Hypomania and How I’m Trying to Deal With It

Hypomania and How I’m Trying to Deal With It

I was really worried that I was getting depressed again, because I started exhibiting some symptoms that started the week before last. At the same time, depression didn’t make sense because I wasn’t feeling the usual symptoms: hopelessness, apathy, loss of appetite, lack of desire to get out of bed, and suicidal ideation (which is an unfortunate symptom for me when I am depressed). I was/am just intensely irritable, snappish, have irrational reactions to thinks I shouldn’t get frustrated about, foul mouthed, and just overall feel guilty and depressed over my reactions–but it’s not depression.

I began exhibiting these intense reactions when I realized I wasn’t getting full commission at my job. I went out into the living room, screaming my head off and cursing, thinking someone had screwed me over. My much-loved boss brought me down from this and made me feel so much better when we figured out what it was: a hole in the week. I also had a panic attack trying to figure out Excel, crying like someone had died, and I knew the reaction was super irrational, but I couldn’t control it. I feel so ashamed, too, for my explosive reaction on Facebook over this frustration with Excel. My dad had to bring me down, and he even admitted there was something wrong with my reactions. I just didn’t know what was wrong. I thought maybe it was because the Klonopin hadn’t kicked in yet, but the moodiness kept continuing. It wouldn’t go away. I was still snappish, still irritable, but I was doing my best to keep it under control. But increasingly I wanted to stay away from people.

For example, at work lately, whenever somebody made a smart remark about the car, I started cursing them beneath my breath. That isn’t who I am. The good thing, though, is that I never lashed out. I was also extremely, extremely ticked off that someone at work had lost my paperwork, which meant I lost appointments that could have been potential commissions. I couldn’t let this go, even at work. And when I saw the numbers from Monday, I wanted to cry Tuesday because I left with zero, even though I was really putting myself out there to get something.

Then I began Access, and I stopped at number four. I wanted to ram my head through my computer and scream. I just eventually broke down crying because I couldn’t figure out number 4. Then I just had to talk myself down from the freak out, as I knew my dad would help me, no matter what. So I just stopped the Access and got back to my novel, which has been soothing for me as of late. I just keep thinking about that one publisher that follows me on Tumblr, and the fact they love my posts so much they constantly re-blog my stuff. And I know my book would be a good fit for them, so I keep that in mind whenever I go into this book.

At my Wednesday meeting, I was acting out, not in the sense that I was being disruptive, but that I was talking about all the things that were currently making me angry. I talked about how leaving with 0 appointments made me so angry that I wanted to do this and this and this. I also talked about how mad I was that, in my words, “some idiot took my appointments and left them in an office that clearly does not deal with appointments. What moron would take my appointments out of the mail box and think to not stick them on my boss’s desk? I had appointments that were supposed to go out on Tuesday, and all because of that idiot, they’ll have to be re-scheduled, and clients rarely re-schedule. And my boss was searching all day for my appointments. Freaking idiot.” I just kept going on and on about this person. As I’m writing this that anger is flushing through me again. My co-workers knew there was something up, so I had to explain to them what was going on, then had to talk myself down from it.

This was something I did on the fifth day of my stay at Summit Ridge, when I had no idea why my mood suddenly changed. I was so excited to go home, then I stopped caring about going home because I was turning into this burgeoning ball of rage. When my parents and fiance visited, all I could talk about was why I hated that place. Then on the last day, I was absolutely irritated, loudly voicing why I hated Summit Ridge to everyone in my group–when the counselor wasn’t in there. My Summit Ridge buddies knew there was something up, and they had figured I’d been misdiagnosed, but I didn’t understand at the time. I just thought depression was creeping in, but it was actually hypomania.

So Wednesday I saw my pdoc this week, told her I thought I was going into a depressive episode, then gave her the list of symptoms. She actually told me it was hypomania, which stunned me–and made a lot more sense and a little relieved, because depression is awful, and I’d rather be hypomanic because it’s much easier to treat. But Lamictal is a really good medication to stabilize you. Not to mention my Klonopin should have been tempering the anxiety and all of that that accompanies the nasty side of hypomania. She thinks it’s likely the fact that I started with 100 mg of Seroquel and brought it down to 25 mg. It could be that. Seroquel is an antipsychotic, after all, used to treat mania. But I also think something triggered it. I just can’t pinpoint what.

