Hypomania Means Never Having to Make Sense
The hypomanic mind isn’t like a single life happening all at once, it’s like every life happening all at once in a tiny, tinny, echoing room. Hypomania is like having ball-bearings bouncing around inside my skull faster and harder and fast and hard and faster and harder. Hitting each other, making divots on the inside of my skull, becoming interior decorators. Fragmented, distracted thoughts. Sentence fragments. Problem grammar. No capital letters. No punctuation.
Hypomanic On the Street
Walking down the street, I look down to see gum blotches rubbed into the pavement from disrespectful teens and people showing malice at having to sit at the bus stop for so long. I’m walking on them, but I’m sure they remind me of something else. They remind me of constellations. Are stars made of gum ground into the sky? Is gum made of stars? Why doesn’t it glow beneath my feet like it does in the sky?
"Your love is like, a rollercoaster baby, baby, I wanna ride…”
I have to take these checks to the bank. I have to transfers money from one account to the other. I look at the check over and over to make sure each part is filled in correctly. I put numbers where letters should be. I cross is out, initial and put the letters in. I hope they don’t reject it for the mistake. I can’t afford for them to do that. I check my pockets I have my phone and check and keys. I have no bank card. I was taking the check to the back but I couldn’t think of what to do once I got it there. It’s so much effort to get my bank card. I can’t add numbers.
There’s free wifi at the Cactus Club. Why would there be free wifi there? It’s always so busy, you can’t go into write or get work done. Only useful on my iPhone as I walk by on the constellations. I am sure that skateboarder is following me. I can tell because of his shirt: its dangerous green with a bird on it.
Hypomanic Word Play
The proliferation of properties with room for only Park Place or Boardwalk. I use alliteration too much in my writing. Never got enough when I was young. Never got enough poetry. I don’t like poetry. I didn’t know the meaning of the word assonance and now I make up for it with silly or satisfying syllogisms. I just like the way the words sound when you say them in your head and when you see them painted in the air in front of you. Words are rolled around over and over on my tongue like a wine tasting and then swished and swirled into existence forming ethereal clouds in front of my eyes. It’s like make o-rings with smoke but I make ideas appear out of nowhere.
What Hypomania is Like
What was I saying? What is hypomania like? Hypomania is like hypomania, hypomania, hypomania, hypomania, it’s like repeating a word over and over and a song over and over until it has been ground into your brain and makes no sense. It’s speed without destination or purpose. It’s Prince’s I Will Die For You repeating in your consciousness until you feel like you want to track Prince down and kill him just for writing the song. It’s like a million cups of coffee plus an inability to count, a hampered memory, creativity bordering on delusion, no sleep, no food, no sense, slippery sex, insistence, persistence, and confusion. And a few other things I’m probably forgetting. Yes, hypomania, is something, like that.
Tracy, N. (2010, August 26). Hypomania Means Never Having to Make Sense, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/08/hypomania-means-never-having-to-make-sense
Author: Natasha Tracy
I was diagnosed with gad 13 years ago. I am now 34. I was first prescribed Prozac for almost 4 years. Then Effexor for about 9. I'm not sure what was going on maybe my meds stopped working or I built up a tolerance. But after 9 years just recently in the last 3 months I started having what felt like a relapse of anxiety. But at the same time almost like withdrawal from the Effexor while still on the same dose. So after trying to manage a crazy anxiety that with some weird ocd intrusive thoughts that I had never had a problem with in the past I decided to taper off my Effexor onto Zoloft which I haven't started the Zoloft yet. Only 3 days on tapering off Effexor. But all my symptoms started before taper. I have got myself so worried that I may have bipolar because someone told me I might have it. But never experiencing any of the depression or severe mania I thought I don't think that I have that. But being that my dad killed himself and had a lot of mental disorders I have got myself so worked up. So with anxiety you can experience racing thoughts. Mine are worse when trying to fall asleep or a little when I wake up. But sometimes it's like an anticipated thing. Like I'm jut waiting for them so it makes the anxiety worse. Lately my anxiety had been so bad I was slacking on house duties. Well I read which I need to stop doing cause bipolar anxiety and racing thoughts sound almost similar to the gad. But I guess your thoughts can jump from one things to a next. Well mine kinda are like. I need to do laundry, clean the kitchen, clean the kids room. And I start getting anxiety cause all the things I was neglecting for the last month with the anxiety and trying to figure out what's wrong with me. So my racing thoughts are mostly about my worries about what's wrong with me. Like when will I just be better. Or trying to talk myself out of the anxiety. Like positive self talks. Then I start dwelling on what's going to work? What if the new med makes me crazy? What if ? What if? So the I started thinking omg what if these are racing thoughts and that's a sign I'm bipolar. Well I heard antidepresants can make you manic. Shouldn't it have happened way before 13 years on ads? Which