The Depression after a Hypomania
Maybe it’s just me, but I find the bipolar depression after a hypomania to be much worse than your average, daily depression. Post-hypomania depression is the way you pay for a hypomania (at least for me) and hypomania is very, very expensive.
You may have noticed that I didn’t post last week. Well, that was thanks to a dramatic hypomanic episode followed by a complete collapse of my brain. The hypomania had crept in over several days, so slowly, that I honestly hadn’t noticed it. I was lulled into believing that things were just going well. I was just thinking really quickly. I was just being really productive. I was just writing a lot. My brain was just firing really, really well.
I realized something was wrong after I incessantly babbled to myself for an hour and a half without taking a breath. So I did what I always did – I took some sleeping medication and went to bed. (This is just what I do, I’m not suggesting it for others.) Unfortunately, unlike what usually happens, I couldn’t sleep. The hypomania was so pronounced that it just prevented sleep almost all night long.
The Depression after a Hypomania Collapses My Brain
And when I said my brain collapsed afterward, I mean it absolutely collapsed. Really, that’s what it feels like. It feels like my brain implodes and I’m incapable of even sitting upright let alone writing and being productive. It is so physically disabling that I can barely move. People who think mental illness is “all in your head” should be in my body for a minute in that state and it would eradicate all such stupid thoughts.
And since that time, I have been in a very bad way. I realize that’s not very descriptive but it’s really how it works. It’s a combination of pain, suffering, extreme and unending fatigue, suicidality and physical phantom pains. It’s slowed cognition and difficulty thinking and fear that my brain is so unpredictable that I can’t leave the house.
I deal with depression on a regular basis and I’m absolutely clear on the fact that depression after a hypomania is oh, so much worse.
What to Do about a Depression after a Hypomania
The best way you can handle depression after a hypomania is to avoid it. I suppose that’s obvious. For me, if I had of recognized it earlier I would have done my best to bring myself down earlier, hopefully avoiding such a pronounced depression afterward.
However, since I wasn’t that insightful, the only thing I can do (that I know of) is to wait it out. I just go to bed each night and say that it will be a bit better tomorrow. And, when possible, I try to rely on other people to do things like get me out of the house and lend a listening ear to how I’m feeling (that really does help).
I wish there was something else I can offer, but to the best of my knowledge, beating beaten by bipolar happens and there’s very little you can do about it. Just wait out the pain and pray to return to baseline.
Note: If you do find yourself in an unpredictable and unusual mood, you should always contact your healthcare provider. You do want someone knowledgeable to know what’s going on and possibly adjust your treatment.
Tracy, N. (2015, June 4). The Depression after a Hypomania, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, October 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2015/06/the-depression-after-a-hypomania
Author: Natasha Tracy
I am bipolar II, I have hypomania for about 4 months, which I enjoy, then crash into depression from hell for 8 months, so 66% of my life is horrible, there is nothing good about depression at all, it is an illness that should be banned!
Thank you so much for posting this. I totally agree that post-hypomania depression is HORRIBLE!!!!!! All depression is horrible but post-hypomania REALLY REALLY BLOWS!
Depression is not a trait of hypomania, if you are hypomanic you do not have depressive traits of any kind.
I'm talking about the depression _after_ a hypomania, not at the same time. (Although, in mixed moods, they could happen at the same times.)
- Natasha Tracy
I struggle with what to do in the crash after hypomania. Do I allow myself to lie on the couch? Do I try to force myself to keep up with regular life? (I’m currently in a post-hypomania crash - meeting with my pdoc 3 days from now). I’m taking my meds, trying to eat properly (though I don’t really feel like eating much), and can’t exercise because I have zero energy.
It's just my opinion, but I find that I have to give myself a break if I ever hope to get better.
- Natasha Tracy
I am currently going through my fourth after mania/hypomania épisode and it’s absolutely gruelling. Everything you described is how I feel and everyday I try and trick my brain into thinking things are ok when I know deep down something’s seriously wrong. I got out of it three times before last time I was somehow able to finish a finance degree so I know I have it in me to beat this thing again.
I am not a bipolar sufferer but have studied it for over 30 years because my husbands family had so much of it, I needed the info in case it affected my children. This past Christmas I found myself in a relationship with a man who is bipolar. Sweetest man I have ever been with, so caring, always kind. I had know him for 30 years before we became involved. Then 2 days after telling me he was so in love with me and was so happy I was in his life because he feared he would die alone, BAM, he realizes he does not love me and is seeing another woman that he knew from the same time period. He is now easily agitated,Speed talks, seems to have no clue as to how much he has hurt me, is working several days in 100 degree heat even though he has had 3 heart surgeries. This has gone on for 3 months. The woman he is seeing is not legally separated from her husband and tells him she still loves her husband. He tells me he knows I love him but I need to give him space to see how this is going to work out, like that is the most normal thing to tell someone. I fear he is in hypo-mania and suggested this to him. He became extremely mad and told me I did not know what I was talking about. That he had only had one mania in 9 years. All he takes is medicine and refuses to do therapy. I fear he is going to crash and crash hard and he has no support system. I so love this man and want to help, even if we never get back together. What can I do?
