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Bipolar Disorder Community
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585414 tn?1288944902

How To Spot Hypomania in Yourself? Signs?

I know its easy to tell someone they are hypomanic. But what about yourself? And that full blow mania is frightening. But hypomania can seem like "fun" but it quickly spirals into full blown mania. We've all experienced it. Including myself. And aren't always self aware. But how can we stop it before it gets worse?
For myself signs of hypomania (remember its complex because I have schizoaffective)
include:
contacting people I hardly know, feelings that "I love everyone" (elation), hypersexuality, overspending, feelings of paranoia (people who are annoying become "threatening"), doing passive aggressive or hostile pranks (in the past), self medicating with natural remedies (in the past), drinking large amounts of caffeinated beverages (in the past), overstating my important/thinking I could "change the world", unable to concentrate on tasks but becoming obssessed with something unimportant.
Right now I am to the point where I can spot this and catch it before it gets worse. Can you? What happens with you?
Can you stop it? And could you learn?
80 Responses
723497 tn?1363374440
I am BP2, so never go into full-blown mania. But my hypomania symptoms flux between anger/irritation/rage, anxiety over simple things [paranoia that I'm about to get fired at work, though I'm far from it, etc], a jittery feeling beneath my skin, jumpiness, generalized paranoia [can't stand people behind me or touching me, although I never have the feeling they work for the government or anything]. Sudden inspiration, bounding friendliness, abrupt joining of a million different causes [volunteer].

Sometimes I can side-swipe it by focusing it on a creative project I get obsessed with until it's over. Lately I haven't been able to. And if it's worse than just a minor bout of hypomania, there hasn't been any way I can actually stop it. I can forestall it, calm it down with a nice, hot bath or an early rest at night, but not get rid of it until it's over. I'm also an ultra-rapid cycler, which makes it all the harder to control.
1 Comments
Sounds very familiar
654560 tn?1331858181
I am gest comming out of a  hypomania state.In the beginning my mood becomes elevated and I have several projects to get done.I am generally quite functional. It doesn't take long before the sleepness nights kick in.I usually have very vivid dreams  during this time. Very much in  color. At this point I start getting concerned if I  am going to keep going to full blown mania or am I going to start spiriling down,and if that happends how low am I going to go and what is it going to  take to get back to my confort zone For me during mania there is a  fine line between elation and paronia. But there is almost always aggitiation when I start comming down and I usually sleep for a couple of days and become antisocial. The biggest thing I do to manage Bi-Polar is to stay med compliant, take care of my spiritual need, emotional and plysical But even if I do everything right I can still have an eposide.Especially with being a rapid cycler.More than anything I've learned not to beat myself up when it does happen. Blessed Be
2 Comments
Thank you for writing.  Last night became sleepless for me.  I had a vivid dream.  And stayed in a state of it being reality.  I also became paranoid.  I heard a couple sounds from outside the bedroom.  I thought someone could be in my home.  My feet also felt this agitating energy keeping me from being able to feel like sleeping.  I have already had my productive springtime hypo mania.  I am not, beating me up today either.  Your post spelled out my repeated experience once again.  I found a home in your words.
Thank you for writing.  Last night became sleepless for me.  I had a vivid dream.  And stayed in a state of it being reality.  I also became paranoid.  I heard a couple sounds from outside the bedroom.  I thought someone could be in my home.  My feet also felt this agitating energy keeping me from being able to feel like sleeping.  I have already had my productive springtime hypo mania.  I am not, beating me up today either.  Your post spelled out my repeated experience once again.  I found a home in your words. I also find I am expressing all these thoughts that I think are incredibly insightful.  Before this I watched a real awful movie called joy.  It was anything but.  After sitting with this movie for near 2 hours, I could not let go of it.  I felt I was the actress in it.  Then I kept talking about how stupid it was.  Somehow that spiraled to self sabotage.  The next day at the garden center my husband asked if I was alright a few times.  I felt like I was seriously inferior to everyone around me.  I felt they know what was going on in my mind.  Why is it so hard to believe and give in to someone's are you alright question.  Do we believe it gives them power over us.  We have become so small.  But isn't it all happening because we are in the wrong place being with them.  That's it.  It's because they are alienating us.  Whew!  This crap is best shared with someone who truly feels life the way you are.  Strength is in understanding.  Understanding is a form of love.  I wish they would say I am here for you rather than are you alright.  That question drives me deeper into the problem.  Or does it just seem that way?  What is real what is right.  Depression never lets me identify it.  It is the foe in disguise.
723341 tn?1232341853
I believe that I'm BP2 as well, but find conflicting diagnostics between I and II.

I find it very difficult to discover hypomanic episodes while I'm experiencing them. Looking back at them while not hypomanic, many of the episodes seem obvious, but while I'm in them they generally make me feel and think something like: "finally, I'm getting better", or "finally, I can do things again".