I was never depressed just started having panic attacks after my dad passed. Then with being female and having mood swings and I believe I'm in the begging stages of peri menopausal. Also my therapist doesn't help and I'm changing to someone else. He told be his take on bipolar is someone who is very intense on their emotions. So almost telling me that I could be bipolar cause I have been consumed on my anxiety and what could be wrong with me and just can't stop obsessing about every thought or feeling I have. And when will I just feel back normal. Whatever that is. Also I might have a mix up on racing thoughts and concentration problems. Which is a symptom of anxiety. My psych told me that he doesn't thing I'm depressed or bipolar but he didn't really spend much time listening to my probs. Be says I'm worrying in excess about what's wrong with me and making it worse by googling. Then I start googling bipolar symptoms and thinking well some of those I might have but its almost like anxiety or pms. Then I star at questioning stupid decisions I made as a teenager like maxing out credit cards. Or having low self esteem so I wouldn't always want to be in a relationship. Then that freaks me out cause bipolar people do things when they are manic but from what in reading they have different levels of mania now. It's so confusing ugh. So before my medicine poop out and it probably didn't help we had a death in the family a couple months before I was what I thought was ok or decent lol, my husband jokes with me that I'm not cause I get crazy around my period and have a bout of pms. I guess the paying too much attention to my thoughts and how I feel I started feeling like I was having racing thoughts. The thought thing is worse in the morning lately , I wake up but can't get up cause our house is so small I will wake everyone up. So I lay there trying to go back to sleep. Close my eyes and between almost falling asleep I start thinking about how I'm going to feel. Then as I might drift off a little more my brain won't shut up lol. It's like I have conversations in my head with people I know of course. Or I get a song stuck in my head. Which I think I have tried to focus on the song thinking it might help me not worry and fall asleep. But in just gets more annoying. I would just think that if I was bipolar I would have had more episodes like this. And when I ask my therapist he acts like he doesn't know. I mean aren't these people supposed to be educated on these types of things? Another thing is I want to try and calm my anxiety so I start thinking of things I should do to help relieve it, like I knit or crochet. But then lately the only thing that has made me feel better is googling. Which I'm trying to stop. Then I think "oh am I bipolar cause I have these ideas that I want to do stuff to take my mind off my anxiety but then don't follow through?? " My family says I'm not bipolar and I have got myself in a cycle of worry and thinking I'm going to manic or schizophrenic that I just keep it going by googling symptoms. Now I'm weaning off Effexor and googling about that cause I'm freaked out about switching meds. Can anyone help me to differentiate ? Am I just extremely anxious with some kind of ocd thing happening?
Thank you! I don't have time to say more than thank you, you goddesses and gods and other random deities if that's how you roll .... for all the words that lie herein forthwithly [but stupid time/space continuum!!! y'all mostly wrote this years ago but it's live and well right here right now in my brain....ugh/YAYYAY]...but gotta run I'm late I'm late I'm late for a very important date no time to say hello goodbye I'm late I'm late I'm late....for something what was it again? oh screw it....really I just need to run off to everywhere at once without a boarding pass while singing (mostly in my head), over and over all day, "Happy red paws to you" to the tune of "happy birthday," duh, and based on the utterly perfect and delightful oh my god I love life and you and me and trees and pee [ing] because lamictal really does give me dry mouth from hell so I drink more water than there is in the entire state of California (which given the drought really isn't saying all that much and I could have said Oregon or Washington or somewhere else soggy except it just seemed more impactful (I know...ugly boardroom word) to say California for some reason...it might be for the same kind of subconscious, fascinating (and really worth doing some cool research on) sort of associations people have with the vocal gender (or whatever normal humans would call it) of Siri and kindle text to speech and navigation systems and whatnot)...I really should get on that but I have to start the etsy business I sketched out today [i'm sure I can get stocking stuffers whipped up from one of those quick crafts to pick up which if I'm being realistic should be welding and soldering and melting metal I LOVE METAL (and don't you kind of think one should never trust someone who doesn't delight in magnets at least a little ....ooh, and for the other old timers here, mercury, from the old thermometers before we knew it would eat our brains or whatever it does (and I really do like zombie crap!) but I should know because I remember that my high school chemistry teacher had some awful mercury story and I was horrified because I! Loved! Mercury!] I have a plan and I'll get back to jogging and swimming not to mention finishing the film I was working on [in 2005]). And sometimes in "happy red paws" I toss in a little lounge singer action and improvise new verses. Ooh! I think I feel sleep coming on! Very relieved hearing folks describe what's going on up there.
