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What to Do When You’re Hypomanic from Bipolar

July 2, 2015 Natasha Tracy

People want to know what to do when they’re hypomanic from bipolar. Should you stay in hypomania as long as possible if you enjoy it? Should you try to moderate it in some way? Should you try to end the bipolar hypomania as quickly as possible? People will have different thoughts on this one but here are my thoughts on what to do when you’re hypomanic because of bipolar.

Bipolar Hypomania Attacks

So I’m sitting here and brain is racing – singing songs and writing articles, mostly – with so many categories of thought intertwined it’s almost impossible to pick out one from the next. I keep singing a specific phrase of music again and again and I’m talking in streams to myself very crowded and racing thought and I’m rocking back and forth my thoughts are too fast to type and my cats look and me and know something is wrong.

It's hard to know what to do when you're hypomanic from bipolar disorder. See what I do to handle bipolar hypomania.I’m hypomanic, of course.

Hypomania is hardly the end of the world – for me anyway. (People are different and some people can absolutely blow up their lives when hypomanic. People are individuals that way.) But what I’ve learned is that the farther up you go, the farther down you fall afterward and the bigger a crater your fall into and have to climb out of. The worse the hypomania, the worse the following depression, in my experience.

What to Do When You’re Hypomanic -- Should You Stay in Hypomania?

Some people would argue that they like hypomania and so they aim to stay in it as long as possible. Well, if that’s you, that’s your business but I wouldn’t recommend it. The problem with hypomania may not be the hypomania itself but, rather, the depression that you have to pay for it with, and hypomania is very, very expensive indeed.

And I know, from all my experience with bipolar depression and bipolar hypomanias that a momentary high (I don’t let them last long or encourage them) is not worth the absolute beating I will receive afterwards. Seriously, my last depression after a hypomania made my brain feel like it actually exploded and it took weeks of mostly sleeping to put it back together again.

You absolutely have to have this insight to force yourself to abandon even a pleasant hypomania so you don’t risk, well, death on the other side.

What to Do When You’re Hypomanic -- How to Get Out of Hypomania

Please don’t consider any of this a medical recommendation. I am not a doctor. Only take medication as prescribed by your psychiatrist.

My, personal, way of getting out of hypomania is to sleep. Now, many people with bipolar hypomania will tell you they can’t sleep. I understand. That’s why I have sleeping medication. I take extra medication and go to bed (at the regular time) and when I wake up, if they hypomania hadn’t been around long, it’ll be gone the next morning and I’ll be at baseline. If I had encouraged the hypomania, though, and it had lasted for days, this might not work.

In the case of a more severe hypomania I will use both tranquilizers and sleeping medication together (as instructed by a doctor. Don’t just take whatever you want). This will calm me during the day and then force sleep at night and that will generally end a hypomania but I may suffer a depression anyway as I hadn’t nipped the hypomania early enough in the bud. (Some people avoid tranquilizers in these situations and may use antipsychotics on an as-needed basis and that works too.)

Of course, there may be other ways of quelling the over-abundance of energy such as by vigorously exercising, meditating, doing yoga or doing other things that you know calm you. Now, none of that works for me but that’s not to say it wouldn’t work as a drug-free option for you.

I’m Getting Out of My Hypomania

Honestly, even though hypomanias aren’t necessarily painful, I don’t like them nonetheless because I’m acutely aware I’m acting and feeling crazy. I know I’m nowhere near my normal and this makes me uncomfortable. I know I’m less likely to be able to control myself and I don’t like that. I know that if it gets worse the trailing depression will crush me and I’m desperate to avoid that. In short, it’s not me, and I know it.

So I’m getting out of this bipolar hypomania by actively taking steps to terminate it. Whether you choose to do the same thing is up to you but no matter what, do talk to your psychiatrist or therapist about it because it could be the start of a very rocky, very dangerous path and someone should be made aware you’re walking it.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or Google+ or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.

Image provided by Drew McLellen.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2015, July 2). What to Do When You’re Hypomanic from Bipolar, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2015/07/what-to-do-when-youre-hypomanic-from-bipolar



