Hypomania also needs management
Of all the different mood states that people working through bipolar I or II have to deal with, hypomania may be the most difficult to understand. Often misdiagnosed, or left untreated for a variety of reasons, hypomania can also have its own stigma attached, as a post in BPHope reminds us.
Friends, family members and other colleagues and contacts may be ready to support someone who obviously struggling with depression, but the “enjoyable” state of hypomania may not be seen as something that needs to be managed or cared for.
Yet hypomania has its own real risks, and experiencing it puts you in the position of having to resist behaviors that may seem pleasant, productive, or, at least, not dangerous. Flights of rapid thoughts may feel like they are leading somewhere, but may not appear meaningful later. Discipline is required to rein it unusual socializing, fast talking and uninterrupted work. Reminding yourself to breathe, slow down and take breaks is an important strategy for keeping balance and stability.
Close family members and associates can give real help with these episodes, but only if you can explain clearly what you need. Often, it is a family member who becomes aware of the damaging effects of hypomania, such as unrealistic grandiosity, or belief that you can accomplish extremely high goals or achievements. Asking close associates to describe behaviors that seemed “off” to them may be helpful when working with a health care provider to get a clear diagnosis. And family members can also learn to watch for the signs of a full manic episode coming on and can learn to help you defend against it.
Hypomanic episodes can be confusing, sometimes feeling “great” and sometimes becoming overwhelming, but luckily others have been there before, and can offer wisdom from experience. MoodSurfing is always looking to bring the wisdom of experience to a wider audience, and we welcome any comments that readers may wish to share.
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