What Hypomania Feels Like to Me
Bipolar disorder type II is diagnosed to patients who frequently feel periods of depression, followed by hypomania. It differs from bipolar disorder type I, in that the patient never reaches full-blown hypomania. In the United States alone, approximately 5.7 million people have a type of bipolar disorder, and with the proper treatment, most can live normal lives.
While someone with bipolar disorder is experiencing a hypomanic episode, they’re at times super fun to be around. WebMD refers to it as being the “life of the party” — sudden interest in people, activities, jokes and exuberantly infectious positivity. Unfortunately, a hypomanic episode can lead also to engaging in abnormal risky behavior or impulsive poor decisions. These “highs” feel pretty great for me; I’ll keep flying higher and higher, and then eventually crash into a depressive episode.
I want to share a window of how hypomania has affected my life:
Hypomania feels like you are in a room full of people, and every single one of them is trying to communicate to you.
It’s leaving bars with people you don’t know, and doing things you wouldn’t normally do.
It’s racing thoughts, it’s tossing and turning in your bed. It’s ripping your room apart at 1 in the morning.
It’s being horny.
It’s obsessing over pimples on your face.
It’s coming up with new ideas: “I want to start a business making socks!”
It feels like you’re hopped up on caffeine.
It feels like you’re limitless.
It’s saying the first thing on your mind, no matter what the cost.
It’s saying “yes” much more than saying “no.”
It’s like getting stuck in traffic and having road rage.
It’s like being in the bleachers during an intense and noisy basketball game.
It’s like having 10,000 web browsers open at once.
It’s like always feeling like you’re late for an appointment, when there is no appointment.
When I have had episodes of hypomania, I am impulsive, energetic and active. My impulsivity has lead me to engaging in risky activities that has resulted in being arrested, losing friendships and spending money I didn’t have. I’ve also written some of my best works, founded a charity foundation, stayed up all night working on events that turned out fantastic, started my own business, explored different hobbies, took healthy risks and drove for hours in the car late at night to be a good friend, daughter or sister.
Depression has given me a gift of high sensitivity for the people around me, made me more empathetic and given me the ability to talk to people also struggling with depression and anxiety.
The best people I have ever met have usually experienced some form of mental illness. The love, compassion, understanding and empathy that comes from someone who has known and experienced hard times, is irreplaceable.
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