyone. She is taking 25mg of Zoloft but it does not seem to be working. I’m considering leaving the relationship because I cant take the depression attacks any more. She retires from teaching next week and I fear the issues are going to get worse. I an angry at her Therapist because I don’t think they have diagnosed her illness correctly. Her family is also very concerned. The bottom line is I cannot stay in a lopsided relationship any longer. Its not healthy for me. Any advice would be appreciated. thank you

  11. Julia says:

    Timn,
    I can hear your frustration and concern. I have a few questions more than any answers, I think.

    1) About the therapist. How often does your girlfriend see her therapist? Have you met the therapist? What kind of credentials does the therapist have–are they a Liscenced Professional Counselor (LPC), a social worker, a psychologist (PsyD or PhD)?

    2) Has your girlfriend ever seen a psychiatrist? or psychiatric nurse practictioner? Who is prescribing the Zoloft?

    3) What is your girlfriend’s attitude toward all this? For me, I think this would be the most important piece in determining what I as a significant other might do.

    The bottom line is that you want her to get the help she needs. If she wants it, that’s great. If she doesn’t, your hands are more tied, you may have some decisions to make, but you can still talk to her and offer suggestions.

    I don’t know her diagnosis, none of us do. She needs to see a specialist in this field, which would be a psychiatrist or clinical (preferably) psychologist. They’re the only ones that can diagnose. Also, a diagnosis is just a label, but its symptoms are what guide treatment. Your girlfriend may, and probably does, have more than one psychiatric disorder and possibly a personality disorder. I have four psych diagnoses (adhd, bipolar I, ocd, gad) and I take medication for 2-3 of them. The others I just do the best I can.

    Your girlfriend is lucky to have you, and I hope that you are able to help her find the treatment she needs.

  12. Sonya says:

    I have bipolar 1. My hypo manias tend to make me more happy and a social butterfly, loud laughing over the top, I just don’t enjoy the no sleep part.
    Unfortunately when I get manic, or mixed this is when things tend to go wrong. Gave blow ups with friends get too full of myself and upset people because I am the inky one who can do the job properly.
    My depressions are the worst. Crying all day and in physical pain from the crying I do. Thankfully my medications have evened me out some what, but I still get the odd mood swing, especially when triggered.

  13. sar says:

    I need help. Iam sure that i have mild to moderate depression. now iam 32 and its been with me since age 15. iam shy from my adolescent age. Prefer to stay at home than to mingle with friends. i got a mild stammerring from age 15, may be because of the stress during school days. both of these are going on in a vicious cycle.
    Iam thinking of starting drugs like sertraline or venlafaxine by myself. but iam worried about the switch to manic episodes if dont start lithium with this.
    Iam not sure weather i have hypomania are not. Only time i feel happy with friends is when iam the centre of attraction, when they encourage me. i feel elated when iam given more preference, when they eagerly listen to my talk. But still i dont think these counts to hypomania.

    I may be also a case of borderline personality disorder.
    My plan is to start sertraline/venlafaxine alone and continue it for whole 1 year.. i need opinion on this.

  14. Julia says:

    Sar,
    I don’t know where you’re from, but I would more than highly recommend you see a dr. Even drs can’t be drs for themselves. There is of course a difference between being your own dr and being highly involved in your care and educating yourself on possibilities. But truly, I cannot say this strongly enough, do NOT be your own dr. Natasha??

  15. Timn says:

    Answering Julia,

    1. My girlfriend sees her Psychologist twice a month. He is a M.S., L.M.F.T.
    2. She has not seen a Psychiatrist. Her Psychologist recommended Zoloft and had her family Dr write the prescription. I am very concerned about this because I think she needs a Psychiatrist that specializes in antidepressants.
    3. My girlfriend’s attitude toward her illness is fair to poor. She says she has had this for over ten years and tends to blame everyone else for making her crazy. She does not seem to have the capacity to take responsibility for her own illness. Two weeks ago I visited her condo and found her in a deep depression state. She once again talked of suicide. She said she had not sleep all weekend and had not eaten in two days. I fixed here a good BBQ chicken salad and made her eat with me. Her energy level improved and she fell asleep in my arms for about 3 hours. When I left her condo I told her she needs help and she said, do not tell my family. On my way home my conscience was bothering me. I felt it was my obligation to tell someone what I had observed. When I got home I called her best friend who she as known for 30 years. Her friend said this is typical and has seen this many times. She said don’t worry and hung up. Within 10 minutes my girlfriend called me screaming on the phone that I had betrayed her trust. Her anger tirade was so bad I hand to hang up. Later I received an email from her stating she never wants to see me again or talk to me again. I tried calling, texting and emailing and she has not responded. At this point in our relationship I cannot continue. She hid her mental issues from me for over a year and now her depression fallout has ended our relationship. The relationship is out of balance. She does not have the capacity to love me back and takes no responsibility for her actions. It’s painful and frustrating to love someone and then find out they have mental issues that are beyond your help. I’m trying my best to move on and put this behind me. I hope she gets the treatment she deserves and someday finds balance in her life that will help her love again. My girlfriend is not the same person I dated for 4 years in collage. 40 years later we reconnected in 2012. I kept looking for the person I knew and not seeing the person she is today. Now maybe you see why I stuck by her side until I began to see the real issues.

