Hypomanic or just happy?

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Emrys
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 4/12/2017 9:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Everyone,

I'm new to this forum (I've posted in the anxiety forum before).

I was diagnosed with bipolarII last July and it's only now sinking in. I'm on Lamotrogine for it and as it seems not to be doing anything that I can tell as my depression, irritability, and anxiety (I suffer from a separate anxiety disorder) have become unmanageable. My doctor is putting me on a new (to me) SSRI today so fingers crossed.

I'm not sure why I said all that as I have just a simple question (my apologies). How do you differentiate a good mood from a hypomanic episode? I rarely feel happy so when I do, I can't help but wonder if I'm just happy or if it is a harbinger of something bad manifesting since happy can often lead to unwanted behaviour. Does anyone know how to tell the difference?

Thank you and kind regards,

S

Tim Tam
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2016
Total Posts : 1107
   Posted 4/12/2017 10:19 AM (GMT -7)   
As a bipolar taking Lithium, which brings down the mania, and lifts the depression, and Mirtazapine, an anti-depressant, I went to the net search engine and typed in "happy or manic"

I read a couple of the responses by patients, and it sorta jogged my memory.

I've always heard that hypomania (between depression and mania) is sometimes called "good mania." Meaning you're feeling good, but you're not out of control.

One problem I think is, when you're in hypomania, you could slip into mania, and you might not even know it. Once into mania, as we know, you could keep going up and up and get out of control.

Of course, I think, with the right meds, you're less likely to do that. Off meds, that seems to be the normal situation, which is why meds are so important, they are to me.

But I think even if happy leads to hypomania, it might be OK. For, again, I've heard, hypomania is good mania, you're not out of control.

So, even you are into the hypomania, it might be OK, in my view. It might not be, I don't really know.

But I would enjoy the happiness, and let the medicines worry about keeping you under control.

Emrys
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 4/12/2017 11:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for responding, Tim Tam. In my experience, I find calling hypomania "good mania" a bit of a slap in the face because while I do not suffer from psychosis like those with bipolarI, hypomania has done more damage than severe depression and anxiety combined. At least most of the damage wrought by the last two usually only effect myself. Bipolar effects everyone around me. Anyway, I guess this something I will only figure out in time.

Tim Tam
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2016
Total Posts : 1107
   Posted 4/14/2017 4:03 PM (GMT -7)   
You might be right about the hypomania.

For instance, I had some good things going on yesterday, and I woke up this a.m. at 6 and couldn't go back to sleep. I got only about 5 hours sleep.

My mind was racing and I was flat worried that it was some sort of hypomania.

I'm on 700 mg of Lithium, so everybody is safe. I'm also on 7.5 mg of Mirtazapine anti-depressant.

If I wasn't on the Lithium, I be up there pretty bad, and couldn't get back down, for I couldn't make any right decisions, I couldn't stop going 1000 mph, it's the Lithium in advance that does it.

Why happens when you get hypo? Are you on meds to try and prevent that?

I use the term "good manic" because that's the one my late wife used to use. I think she meant it was better than full blown mania.

Also I heard a bipolar say, in hypo mania you're sick but you're more productive than anybody else in town.

But I would have to agree, it's been years perhaps since I was hypo manic, and I forgot what that was like. It was scary.

Emrys
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 4/16/2017 9:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Tim Tam,

My hypomania can manifest in different ways but when not kept in check I can do a lot of damage since my judgement is impaired. I'll spend more than I can afford until I have to dig myself out of debt, I will take potentially dangeroys risks I would not normally take, I might even become promiscuous and toy with ppl just for fun. All things I would never do under normal circumstances. Like you, my mind races to the point that it won't settle on any particular idea, my skin crawls because of the adrenaline, and if I do manage to fixate on an idea it becomes an obsession. I am definitely not more productive.

This sounds clear cut but only after the fact. I just feel happy. I haven't a clue what 'happy' is. It's an emition that seems to have bypassed me. If I am not depressed, anxiety ridden, irate, or hypo, I'm apathetic at best. At any rate, I think I have my answer now.

Kind regards,

S

Tim Tam
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2016
Total Posts : 1107
   Posted 4/17/2017 11:17 AM (GMT -7)   
In your first post, your basic question was:

1. ...I have just a simple question.

"How do you differentiate a good mood from a hypomanic episode? I rarely feel happy so when I do, I can't help but wonder if I'm just happy or if it is a harbinger of something bad manifesting since happy can often lead to unwanted behaviour. Does anyone know how to tell the difference?"

