What to Do When You’re Hypomanic from Bipolar
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.
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.
Image provided by Drew McLellen.
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
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.
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.
Yes I am medicated. Seroquel as an anti-manic - very high dose. Also lithium and carbamazepiene.
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
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.