But I’ve e-mailed my therapist to see about setting up an appointment with her, if she gets back to me, so I can figure out what to do to not trigger an episode. Even with medications, manic episodes can still trigger. For now, these are the steps I’m taking to keep my hypomania from taking control of me:

  • Whenever I feel like I’m about to panic because I can’t do something, I step away from that thing and have an internal dialogue with myself. Even though Dad had helped me figure out number four yesterday, I still felt that intense reaction wanting to come. So I left and asked Dad for help. Then Dad would periodically check on me, which kept me calm throughout the assignment. Well, calm for the most part, even though I still felt that ball of anxiety knitting a lovely scarf for me.
  • People, people, people. They can aggravate me for no reason at all. I called my fiance yesterday to give him a status report on my ankle (which I’ll talk about in a later post, depending on the results of the MRI), and I started getting very irritated with talking to him because I felt like he just wanted to go on and on and on. I stopped the conversation right there and told him I needed to go inside and practice some things before the start of dance class, before my tone escalated to convey my irritability. When I stepped into that studio, it’s like I wasn’t even hypomanic anymore. When I’m at a ballet studio, all I can think about is ballet in that moment, and nothing else matters. It calms people with bipolar disorder down, gets rid of that energy building up inside of us, whether it’s anxious/irritable energy, or hyped-up energy that makes you think you’ve drank a bunch of Red Bulls (which I’ve never had, as I’m not fond of energy drinks). So when I came home, the irritability was pretty much gone. However, an issue with any kind of mania is that you don’t want to go to sleep. It’s not always an inability to sleep, but a lack of desire to sleep, and I didn’t want to sleep. I just kept wanting to do things that weren’t exactly productive. Even so, I knew that if I didn’t, I could have launched myself into a full-blow manic episode. It happened one day when I was released from Summit Ridge with my misdiagnosis. I was hypomanic for about the first week, I think, and then I never went to bed one night and launched myself into a full-blown manic episode. The energy was so insane that I walked out into the freezing cold, without only a jacket, a light shirt, a skirt, and a pair of stockings along with running shoes, and ran around the entire block. The energy still wasn’t gone.
  • Self-talk. As I’ve mentioned above, I’ve been having internal dialogues with myself, trying to be cognizant that my behavior, my reactions, are a result of hypomania. Once you know this, you can start taking care of the problem. It’s difficult, but it’s like ballet. Once you know what you’re doing wrong in class, even if it’s difficult to fix, you’re still on the right path. So being aware that I’m hypomanic means I can be more cognizant of what sets me off so I can talk myself down from it.


4 thoughts on “Hypomania and How I’m Trying to Deal With It

  1. Hi Amber,

    Thanks for being brave enough to share your story. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that other people struggle with the same things. I just happen to be one of the lucky ones in that my manic states are always productive–I’ll write for four days straight instead of sleeping or talking to people.

    Anyway, do remember that you’re not alone on this long journey, and always take care of yourself. You deserve to be happy–don’t forget it.


    1. It’s been a while since I’ve had an episode, but being diagnosed with hypomania is quite the shock for me. But I’d definitely rather be this than depressed, because it means I want to be productive. However, I’m not being terribly productive, but I am still doing schoolwork and writing in my novel. I’m just praying my hypomania is not skewing the quality of my writing. My mania certainly did. It made me think I was the next JK Rowling, no lie. Right now I’m just foggy because of that 50 mg, which I hate that I have to take until I stabilize and am given another med. Definitely irritable, yeah. Definitely don’t want to be around people, so it’s going to be interesting doing the Green Jackets tonight. I’ll probably have some coffee before I leave. That usually helps, even if it makes me more energetic than coffee is supposed to make a person.

      1. I personally lean towards the depressive side and haven’t ever gotten manic enough to believe myself the best writer ever, but I do prefer manic–it’s just so much harder to get things done when I’m depressed. Of course, I’d rather go without either, but I’ve learned how to harness the energy I get from a manic state to get more writing done. While medication and other things can be helpful, you should try to find some strategies of your own to harness that energy in a more positive way.

  2. HI Amber,

    You are not alone and it is wonderful that you have such a supportive family and fiance. While I am an agreement with your strategies and consultation/ meds adjustment via doctor, I want to make you aware of some other factors that may be exacerbating your mood and reactions. There is an astrological configuration in the sky called the Grand Cross which involves the planet mars. mars rules rage and its current retrograde movement indicates “seething rage” It is possible that your chart is being triggered by these energies. I do not know your feelings about astrology, but figured that giving you this info could not hurt. mars goes forward on May 19th and begins to move away from the other planets in the cross ( Pluto, Uranus, and Jupiter)

    I am on your side and really hope you feel more like yourself very soon.


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