Posted by BarbaraCat on July 20, 2002, at 15:10:08
In reply to Re: BarbaraCat, posted by McPac on July 20, 2002, at 9:18:13
Hypomania to me starts feeling like I have an enormous amount of energy. My brain starts firing more quickly. I can think better and faster and I start to have all kinds of ideas about things. I'm a creative person anyway and have alot of interests (except when I'm in the pits of depression) so this part of the cycle can remain just as it is when I'm feeling inspired. When hypomania kicks in, (not always, but usually when I'm under extra stress it seems) I'll start projects and don't finish them because I'm so easily distracted. I'll start spending money like crazy for arts/crafts tools, or music books, or dance videos. It's like I get an idea in my head and become obsessed with it. The problem is that so many ideas start crowding each other out and all my projects start becoming unfinished piles of stuff all over. My husband becomes very annoyed. I begin to not need sleep and am on a buzzy high. There's a driven quality to it, a compulsiveness, and at the beginning stage it feels so alive and energizing that I don't want to pay heed to the signs. Bipolar I usually just continues from here, careening off into genuine psychoses. Bipolar II's usually hit a wall at this stage and the trajectory begins to fall back to Earth.
The lack of sleep usually is what starts the downward spiral for me. There's not much I can do about sleep anyway during a 'high'. I've taken dangerous amounts of sleepers, benzos, and they don't touch it. Even if I do sleep, it's not restful and I begin to feel burnt and frayed. Things start to get a very out of control feeling and overwhelming at this point. My thoughts continue spiraling but they're not fun anymore. Things begin to seem ominous and fearful and I'm totally exhausted after a week or so of frenzied living so I can't defend against these bleak thoughts and worries. I recently ran out of lithium for over a week and sure enough, I started buying whole palletts of plants for the garden, digging up mounds of dirt here and there, not sleeping. Luckily the lithium arrived and I was able to head it off at the pass and prevent a full blown hypomanic/depressive episode.
I have what's known as 'mixed states'. This means that my manic agitation overlays the depression. Most bipolars experience depression as an emptiness, a slowing down heavy dullness with little emotion, just empty. Mine is very different from this, it becomes very terrifying and awful and my frantic frenzy now is living in Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' painting. It's what put me in the hospital.
I had questions about, well, is this really ADD since I get so distracted and overwhelmed? Is it OCD since I get so compulsive and driven? Is it schizophrenia since I become immersed in bizarre frightening alternate realities? It's sure not standard major depression, which is what I've always called it before, because of the 'wired' quality and the fact of the extreme highs and lows. What I finally got confirmed, mainly through this board, is that bipolar MAY have elements of all these disorders, but the fact that it's cyclical as well as the extreme highs inevitably follow with extreme lows is what differentiates it as 'bipolar'. All of these disorders have got elements of all in them which makes it so difficult to target. I also want to say that this crazy state of affairs is not the norm for me at all. I have had long stretches of 'normalcy'. It has seemed, however, that the episodes and cycling were occurring more and more frequently as I got older.
I have not taken the mood disorders test I referred to, but it was discussed in a few posts here on this board a few months ago. You'll have to do a search for them. If you don't have a pdoc then hopefully your regular doc is knowledgable about all these many and confusing facets of mood disorders. It's an amazingly convoluted and fascinating detective story we're all part of. - Barbara
Bi> Barbara wrote "Hypomania may start out that way but quickly gets more and more urgent or ecstatic and reckless and wired and then spins off into disorganization and frantic behavior and then inevitably ends up in a crash."
> >>>>>>>>>more and more urgent? ecstatic and reckless..spins off into disorg. and frantic behavior...ends in a "crash"?
> Could you be more specific? The "urgent" and "frantic" and "disorg." terms sure sound like feelings that I've gotten many times before. I just want to see exactly how you mean them.
> ALSO, you wrote "If the Bipolar doesn't sit well with you, definitely ask your pdoc for some in-depth diagnostic testing. It's available and very important if you don't think you're on the right med track." I don't see a pdoc. I hope that the vast majority of them burn alive. What is this "in depth diagnostic testing" though? That interests me. Thanks! Mike