I spend a lot (most) of my time in depression or possibly "mixed", and the hypomanic state very often feels like I'm finally (and only just) coming out of the depression. Hypomania also seems different in quality from one episode to another, further disguising its appearance.

While in an episode, I generally do occasionally wonder if I could possibly be hypomanic, but usually end up deciding that I'm not. Perhaps my clue should be that if I'm wondering if I'm hypomanic, I probably am!
Avatar universal
I'm BP2, or so I thought, then I was told on the 30th that I have BP spectrum... hmmm.
I'm constantly mood swinging. in the last month it's been 75% hypo/25% dep. I didn't realize until you just mentioned SandTiger, that worrying and almost sure you're going to lose you job has been a constant for months.that  it's paranoia. Before I went off on sick leave. I then started getting worse because of my anxiety and temper. I get buzzy "highs" as well, sometimes there fine, because I'm aware that I'm in that state. I try not to spend, start things and if it gets too much, I add some extra seroquel.  I've only had one full blown manic episode where I was sure someone could hear me outside of my apt., my friend called and told me I was manic, I took extra meds to wind down. I am very cautious of those, because I crash the next day. My pdoc just upped my Lithium, I've been in an "up" mood since just before xmas.
672788 tn?1238124272
First: to sandtiger - I'm so glad that you wrote your symptoms.  I have had episodes of being very irritated by ppl touching or standing too close to me.  I never thought of this as a sign of BP cuz I started getting this quite young (16).  It makes sense though, because all of my 'signs' began around that time (same time as my menstrual cycle starting).

That being said, I know to watch for signs of hypomania when I feel like my menstrual cycle may begin.  But because I don't always have a cycle (I get 6 or less per year due to another diagnoses), it doesn't always occur when I think it's going to.  Or, I get no warning of impending doom (that's what it feels like for me because so many problems are going to occur at once) and I am unprepared.  Like today.

Today, I am hypomanic.  My symptoms are feelings of irritability, anxiety, skin crawling, lack of concentration (I mean more than usual), no attention span, insomnia (even with sleeping pills - but they at least give me a couple of hours of sleep) and the aforementioned touchy feely problems.  To compound that, I'm usually in alot of pain which increases my agitation and yelling and aggressiveness.  And the worst part of all?  I feel extremely guilty about turning my 13 year old son away when it feels so painful on my skin to hug him or have him sit too close to me.  (He is very understanding!  My sisters and brother have shared many anecdotes with him about my "freaking out" whenever they touched me!)

Although I am aware of my hypomania as it occurs, I have no idea how to stop it. It has been almost three years since my diagnosis and I have less hypomania than depression, so it has been hard to prevent or even remedy these episodes.
Avatar universal
This is really interesting.  I have a variety of ways in which hypomania presents itself but to date I can never notice the signs that it is approaching, they kind of just hit.  I can either be very angry/irritable for no apparent reason.  Other times I go on mad cleaning sprees, moving furniture and scrubbing everything in site and this is often accompanied by irritability that nobody else is doing the same!  Spending - although not to great excess nowadays I do still spend money on things I don't really need and will probably never use, my latest purchase was a digital camera and not just any old make and model and although i've used it a few times i don't really need it.

I become enthused with ideas and work on them obsessively for anything from a day to a week (sometimes longer), I never do things by half, ie, i won't settle for painting one picture or writing one short story, I'm talking about setting up an art exhibition or getting a whole series of books published.  The number of projects that I've started and not completed are vast.

Other things are when I do things on the spur of the moment like have all my hair cut short, or die it a completely different colour and I almost always end up regretting it when I come back down.

The worrying thing about it though is nobody can hold me back once i'm on a "roll", i just won't listen and I'm very good at persuading family and friends that "this time its different".

Bringing in the recent post of coming off medication, I'm also guilty of doing that when i'm on an extended hypomanic state.

So although I don't have mania with psychosis and nothing I do is dangerous to my health or others they do still impact on me and my family.  You should have seen the hole I dug in the garden of our previous garden when I decided I wanted to design and build a sunken patio - it remained a great big square hole some 4ft deep!

I also get that I don't want anyone near me at times not even my husband or kids and then other times I won't leave my husband alone!

I am trying to learn about triggers, signs etc so that I can develop a stay well plan once I'm more stable and my husband is also keeping alert to what may trigger my rather silly manic episodes.
1 Comments
I like exercising for 2 hrs. and 20 minutes these days.  My mother thinks it's too much.  Should stop at a half hour she says.  I figure running excessively is better than drinking excessively.  I think of it as an accomplishment.  What does God think?  I wonder if he thinks.  That's extreme, and you should avoid it.  I like to believe he would say.  Daughter of mine you work very hard at this.  I will reward you.  I'm a good good God.
672788 tn?1238124272
I have no idea what my triggers are; sometimes what triggers an episode one time doesn't ever again, and vice versa.  As far as predicting my hypomania, it's only because they almost always occur with my cycles, but I also have unpredictable episodes.

