How do I cope with the hypomanic or manic phase of bipolar disorder (hypomania or mania)?


Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by! Trust you have had a blessed and wonderful weekend. Thank God for the beginning of a new week to walk with Him and serve Him.

Recently, I received an email from one of the readers of my blog. She noticed that I don't touch much on the manic state of Bipolar Disorder and on how I am learning to cope with manic state. I have written much on the Depression phase of bipolar disorder and been sharing about how to identify the signs and symptoms, and what are the coping strategies that I have been learning to use to help me to be more functional besides medical help and looking to God.

I have found some helpful articles on the internet on bipolar disorder and the mania / hypomania phase.

Bipolar Disorder causes dramatic mood swings—from overly "high" and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.
What is mania? What are the signs and symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include:
• Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
• Excessively "high," overly good, euphoric mood
• Extreme irritability
• Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
• Distractibility, can't concentrate well
• Little sleep needed
• Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers
• Poor judgment
• Spending sprees
• A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
• Increased sexual drive
• Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
• Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
• Denial that anything is wrong

A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.

A mild to moderate level of mania is called hypomania. Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it and may even be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. Thus even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder, the person may deny that anything is wrong. Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can become severe mania in some people or can switch into depression.

Descriptions offered by people with bipolar disorder give valuable insights into the various mood states associated with the illness:

Hypomania: At first when I'm high, it's tremendous… ideas are fast… like shooting stars you follow until brighter ones appear…. All shyness disappears, the right words and gestures are suddenly there… uninteresting people, things become intensely interesting. Sensuality is pervasive, the desire to seduce and be seduced is irresistible. Your marrow is infused with unbelievable feelings of ease, power, well-being, omnipotence, euphoria… you can do anything… but, somewhere this changes.

Mania: The fast ideas become too fast and there are far too many… overwhelming confusion replaces clarity… you stop keeping up with it—memory goes. Infectious humor ceases to amuse. Your friends become frightened…. everything is now against the grain… you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and trapped.

This is taken from an article from the website of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH said "NIMH publications are in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without the permission from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH encourages you to reproduce them and use them in your efforts to improve public health. Citation of the National Institute of Mental Health as a source is appreciated."

Read more here.

Another helpful website listed Some ways on How to cope with Hypomania:

1. Get enough sleep. Patients experiencing a hypomanic episode often feel a decreased need for sleep. This is an important warning sign of the condition and stabilization is key. Try your best to return your sleep patterns to normal. If you are unable to sleep, contact a doctor or mental health specialist.

2. Refrain from making important decisions despite the impulsive urge. Wait until you feel normal before rushing into any action you may regret later. Maintaining awareness of your character and patterns are important.

3.  Refrain from excess caffeine, sugar and alcohol because they are stimulants and may keep you from getting the rest you need.

4. Engage in calming activities and refrain from over-stimulating environments.

5. Identify members of your personal support system, such as family members, friends and loved ones, and reach out to them as necessary.

6. Contact your local medical and/or mental health provider for ongoing help.

7. Call 911 immediately for assistance if you are thinking about suicide

Read more here.

Actually, for me personally, my depression episodes have been more severe, prominent and paralysing, and I have been learning intensively how to manage it besides medication and looking to God. So I was able to write and share what I am learning along the way and what are my coping strategies thus far.

As for manic, whenever I am well, I am a little hypomanic but I don't really get very manic. I am still learning to identify when I am hypomanic and what are the things I do when I am hypomanic. So I don't really have much to share yet and that is why I have not written about it on my blog.

My hypomania is partly controlled by medication. I am taking an anti-psychotic (Seroquel 25mg) every evening which helps to slow me down and sleep through the night.

My psychiatrist is training me to identify my hypomanic phase. Keeping a Mood Chart is one of the way to track and see how my mood fluctuates and what may have caused it. I try to chart down my mood for each day, whether it is depression, normal or hypomanic. This way, I can kind of identify the triggering factors and try to work on resolving it from getting worst or do what can be helpful to get better.

Recently, I have been learning to identify that one of my hypomanic behaviour is I tend to write long emails to many people, or make many gifts or buy many gifts for many people when I am hypomanic. I tend also to take on many projects and have many ideas on what to do. These often lead to over-exhaustion, burn out and eventually depression. So now I am learning to cut down on these whenever I notice it. That's if I notice it :) I am learning to let go and set my priority on choosing what I need to do now and what can wait. Thank God also for some friends around me who constantly remind me to slow down when they sense that I am doing more than I ought to do.

Do you know of any other strategies that is helpful in managing mania or hypomania? Do feel free to share with me and my readers. 

Thank you once again for stopping by. Take care and have a blessed week!

Warm Regards,
11 August 2010

16 Kind thoughts:

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

I am rarely depressed, I run on manic mode pretty much all the time.

marja said...

Hi Nancie,

I used to have more problems with depression, but in recent years, hypomania has been my main problem. It seldom/maybe never goes into mania, though. I have to watch it, though, because I, too, take on much more than I should in terms of projects.

Over the past six months I've been rapid cycling a lot. This means that I can go from depression to hypomania within hours. Over the past three days I've had two days of being in tears and in great emotional pain and the third day (yesterday) I became quite normal - almost hypomanic in that I accomplished an awful lot.

My poor husband never knows what kind of a Marja he's going to wake up to. Makes life interesting, but difficult. It's hard to plan anything.

