This year, as winter has ended and spring has begun, I’ve taken it slowly and protected myself from overstimulation. You have not heard from me as much, as I’ve not been as active writing here or on social media.
You see, springtime triggers hypomania in me. Now I’m experiencing mild hypomania, irritability, and some mixed features. I feel myself internally crying, and on the verge of tears. I have good reason to cry, but my feeling of emotional vulnerability and instability goes beyond my current life circumstances. Perhaps, for I’ve never experienced losing my parents to dementia while raising a chronically ill teenager and living with bipolar disorder type II. Sounds pretty stressful.
My response is to cocoon, to reduce stimulation, to take sleep meds if I must, to reduce stress. When I haven’t been busy caring for my son or visiting my parents, I’ve relaxed and let my husband spoil me.
Hopefully I’ll feel much better once tax season is over. Exhausting and stressful.
Hypomanic Episode Symptoms
By Steve Bressert, Ph.D. for PsychCentral
- Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
- Decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)
- More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
- Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
- Distractibility (e.g., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)
- Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation
- Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)
Hats off to both you and your psychiatrist. Wonderful to have goals. Good idea to double check with your psychiatrist that your goals are attainable and reasonable, not simply the result of hypomania. Our symptoms sometimes (in my case, often) cause us to second guess ourselves.
Hi there. I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2004. I was hospitalized and placed on antipsychotics. I did well for the next three years, but I stopped my medications and relapsed in 2007. I thought that I was better and didn’t need them. After my second hospitalization, I realized that I needed meds and have been stable since. It’s hard for me to tell if my goals are a by-product of bipolar disorder or if they are truly attainable. I do see my psychiatrist regularly though and I told her about my goals. I asked her if my goals were “out there”, but she told me they weren’t and to go for them.
Thanks for this post. Your hypomania “checklist” makes me want to thoroughly re-evaluate my goals to make sure that they are not symptoms of this disorder and that they are coming from the “sane” me.
Spring triggers hypomania for many of us. The downside of hypomania is that when you go up, later you come down. Be mindful of your sleep patterns. If you must take sleep meds to fall asleep at a reasonable time, do so. If you find that your hypomania is interfering with your sleep, and the meds you have don’t help, see your psychiatrist.
Thanks. I put the pieces together from your comment. I’m in hypomania too. I wonder if mine could be spring related. I’m not sure. Are all hypomania episodes bad? I’d rather feel like this than the depressed state I’m usually in.
Thank you, Rebecca. Yes, bipolar II is difficult to diagnose. Hypomania often looks like high achievement.
Thank you. Crying can be cathartic and healing, but I tend not to cry.
Similar though fortunatly not suicidal. Now I know why I met Jesus at seven years old. Could not make it without Him. May I note, learn, be your own advocate. BPII is often missed by competent psychiatrists. In my case the depresson far out weighs a hypomania episode. It might not be major depressive dosorder but BPII. Treated differently. Hard to dx. Keep mood charts! Look for the cycles. So happy!, So happy Kitt you’ve been dxed correctly. Tweaking meds is hard but can be well worth it. I’m able to recognize hypomania quickly because I want to go shopping! But it is rare. Sorry, longwinded, I just found your site. Terrific!
I understand these mood swings and your approach is quite sensible. It’s natural to cry when we feel overwhelmed and sad especially when we dwell on lost loved ones. Sometimes after crying I feel better if that makes any sense. Be kind to yourself and enjoy every moment of cocooning 🙂
Happy day after Easter to you, Kitt!
Thanks, Robert! Happy Easter!
It is tough going. Thanks for explaining it gives me hope.
Good post Kitt. Thanks!
I’m over three decades into living with mental illness. First suicidal at 18. Diagnosed bipolar II at 39. Now 53. Been in therapy since 18. Antidepressant medication since 30. Bipolar meds since 39. Long journey. Symptoms of hypomania throughout adult life. Had to address hypomania as a mother of a toddler. It’s been a long journey. Give yourself permission to learn about yourself and how bipolar affects you.
I love that you can manage it so calmly. I am only a year into diagnosis and want to get there one day. At the moment I am still in the wreck havoc phase of not picking up on the hypo until too late and I need medical intervention. One day though, one day… Thanks Kitt
You’re such an incredibly strong woman!
Thank you, Gertie. I know that this, too, shall pass. The mood will not last.