  16. Hans says:

    I am just starting to find out what mood disorders are all about. I have always had mood swings, but they became more pronounced over the last few years. A few months ago I “lost it”, started seeing things that were not there and getting completely stressed out. I am on risperdal now and took a number of tests to determine what really is wrong with me, what has been wrong with me all these years. Some form of autism ? Bi-polar ?
    I feel depressed every mornng and feel good every late afternoon.

    Thanks for listening.

  17. jeff says:

    I am a 9/11 Suvivor and worked Recovery and Debris clean up. So the Bipolar plus The PTSD symptoms lead me to over 25 Institutions and 29 Medication Prescribers, since 9/11
    Right after 9/11 heavy drinking killed the Symptoms and almost me. Obviously I’ve been on a lot of different Meds. I was put into zombylike states with high doses of anti psychotic Meds. Geodon, 900 MG’s of Serous,Lithium. The Haldol and Thorazine they shoot you with at the Psych.Wards are just to put me out. I’ve had periods of not sleeping for five days before. Then I once locked myself into my bedroom for close to 3 months. With Anxiety attacks over having anxiety attacks if anyone can relate. Horrible with a 10 year old son knocking on the door asking me to come out and if I was mad at him that’s why I wouldn’t come out.
    All the MDs PhDs Hypnotherapy MMDR(the two finger waving thing).
    Through all this and a decade later a RNP asked me one question ” do you spend exorbitant amounts of money for no reason?” That’s what it took for me to understand my Bipolar. An extreme example My wife had a year old Volvo. One day just driving to the store turned into me coming home in a new Cadillac for her. I thought she’d love it she said I was an ——-!

    So reading this blog (if that’s what it’s called). I understand everything everyone has said. Obviously my swings were extremes. But finally really understanding and truly accepting, I slowly started to function better. At one point I slept on an air mattress on the kitchen floor of my parents apt. and told when to eat,sleep, shower and dispensed a wheelbarrow full of Meds. By mom.
    After that RNP opened one eye I Met my 29th MD and Board Cert. Psychiatrist.
    I walked in his office older man tall and thin looked up at me for 3 seconds put his head back down and said” boy your a fat puggy —-, and you have no memory ( I forgot my wife’s birthday one year) and the he said ” and how are those nightmares working out for you (a little PTSD thrown into this blog). I met him in the last Institution I’ve been in a year and a half ago. He completely changed my Meds.from heavy anti psychotics to low amounts of mood stabilizer, only 150 MG’s Seroquel from 900 at nite 300mgs morning and 300mgs noonish, small amount of anti anxiety meds. And a medication called Mini press or Prozosin and not a nightmare since that day. So I’m like what happened to the first 28 docs. For the nightmares?? I actually don’t dream at all which is better than violent nightmares could sleep with my wife for years. I would yell and scream and flail around causing bodily harm to her. He put me on ADD Meds. Which usually take me down to Hypo. I used to live in I thought it was called Hypermania my bad, the high level is called just Mania.
    I sleep a few hours a night. I eat when I’m hungry, I shower every night. I can function enough to stay out of Institutions and haven’t been Bakker Acted in a couple years. (Committed).
    My Symptoms can get intensive but WE decided my Doc. And I that no more Heavy doses of Meds. I’ve learned other ways to deal with my illnesses. That are not harmful to me or anyone else. I saw a new Psychologist last week for the first time. I asked her the two stages of Mania were and she couldn’t tell me. I ask her what type of modality does she tend to utilize. She didn’t know what I meant. She has PHD after her name I never finished high school. I went from coffee boy to Managing a multi-million dollar Company. Hands on experience and thinking outside the box. Before 9/11 made me successful. And a little Hypo mania didn’t hurt my climb up the ladder….
    Sorry so long but today I have hope I won’t end up Committed the rest of my life.
    All the progress was Awareness finally and Accepting the cards I’ve been felt. I interview The docs now. Dallas Buyers Club good flick. Medication isn’t the complete answer. Definitely different for everyone. My wife and I have been separated for like 4 years she asked me last week why I didn’t return her call the day she called me o said “I was feeling a little depressed I didn’t want to talk to anyone” she said ” what do you have to be depressed over” somethings never change….Good Luck All There’s Always HOPE!!