Happy red paws to you,
Now I know what this thing is that I've been struggling with.
I had no idea.
I think this is genius. I have actually sat down and written in this manner, whatever thought comes to my mind I would write it. They are words and thoughts trapped on a hamster wheel. I also find that I sit and type and erase and perfect what I'm trying to say. Its madness ! I'm doing it now, I can spend an hour writing something or doing something or thinking about doing something else. I haven't seen a psychistrist..only pcp and psychologists since Iwas about 13. I was hyper, dramatic, worried all the time, turned bright red. 17-21 iwas a heavy binger, blackout every weekend and beyond permiscuous and impulsive. I drank and had sex to feel better. I chalked it up to being young and dumb.I I was diagnosed with general anxiety, depression, ADD, PMDD I've tried every kind of anti depressant there is. None of them work, they make me extremely tired, foggy and more depressed. Wellbutrin worked for my depression worsened anxiety and eventually stopped working. I started lexa pro shortly after and felt like it was pointless so I stopped abruptly...I know it's wrong.... I have ben tsking 20mg of n Adderall which I think has increased manic episodes for almost 2 years. I became an lpn 3 years ago. I have had at least 6 jobs since I became a nurse. I have never been fired I just get paranoid about being fired bc I am always late and call out a lot so then I start looking for something else and coming up with reasons why I hate my job. So I had a mental breakdown over the summer quit lpn to rn school (my dream, what I worked so hard for suddenly felt pointless)quit my job and was afraid of every thing went into a major depression stayed in bed for a week , saw a counselor during that time which was a train wreck in its self. Kept getting, hmm interesting, I see...all the while wondering what she thought. She never said!!! She Made me feel worse iw anted to die. Literally..was not suicidal but hated myself and my life. I started to feel normal again about 2 weeks later everything went back to being normslish. I am just taking adderall but started a pattern of hypomanic episodes again which I know will lead to the depression...I'm messy, unorganized, easily irritated, can't sit still, change jobs like their going out of style..I get bored easy...Thank God I have a wonderful husband and am faithful. Lord knows the things I do when I'm single. I am overly sexual, loud noises can really send me into a mood. Wow...I write a lot! There's still sooooo much. My sister was dx as being bipolar when she was a teenager started lithium for a month then decided she wasn't bipolar that everyone is over diagnosed. I am convinced my mom and brother are as well. We all have addicitive personaliites and drink quite a bit of alcohol. I'm a nurse, I'm a perfectionist, I'm hyper, I talk out of turn, I love to be the center of attention and hate it at the same time. I'm overly dramatic, I think people are looking at me, judging me or talking about me, everyone at work pisses me off, sometimes I feel like I'm going to explode, I can't concentrate on any one thing. My house is a mess all the time, I'm late to everything, I take forever to get ready especially when I am running late. I am always looking for something. My thoughts consume my life when I get like this..it's madness. But it's me....Im going to bite the bullet and start taking care of me, I'm going to see a psychiatrist I have just been in denial and think I'm going to figure it out, snap out of it or gain control. I've already diagnosed myself as I always do because I'm a hypochondriac as well. I always think I have cancer or something because I think that would make more sense to people why I am the way that I am. Ughh..okay enough with the word vomit. Thank you for letting me get this out, what you are doing is really amazing. Its good to know my world of nonsene makes perfect since to others who drift there from time to time. Thanks for reading my post! And i can't believe I started this at 5:45. Lol
She should actually be a delight to befriend or work with but it is extremely annoying and an irritation.
Can this be a possible Hypomania situation? What other points should I look for?
what you describe is worse than hypomania. Hypomania is generally pretty liveable, manageable for the most part.
I agree that what you experience is not just anxiety or panic attacks, although are both well known to be significantly elevated in both hypomania and mania.
It is wonderful news that lithium works so well for you. It works very well for me also. I take 3 other psych drugs and a neurological one. . .combined, they seem to be doing the trick.
The episode happens so quickly that I do not have time to reach for my meds. I try to run and hide from it, but there is no where to go. I immediately begin to hyperventilate, cannot catch my breath and my heart is beating so quickly it feels like it will burst and I will die. As the mania goes along, the anxiety attacks get worse until the voices and noises in my head are so loud and so out of control, that I am forced to the floor curled up in a hysterical all consuming panic. In my mind, everything is spinning and yelling and banging and ringing and turning black.. I am gasping for air but cannot get enough. This continues until the blackness and chaos in my mind takes over completely. In all the madness, I see this tiny light. If I can focus on it, I keep looking at this light the turmoil starts to become less and in less then in approximately an hour the light becomes bigger until all is light, and all the chaos begins to subside. After it all slows down it has been about 1-2 hours. In the end, I am back in the room shivering in a cold sweat.