Exactly! I’m going through the same symptoms.
One thing I’ve learned through the years are the times of year of when my own symptoms get triggered. For me it’s fall, winter and the all so (not very) lovely holidays. I’m sorry that the spring time triggers hypomania in you. It must really suck. I wish I knew what to say to help you but I don’t and I know from my own experience that even if I did know what to say that it may not help. Just know that you’re not alone.
good to see you again. i have missed you.
Wow, Kitt, almost exactly what I’m going through now, and I didn’t link it at all to spring. I learn so much from you. It all has seemed confusing – been on a spending spree, near tears all the time, disruption of sleep, and needing to hibernate all at the same time. In addition, the three trees just outside my deck and bedroom window are blooming, which is wreaking havoc with my asthma and allergies.
Thank you for for always being there with courage, vulnerability and truth just when I need it. <3
Thank you for your prayers. Reminds me of the importance of prayer and of handing it over to God.
Thank you, Cassandra!
Praying that it will not be too bad and that your self-care will be effective in managing your symptoms! What a pain they are, sometimes I like them and managing them is the LAST thing I want to do! xoxo
I hope you can get relief from your unpleasant hypomania soon, Kitt.
Oh, Kitt, I’m so sorry you have to deal with symptoms of hypomania with the change in season. As you know, that’s very common, but man, is it annoying! I hope things improve for you and that your life of stress calms down.
Yes. Many of us living with mood disorders experience these symptoms as the days get longer and the sun brighter.
Thank you! Love you, too!
When I voluntarily entered the psychiatric hospital twelve years it was just before Valentine’s Day. After two weeks, I spent months in partial hospitalization. At the time, I was rapid cycling and experiencing mixed states. I knew I needed help.
Helps to have loving husbands point out when we are veering off. My hypomania is not pleasant, actually. I’m on edge, irritable, have racing thoughts, and have trouble falling asleep.
A road map for my feelings right now, I asked my counselor but she said nothing about this. I’m somewhat happier with more sun but feeling more vulnerable too. I’m agitated, angry, and crying even more than usual but when I try to figure out why; I have no answer. Maybe this explains some of it. Thank you.
I’ll be honest – I’ve REALLY missed your blog posts, but I knew you’ve been taking care of yourself and you’ve had very good reasons why you’ve needed to lower your amount of time online.
I’m absolutely sure that once tax season is finished, that will help you feel less worn out and stressed! That is such a major burden, not to mention the other tremendously difficult challenges you’ve been faced with….
The last time I was hypomanic was when I was at the Catamaran conference. As you might recall, I took my emergency Seroquel I had brought with me. As much as I loathed its side effects, it was 100% worth taking and I was able to taper off it again.
I won’t try to be “Ms. Fixit” (Ms. Fixit is my friend Sara’s moniker for those who annoy her when they tell her what to do about her bipolar!) I know you’re not asking us for advice, but you’re letting us know how you’re doing, and you’re informing us about hypomanic symptoms – many of us think we know what they all are, but that’s not always the case. I appreciate your including that information.
I’ve been sick the past couple days, but I might go to Toastmasters tomorrow, and if I do, I’m going to be thinking of you & will let you know how that pans out! 😉
Love you Kitt!!!!!
I really appreciate this post! I’m finally “coming down” from hypomania right now – and, for me as well, hypomanic symptoms tend to be mixed and irritability/agitation is at the forefront. Thankfully, I didn’t slip into a full blown manic episode with mixed features, but I’ve been there before. No fun. Please do take care of yourself and do whatever you need to lessen the impact of the symptoms. It can be difficult, but no one expects you to be blogging and lighting up social media at the expense of your mental wellness. <3
Hi Kitt. I remember that you were one of my first followers when I started my blog about two months ago. I was so grateful and am glad to see you back in blog land.
I also tend to get mood elevations in the Spring. Traditionally mine start at the end of February to mid March. This year I had an upswing starting in mid March. It felt pretty good, but it did ease a bit because I stepped back a bit to reduce stress and over stimulation, as you mentioned. It is so important to reduce stimulation. In the past I lacked insight to my hypomanias and manias, but after years they’ve become more clear. Or at least my husband draws my attention to them.
I hope the mixed features ease quickly for you, and that you get to enjoy a safe but pleasurable upswing for a long while to come.