  18. kaylee says:

    I just found your blogs tonight online and must say i love reading them. i’ve been up for hours, needless to say i’m probably hypomanic…i personally love it. it is my only break from depression, because i believe i am mostly mixed episodes and normalcy is something i’m not sure of in my life

  19. lululr says:

    Hello all,
    From my adolescence through my twenties, I struggled with depression and difficulty concentrating, without knowing it and thinking it was just “me” (and not liking myself of course). My mother raised the depression question for me during a “deep” phase when I was in my late 20s. She gave me a book on depression that was a revelation for me. I felt I was reading about myself. I then started taking Prozac and feeling so happy to be out of the dumps and not thinking about death, that I didn’t want to think about any chances of my euphoria being due to hypomania/mania … since I did not know what they were in the first place –and since it felt so good. So, for years, when I got out of deep depression bouts with Prozac, I would wean myself off of it when I felt euphoric and happy, thinking I was cured. This “on and off” antidepressants went on for years. After a continuous series of crippling depressive episodes followed by “boosts” during my career in luxury goods, each one resulting in some promotion or being head-hunted, I stopped working thinking I would get my depression straightened out and gave myself a year. At age 47, after being unemployed for 4 years, I found a part-time teaching job and had much success with the students (more for my cheeriness I think). When I was hired full-time, I went into a grand tizzy. I thought I could revolutionize the teaching world and be the best teacher in the whole state (or the universe). I got so lost and overwhelmed with the goals and tasks I made for myself, that a small comment from one of my students triggered a total breakdown, leading to a week of being almost catatonic and having to accept to resign from my job. This job had given me insurance coverage, and this allowed my to receive my first diagnosis of Bi-Polar II, later to be revised into Bi Polar NOS (before that I had lived in France for 17 years and had only depression diagnoses, made mostly by myself). I had to leave the US and go to Africa about 8 months after my diagnosis, and since 2012, I have not had a psychiatrist or any doctor to work with me. I am now 51. I get my meds prescribed by my medical GP in France, and he knows nothing about mental health so has trusted the diagnosis and prescribed medicines that I brought back with me and shared with him. I take Fluoxetine (Prozac) 40 mg/day, Lamoctil 275 mg/day, and occasionally Xeroquel 50 mg or 25 mg. I can just feel that I can use some tweeking in those, and have been doing it on my own. I know I need to look for a new doctor, in France, where I am covered by insurance, or in Spain, where I am currently living. But I just don’t know where to start. I think I am in a hypomania phase now and have been cycling one to three days each way (up and down) for the last year or so. My short term and medium term memory are quite impaired, my visual recognition capabilities are almost nil (I might have met you 20 minutes ago but won’t recognize you) – my libido has been absent for 10 or so years … I am often confused and distracted, and now I am having extreme eye dryness (from the Lamictal I think) to the point of not being able to open my eyes if I wake up in the middle of the night.
    What am I trying to say here? I am just so relieved to be able to express myself to a group that understands. Except I am sure my explanation is so long that most of you are probably running away from your computer right now. Sorry ! I guess I just need to find a doctor who is good, and I am traumatized by having been misdiagnosed for so many years. I would like to have a sex life again … and not feel so handicapped or afraid that I look crazy.
    Thanks for listening.

  20. Margo says:

    Dear lulur,
    I hear you. In other words Your experiences resonate with me. I wish I could go into detail but I don’t have the energy today. Get some expert help. You are worth it . My thoughts are with you

  21. Chipper Adams says:

    This is all new to me. Apparently I’m hypomanic and I think it feels good. And I have serious crashes that are a bitch. I’ve been on Latuda for a couple months and I know perfectly well when I crash, but how do I tell the difference between hypomanic and normal? I think I’ve kinda lost track.

  22. HypoMe says:

    It is interesting how everyone is different. I am on Depakote for type II. Hypomania is an awesome sensation…I miss it, but its not worth the dying of my marriage and the struggle to be a descent father. No hospitalization…like a slow growing cancer of the mind that would have one day stolen everyone I love if I hadn’t gotten help. My ideas at work and in music led to wonderful accomplishments…that’s why hypomania is so dangerous, the results are reinforced by others…it seems normal, yet ingenious…so what’s so bad about that? Well…it is bad…often very bad. Now I can intentionally and methodically and constructively develop a creative idea….it takes longer….but much better for relationships.