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Meh
says:
May, 29 2018 at 5:12 am
I usually just suffer from depression and have a hypomanic episode (nothing too damaging but yeah a lil inappropriate n grandiose) every couple years it seems. They last like 3 months n then I'm super depressed for awhile after. Anyone have a similar situation? And did you find that you could control the hypomania with sleep, meditation, exercise etc... without getting the depression hangover? or is the depression inevitable regardless of staying calm and you must take a mood stabilizer/antipsychotic asap
Brittany
says:
March, 1 2017 at 4:39 am
Also I would like to add that he's being paranoid especially on his visit out the other day with his mother which they allow him to do and all he wanted to do was watch The DaVinci Code
Brittany
says:
March, 1 2017 at 4:37 am
Hi I am new at posting on here especially anything about my personal business but I thought maybe I could get some feedback. My ex boyfriend is bipolar we have been together for 4 years. He suddenly had a very severe episode of mania which led him into a psychosis he was completely delusional. I look back now that are four years and realized he might have been hypomanic a lot of the time because he would get paranoid but then it would pass and he was fine. This episode caused him to be arrested and committed. He's been in the hospital now for 4 months. When he first got there they seem to bring him down which is when he was apologizing and crying to me about how sorry he was that it wasn't him. It's almost like he had a sudden realization of what had been going on and recognized it. After that few days he suddenly seemed to go back to manic. During these four months he has wanted me and then not wanted me he is still acting paranoid and delusional they put him on Latuda and Depakote and now they have him back on what he was before all that Geodon. He still seems to be paranoid and I'm wondering why they can't stabilize him and bring him down. I forgot to take a while but I'm just not sure that this medication is the right one I don't know why they put him back on it if it stopped working. Now he seems to go weeks with not even caring if I call and he has completely disconnected from me again. He is done this most of his life I have heard connect with people disconnect and connect especially with his family but I never thought he would do it to me. This is probably been the most painful thing because we had plans of getting married... We have a child... And the last thing I want to do is not be there for him but it's been a roller-coaster ride and it's so hard on me and if I want to be responsible and do all the things that I need to do for myself and my daughter I can't be on the roller coaster ride. I've distanced myself now for a week as for all he wants is to be sexual. I told him I need some kind of commitment. A week ago was the last time we talked and all he kept saying was I just want to have sex with you I don't want to be in a relationship. I have a feeling he's hypomanic. Any thoughts? I know it could take a long time but he doesn't seem to be getting better. Obviously it's the medication right? I don't know any bit of advice on what I should do would be a big help. His mother goes to Nami meetings and keeps me posted on him because I will always love him as I know this is not him right now
JANET
says:
July, 11 2015 at 4:43 pm
When I have hypomania, I am not aware that I have it. I think everything I do and say in that state is perfectly normal, no matter how weird, crazy, irrational etc. I am being. It is only later when I am in my "sane' mind,( although I am never really sane) and in a lesser form of hypomania that I realize.. and say to myself "I can't believe I did that!..,what was thinking? This makes it hard to fit into society. And even your own family, at least my family. should make the effort to understand your condition and support you, but instead they try their best to avoid you.
Ron
says:
July, 11 2015 at 10:41 am
I am 64 and have been hospitalised maybe 6 times. If there is a cycle it would be say, 8 weeks on the up ( if not brought into check ) 8 weeks in care followed by anything up to 18 months of depression. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, the cost of the aftermath is too high. But I enjoy the mania, the frenetic activity, creativity the cosmic awareness. I really relish it. Luckily my support mechanism ( my wife ) checks me constantly during these periods. I take Depakote, which is manageable, unlike Lithium which I find is like eating a Mars Bar with the wrapper on! The simple fact remains that I know no other life. Day to day ups and downs I feel are condition related and not triggered in anyway. I am grateful that the stigma of this disability is slowly diminishing. My only advice to sufferers is to communicate.
Sarah
says:
July, 11 2015 at 9:48 am
Hi. I have a dual diagnosis of borderline and bipolar. I'm starting to see the difference between the two. However I get hypo's a lot and if I'm careful, ensuring sleep, I'm not out of control, I get stuff done, work, etc. but I'm severely depressed all the time unless I'm in a hypo. Hypos can last weeks, then I'm normalish, with intermittent days where I feel neither high or massively low. I came off quetiapine after 2 years, as it kept me in a constantly depressed state. I lost everything whilst this ill, including Home and husband. I'm on a very low dose of mitrazapine but nothing's working on the depression. I am an anti-med person after trying so many that aren't helping. Any ideas please? x
Kathleen
says:
July, 11 2015 at 9:28 am
The problem for me with bipolar 1 is that mania hits me out of nowhere- in the space of a day, even on the highest doses of mood-stabilizer and anti-psychotics, I can be in a major-league manic episode, followed by (this latest time) a 5-mth psychosis- the equivalent of Dantes' Inferno. Even a month-long stay in the psych unit was a pointless exercise; albeit that it "contained" me, so-to-speak. So I don't think that for some, there are any hard & fast solutions to the prevention of mania. For three consecutive summers I have been in the hospital, & even in the absence of triggers it seems to be unavoidable.
Jos
says:
July, 11 2015 at 2:35 am
i am awake my mind racing. I have so much stuff that needs doing but I have been obsessively watching tv series. I feel that my life is racing away. Taking my meds (epilim) would probably be a good idea. I think back to wrong stuff that I have done in my life and feel guilty even though some of it was 20 years ago. I think i am mainly hypomanic. But could be this mixed episode thing as I do have those feelings at the same time as being high. I always thought that I would achieve something great but I think that boat has sailed. I don't feel suicidal life is too short and there is so much to do. Sometimes I wish the thoughts would just stop it makes it hard to focus. When I am focused and working I can work really long hours and can achieve quite a bit. Sometimes I can be reckless and disregard the consequences of my actions. I will go now and make myself a camomile tea and see if that helps me sleep. Dam being out of sleeping pills. Stay safe love and peace out.
Marilyn
says:
July, 10 2015 at 8:34 am
I dont have a comment but rather questions.
I have had episodes of mania for which now has me in major debt and unable to see any sign of recovering. I am so broken i dont know if i will get better. I am isolating, have no confidence or selfesteem. I am scared of everything. Can hardly communicated. I see a psychologists and a psychiatrist. Am on meds, dont know if they are working. Feel
no joy or happiness. I want to know what i should do.
Matty
says:
July, 8 2015 at 1:16 am
Hi, I have a sister who's been severely depressed for 8 years and told she is treatment resistant. I am bipolar, stable, but recently had a tumultuous time because of a medical issue. My sister comes to me with her immense anger and depression. Many friends have dumped her. I had been helping her for years, which has made me depressed
She doesn't follow therapist's suggestions, and has become a miserable person. She also refuses the "bipolar" meds suggested, fearful of side effects. I am angry and tired of her turning my life upside down. Sorry to be dramatic, but I have told her our relationship needed to change, and explained it in a coherent, gentle way. Nonetheless, she still hammers me with her nasty, miserable attitude. I am at a loss as what to do for her. Any suggestions from you would be greatly appreciated.
Deb
says:
July, 6 2015 at 10:37 am
I'm newly diagnosed and don't know my pattern of hypomania/depression now that I'm on meds. I know I've been hypomanic the last 3 months or so since coming out of my depression with lamictal and effexor. My psych doc lowered my effector dose and wanted to add resperdal. I don't want to take the resperdal so he let me stop it after a few days. I feel okay now....just trying to recognize baseline.
Sarah
says:
July, 3 2015 at 8:31 pm
Hi R,
Yes I am medicated. Seroquel as an anti-manic - very high dose. Also lithium and carbamazepiene.
Paul Winkler
says:
July, 3 2015 at 8:22 am
Funny Natasha, that although I've always tended to fall in the depressive side of bipolar, my latest episode was a six-month hypomanic/manic state that I was the last person to notice. Rather than lead to a depression, however, it has just meant I've made a few lifelong enemies and my brain and memory have gone kablooey. I'm still trying to work it out with my p-doc, but my mind is so disorganised I can't keep a thought in my head for even a part of a second! *That's* the worst part of this state I've been in. (That, and the enemies bit.)
R
says:
July, 2 2015 at 7:33 pm
Hi Sarah

