Is This Schizoaffective Hypomania or Am I Happy?
Thursday, February 15 2018 Elizabeth Caudy
Is this hypomania or happiness? I’m afraid to be happy. I know that’s a cliché, but, for me, it’s true. I’m afraid to be happy because happiness can betray me. What if it just turns out to be schizoaffective hypomania and I crash into a depression? Hypomania vs. happiness really matters.
Schizoaffective Hypomania and Fear of Being Happy
I’m truly happy so rarely. When it does happen, I really do have to wonder if it’s schizoaffective hypomania. Hypomania is not as severe as full-blown mania. It’s kind of like being slightly tipsy—you let your guard down, you let your inhibitions melt, and you just feel good. The rush of feelings is usually associated with bipolar disorder, and I have schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type.
So, when I feel happy, I’m a little wary. I want to enjoy it, but I know I won’t at all enjoy the depression that often follows. And I can’t even trust the depression. I’m not sure if it really is depression following hypomania or if slipping back to my reality after a rare episode of happiness feels like falling into a depression.
Regarding the Comparison between Schizoaffective Mania and Being Tipsy
I’ve been sober for 1 ½ years now. I used alcohol to get hypomanic—a rosy buzz. But the buzz subsided and I crashed into depression almost without fail. That’s why I stopped drinking.
Here’s a valid question: why did I stop drinking if I still get hypomanic and then depressed? Well, it happens a lot less now. And the hypomania is less intense. And I can give you a whole bunch of other reasons why I stopped drinking (Staying Sober with Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder).
I Do Have 'Normal' Emotions Like Happiness or Just Hypomania?
Just because I have schizoaffective disorder doesn't mean I can't have normal emotions. The problem with having a mental illness such as schizoaffective disorder is that I find myself labeling my emotions all the time. People get happy and then they get sad. It’s part of the human condition. Even if I have a mental illness, I still have emotions like everyone else.
Just because I have a mental illness, that doesn’t mean I have to analyze and diagnose myself every time I feel something. But I fall under the spell to do so all the time. Still, hypomania is real. I try not to buy anything or post anything I wouldn’t normally post on social media when I’m feeling hypomanic. Drinking made that so much harder—I lost all control and couldn’t help myself.
I will try to enjoy being happy when it happens. A good indicator that it’s healthy, normal happiness is if it follows a success or achievement of some kind or the warmth of a beautiful walk or a loving occasion with my family and husband. So I have that knowledge in my toolbox.
The punk rocker Kathleen Hanna once sang:
Sometimes bein’ happy, baby, is what I’m most afraid of
I'm trying to be less afraid while remaining vigilant.