  23. Jennifer says:

    Hi,

    I don’t always think hypomania is fun because it is normally accompanied by severe irritability, ADD like behavior and racing thoughts that make it hard to function or be around people. I have had several diagnoses over the years. I grew up with social anxiety as well as GAD. When my dad committed suicide during my freshman year of college (almost 12 years ago to the day–he had bipolar 1 diagnosis) I started antidepressants. I don’t even remember the number of GPs, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and psychologists I have seen but I would say medication and myself seldom get along for long. 12 years of medication trials, 4 hospitalizations, and ECT treatments have led to lots of missed work culminating in a sad looking resume and the realization that it’s never going to be “easy”.
    I just started seeing a new psychiatrist a month ago. He seems okay. In some ways I need to take more accountability with my treatment than I have previously. With my severe moodiness from bipolar 2 disorder and borderline personality disorder I have a hard time maintaining relationships even with docs because I tend to not trust them. Anyhow I am still fighting the fight. Right now I’m having a hypomanic episode with the irritability and had to jump out of bed because I just couldn’t sit still and was afraid to bug my husband too much. Thanks for sharing your stories. Regardless of the circumstance it is worth the fight. I believe I am fighting this for a reason and my faith tells me that one day I will understand my broken road. God bless.

  24. Ken in Bend says:

    Before I knew anything about Hypomania or Bipolar disorder I coined a phrase “Manic Enthusiastic” to help explain what ultimately I determined was classic Hypomania. I have most of the symptoms except the irritable mood, which is rare.

    Even when I try to ward off the behavior, it happens and quite regularly. The truly excessive behavior thankfully occurs only once a month usually in conjunction with a full moon (sounds lame I know) but can lead to dangerous activity at times, so I try to stay away from situations where I’m without a “wingman” during those periods.

    While it helps with work, it’s destroying my family life, as I continue to embarrass my spouse even when she begs me not to let it happen. It’s a setup every time we do anything socially because I play right into the hands of the audience whenever I have the chance. Once it starts, the crowd (usually eggs me on) and then away I go, the life of the party, and to the disappointment of my wife.

    It doesn’t matter who it is or what the occasion, I get this way as soon as I sense an opening in the gathering to steal the stage and take over the event. It helps at first (at least in my mind) to break the ice and get things going, but by the end of the evening you can tell people are tired of it.

    I try to avoid going to the events, to allow her to have fun without me, but she would prefer I be there, until it happens, and then I’m sure she wishes she had not included me.

    Fun for first time viewers not so much for an every day occurrence.

  25. Luzminda says:

    Hi,
    Maybe somebody can help me how to understand or how to deal with a person who is having a Bipolar Mania Disorders. I love him very much inspite of his defect but I don’t have any idea of how to handle him. Sometimes I have a doubt that he is cheating on me because he don’t want sex anymore. My friend told me that people with bipolar disorder lost their Sex? Is it true? And she told me not to marry my boyfriend because he will put me into trouble. Is there anything that I can do to help him have a happy life with me? He is 46 years old and Iam 49 years old.

    Thank you in Advance
    Luz

  26. C says:

    I live for my hypomanias. They give my life meaning and give meaning to life. It is the ulti
    mate human state of cognitive function, creativity, energy, lust for life and the ability to enjoy everything. Thanks to valproate, I no longer experience mania or hypomania. Too bad, so sad. Mania feels good on the way up but then it rapidly becomes scary, out of control and bad. I don’t really miss those because I never want to clean up my life again afterwards.

    Bipolar Disorder really blows in every way except I do dearly miss my hypomanias. Those were the only periods of time in which I felt truely alive.

  27. Renita says:

    Doctors suspected I was bipolar 2 (the soft bipolar) long before I was officially diagnosed and taking medication. Then over the years it progressed into bipolar 1 rapid cycling. In the beginning the depression and hypomania were manageable, well sort of, but later they definately were not.

    Once I spent all day buying so many clothes from one store that they sent me some costume jewellry with a thank you card.

    I also used to buy so many movies that the store clerk once asked me if I was filling an insurance claim.

    And then there was the time I bought so many self help/psychology books that the store clerk asked me if I was a therapist. I said no I’m just working on creating a library.

    I had so much stuff that I was beginning to run out of space for it so I’d either throw it out or give it away and start all over again.

    I was ALWAY in debt. I knew that what I was doing was not normal but I just felt so driven.

    Then I inherited a large sum of money and really went to town coming home from the malls daily with something over a 6 month period. It was actually so exhausting but I just couldn’t seem to help myself. And of course I never buy just one of anything.