I saw a psychiatrist last year, and he says it is not just anxiety but mania. I am diagnosed with bipolar-disorder, and this appears to be correct. With lithium it has mostly gone away.
(Beautiful name by the way)
If its any help I struggled greatly with bipolar from age 12 on. I had no signs of ADHD or anything close, nor have I been diagnosed since. They do have many overlapping symptoms so do your research and do be shy about asking your doctor lots of questions... I wish I had at your age.
My biggest symptom through highschool was that it was nearly impossible to wake me up or get me out of bed and when that was accomplished I would be irritable for hours.
It feels so strange now that I've grown out of that "stage" and am such a morning person.
I don't know if that is any help...as Natasha mentioned..each and every case is a bit different, so its a game of truly knowing you and your symptoms and working with good people on the journey who care enough about your individual case to find what helps.
Love and luck!
You're singin' my song, sister. I'm hypomanic right now and can't tell you how much everything you just said resonates. (And then the REVERB!!!) See what I mean? I say crazy-ass things and speak in fragmented sentences because my mouth simply can't keep up... and yet I'm totally confident that everything I say is right, and charming, and true, and absolutely has to be heard. It's starting to drive me crazy (haha.) how my environment and the people I come into contact with can't keep up with me and I don't even really know what I'm chasing, running so damn fast, but whatever it is I need it and crave it and even though it's counter-intuitive and unhealthy I just. can't. stop.
Thanks for being so candid, and keep doing what you're doing.
I'm just OCD. With good meds. But problems with self-injury involving my nails/teeth and either dry/broken skin to pick at, old wounds, or sometimes old scars that I attack. I am 42, a computer programmer, mother of a 3 year old toddler diagnosed with mild autism, and part-time caregiver to elderly parents. I take care of my 81 year-old mom's medication. She suffered a stroke over a year ago. I also pay my parent's bills. Not in a very timely manner, however.
I have the stress of being "in the sandwich generation" to point fingers at for bad behavior. But honestly, before having a son as toddler #1, then my parents as elderly toddlers #2 and #3, I have been in a self-destructive orbit around the drain of a toilet bowl for years.
I don't understand why. I just know I keep doing the same thing, the same bad habits, over and over again, and expecting a different outcome. Yep, crazy as a loon.
I am incredibly grateful my husband puts up with me. And incredibly grateful for his love, my toddler's love, and the love of our silly 80+ and 100+ pound lap dogs, aka our German Shepherds.
Anyway, I hope you are doing well. I'm sorry your brain is broken. I know there are things your bipolar gives you, creativity-wise. I know it takes you down paths most "normals" wouldn't have thought of taking. But I know it also takes away a great deal from your life.
My OCD has given me some interesting abilities, but has also taken alot away from me. Sometimes I think I want it completely gone, and other times it's like it defines me, and I wouldn't know who to be without it.
Well thank-you for the compliment. It's always nice to start there.
Regarding ADHD and bipolar. Yes, you could have both of those things. Myself, I'm wary of multiple diagnoses and you might consider getting a second opinion, just to make sure the diagnosis is correct. The worst thing you can do is treat for a disease you don't have.
I've got some other suggestions here: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/08/what-to-do-if-youe28099ve-just-been-diagnosed-as-bipolar/
Bipolar is not characterized by aggression. Some people in a manic or hypomanic state can be aggressive, irritable or angry but that is one of many possible symptoms.
Regarding waking up in the morning, that's not generally the thinking. Kids with ADHD are often extremely difficult to wake and as for kids with bipolar, I can't say. But again, this is individual.
I'm sorry your mom is acting differently, but rest assured, you are not psychotic or any different now than the day before the diagnosis.
I recommend you (and your mom) read about bipolar disorder. Mental illness is much less scary when you know the facts.
My very favorite bipolar II site is: http://psycheducation.org/ (click on the Mood Swings link to see intro information)
Bipolar information in general can be found in many places.
There is also a Bipolar for Dummies book and many others.
It absolutely sucks that you have to think about this at 15, you're right. But you're asking good questions and now you can do some learning and figure out your next steps.
I read somewhere that Bipolar disorder is often characterized by aggression. Is that true? I experience mild irritability, but I've been on Adderral(sp) for so long that I don't remember what my more aggressive spells felt like.
