How Not to Take Bipolar Hypomania Irritability Out on Others

September 18, 2015 Natasha Tracy

It’s critical to know how not to take your bipolar hypomania irritability out on others, if that is one of your symptoms of hypomania (What's The Difference Between Bipolar Mania and Hypomania?). I wish I was one of those people for whom hypomania is a party, but I’m not. For me, I’m highly irritable, annoyed, anxious and agitated. But I know that this is part of my bipolar disorder so I try not to take my bipolar hypomania irritability out on others.

What Does Bipolar Hypomania Feel Like?

The symptoms of a hypomanic episode present differently in different people, but for me it’s a highly irritating time. I just want to lash out at people because they are slow and stupid. I want to lash out at people simply because I feel so agitated. I want to get mad at people for no reason other than the fact that I just want to get mad to get this annoying energy out of me. It isn’t the least bit fair for me and, certainly, not for others (The Relationship Between Bipolar and Anger / Aggression).

How Not to Take Bipolar Hypomania Irritability Out on Others

Bipolar hypomania irritation is common but it's not fair to take it out on others. Here's how not to take bipolar hypomania irritability out on others.Of course, I can’t lash out at people or get mad at them for nothing. That would ruin relationships and make me an awful person to be around. So here are some of the ways I don’t take out bipolar hypomania irritability on others.

  1. I know that the irritability and other agitating symptoms are part of my disease and not real or justified.
  2. I know that just because I feel a certain way, doesn’t mean I can trust what I feel, and I must be very careful of acting on a feeling.
  3. I know that I have to take responsibility for my mental illness and temper my actions towards others. If I choose to act on these feelings it may feel like it’s not my fault but I still need to take responsibility for my own actions, even if they are colored by an illness.
  4. I know that relationships are important to me and so are people. I need to treat them with respect and the way I want to be treated.
  5. I know how I would feel if someone lashed out at me for no reason. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone else.
  6. I know that thinking before I speak and breathing deeply instead of speaking can help me calm my hypomania irritability enough to make better choices about how I act (How To Communicate With Confidence: 7 Steps).

In short, and I’ve said this before, bipolar is not an excuse for treating other people like crap, and I know it. I’m not saying it’s easy to best the thoughts coming out of an ill brain, but I’m saying it can be done. I’m saying that no matter how I feel, it’s up to me not to let that hurt other people. Because, after all, I have no desire to hurt others when I’m in my right mind and I have to carry that belief forward, even when losing a battle with my bipolar brain may temporarily lessen the strain.

Image by Ashley Rose.

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

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2015, September 18). How Not to Take Bipolar Hypomania Irritability Out on Others, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 14 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

September, 6 2020 at 9:07 am

I was so glad to find this. I was diagnosed with bipolar II something like 25 years ago, and no one has EVER told me that hypomania could be anything other than the euphoric type, so I mistakenly had thought it had been at least a decade since I'd had the last one until the current one was sooo bad I'd started doing research (and was barking up the wrong tree because I thought the symptoms had been affected by near daily migraines)--and I can't tell you how hard I had to look to find this. Thank you for a description that resonated so well that I almost cried with relief and was able to say that my rants and feelings weren't rational, and that I could set them aside instead of trying to make them deep-seated issues I'd just been suppressing (which was what I was trying to build them into). I've been able to step back and realize that it's the pot-stirring hypomania taking little everyday frictions and turning them into massive interpersonal conflicts. It's not stopped everything, but it's sure helped a lot. Thank you so very much!

January, 28 2018 at 11:13 am

I know I’m very sensitive. I’m a codependent and I always had trouble expressing myself when people stepped on my toes. I was told to express myself when someone hurt me. I had trouble doing it in person so I’d text. I’d go on and on describing how they hurt me.
So yes, I’d be agitated when under stress and didn’t know when to stop texting. Now I reread what I have texted or avoid people until I have calmed down. I think being passive aggressive is just as bad such as being ignored.
The other reason I texted is because They couldn’t blame me for sounding angry. I’ve apologized when People said something to me. I’ve never blown up at friends, but people closest to me. at least now I know when I feel agitated and my mind is racing I need to distance myself until I can stop the thoughts.