Over the years I've been diagnosed with so many things, borderline personality with psychotic features, schizoaffective, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD and treatment resistant bipolar II with psychotic features. I am also a recovering alcoholic, I have over 14 years sober, which is amazing! I am also a rapid cycler, sometimes several cycles a week, it's exhausting and so difficult to explain to people. I wouldn't still be alive if it weren't for my current therapist and psychiatrist. They are very knowledgeable and patient. My poor husband gets frustrated with me, but doesn't complain. Over the years I have built up a wonderful support system, which I utilize often. I'm on clozaril and effexor xr, then prn I have ativan and vistaril. I also take several non-psychotropics. Life is far from easy, but after living with this since my teens, I'm finally managing it better. Since the age of 20 I've been hospitalized around 19 times, and I am now 47! Recovery is a daily process, I can never let my guard down. It's hard, but so worth it! I've been married to the same wonderful man for over 22 years and we have two boys, ages 20 and 17, and they are both successful and well adjusted and luckily, so far, show no signs of any mental illness.
The crashing is extreme. It's like someone shuts off his brain for weeks. We were hoping the mood stabilizer would make these less severe.
Hello- Bipolar II here, diagnosed 3 years ago. I began seeing Psychiatrists when I was 19 for constant depression and & I was always prescribed anti-depressants that never worked. It was almost like their answer for everything. But for Bipolars it didn't do anything but piss me off even more. My rages just got worse & my depression was at an all time low.
Now I'm 37 & on strong dosages of anti- depressants, mood stabilizers, anxiety & psychotic meds. I've been going to therapy once a week for the past 6 months. But I fought very very hard not to go until my Psy. said she wouldn't see me anymore unless I went to therapy & got help.
I tried so many therapists throughout the years, I honestly thought it was all a bunch of crap. But, I was desperate & after endless tries; I ended up finding probably one of the best therapist ever. In fact, she has in so many ways saved my life.
I'm not here to say it gets easier because I still have episodes rather frequently, but now the majority of the time I can cope with the stress or irritability a lot better than before. Not always, but not never. There are still days I lay on my closet floor crying or begging God to please just take me.
My depressions are what kill me w/ indescribable pain the most. If I didn't have my husband, I probably wouldn't be typing this right now. But, like I read from one person you have to learn to wait it out. Tell yourself you will not feel like this forever. Cherish the good moments, even if they're few. And never give up although some people may believe it's all in our heads, which technically it is lol; it's not for them to understand. And most importantly who cares what they think anyways. It's not about them & their ignorant remarks....it's about you getting healthy, so you can live & not just survive.
I'm sorry to hear you got beat around by the black, I still haven't got the balance right, the meds, the therapy, the shrinks who never agree. Sometimes I think I've cracked it and then just as I feel ready to enjoy, I recognise it for what it is - hypomania - and I know to fear the slide down the other side. I'm just not allowed to enjoy myself because some terror will find me.
I was diagnosed Bipolar II last year, with a side order of PTSD thrown in for good measure. When I get stressed - like loosing my job a few months back - I find it pushes me into rapid cycling, I can have the most wonderful ideas and pictures in my head and at the same time that bottomless pit of despair that nothing good will ever come of it. It is exhausting, so physically demanding I feel like I'm rotting away.
I've just made contact with Veterans with Dogs a UK charity that trains Mental Health assistance dogs, one veteran said instead of waking in a bed soaked to the mattress in sweat, he wakes to find his hand wet, with a nose and two eyes nuzzled into it. The dogs can intervene early, which reduces intensity, reducing frequency and provide for an on call therapist any time of the day. They're taught to apply pressure therapy by lying across you legs or stomach.
I have to win my discrimination case against my former employers then I'm going to get a dog and get the training. It's a long term plan that's getting me through at the moment.
Sometimes when I walk into a room and my kids are there my skin crawls - I am not allowed to enjoy things, anythings, or that great pendulum falls right back on me. Wish I had died in the service, an honest soldiers grave rather than this walking dread. But I write notes to myself when I'm up 'you had a great day today, don't forget that when one is taken away from you.'
I am getting diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I don't understand it all yet. I am sorry that you had such a hard time.
I think that the "bipolar" label, for some of us, should be renamed "reality". Some of us see that life appears to be meaningless. When you have a good day, or a few good days, and you remember where u r going to end up in the end, it makes the reality that much worse. What goes up must come down. The higher u go, the harder u hit when u fall. You can settle for the nothingness in between, or you can take the ride wherever it takes you.
I'm newly diagnosed bi-polar II. Don't the mood stabilizers help this change in mood from becoming so extreme?
I'm so glad I came across this. Not that I'm happy that you are all going through this. I wish it on no one. But it was comforting to know I'm not alone. Struggling and trying to work on this now.
Aw, this was a very nice post. In idea I wish to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and not at all seem to get one thing done.
It's comforting for me to know that I'm not the only one who thinks this way. What I have to do is steer clear of anything stressful, I'm like a ticking time bomb. I stay single because no one should have to be put through this. Bipolar depression I feel is much worse than regular depression, it's a completely different feeling in my head. I'm not trying to downgrade anyone's depression but trying to live sometimes is a battle in itself
Excellent description Natasha.
I have been hospitalized for attempted suicide 4 times. No one saw it coming, not even me. The hypomania is loved by all by that sudden crash is like 30 thousand feet and falling. It cant be stopped.
R your post was hilarious and made my day. And I totally agree with the humour thing. Lasts for a minute but anything that can put a smile on this face should get an award!!
Been feeling very cynical about life in general lately...
Humour always has a way of pulling me out of it even if its only for a moment or two
Here's an excerpt from George Carlin I found amusing
“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating...
...and you finish off as an orgasm.
I wish we called this state something else.It deserves it's own name.Depression just doesn't cover it.