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OK, so what do I do about mania "addiction"?


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Because i like it too much and it's hard to see when it's gone bad. So, 2 separate questions, i guess. When is it too much hypomania? Or is it when there is any hypomania at all?

And... is the love of it a therapy issue? Not sure my therapist is gonna get it... she's sort of a general therapist, not really specializing in bipolar. I guess I could give it a shot though.

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Hypomania, like mania, causes brain damage. So, any hypomania is bad no matter how good it feels. Also, over time, as you turn into an old fart, which in all likelihood you will, kindling theory says your odds of rapid cycling, mixed states, and being difficult to treat increase the more episodes you had in the past. This doesn't necessarily wait until you are old, either. If you have not experienced these, please read the boards. They are awful, and honestly and truly not at all a fair trade off.

You would be a weirdo if you didn't like euphoric hypos. It feels reeaaaal good. Yes, get that therapized. :) Normalcy includes other types of feeling good that can be wonderful and do not come with negative prices. It can take a while to fully experience and realize that their value is somewhat greater than a pathological high that includes a fair amount of damage and regret. Adjusting to life without hypo has been just as much part of my therapy as dealing with the bad stuff of being bipolar for so many years undiagnosed. Ask your pdoc if she can recommend a therapist familiar with bipolar. Having one has made a real difference for me. She gets it, while most people don't really. If you can't swap to someone bipolar experienced, then talk to your current one. Get a feel for how much she knows. Ask if she'd talk to your psychiatrist.

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I use to like Abilify because I'd get a "mood lift" from it, but I never associated it as "hypomania". Everyone on the boards (which I thank to this day), told me to stop taking Abilify because it wasn't helping your MI, but I'd keep going back to Abilify because I'd like the "mood elevation".

Each time I was on Abilify, the mood elevation would cause me to become hospitalized because while the drug gave me "mood lifts", I'd get side effects were overbearing (like akathisia and trouble swallowing). Yet, I still wanted to be on Abilify because I wanted to be in a "heightened mood state".

It took a matter of trialing Abilify maybe 7 or 8 times to finally get the picture that being in a heightened mood is not doing me any good because it would just lead me to either shift mood later, or cause unwanted side effects, or hospitalization, and I didn't want to keep going back to the hospital because of the mood lift from a medication.

So I push myself each and every day to tell myself I don't need Abilify to "feel good". I can feel good doing other things. I didn't need a medication to force me into mania.

I hope this post helps...

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Guest Vapourware

Euphoric hypomanias have an allure to them - the world becomes a better place, everything seems great, *you* feel great. Yet, as Stacia mentioned, there are prices to pay for hypomanias. For instance, you might think you have a shining personality and that everyone wants to talk to you, but the reality could be a lot different. People might actually think you are annoying, boorish and overtalkative instead. What you may perceive as energetic, people may think as "crazy" and scattered. The list goes on - your perception of yourself and what you are doing when hypomanic may not be rooted in reality.

Then there's the inevitable crash, because what goes up must come down. The energy dies away, the depression hits.

Not having such spikes in life can initially seem boring, but stability has its own benefits. You don't come crashing down, for starters. You are less likely to act in ways that unintentionally annoy or hurt people because you would have a better insight into your own behaviour when stable. You would be able to sustain yourself for longer over projects because your energy is less likely to burn out like an overbright flame.

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I like it too, but it's just not worth it anymore. I would feel like I'm getting so much done, when in reality I was doing stupid things that didn't have anything to do with my long-term goals. I do irrational, bold, and impulsive things that bite me in the ass.

So yes, it feels good... until you crash and realize, "What the F*** did I do??"

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When I was in rehab, the counselor, to help the group understand where I was coming from, showed a couple of videos on bp. After the mania-side one, one of the guys in for meth said "wow, that sounds a lot like being on meth". Which was what I had been thinking but had not wanted to say.

So yeah--hypomania sure runs like a high. You'd be (heh) crazy not to want to feel like that. But, like any drug, the costs outweigh the perceived benefits.

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oh I hate and love hypomania. I am mildly hypo right now and doing everything I can to stop it while dealing with Mr. A stress and tapering seroquel for my cholesterol. IT SUCKS ASS.