    There was also one time at work I spent over $1,000 on food toward a family we sponsored from some charity during Christmas

    Then I would cycle downward and it would be difficult to concentrate at work so I’d have to stay late to get the work done. My hours of work were only 8 AM to 4:30 PM but I usually wouldn’t go home until 11:30 PM. Somehow I’d get my second wind. After I got my work done I’d be organizing the office. Then I’d go home and sometimes clean my place from top to bottom

    I could go on and on but you get the point. It was not normal

    It’s really quite funny now that I think about it but what I wouldn’t do for some of that energy and drive these days…

  28. Allison says:

    All the crazy? Way to add to stigma. That sickens me.

  29. Renita says:

    Sorry you feel that way. Too bad we couldn’t all be like you…

  30. katie says:

    Hi there. Ive had bipolar disorder since I was 14. Im 31 now. Ive generally been stable my whole life apart from a couple of ups and downs for short periods of time. At the moment I think I have a bit of hypomania. Im not talking non stop but I have trouble with racing thoughts and restlessness. I cant stay asleep for more than 6 hours and wake up wide eyed and wired. Im very productive but not too much as I dont want anyone to notice. Having so many thoughts at once is draining and I cant seem to relax very well. Its been like this for a week as ive started taking my meds with food as I didnt realize I was supposed to. I was completely fine when I took my meds on an empty stomach but now that im taking them with food my whole life has changed. Well it feels like it. I feel less paitent and feel pretty up myself at the moment but because my shrink is a dick and thinks the answers to everything is yo throw u in hospital im hiding it from my family and friends and just being ultra aware of my behaviour. Im generally money careful and not going on spending sprees or doing risky behaviours quite the opposite. It kind of feels like snakes r under my skin as I find it difficult to keep still but fight it well when im with people. I do meditations each night so I fall to sleep just have trouble staying asleep. I don’t want to go back to being totally chilled out and relaxed as I was a heaps lazier person. No one at work has noticed and even my family are unaware. I just have to somehow deal with the anxious body tightness and somehow stay asleep for just two hours longer each night. Any feedback would help. I cant talk about how I feel as my family and friends would just get wound up and worried and that helps no one. I wish my old shrink that I had for 13 years didnt retire. I feel alone as my current shrink has no idea. Help. Love katie xxxx

  31. Tara says:

    my psychiatrist wants me to be in a constant manic state, but I told her I was not safe nor stable in a manic phase. I prefer hypomania because I feel a little closer to normal with my moods. I have normal highs and normal lows. I have been on several medications and right now the ones that are working for me is zoloft(sertraline) and Lamictal (lamotrigine). she wants me on a second mood stabilizer, however with me reaching my forties this year all of the long-term mood stabilizers made me too drowsy and very disconnected from life, so we discontinued them. My manic phases don’t last very long but the depression phase can last for weeks. In short I’d rather be hypomanic than anything else, it is a safe place to be.

  32. Kel says:

    I don’t think all people that suffer from a manic episode need or are hospitalized. I personally have suffered from an episode that I can’t really explain maybe mixed. Ivery been getting really irritable over the little things for a couple of weeks. Then got upset a friend’s snide remark. During this time I’ve also worked more on writing my book and became more goal oriented about it. Then lately I can’t sleep and got depressed for a couple hours than really excited. Then went on to having really deep thoughts on life and everything. Then criticized someone about how “faking it to you make” is not the best thing to say to a depressed person when they weren’t even talking about that. I even went off on a rant about how I like Veterinarians more than doctors. What the hell. This has all happened in a little more than three weeks…

  33. Kayleigh says:

    I would have to agree with the hypomania, except that I just feel SUPER AWESOME! And it’s wonderful and everything goes my way, and if it doesn’t that’s okay, because not everything can go my way all the time. And I’m full of creativity and don’t need to do that boring sleeping thing, and I can talk all day and all night and all day and all night and then all day and then all night…. And I have a hundred, thousand, million, trillion AMAZING thoughts and I write them all down and I can barely type to keep up with the amazingness of my thoughts, or keep my fingers going fast enough to let the creativity pour out of me and into my hobbies, and did I mention I feeeeeeelllllll AAAAMMMMMAAAAAZZZZIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGGGGGG??????
    Unfortunately, it doesn’t allow me to see the reality of the world (who wants to see that anyway?!) and I can get awfully spendy – within my budget, thankfully I don’t have credit cards, and I can get crazed ideas about businesses I could start etc. yech

  34. Nikola says:

    I think mania is the best. I am a very articulate person, but I just can’t find the words to describe mania, because it just feels so good. Hypomania is like a glow of happiness, while mania is an explosion of ecstasy.

  35. Mental Mouse says:

    I’ll just point out that there is a third level of Bipolar, which is cyclothymia. And hyperthymia, the up-side of that, is basically “what you want to have”: elevated mood and energy, without the psychotic elements or loss of judgement. Of course, cyclothymia still does have the depressive phase (but again, not as bad as BP1 or 2).

