When Ruby Tuesday told me one of the themes of this blog is to explore how each one of us handles Bipolar differently, I jumped right onboard. I’m looking forward to sharing experiences with everyone. Cheers!
Hypomania. Sometimes it’s impossible to tell when it begins.
I may not feel hypomanic when working on a writing project. I don’t feel hypomanic when it occupies my thoughts from waking until retiring at night. Nor do I feel hypomanic when my thoughts are racing all over the place, from plot point to plot point. Hey, I’m getting that novel done in my head, after all, because my fingers simply cannot keep up. Talking with my hands has always been a trait, usually chalked up to my heritage. But when my family starts telling me I am behaving in an irritable manner and my reaction is overly defensive, then it’s time to admit the hypomania train may be pulling into the station. What’s especially interesting to me is that this state I’m describing is not only categorized as hypomania, it is mixed hypomania.
Yup, time to Google. I think the best resource I encountered on the “Bipolar irritability” search was an article from the Psychiatric Times titled, Mixed States and their Manifold Forms Part 1. It very succinctly states, “The diagnosis…required the presence of irritable mood plus 4 [DSM IV] Category B criteria.” [See table within the article for Category B criteria.]
Great. That’s me.
Everyone deals with their Bipolar in a different way. So, what do I do when a mixed state hypomania comes to visit? First and foremost I contact my doctor. I know he is going to elevate one of the meds I am already taking. I also know he is also going to add back another one that’s already in my medicine cabinet. But he can’t possibly treat me effectively unless he has the whole picture by the time our next scheduled appointment rolls around. No one should self-medicate. Call the Dr instead. Second, I tell my therapist. Talk therapy is so important to me, and again, how can my therapist possibly hold an effective session unless she’s clued in to what’s really going on. Third, and most importantly, I talk with my family and acknowledge I’ve climbed aboard the hypomanic mixed state train. If I weren’t acting rash in the first place, they never would have alerted me to my change in behavior. Any transgressions are apologized for and a plan put in place to call my Dr if I get any worse.
Lastly, what I do may seem trivial, but I write. Most of the time, when I am swinging to one end of the Bipolar spectrum or another, whatever I write is utter crap. But, the act of tapping those keys and getting the garbage out of my head is incredibly cathartic. So what if my vocabulary is mysteriously narrowed and I can only write articles and not fiction (weird, but true)? It’s something I’m doing for me to get through the storm until the clear skies – and clarity of mind – come again.
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