Springtime can trigger seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in both those with depression and bipolar disorder. For those of us with bipolar disorder, SAD can trigger mania and hypomania. The stressors of these changes contributed to my psychiatric hospitalization a decade ago.
As spring has approached and the days have lengthened, I have had mild symptoms of hypomania, including insomnia, which I addressed with my psychiatrist by reducing my SSRI dose. We left my dosage of divalproex (Depakote) the same. Initially, we tried halving my dose of the SSRI escitalopram (Lexapro) to 2.5 mg for six days, with the intent of removing the SSRI altogether. But I found myself unable to stay awake during the daytime, so I remain on 2.5 mg.
To me, spring is a cacophony of noises accompanying the frenzy of renewed life. The days are longer. The birds build nests and make it known loudly and clearly with their calls that they are mating and starting anew. All that springtime bursting and bustling of new life, is stimulating, and for me, overstimulating.
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[…] Spring triggers hypomania and agitation in me. As many of my readers already know, one spring over twenty years ago, tricyclic antidepressant misuse, seasonal affective disorder, and underlying undiagnosed bipolar disorder resulted in a week-long manic psychotic break. […]
You made my day, Kitt! And thank you for always providing valuable information to the ones in need! Best wishes 🙂
Thank you, Indah. If I need an emotional boost, I’ll look at your gorgeous photos. Nature’s beauty is always uplifting. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.
My thoughts with you Kitt..I hope the medication change will goes well..virtual hugs from Rotterdam <3
Thank you very much, Kitt. Likewise!
Wow! Thanks for the information as always!
I’m doing well so far. Halving my SSRI helped. I do hope and pray that your warmer spring weather brings health and vibrancy to you and yours.
I suppose it may differ from individual to individual. Ask your pdoc if you are experiencing SAD symptoms. I must have my meds changed seasonally.
Thank you, Kitt. After this winter I am happy for warmer weather. It was so cold here and husband sick for so long. Maybe Spring will bring the charm. Hope you stay even and all works out.
Oh my! Does this affect last long? Or is it in the initial stages of the change in seasons?
Yes, you are so right. Thank you.
It has been hot today and yesterday – REALLY hot – here.
Thank you for pointing that out, Ellen. Intriguing how individuals vary. Perhaps some day we will know why. So sorry about your manic break. Hope you are doing well now. I know that this has been a very difficult winter for you and your husband. I hope that this Spring doesn’t depress you.
The tropics are quite different than Belgium! Easier on one’s moods, too, for day and night hours and seasons do not vary as dramatically, or if you live on the equator, not at all.
I can totally relate even though our seasonal changes are not nearly as dramatic as changes in Canada. Yes – SAD includes hypomania/mania in spring. Hospitalizations rise.
Yup. I’m holed up in our bedroom, limiting my interaction with my husband and son.
Totally understand. Spring and fall are my most unstable times. If I’m going to have a breakdown, it will be in March/April/May or September/October. I’ve read that suicide rates peak in May in the Northern Hemisphere, with a lesser peak in September; in the southern hemisphere, it’s apparently the opposite (highest peak in Sept., 2nd peak in May). So it is vital for those of us with these issues to be aware, take our meds, and keep our eyes open for others who might be in mentally precarious places.
XOXOXO It was in the 70’s yesterday and I did love it! The mornings are still cold, though. So weird!!!
Just want to add that some people have reverse SAD. They get depressed in Spring and Summer and manic in Fall and winter. I used to be one of them but since I now equate winter with illness and danger (driving in snow, etc.) perhaps it will be different. My manic break happened on Nov. 2nd.
Oh my, while I am here wishing that this depressing winter season gives way fast? Maybe because I am from the tropics. All the winters I have spent here have dealt with my psychic. I just wish you all the best; my lady and Kitt dearest 🙂
I’ve been riding the wave since signs of spring have appeared. I’ve been absolutely and unequivocally hypomanic, getting quite “high” actually. It feels really good after being in a funk all winter. The danger is in obsessive compulsive behaviour, shirking my house duties and being in my own little world as thoughts race incessantly.
Sticking to a routine is important to not get “carried away”. Thanks for the post. Also had no idea that SAD included springtime hypomania/mania.
Yep, me, too. The loud thing is real for me. I want my windows open, but all the motorcycles! And the people driving by who have to share their bass-driven music! My hypomanic symptoms are lots of irritation, agitation, anger. Ugh. This is Bitch Season for me.
The thing is for those of us with bipolar, we can get hypomanic or manic when the days get longer. Not everyone with bipolar, but those affected by sunlight. We experience seasonal mood shifts more than others.
Seeing as this is my first year as a Bipolar-ite, I never really thought of Spring causing SAD. Usually it’s one of my favourite times of year (Fall being the other), but I definitely have noticed a bit of a shift this year. Interesting.
Thank you, e!
Thanks, Krystal aka Manic Monique.
It is interesting that you always assume depression (or SAD) comes with winter, but not always so. Thanks again for educating me a bit more and giving me some alternative perspective on things!
I learn so much from you Kitt.
Yes! I totally feel what you have written here. I don’t typically get depressed during the winter, but all my manias have happened during the spring/summer time (April to June). I hope that you get your hypomanic symptoms under control.
~Krystal (Manic Monique)
I like the way you characterize Spring as “loud”. It’s definitely stimulating! I’m not quite hypomanic but oh so close, and have been since the weather got warm and sunny. Thank God for the slew of meds I’m on or I’d be dancing on the mountains of the moon by now. Hope your med adjustment works well for you!
I’m feeling the shift too. I’m trying to get more sleep, continue with daily exercise, and keep up with mundane daily tasks (laundry, dishes, bills etc.) so I don’t become more overwhelmed. The time change really messed with me. :0 Makes me want to move to Hawaii, where they don’t observe it!
I also hope your med changes settle and that you feel less stimulated in the coming weeks.
I love the picture of the Common yellowthroat!
Love the sounds of Spring but it can be kind of overwhelming…the birds…so many birds lol. I hope everything goes well with your medication change. 🙂
Good luck with the med adjustments!