Sometimes I get obsessed about getting my house cleaned and find that I am extremely irritable with my child for being painfully slow, but I don't think it's tied in with the hypomania.  It definately occurs during those episodes, but it happens more often than that, too.

Funny thing is that the obseession never really gets past my thoughts.  Cleaning is the only action I take when obsessed, but not to the degree that others would call abnormal.  I think it's because even during hypomania, my energy is rather low.

Does anyone else experience really low energy during their hypomanic states?
723341 tn?1232341853
alzandra: "Does anyone else experience really low energy during their hypomanic states?"

I am feeling that way right now in fact. I was in the shower earlier, and all of these ideas and questions for posting to this group were coming to me. I had so many great questions that I wanted to ask this group that I felt wow, I have to write this down. Then I wondered hmmm, I must be hypomanic in order for this to be happening. Not that the questions weren't great mind you :)

And at the same time, and now, I feel physically tired and heavy, but still with a sort of nervous energy that is keeping me going. It actually feels like an uncomfortable caffeine sort of buzz, which is unlike any hypomanic episode that I've had before. I felt the same way for part of the day yesterday. Feels strange to me, not very good actually, but I guess it beats couch potato, at least for now.

I've been taking Lamictal for only a few weeks, and Wellbutrin for 2-3 months I guess, so I'm wondering if it may be due to one of these kicking in or something.

I have a question based upon what alzandra said above about skin crawling. The night before last I had a bout of what I've likened to "restless leg syndrome", only it's more like restless body. Its like my body gets so uncomfortable with the crawling and burning that a large number of the muscles in my body finally contract in one big spasm, seemingly to relieve the sensations. This is a very temporary help, and it happens unconsciously sometimes and sometimes I do it myself to try to alleviate the symptoms. After not sleeping hardly at all for 4 1/2 hours, I finally had the idea to take some Advil & Tylenol, which did help me get some sleep afterward.

I'm very curious as to how many here have this skin crawling sensation?

It's really great to have a community like this for bipolar related questions and ideas. I've been missing out for a long time!
585414 tn?1288944902
Well it depends. I know there's the phrase when people are nervous that you "want to jump out of your skin" but I looked it up and a sensation of having your skin crawl is a potential but harmless side effect of Wellbutrin so see if it started with that. Its odd when someone has hypomania to experience low energy. I have trouble concentrating on projects or ideas but my thoughts are speeded up as is common or I work on things that are useless or time wasting such as organizing papers. I have low energy during episodes of depression and in an agitated mixed state appear "angry at the world" but those are less and less these days.
585414 tn?1288944902
Thanks. I see a lot of these issues in myself. Having a general recovery from psychosis doesn't mean that I was out of the woods as regards mood stabilization. I know that I have over riding neurological issues and require activating prescriptions for them that keep me up late at night (until early morning, cannot tolerate known sleep aides) but I knew there was an element of what I called to my psychopharmocologist "garden variety mania" lol. I was just trying to target exactly what.
  The difficulty in the past was that I did things that had destructive consequences. Now I do things that have positive consequences but involve a lot of responsibility that goes with them. So I have to target exactly what to take on and what's realistic and eliminate any destructive motives involved if the advocacy involves something I am contesting. I would say since getting back on a mood stabilizer that's been much easier to do. If you try to "correct the world" as I do even when hypomanic you are really just fighting windmills and are unable to get anything done.
672788 tn?1238124272
Oh my goodness, I am so happy to have found you ppl here!  Thank you.  I feel "normal." Haha. For someone with BP.

My low energy is the inability to follow through with the racing ideas, starting of projects, etc.  Sometimes I have a hard time even starting things, but I do pace.  Although in hypomania with racing thoughts and influx of ideas, I can stay up all night and not do anything except read, watch TV or just sit and stare at the walls.
1 Comments
God, I love you.  I am not alone.  The hardest part of going through all of this is nobody really knows it.  Unless you have been there.  I am glad like you I found ppl here too.  Exactly what I needed when I needed it.
723341 tn?1232341853
I know what you mean by saying "I want to jump out of my skin", I've had that too, as a psychological urge, unlike what I meant by "skin crawling", meaning a physical sensation that I think some people have described as feeling kind of like ants crawling underneath your skin, associated with restless leg syndrome. I also have a physical burning feeling that goes along with it as well. It's most obvious in my legs and feet, but is farther up as well.

I've had this for years, mostly while not on Wellbutrin. It comes and goes seemingly without reason. Whenever it comes I look for a reason and can't find one, but I am now wondering if it possibly comes along when I have active mania/hypomania.
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