  36. Tiffany says:

    My episodes started 10year Ago, and has changed my whole life. I have been hospitalized two times. Iam self injurious ( punching, slapping, hair pulling, biting, scratching of face arms and legs), I deal with racing thoughts all day everyday. I have suicidal thoughts often. Most of the time my attitude towards others suck. I have been on a ton of different meds, but nothing has helped me be more stable. Ive lost friends, and have almost destroyed my marriage.. I am very aggressive in all that I do.. I have no filter in what I say. I cry alot, and at times have not been able to go to work due to my sadness. I spend money like I have tons of it. I have been in thereapy now for 4 years but honestly it hasnt helped me. This disorder runs in the women in my family. I just want to be who I used to be.

  37. Tony says:

    I have ADHD and was from the age of 7 to 15 on Ritalin. It really did help me focus and concentrate. Was off the medication until now which I am now 45 years old. I now am on Adderall xr 60mg and Adderall ir 20mg as my afternoon dose. I go to a counselor once a week and a psychiatrist once a month. I believe that I have Hypomania with all my unexplainable thoughts and feelings. I had to request a lesser position in my job so that I could lessen the stress so that I can allow myself to focus on my condition. I have all the symptoms of being Bipolar and it scares me. My psychiatrist told me that I am showing tendencies of Hypomania and my counselor tells me that I should look at meditation. My emotional mood swings are hard to control. Sometimes I feel like I am living 2 separate lives. The highs are extremely high and the lows shut me down. My wife has tried to be as understanding as possble, but I can not really explain for her to understand what my head is doing to me. I have constant episodes of hyper focus in which I can not shut down. Too many nights my mind will not stop to were I stay up for 2 days at a time. I am very active in that I am a marathon runner and always look to push my body to the physical limit. My past childhood was difficult in that my father was a functioning alcoholic and did not have a relationship with me. My mother attempted to commit suicide in front of me as a child and my father committed suicide about 6 years ago leaving me a note that he was sorry that he was not the father I needed. As you can tell in writing this my thoughts are all over the place. The past year however this condition has reached the point where it is today. I spend too much time on looking for my solutions and want to get better, but I feel that I am going backwards. Can anyone help me??? I love my wife of 20 years, my 2 daughter ,18 and soon to be 15. I am the oldest of 3 sons and always tried to replace that father figure to my brothers. Now I need help. What can I do before this gets the best of me. Please Help.

  38. Anna says:

    Hi everyone,

    This is great to read. My boyfiend is bipolar and it is really hard sometimes. Of course I want to support him and sometimes it goes really well but some days it is just incredibly hard. In a few month we’ll move to a new house and as a designer I was hoping other people could give me some advice of what they like/dislike about their environment and the way they interact with their environment in states of manic and depressive episodes. Any ideas can help. It is already great to read how everyone experiences this. He has bipolar II. Thanks for all the input already….