I really didn't know. I gave you my best answer, but I didn't really know.

In your third post you said,

"My hypomania can manifest in different ways but when not kept in check I can do a lot of damage since my judgement is impaired. I'll spend more than I can afford until I have to dig myself out of debt, I will take potentially dangeroys risks I would not normally take, I might even become promiscuous and toy with ppl just for fun."

-----------------

So when you're hypo manic, you spend too much, you do risky behavior.

So, we know that's not happy, that hypo manic, because you've just pointed that out.

So, happy is one step below risky behavior. That is ,you feel good enough to go to a store, but you don over spend. You feel good enough to on a date, but you watch the movie.

So I think you've answered your own question.

A. Depressed is, you don't want to go to the store. Happy is, you go to the store, you mingle with people, you don't over spend. Hypo manic is, you spend too much.

B. Depressed is, you don't want to go on a date. Happy is, you want to go on a date, and you watch the movie. Hypo manic is, you go on a date, and you don't want to watch the movie, but participate in risky behavior.

Seems like you've answered your own question.

I think what could have been hypo manic with me recently, since you've brought up the topic, although 700 mg. of Lithium will make you a model citizen.

Anyway, I recently got so involved in writing a response or two on this website, I'm forgetting the loud entertainment center somewhat near by house. I'm not sure if they're supposed to have loud activities at that place on that night.

I ignore that possibility and keep typing responses. Then the festivities start which can be too much for me. I'm thinking, why didn't I check on this same computer to see if they were going to have any festivities tonight?

The answer is, because I was so engrossed in typing responses, I couldn't tear myself away from that to check on the computer to see if there were going to be any festivities.

I'll ask you: what is that? Was I hypo manic? Was I happy?

In a way, I can't tell you.

One day I learned where my manic-depression came from. I was talking to a lay counselor on the phone, and was trying to figure out what I had. He said, "I knew your uncle, and he was a manic-depressive, and you probably are too."

It helped a great deal to know what I had, and where it came from. It turns out, my mother's mother had emotional problems, and so it probably had to be manic-depression.

So I then knew where it came from. It was satisfying to know I didn't initiate this. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't a weakness of mine, or that I didn't try hard enough.

It also helps in the diagnosis to know your ancestors had this. For 15 or more years, I was miss-diagnosed as depressive. Many patients walk into their psychiatrist's office in a depressed state and are diagnosed as depressed.

I've found most psychiatrists don't ask many questions. They listed to the patient talk. They don't ask, "Does your mind ever race?" and things like that to figure out if you might be bipolar.

And, if they give a bipolar only an anti-depressant, it can send them from depression into mania, and panic attacks, as it did me for years.

You say, when you become manic, "I just feel happy." and then add, "I haven't a clue what 'happy' is."

You add, "It's an emition (emotion) that seems to have bypassed me. If I am not depressed, anxiety ridden, irate, or hypo, I'm apathetic at best. At any rate, I think I have my answer now."

I think on the right meds you can be happy, although content might be closer to it.

I'm happy watching my TV shows, doing my projects, walking my dog around the block, sometimes talking to a neighbor, going with my helper different places. Being not manic or depressed so I can do things.

With this post, am I manic, hypo manic, happy, content or dissatisfied? Now you've got me wondering. I thought I pretty much had it all together.

Post Edited (Tim Tam) : 4/17/2017 12:23:31 PM (GMT-6)


UserANONYMOUS
Forum Moderator


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 4428
   Posted 4/19/2017 4:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Skatterprank,

Welcome to the Bipolar forum smile!

Bipolar hypomania is a mood that is elevated beyond the average mood but it not as elevated as bipolar mania. Bipolar hypomania actually has the same symptoms as bipolar mania.The difference is simply the degree. Bipolar hypomania does not typically put the someone life at risk as a manic episode would, but it can easily put a lifestyle (financial, personal and professional well-being) in jeopardy.

During this, some people feel really good while all of this is happening. This isn’t the case for everyone but many people actually find hypomania quite pleasurable and desirable. Therefore, it can be hard to differentiate between a good mood and being hypomania.

The easiest way to differentiate may be to monitor your behaviour. See if you are doing things that you enjoy, or if you you are doing things that you don't usually do but still feel good. If this is the case, then it may be hypomania. Also, lack of sleep can be hypomania.

I hope this helps.

UA
Moderator - Bipolar

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