March, 4 2017 at 4:27 pm

I really appreciate your description of the irritability that comes with hypomania. It's really, really tough for everyone. I'm glad you found a system that works and helps you not get angry with others. The problem with your system, as you laid it out, is that it's things most bipolar folks already know. We know we're responsible for our actions, hypomanic or not. We know our relationships are important. We know we wouldn't feel good if others lashed out. Hearing those things just makes me feel more pressured, more stressed, like I have to be even more careful. And that isn't helpful. Perhaps you have some tips on lessening the irritability in the first place. That would help a lot more than reminding us not to be rude to others even when we've been holding it together for weeks and are really ready to break.

July, 15 2016 at 5:21 pm

Hypomanic Irritability happens so fast for me that I act out before I know what is happening. Then I am shocked by my behavior. I have yet to find any strategies to deal with this except to isolate.

November, 9 2015 at 8:20 am

I love you I have walked in your shoes and they kill my toes

Sandra Cobban
September, 29 2015 at 9:19 am

Why are peeps so slow & stupid & lazy & unmotivated??

Sandra Cobban
September, 29 2015 at 9:17 am

Yep,mixed episodes..
Most likely due to stress & my dads birthday / anniversary of death,not sleeping will start it
I felt no control over my emotions,though I took meds.
Cried in grocery store,THATS EMBARASSING....
15 mins later with elevated voice I fucking hate my shitty life!
Next person I'm going to punch them in the face!
Or kick their ass!
Finally writing a dumb ass email to my sister ( by the way,she never replied,per usual)
I'm certain,omg Sandra's in crazy-way.
Let her rest...she'll be fine...
Ah how little you know...& she's not there the many breakdowns....
Actually I hate her anyway so who cares?
When I think of all ...oh it's private,personal.
I hope I can zz a hr or so but my head feels like someone hit it with a tree trunk.
Another migraine!!!
Life in the fast lane....JC am I the only one that hears weird shit.....I know ambulance was REAL ( not for ME GOOD) HATE BEING TOLD WTF to do...
Cause many residents,DUH I'm smarter,guess SO THAN YOU even some PSYCHS.
Ppl ARE TO ME ALL TOXIC right now,so I stay with my cat.
Yes,I CUT EVERY FRIEND OFF ( not that had many)
I function better SOLO,but everyone's different.....NONE OF MY COPING SKILLS WORKED
TODAY......its Just like that sometimes,I GET EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED when this happens
as I tried SO SO hard,then feel what FOR?
ramble On.going to buy a crystal ball soon ( no,serious,) beauty products fr Sephora new clothes ( I've lost weight like this) dream no 9

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Bobby Holton
August, 17 2022 at 3:14 am


August, 17 2022 at 1:33 pm

Hi Bobby,
I'm not sure what you mean by that.
-- Natasha Tracy

Sandra Cobban
September, 28 2015 at 5:58 am

I also feel better eating & taking my meds on a tight schedule as boring as it sounds...
I still trigger,I'm middle of one.
But I've my toolbox w coping stragies
Meds...just remember ...proceed with caution.
I've got a splitting hell migraine ....usually means a mixed episode
$&@! Sandra ..omg

Sandra Cobban
September, 28 2015 at 5:45 am

That used to be hell,verbally abuse to others,breaking dishes,but racing speedy mind...
Even getting into fights with bfs.( physical,& verbal)
I get energy of bionic woman,no sleep...used to have affairs..
Blast music on my stereo,dance around,while watching sexy male rock gods online,while
using my swifter ( like a duster-broom)
I'd also,break my cell phones,so my BF,couldn't track me while I was with a guy barely 40
I was 52...4 cell phones, 1 computer toasted.
The worst when my BF ( my own age) started stalking me...
At the groc shop....manic I nearly rammed the cart of food threw the glass doors of the mall!!
Some ppl say they like the rush of andrenaline....personally,I'd prefer a quiet mind.
With peace,to be able to always stay focused & on task.
Oh well.
Maybe one day.
What I do,is slow count to ten,closing my eyes now,also,getting some air...even just getting out of the house walk round block...or listening to the rain,petting my lovely cat,so gentle.
May I suggest if possible that ppl consider a pet,it truly is good therapy,unconditional love
At least I never got arrested for any thing I've done,so relief.
But I do feel almost possessed like a devil when manic

Pam M
September, 23 2015 at 3:30 pm

I can have a racing mind but feel great. But I can't stay focussed and start doing 10 things at the same time. When that happens, I go up into my bedroom and write, watch TV or do photoshopping. Helps to slow down the thoughts.
When stressed, I feel agitated with people around me and people I have known from the past.
Some friends who I felt have hurt me, I reached a point where I had to cut them off. But I sometimes wonder, was I too sensitive or did they agitate me. I try list the reasons why I cut them off and then I realize it didn't have anything to do with my bipolar.
I think being too sensitive is also a part of hypomania, but I could be wrong.

