Hypomania. People haven’t generally heard of that word, but once they have, they want to know, what does bipolar hypomania feel like? This is a reasonable question with a completely unreasonable answer.
What is Bipolar Hypomania?
Hypomania can occur in many illnesses but it is a diagnostic feature of bipolar II. People with bipolar II experience hypomanias as opposed to the manias of bipolar I. I generally shortcut the definition and simply say that hypomania is like mania light.
Bipolar hypomania is not life-threatening by definition. Mania, on the other hand, is. In fact, to me hypomanias are little more than a bother. Well, a bother with the positive side effect of being a very fast way to get work done. Usually, but not always. Bipolar moods and their impacts tend to be unpredictable.
This is not the case for everyone, however. Hypomanias can jump in and destroy your life quite nicely, thanks. They remove judgement and create a sense of hypersexuality for many. This leads to, say, jumping the bones of the person next to you, over and over. Or spending money that you don’t have on Versace handbags. Or gambling away your rent money. Or writing an endless stream of gobbledygook and posting it on the internet making you seem a little, um, nutty, all the while insisting that it was genius. Or being so angry that you scream at the flies (not to mention people) that dare annoy you by entering your apartment. And other things. All of which have a habit of harming relationships and lifestyles.
What Does Hypomania Feel Like?
Like being trapped in a tiny phone booth with 12 other people and they’re all yelling at you to the point where all their voices become an untenable din.
Like a brain being on speed while a human, flesh body tries desperately, unsuccessfully to catch up.
Like being a genius that no one understands and being annoyed at the stupidity of everyone else.
Like being unable to complete a thought before another comes and runs over the first, blanking it out without completion.
Like jittery cells inside a solid frame. Sharp, jagged cells ripping into your flesh.
Like torment from the pulsating cells walls that won’t shut up for one moment and let you think.
Like crying and running and screaming and jumping and scratching and clawing and hitting and gnashing all at the same time.
Like tossing and turning all night long with tormenting dreams in slips of unconsciousness no matter how many sleeping pills you take.
Like anxiety created from not being able to quell the millions of thoughts or being able to facilitate the 1000s of movements being demanded of the human body all at once.
And like a million other things all happening at once inside one tiny head unable to contain them all.
And, personally, I have to keep telling myself that everything is fine because it feels like it’s really not and that I’m going to freak the hell out at the very next moment.
Dealing with Bipolar Hypomania
I’ve written before about dealing with bipolar hypomania but I think one of the things to remember about hypomania is you might not be able to think logically enough to be able to take even simple advice. Try to remember this. Try to remember that you might not be thinking logically. Try to remember that the advice you thought was good when you were thinking clearly is probably the advice you should follow now, even if you don’t feel like it.
And the most important rule is this – do not encourage bipolar hypomania. To many people bipolar hypomania feels good, especially after a prolonged depression. So they want it and they encourage it by doing things they ought not do like drinking 25 energy drinks and staying up all night long.
But remember this: the higher you fly, the farther there is to fall and the bigger the crater you’ll make once you do. Everything has a price and the price of bipolar hypomania tends to be bone-crushing depression. And that’s something no one thinks feels good.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.