  39. Mica says:

    I’m not sure what type of bipolar I have cause I never asked my psychiatrist. But I was first diagnosed with psychotic tendencies when I was 12 I was hospitalized and they said I had bipolar. My parents took me out early cause they were scared and didn’t realize what was going on. Neither did I. I was hospitalized about 3 more times after that at first they had me on lithium that caused bad side affects plus I got fat. Then I was on depakote just a moodstabilizer for years and I was fine but I soon got really stressed and had an episode again but being young I didn’t realize what was going on. First couple episodes I talked fast drew pictures great and fast ran faster and sang songs so good and I knew something was wrong cause normally I can’t sing at all lol… [it's crazy what the mind can make you do and think] the last episode I had I was around 20 years old Ive been on latuda 80mg for 5 year’s and been ok. But it was scary this episode cause at the time I was in to reading the bible. And as I was getting sick I didn’t realize I was getting sick again…when I drove to school I would get lost on my way cause I would detour from my route to visit boys I liked I would have alot of sex and have a sexual desire for men. I went to a church and cries to the pastor cause I had thoughts in my head and couldn’t concentrate on the word..all I said in my head was f*** God and I cried cause I love God and I knew that wasn’t me. So he put holy water on me and they spoke in tongue. Which sounds scary! One lady said a cleansing prayer over me. I got home and smelled buying fire over my dad and nobody else could smell it but me.. I called the prayer lady and she said that means God is cleansing my spirit??? I thought my mum was possessed when she hugged me cause she grabbed on to me hard. I didn’t realise that she just lost her grip. And the night beforeally I went in to the hospital I stayed up all night I played music videos on a dvd. And I thought the song was playing over and over trying to speak to me. I thought I pet cato were evil demons and I literally heard noises bangs and footsteps and knocks at the door and a girl or man who whispered something. Then all of those noises I explained happened all at once I was scared overwhelmed that I pissed myself cause I froze with fright so I screamed loud and nobody in the house woke up which they normally do. Which was weird so I thought the devil was scaring me… cause it made no sense that my brothers nor mum or dad awoke. So I got my cell phone and called the house phone so my mum would wake up. She knew then something was wrong. I had weird experiences at the hospital too. With patients telling me they can read my mind and knowing my past without me even telling them so I can’t explain that but I know I have never had a depressive moment just mania and at 20 years old that was my first time hearing noises called audio hallucination. I believe in the supernatural so I dk if I was just crazy with bipolar or demons have something to do with you hearing voices as well. But I don’t wish bipolar on nobody cause it can be hard and embarrassing when you have episodes I’m just so thankful my parents have been there for me to catch me before I have gotten a depressive episode each time and plus I have a great psychiatrist. The only thing with latuda and all the pills i have taken in tge past i realise i have lucid dreamz realistic dreams goid dreams sometimes bad dreams. All types every time I fall asleep I dream even if I sleep for 10 minutes I dream. I’ve had scary ones where I dream in first person view and I see my room but can’t move and I see demons and here angels supposedly they say they are angels but why would I be scared if you come in peace.. I haven’t had those n a while but the lucid sex dreams are great cause I actually feel the sensation it feels better than real life sex to me it’s a longer organ and stronger too… lol but for the past week with so much going on at work I have so much to talk about and I’ve been talking alot especially when I get excited or upset about something and my mum is getting worried so she told me to look uP coping skills and this is how I found this website/blog… hope fully someone replies some way to my post.. tHanks
    Mica Lovings.

  40. sue says:

    I think everyone on this site is amazing. How you all have coped and are coping with your symptoms and managing to move through life is so admirable. My son is now 17, he had his first mania at 15 requiring a few days under section, but then was discharged in his ‘best interests’ to come home and recover, with me, his mum and family. He had been well until now, which as the doctors said if he relapses within a year the chances are he has bipolar. So as it was over two years since his episode, we became a little complacent. He came to me just after new years eve, with those dreaded words ‘mum I dont feel well’…I said physically or mentally and he said ‘mentally….my heart sank and grew at the same time. Strange I know but for a lad of that age to be honest and inform me, I was proud. Of course I rang the Gp to get a referral back to the the mental health team, soooo frustrating..no appointments until February!… 3 days later he had lost insight, he no longer knew he was unwell and felt fine….although the advantage is I have managed to inform his friends and teachers and he listened to them!….I think he is in hypomania now, focused, energetic, at the gym, running, eating very nutritiously but i can see his is losing weight. He can now talk to me and slowly we are understanding his symptoms …he is fixated with finding out about it all. His sleep pattern is not good, awake until early hours, then felt tearful..his eyes wanted to close but his mind was racing…watch the end of this film, play a game on your i phone..write your school notes, find out what that word means…..He decided to take a diazepam that had once been prescribed 2 years ago and he said initially he became giddy, silly and high and then fell asleep for 4 hrs.
    My question is how long will this last until he falls??

  41. debrac. says:

    Technically,as I understand it ,Hypomania is different from mania just on the basis of how it impacts your life and duration of time the thing lasts,.I am 46 and have struggle with Bipolar 1 for 20 years or more.I have been manic and hypomanic and personally,after all these years I still cannot distinguish the two in myself.I am on medication and have not been manic for sometime.I love mania!however,I don’t like the downward spiral after it.I would choose mania over depression any day and if I could live my life in that state without getting depressed I would.I am tired of this struggle.Thank you for your comments.It makes me feel that I am not alone in this hellish nightmare!

  42. Bella says:

    I’d rather not have bipolar at all. Not hypo mania, not mania. My life has been crap because of my bipolar disease. I don’t find it “hip” or cool. It’s embarrassing and sad beyond imagination.

  43. Bella says:

    You must be young. After the years of watching relationships fail, family ties severed, jobs lost, dreams dashed, you won’t find mania really neat. You will see a trail of tears streaming back through your life. Right now, you think you have plenty of time to get it right. And that’s the problem.