September, 21 2015 at 5:13 pm

I have trouble knowing I'm hypomanic. It happens if I'm stressed. Being stressed out should be a dead give away. I used to have more energy during the high end of my cycle. At least until I dropped from exhaustion. I'm older now with a frazzled body and better medication, at least in the mania department. I end up with mixed episodes where I am very fatigued and depressed with my mind going 1000 miles an hour, and anxiety that feels like a huge black freight train coming down on me. Another dead give away! I stop breathing much and get pleurisy. Yet another! I should see that the end of the world is really not upon us, but I don't see that my thinking is wrong. Sensibly, I go to a therapist.
"Laura, you're hypomanic. You're talking very fast and not making any sense.
"Breathe! One...two...three...four...five..."
I guess I should hang the symptoms on my wall!

September, 21 2015 at 9:38 am

What helps me is to find an internet site that is political and against my own beliefs and write lengthy comments that express my frustration with the system. This forces me to think more clearly, to organize my thoughts and direct them to an appropriate source.

September, 21 2015 at 5:58 am

Thank you for sharing.

September, 21 2015 at 4:15 am

My son has always been one to tell me "You are manic and grouchy. Go take a nap." Needless to say, when I'm already irritated, being told that just makes it worse. Luckily, in his counseling and anger management classes, they are working on the concept of tact...that just because something pops in your head and is true, does not mean it should come out of your mouth. He's getting some better, but he's also getting to an age where he can consciously manipulate to make me see o snappy and irritable that his dad steps in and thinks that everything I'm upset about is an over-reaction.

September, 19 2015 at 2:09 pm

I just had that going last night. It was awful. Because afterwards when you calm down, the horrible guilt sets in. I'm trying to control my actions/reactions when I get like this, but it's difficult at times. I can relate to what Natasha said that she feels people are "slow and stupid". That's EXACTLY how I felt last night. My thoughts were moving soooo fast, like I was way ahead of everyone else and they were just annoying. Then shortly after that kicks in, I become a raving bitch. When I am home and this happens, I just walk away. I go downstairs by myself and wait it out. But after Natasha's comments, I realize that I need better skills to cope. I need to keep those tips in mind and try to use them to prevent my lashing out instead of just running away. Thank you again Natasha for continually writing about very relevant subjects. It's so helpful and I learn much.

Take Care
September, 19 2015 at 12:44 am

I believe many of us already KNOW on some level how irritability can affect us/others whether we are bipolar or not and how we SHOULD be acting (if not therapy might help) but the problem is that stress (which often sets off mania/hypo mania) or fatigue (as with depression) often weakens this resolve. Therefore making a concerted effort to avoid stress (or ameliorate it with something such as exercise or meditation) as much as possible and having good sleep hygiene/schedule (as well as eating a healthy diet) and taking our medications as prescribed can go along way in strengthening us to do what is necessary to curb this unwanted/unwarranted feeling/behaviour in the first place

September, 18 2015 at 3:01 pm

Whenever I'm asked how hypomania feels I don't always know what to say....your description hit it right on the nose. Yes, there are times when I have tons of energy but for the most part I'm so irritable and any little thing makes me more angry. I'm finding it harder and harder to not lash out but I know I'm the one that upset and no one else is causing the problem. Luckily my husband is patient and understanding and I do my best to keep my irritability at a minimum around him or at least I try. Thank you for your post!

September, 18 2015 at 1:32 pm

Thank you for this apt description of irritability in hypomania. You've described what hypomania feels like for me, and this article will help me to explain it if someone asks me. I know it's slightly different for everyone, and I'm glad to hear that you don't find hypomania fun either.
There's a misconception, I think, that it might be great to have excess energy, less need for sleep, etc. For me, however, the feeling is scary and extremely uncomfortable.
I really appreciate you.

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