Also known as, How Do You Know if You’re Hypomanic?
These are my hypomania signs seen throughout an average hypomanic day, and honestly, the symptoms vary by individual, time and medication, but I suspect many bipolars are similar. The secret to self-diagnosing hypomania is paying attention to these little differences seen throughout the day.
Hypomania and Sleep Disturbance
My brain’s neurons light up in syncopation to the throbbing beats of Nine Inch Nails or some such.
The first thing I usually notice in hypomania is a sleep disruption. I’ll go to bed and become so awash in fantasy I cannot sleep. And this fantasy comes with its own soundtrack. A collection of sounds that become the tone of my mind. I lay naked in bed trying to calm my mind down. But my brain and my mind will have none of it. Even if terribly tranqued, my hypomanic consciousness will spend its time with sloppy fantasies instead of snappy ones. Or sleepy ones.
A good little crazy girl would go and find a sleeping pill (or possibly an extra sleeping pill) to take. Allowing sleep to be disrupted by fantasy, soundtracks or sexual desire is not in the ‘get-well’ handbook. This is because any alteration of the sleep rhythm tends to induce cycling, or other mood issues. My sleep, hypomanic or otherwise, tends to foreshadow the next day. To make the cycle less drastic getting sleep, even by sleeping pill, is important for me.
(I know, you’re thinking why stave off hypomania? It’s fun. Well, because, the higher you go, the further there is to fall. Trust me.)
Hypomania and Dreams
Once I do find sleep, if I’ve done so without medication I will usually wake, toss and turn, and spend an inordinate amount of the night dreaming. The one thing I will say about crazy is that amazing dreams are part of the package. They are convincingly real the next day. I’ve lived a couple of weeks by the time I wake up in the morning. And of course, because I’m hypomanic, I will wake up before the alarm and I won’t be tired.
Hypomania and Waking Up
Not being tired is a sliding scale. Sometimes due to psych medications, not being tired consists of not being made of lead, unable to pry myself from the floor. On better days, it means more normal things. Spring in the step. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. That sort of thing. What’s noticeable is suddenly having energy to make breakfast, do yoga and other things not typical upon waking.
Hypomania and Work
I’ve often been either training on software or in a meeting about software during gales of giggles. Uncontrollable laughter does tend to stick out in that environment.
At work though, hypomania has more effect. I get into giggling, hyper laughing fits. Sometimes in front of a room full of people, I actually can’t stop laughing. Everything seems downright hilarious. Hypomanic hilarity.
Then there is the fast talking and fast thinking of hypomania. This is no big thing but it can leave me unfocused, or overly focused. Oddly it has both characteristics. I might be so focused that my phone ringing will make me jump and scream a little, or I might be so unfocused I’m literally doing ten or more things at once.
Everyone is so Slow Compared to Hypomania, I Get Annoyed
And then there’s the vague annoyance with everyone else’s (perceived) slowness. Normally, I’m a pretty patient person. I don’t mind having to explain things to people and I understand people don’t pick things up in the manner I do. But hypomanic Natasha gets so annoyed it’s challenging not to yell or be snippy. And when I raise my voice it’s noticeable. It’s so rare for normal Natasha when I do it I seem almost possessed.
Hypomania and Hunger. Hypomania and Sex.
Hypomania might make me hungry and I’ll decide to eat everything. Or I might decide eating is unnecessary and eat nothing. Again, it’s one of those odd things that manifest in opposites. You just never know what you’re going to get.
And then there is the sex and hypomania. Naturally at this point sex must be had. My breath turns into moans. Exhalation isn’t breathing out carbon dioxide; it’s emission of sexual energy. My skin is more like silk stretched over raw nerves than an organ designed to keep my blood inside my body. My movements become seductive. Or perhaps you might say, more seductive.[pull]Hypomania pretty much equals sex. Hypomanic hunger.[/pull]
I have been told the way I eat is fairly arousing. Lips and tongue are some of the more sensitive areas of my body, and are entirely capable of playing with the sensitive areas of other’s bodies. Somehow my tongue seems to think the rim of my glass is your bottom lip.
Dampened Hypomania is Still Pretty Easy to Self-Diagnose
And yes, my mood is pretty good too. Hypomanic I feel confident and intelligent and kind of better than you. (Sorry.)
These are all “minor” symptoms as I’m medicated to prevent “real” mood swings. But they are hard to miss. You can tell it is mostly enjoyable, depending on the degree of all those mentioned. It’s like a little vacation from myself. And no one needs a vacation more than I do.
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.