  44. Some Days Are Better Than Others says:

    Hi Bella

    I realize everybody’s situation is a bit different but…

    I find as long as I’m willing to keep fighting and not give in to the bipolar (rage against the dying of the light as poet Dylan Thomas says) there is always hope. I’m 54 and have been able to hang on thus far, but some days just barely by my fingernails. It takes grit and determination and for me huge amount of patience that does not come easily

    I’ve been pretty stable on medication for the the past 2 1/2 years. Through the WRAP program I’ve learned how to recognize my warning signs and keep myself well by making the effort to ask for help early on instead of waiting until it’s too late

    I too have burned through countless relationships but even they can be mended I’m finding when given time. I haven’t spoken to my brother in years and out of the blue he called me tonight all philosophical. I damn near fell out of my chair. It was so unlike him. He still wants to have a relationship with me after all I put him through. He’s also helped to open the door for me and my poor mom so maybe we can at least be on speaking terms again.

    There are good days and bad days with this disorder and today is definately a good day.

  45. Bella says:

    Thank you for listening. I can count the number of people I’ve told I’m bipolar on 4 fingers. And that includes my psychiatrist. I remember when I first read my diagnosis. I refused to believe it. I got severely depressed. But as time when on and I took a hard, objective look at my life, it was very apparent that the diagnosis was more than fitting. But still, I was sure that I just needed to try harder at being normal. Deep down I thought that I was just completely flawed and disgusting. I thought, ” Just try harder being like other people. Copy what they do and LEARN to be a person worth walking on this earth.” And each time, I’d fail. Or would think I did. Paranoia is a big part of bipolar. That’s due, I believe in having the experience of feeling so bad about yourself that you begin to believe others hate you too. Looking back I see the countless times I was wrong but destroyed the relationships because I thought they disliked me as much as I disliked myself. Work relationships are very difficult for me but I seem to be able to step back now and am more clear about understanding that my paranoia and self hatred is a delusion that will destroy me. Fortunately, my work relationships work very well because of that. But still, every day is a struggle. “Am I acting normal? Am I responding appropriately? Is my concentration suffering? Please dear God, don’t let me mess up…..again.”

  46. Joseph says:

    I’m amazed at the great community involvement within the bipolar community. My brother suffers from manic bipolar, my dad manic depression, and my younger brother is suspected to have some form of bipolar (bipolarism?). Recently, my mood swings have become more “hyperactive” than usual and it’s extremely annoying, to say the least. I believe I am hypomanic bipolar due to the fact that literally all the males in my family have some form of bipolar as well as the fact that I believe myself to be suffering from the symptoms. Fortunately and unfortunately, I am aiming for a very rigid college that will not let me in if I am bipolar. My mother never got me diagnosed for being bipolar(I did go on ADHD medicine in elementary school, it was awful) so it’s not on my medical record. I’ve read trough many of the wonderful messages people wrote and it’s great; however, I am pretty self-centered ( :) ), and would like to know the best way that I can fight it without medication or therapy. Thanks for all the wonderful support and sorry about he horrendous grammar.

  47. jane says:

    Just saying, hypomanic people are NOT fun to be around. My sister goes through hypomanic stages and its hell for me, her parents, and mostly, her children.

  48. Kimmy says:

    I have been diagnosed with bipolar 2 and have fluctuated between believing that diagnosis and being unsure for 10 years or so. I’m pretty sure of it now. Ive seen some good professionals.
    The depression is real obvious but I’ve mostly been medicated so haven’t experienced hypomania til recently when I came off meds to try for a pregnancy.
    As a teen I was always reckless with sex and cigarettes and alcohol, self harming and often had fits of rage that resulted in hospitalisation. I had very little concern for consequence. I would stay at random peoples houses, hook up with people I didn’t know..
    I am 26 now and married with a child. I’ve only started feeling what could be hypomania this week after stopping meds (the reckless symptoms were never apparent when I was on any kind of meds). I only really felt agitation, and this awful feeling of needing a “fix”. My skin crawls and I have horrible cravings for something but I don’t know what. I guess it feels like drug cravings but I’m not addicted to anything and never have been. But its awful. I feel like bursting out of my skin. And then the next day I will feel happy and fresh and free and a little bit silly. Full of energy but I can still usually sleep at night.
    Its a stark contrast to how I usually am. But I haven’t read too many similar symptoms for hypomania. But kind of have. Its so hard to tell.

  49. Missy Brown says:

    I am still attempting to learn exactly what sides of the mania’s I am in. I have been recently diagnosed. We went from depressed to ADHD to now we are sitting on the bipolar one diagnoses. I’ve been told base off of what I’ve describe to my doctor that I’ve had multiple mania’s that have simply spread their selves out through a time frame and have lasted for quite some time but I guess now that I’ve experienced them I just think they are a part of life. I am afraid of going hypo mania or mania and not know how did you learn when your cycles were starting?

  50. amelia says:

    This article completely sucks and is poorly written. Stop peddling crap because people who do have mania and hypomania need ACCURATE information and yours is not that at all. This is a fluff piece.

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