Glad you're doing so much better, Nancie.

Love, marja

gemini said...

Very informative, big help for those who are suffering Bipolar.Thanks for sharing.

Nancie said...

Hi Michelle,

It's a blessing that you are rarely depressed and run on manic mode most of the time. That's a great blessing! I can see how you are using your manic energy and creativity in your sewing as well as photography :)

Warm regards,

Nancie said...

Hi Marja,

There is such a variety of spectrum in bipolar and it's interesting how our condition can vary from time to time! I am so thankful that you are more hypomanic than depressed. Indeed each day is unpredictable but thank God we are in His hands! He is with us always and will see us safely through, and also enable us to know Him better as well as serve Him better through all of them.

Glad you are coping day by day by His grace. And thank God for giving you a wonderful and supportive husband. Take care and may you have a blessed weekend.


Nancie said...

Hi Gemini,

Thanks for stopping by. Hope these information will help others like they are helping me.

Thank God for enabling your son to serve Him! I love the title of the sermon he preached too, Every Home A Little Church. Such a precious reminder and surely it must be a blessing to all who heard the sermon.

Thanks again for stopping by. Take care and have a blessed weekend.

Warm regards,

Barbara said...

A good explanation here and like all mood disorders you show how it can be slightly different for different people Nancie. I know your faith is a major part of your survival. Always inspirational to read.

Your friends epitaph is all I can live by. Gal. 2.20 and certainly to die is gain but it is still hard for us emotionally in this life to understand that even though I know it to be true.
Blessings barbara

Nancie said...

Hi Barbara,

Thanks for stopping by. It's so nice to hear from you again.

Managing and living with bipolar disorder is a constant challenge. Yes, God is the One that enables me to cope and live a useful life. I don't know how I would have cope without Him! Indeed for us to live is Christ and to die is gain. We can have the blessed hope of one day entering into our eternal rest once our work on this earth is done. How I look forward to that day! Meanwhile, I press on daily in His grace and strength, and also with much joy in whatever He wants me to do.

I love the pictures of the autumn trees and leaves you posted. Wow, the pictures are so beautiful! Great shots! God's creations are truly marvelous. And thanks for sharing the science on the colours of Autumn leaves. Very interesting.

Take care and I hope you have a very blessed weekend.

Warm Regards,

Just Be Real said...

Appreciate your transparency. Thank you for sharing such a touching and informative post. Blessings.

Nancie said...

Dear JBR,

Thank you very much for stopping by my blog. It is so nice to hear from you. I like what you wrote on your profile "I am a work in progress". Amen! Me too :) It's our comfort and encouragement that He Who hath begun a good work in us will perfect it one day (1 Philippians 1:6).

I am saddened to read of your painful and difficult experiences with your mum. My heart goes out to you as I have had such experiences with some loved ones and friends from time to time. It can be very painful and yes, lots of false guilt.

Thanks for sharing about false guilt. This is an issue I often have to battle with and it is one of my triggering factor that can cause depression. I am still learning day by day to cast all my cares upon our Lord and to try harder not to let my expectation of myself or others expectations of me pull me down. It's not easy but I trust the Lord will help me day by day.

In fact, I am learning that there are 10 faulty thinking patterns, one of which is false guilt or false responsibility, that I need to recognize and reverse, by His grace and help, so that I can live a more balance life. A Pastor wrote and talked about it. I posted it at my website:

May God continue to draw you closer to Himself daily and give you much grace and wisdom to relate to your mum. May He also changes her so that she may know Him and bear forth the fruit of the Spirit. I am keeping you and your mum in prayers. Hang in there! With God all things are possible! Take care and God bless.

Warm regards,

Casdok said...

Interesting insight. Thank you

Spin said...

Hi Nancie! Just saying "Hello" and checking in on you. Hope you are doing well!


Nancie said...

Hi Casdok,

Thanks for stopping by! It's good to hear from you. Hope you are well. Take care and have a great week.

Warm regards,

Nancie said...

Hi Spin,

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you are well too. It's good to hear from you after such a long interval. I hope to visit you soon. Take care and have a blessed week.

Warm regards,

Rev. Steve Bloem, B.A.M.M. Studied at Marywood Graduate School of SocialWork said...

Hi Nancie,
Congratulations on your blog being in the newspaper. God is using you
for the advancement of His kingdom.
I looked your blog over and did not see our book, "Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It." It continues to be a ground-breaking
book among evangelical Christians.
God bless you.
Steve Bloem
Co-founder Heartfelt Ministries
Grand Rapids MI

Nancie said...

Hi Steve,

It is a great comfort that God is in control of everything in our lives and He ordered our steps. It is encouraging to remember that He loves us dearly and is working all things for His glory and our good. We may not always understand why He allows us to go through certain difficulties or in having illnesses, but we have no doubt at all of His love for us.

Thank God for using you even through your depression to help others. I have been greatly helped by your book Broken Mind and I recommended it to several others. I did post it on my blog under "Depression Books", Books and Review and Real Life Testimonies. I hope to write a post on it again soon to introduce this book again to my readers :)

Thanks for your visit to my blog and your encouragement there and also at Facebook. Thank God that we can be instruments in His hands even through the trials He has ordered in our lives. All praise and glory be to Him.

Take care and may God continue to make you a blessing to many.

God bless you too,


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