I am sure I will crash out at some point and I AM NOT looking forward to it, at all, and I am so freakign thankful for klonopin and benzos at the moment that are allowing me some sleep....

Protect thy brain it is the only one you have. Euthymia is so the way to go.

I hate life stress and how it kicks off hypo for me. Not happy, but it is what it is right now.

anna

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I've never tried meth (thank god) but I can imagine it would feel like that. I have an appt. with the doc on tues. but we are getting more big snow so who knows if I'll make it there. I really don't want brain damage (who does? lol), that really scares me as my intelligence is valuable to me. :) The thing is, it's so hard to pick out what is just feeling good and what is hypomania because sometimes it's so mild that I don't know until it fades that something is/was up. Now, when I'm driving in the car with the radio volume up to 8 and singing loudly the whole way to work (out of character for me) then I know. Especially when I tell myself that I'm pretty good!

About the rapid cycling and the mixed states, already there. :( I think I always have, for as long as I can remember the mood shifts.

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I've never tried meth (thank god) but I can imagine it would feel like that. I have an appt. with the doc on tues. but we are getting more big snow so who knows if I'll make it there. I really don't want brain damage (who does? lol), that really scares me as my intelligence is valuable to me. :) The thing is, it's so hard to pick out what is just feeling good and what is hypomania because sometimes it's so mild that I don't know until it fades that something is/was up. Now, when I'm driving in the car with the radio volume up to 8 and singing loudly the whole way to work (out of character for me) then I know. Especially when I tell myself that I'm pretty good!

About the rapid cycling and the mixed states, already there. :( I think I always have, for as long as I can remember the mood shifts.

wj, this is where a therapist trained in bp can help. I learned to trust my therapist on this after the first year that I saw her, and then I learned to becme better at spotting the start of episodes myself. I think it is possible to do this on your own but it would take longer. If you can't find a bipolar therapist, do you have family or friends who could help you recognize first signs?

Sorry you already know about rapid cycling and mixed states.

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My MH coverage is weird. We have a preferred provider list, and you are lucky to find someone you like in your immediate area. If I didn't like the therapist I am going to, the next closest option is 45 min away in a rough area of town. Yippee. This is the problem with therapy for me... I go in and clam up. If I am manic-y she doesn't even see it because I find it really hard to talk about ME, so she doesn't even see that I'm up or down unless I am crying over something. I can semi see the start of it myself but manic is harder if I'm not visibly shaking and agitated.

I have a BP friend who lives hours away. I would trust her in a heartbeat, but I wouldn't put that on her. She has enough trouble managing herself and her family. My husband? I don't know. He doesn't "get it". He once told me I was a manicy mess when I was actually depressed and mad at him. Maybe in time he will start to understand better. There aren't too many friends that know I have BP, and one of them is at work so I can only give her limited info. And the family? No. They don't get it either, and my mother is the last person I would ask. I don't even talk to my dad. Wonder why I'm in therapy? *scratching head* lol My sister thinks everything can be fixed with herbs and a middle eastern diet. I think I'm the "normal" one in the bunch. ;)

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I'm sorry you don't have much support. I suggest maybe trying a bipolar workbook and going through it with your therapist? THat kind of forces you to address symptoms, signs and warnings. I think there is a decent one in the cb bookstore, or should be.

Anna

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I am Bipolar I and experience more hypomania / mania then depression. I wasn't diagnosed till late in life (46) and I think it is due to that I rapid cycle constantly. My disorder is also treatment resistant, I'm still not stable after almost 4 years.

Hypomania for me is ongoing and not fun, it always leads to a nightmare finish.

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You'd be surprised what a general kind of therapist can see. My therapist, a very general sort of therapist, was the one who told me I was manic the last time that happened. I thought I didn't get manic, though I had had that kind of prickly, irritable, anxious feeling episode before and didn't know what it was (didn't have the sense to recognize dysphoric mania as mania). She was the one who directed me to call my pdoc, who in turn saw me right away, adjusted my meds, and informed me that this was an emergency, and I should contact her immediately the next time this happened. Her feeling is that the sooner a hypomanic/manic episode is treated, the lower the chance of a hard landing and a bad depression. Thankfully there has not yet been a next time, but I know what to do if there is.

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