What Does Euphoria Feel Like in Bipolar Hypomania?
I don’t think euphoria in bipolar hypomania feels like extreme happiness. I use the word “euphoria,” which does mean “extreme happiness” but the word only partially fits my experience (Bipolar Mania and the Impact of Manic Symptoms). “Euphoria” is what doctors call one of the “gateway criteria” for bipolar hypomania or mania (one of the main characteristics) so many people with bipolar disorder experience. And sometimes I do experience something like euphoria in bipolar hypomania but bipolar hypomania euphoria just doesn’t feel like its real definition to me.
What Is Euphoria?
According to the American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary, euphoria is defined as: “A feeling of great happiness or well-being, commonly exaggerated and not necessarily well founded.” (In the non-medical definition, the “not necessarily well-founded” part isn’t there.)
As it’s “not necessarily well-founded” that really exemplifies the feelings that bipolar mania or hypomania bring. The feelings are over-the-top and out of proportion with the experience.
My Experience of Euphoria in Bipolar Hypomania
I do experience this odd giddiness in bipolar hypomania. I laugh at the oddest things. For example, I might smile and have the best time washing dishes. And while washing them, I might pick up my sponge (which has a happy face on it) and start laughing hysterically. For me, this hysterical laughing at nothing and immovable smile for no reason are distinct indicators that hypomania is here. Excess energy also seems to feed into these things and also be a symptom that hypomania is present.
But the thing is, for me, these feelings seem very superficial. It seems like the laughter and smiles and giddiness and energy are all really fake. They seem like a layer on top of what is me and not what is truly me. I can feel it as the illness rather than part of who I am.
The Unfortunate Reality of Bipolar Hypomania Euphoria
This is really a bummer because when bipolar hypomania arrives, I would love to feel euphoria, energy and smiles for real. I would love to experience them in a genuine way and not a superficial one. And this is even more unfortunate when you consider the fact that while depression can feel superficial as well, it often doesn’t. My bipolar depression is so much stronger than my bipolar hypomania that when I feel the depression it often does feel like the real me, even when I, intellectually, know it is not.
Maybe these symptoms feel fake because I’m so aware of the brain-mind separation. It’s so clear to me that my brain is sick and my mind isn’t. It’s really clear to me that these symptoms are just misfires of the bipolar brain and not products of my mind, my “me.” Understanding this is usually a blessing but in this case feels like a curse. Knowledge and understanding may be power, but it’s also disappointing at times. Hypomania should be the release from bipolar depression, which is so deserved and welcomed. But instead, for me, it isn’t. Only an equilibrium that is the real me is a release. And that is a whole lot rarer.
Check out Natasha Tracy’s book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar and connect with her on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.
Image by Flickr user Hartwig HKD.
Tracy, N. (2017, January 20). What Does Euphoria Feel Like in Bipolar Hypomania?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 14 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2017/01/what-does-euphoria-feel-like-in-bipolar-hypomania
Author: Natasha Tracy
Hypomania: I become aware that my energy has shifted upward and I feel embarrassed. It's enough that people would notice and I'm aware that my son is looking at me funny. Oh dear. So, I try to quiet myself with picking out a movie to watch while I pat the dog. Movie's over. I'm on the internet looking up hypomania. Why? Because I am afraid of becoming manic and out of control, where in the past I have hurt myself, where I have run away , began drinking again--all things I don't want to do. This is a change in energy, not a better mood.
Thank you for your comment.
You are completely right. This piece was just about the euphoria that some people (not all) experience in hypomania but the overall, most-pronounced symptom of hypomania is an energy shift.
- Natasha Tracy
When I get hypomania, I feel great, much like in your picture, except it should be in psychedelic colors. I get a lot done, creativity and learning really increase. Most of what I do is excellent work. I'm not getting hypo much for years now. I am fairly sure it's because my husband insists I go to bed on time. I think people can age out of it, too. I think I read that.
But I'm not taking meds, not for 7 years now, I think. It may be the prescribed drugs inhibit the euphoria feelings in those who aren't having them.
When I'm hyper I'm restless and have ADHD often as well.
I will often talk fast, my mind is racing everything that is funny is twice as funny.
I may say and act inappropriately; for instance shit stir or BS for fun.
( which often does not go down well.
I'm inclined to go on spending sprees and far more susceptible to suggestion.
I definitely would not survive this malady if I had those feelings of anger or disconnect. Hypomania is my saving grace. After months of depression I welcome it and all during those times I long for it. Otherwise I stay holed up in myself shutting out the outside world. The first few manic episodes I had were terrifying because I had never felt that way before. But as 20 years have gone by now and I've easily experienced over 40 episodes, I have learned to control it a lot better. The depression, on the other hand becomes less tolerable with experience it seems. In depression it seems that I am so far removed from GOD's thoughts, forgotten as opposed to feeling that I am at the forefront of his mind when manic. I know it's exaggerated because the world just seems to be my wonderland when manic. Everything I see, everyone I talk to seems so significant and important. I get flirty and have had to really learn to rein myself in. I shop and even though I am very thrifty and choosy, I still buy some things and then when I'm in a normal mood (very rarely) , I can question, "why did I have to have that? It seemed so important at the time, but now, not so much. I am much more aggressive when manic. Not so much aggressive as impatient and outspoken. It's a total personality flip for me and I really like the manic me much better than the depressed one. I barely know the normal me anymore. She only comes out for a few days when manic me takes her leave. So, in summary, my manic flaws are: 1) I tend to flirt 2) I spend too much 3) I'm pushy 4) I talk too much 5) I bounce all over the place in conversation and work
My depressive flaws are: 1) I exist and breathe oxygen that plenty of people deserve way more than I do.
That's why I like manic me better! But I do wonder if I'm so addicted to manic me that I just refuse to function on what would otherwise be a normal day just because I'm not happy with just being normal.
Unfortunately, hypomannia for me means feeling highly irritable, short tempered, and just plain angry! At the same time, I also feel 'upset' and I can't specify anything else - just a bad feeling of being upset. Oh and I think everyone is stupid and that they talk too slowly. I have trouble focusing to read and my mind feels like it is full of drunk bees. Euphoria has never shown up for me.