They also say that children with ADHD wake up in the morning and are alert within seconds, whereas children with Bipolar are irritable. I experience both. Is it possible to have both at the same time?
It sucks having to think about this at 15. My mother's been acting like I'm psychotic since the psychiatrist suggested it. Any information you can give me would be very much appreciated.
The literacy in the piece was beautiful, by the way:)
Good stuff. Found this page using the keyword 'assonance' by the way. Everyone should bookmark this page today :-)...
I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience. It's rare to find a psychiatrist that does therapy, and normally I would consider one that does, a good thing, but obviously you didn't have that experience.
ECT is a complex issue and depending on many variables one may see greater or fewer side effects. It is undoubtedly risky, but it's also the most successful known treatment. I'm sorry that it turned out so badly for you.
Yes, continuity of care is a big issue. A doctor has to get to know you to treat you effectively. All I can say to that is to be as empowered as possible to get the treatment you need and to be open and honest, but of course you're right, our brains aren't always in a position to act in our best interest.
I hope you are finding more success now.
After years of going to many different Psychiatrists (for meds) and Therapists (with widely varying degrees of ability) I convinced myself I should seek out a Psychiatrist that also provided therapy. I should mention that by this time I had also been deemed treatment resistant (meaning no meds or combos of meds had been successful for me).
That turned out to be the most damaging decision I could have made. I might have survived it better if my insurance wasn't close to running out. He ended up coerceing me into having ECT which left me with brain damage. I take responsibility for not having done LOTS of research before hand, but really my mind was not in a place to accomplish that.
It's my opinion that some of the big problems most of us are stuck with is 1) it's a crap shoot whether we're going to get mental health care providers that we "click" with AND that have a skill set that actually helps us, and 2) because of the way most health insurance is structured there is rarely continuity of care. I always felt like I was starting at square one every time I had to change therapists. That became a major source of frustration and, in retrospect, an obsession which kind of sabotaged any progress.
yup, that seems about right. Good analogy. I might steal it.
Well, neurofeedback is a type of therapy although there isn't really evidence for it's use in bipolar and there's a fair amount of skepticism regarding it's use in depression: http://www.isnr.org/uploads/EvidenceBasedYuchaMontgomeryW.pdf
Regardless, if that doesn't work for you, then you can move onto many other types of therapy that may work better. Keep in mind that (in North America) psychiatrists generally only prescribe meds and do not do therapy. You need to go to a psychologist for that.
And keep in mind that therapy plus meds has the best success rate.
I'm glad you've found the information helpful. Make sure wherever you get your information from it's a trusted source and you discuss any concerns with a professional.
No, you are not alone.
I'm glad you're finding my writings helpful. I'm sort of fascinated, frightened and comforted by them too.
It takes time to accept a diagnosis and everything that comes with it. The fact that you're working at it is a great step forward. I'm glad to help in what small way I can. You are not alone.
I'm gaining a lot of insight by reading a lot of your blogs. Fascinating and frightening and comforting all at the same time. I was diagnosed with BP1 a few months ago and am still reeling a bit from the knowledge of it. Knowing I will have to 'manage' myself and my stress levels, sleep, meds etc for the rest of my life is pretty overwhelming. Still a bit of denial going on from time to time both for me and my family, but am starting to educate myself as much as possible these days. It really does help to exchange with those who understand and relate, because the sense of lonliness I sometimes feel is very debilatating. Thank you for giving us all a voice and helping in the process - its very reassuring and helpful. Keep up the good work and thanks again, Be Well
Ah yes, the idea that every precious breath is pure genius. It's nice to be even falsely brilliant for a while.
Thinking that you're writing the next bible does sound exhausting even to think of. Thanks for coming back.
Green means Go. Alliteration. GG. Maybe that will help. :)
I do the song thing too! I have to sing it out loud to get rid of it, but it doesn't always work. They will be random lines too, that I didn't know I knew.....so odd.
my oddest hypo moments are when I try to cross the street and forget which color means go.....this one has also been a bit dangerous. It's my thoughts running too fast. I hold someone's hand now! :)
Rhyme, I must say, is a new one, but interesting. It would make me giggle, but perhaps that's the point.
And yes, many of my hypomanic ideas aren't the best. But that's ideas for you, the trick is knowing which ones don't suck.
I'm glad it resonates for you. Thanks.
Your description of hypomania is dead on. Well done!
I love when I make someone's day.
Sorry, I have so many pending proposals, I'll have to just add you to the list...
I forget how to tell time, count change, and the alliteration thing......oh man! made my day, Natasha!