Sounds like your experience is simular to mine.

Have you tried an antipsychotic such as seroquel? It also falls into the category of major tranquilizer. Even on low doses Seroquel use to knock me out better than any sleeping pill ever could.

Like you the hypomania kinda sneaks up on me then eventally works it's way into to a full blown mania if I'm not careful. Always precipiatated by some sort of major stressor. Fortuately for me that has only happened about 3 times over a 15 year period. Controlling my stress level (usually reflected as impatience and severe irritability) before it has a chance to seriously impact my life is also key. Sometimes even the mood stabilizer I take every day (which also doubles as an antidepressant) can actually propel me into a manic state if I don't take the necessary precautions on to nip it in the bud early. I know all to well how hard it can be to dig myself out of a deep depression after a manic crash and burn disaster
Sarah
says:
July, 2 2015 at 4:39 pm
I've only been properly hypomanic a couple of times, and not for quite some time. In those early days I had no insight at all so obviously assumed I was doing well, on track etc.

Oh wait there was this one time, more recently, and I should have had insight. But I didn't.

For you, hypomania leads to a depressive crash. For me it leads to mania, psychosis, some dysphoria with the mania... and hospital. THEN comes the crash.

A year and a half of not quite living.

So if I could somehow get the hypomanic stage under control...but that ain't gonna happen with a sleeping pill or yoga.

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