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Liking mania too much and how to stop it before it's too late (new here)


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Hi everyone,

 

so, just some short background since I am new here. I've been diagnosed BP recently (Type1), used to be on antipyschotics for many years because of an adolescent psychotic episode (thinking about it now, this was possibly my first manic episode, it lasted about 3months total). Finally got off the AP because I was feeling depressed and wasn't really feeling like I needed them much.

 

That went alright for more than a year, I felt better and happier than I had been for a very long time! Then, the mania came and I got diagnosed BP after slipping into a mixed episode again. I'm now on a mood stabilizer. I still don't maybe quite believe I'm bipolar, I function, people think I'm odd, but not necessarily in a bad way. I have been trying to manage my BP, sleeping, eating well, taking fish oil, keeping a mood journal, seeing a therapist, all that stuff. I'm supposed to have a plan to follow when my mood gets out of the order.

 

As the title says, my problem at the moment seems to me that when I'm going towards a high, I just love it, I feel like I'm finally normal, it's great, I have fun, I'm funny, people like me! But then it picks up and I crash when I realize that I'm doing things I shouldn't be doing (it's entirely an issue of massive hypersexuality in my case). It seems that I just miss that point where I could maybe still manage my episodes because I start to think that this is all normal and great.

 

I read the books, I know it all in theory, but when it the mania picks up, I have no interest in controlling it anymore. It seems like mania is the worst enemy of every management plan I have. How do you balance managing the highs without killing every last bits of them?

 

 

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Well, I don't have the liking (hypo)manias thing, since mine are irritable/dysphoric, but I did work with my tdoc to make up a health care action plan. He helped me identify early indicators to a possible mood episode, potential actions to take if I thought an episode was on it's way, and different signs that I was possibly improving again after.

Part of that for me involves telling my med team my possible symptoms, and follow their instructions promptly. Waiting longer, for me, just makes it harder, even though my hypomanias aren't euphoric. I can't imagine what this process would be like with euphoric hypomanias. But the early warning signs are key.

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Welcome.  I have had struggles with the allure of hypmania as you describe. 

I think you have to reach a point where you're afraid of mania, even in the hypomanic phase.

Maybe this can only come through suffering at the manic end, and it sounds like you have experience with that.

The other thing to consider is the kindling effect of multiple episodes.  If you give into the manias, your brain will be more susceptible.  I'm 60'ish and my pathways seem to be well burned by multiple episodes.  

I've read that there's supposed to be a burn-out at older ages, but it hasn't happened yet with me.  Quite the contrary.  

I am much worse now and can't seem to stop my hypos from full blown, even when I alert my docs of the earliest symptoms I can detect.  So there's worsening with age to consider.

The other thing I have to consider is the pain I've caused my family.  I've had 2 major episodes in a couple of years, lasting months each.

I'd like to go a few years before another episode for their sake.

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Welcome to CB! :)

 

Feeling normal and having no interest in "managing" the mania is typical manic behaviour. So, don't beat yourself up over that. Part of this illness is lack of insight into your behaviour and your illness (whether during an episode or all the time). 

 

I occasionally have euphoric hypomanias. I recently had a euphoric hypomania that fizzled out into a normal mood, instead of crashing into depression. Did I like it? Hell to the yes. The euphoria of hypomania feels great, can't deny that. I'm not sure what the euphoria of mania feels like, since I have never been manic, but I imagine it quickly becomes terrifying and horrible rather than being pleasantly "managable" the way hypomania is.

 

Remember: Mania comes with a cost. No matter how wonderful it might feel, it comes at a high price. It damages your brain, it causes you to act in questionable ways and it can ruin your life. Sorry to be so blunt, but yeah. So try to remember that when you feel yourself lusting after mania. 

 

It sounds like you are doing everything right from what you describe. As Mirazh said, I would recommend talking to your tdoc and pdoc about catching early warning signs of hypo/mania. 

 

Some signs of hypomania include (from wikipedia):

 

  • Pressured speech
  • Inflated self esteem or gradiosity
  • decreased need for sleep
  • Flight of ideas or the subjective experience that thoughts are racing
  • easy distractibility
  • increase in psychomotor agitation
  • involvement in pleasurable activities with high potential for negative psychosocial or physical consequences.

You're probably read this before. So, I'm going to expand on the list by explaining my signs of hypomania and see if yours are similar. 

 

At first, my sleep slowly dwindles over a few weeks. From 12 hours a night (yes, I sleep a lot) to maybe 8 hours a night, then 7 hours, then 6 hours, then 5 hours and so on. Eventually, I'm sleeping only 4 hours a night. I start to think my ideas are better than everyone's. I start to think I'm very smart and beautiful. It's subtle at first. I justify my grandiosity, "Well, I am having a pretty day", or "That actually was a really good idea!" I start to argue with my family members over little things. I feel "moody" as if my emotions are switching easily from irritated to happy. I find that I can get a lot done at work, I am working faster and harder. I walk faster, and I slowly begin to talk faster. At first, I'm just talking a little faster. In full blown hypomania, I'm jumping from idea to idea so fast no one can keep up with me. Another early sign: I feel in a suspiciously good mood for more than a few days. I also start eating less and less. As well, I start to feel mild anxiety/excitement.

 

My biggest early sign, as you can probably see, is my sleep slowly dwindling. When I start sleeping less, it's time to call my pdoc. 

 

Like I said before, I recently had a hypomanic episode that was euphoric. I didn't realize it until a week and a half into the episode and almost $400 later. *face palm* but now I know. My boyfriend was telling me I seemed kinda hypomanic, but I just brushed him off (typical hypomanic behaviour from me there, denial). 

 

Use your mood journal to track your sleep, your eating, your irritability, your anxiety, everything. If you want to, you could start a blog here to help keep track of your symptoms. I personally find blogging really helpful. 

 

Don't hesitate to call your pdoc. Many, many people agonize over whether something is "worthy" of calling your pdoc. You are paying them (unless you're Canadian, like me!), use them! Let them help you tease out what may or may not be symptoms. Better safe than sorry. 

 

You don't have to live in fear of your next manic episode. As long as you can track the early signs, you will probably be good.

Edited by Parapluie
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I have been there and although the hypo/mania can be alluring it is much less so when you crash and burn. Almost going inpatient snapped me out of liking it. I try to just stay on top of my symptoms with my mood chart and call my pdoc if I start to recognize an abnormal mood. My perception is a little off so I would rather leave it him to decide if its a problem. As for balancing it, I try to look at other people's behavior. Would the average person think my behavior is odd, and is it hard to control my thoughts and speech? Is my attention bad? Sort of reality checking. My sleep and irritability are big indicators too but I have more mixed episodes with the occasional straight mania thrown in there.

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For me, only the first few hypo/manic episodes were euphoric. Since then, they have only been dysphoric. I know this is only anecdotal, but one thing to keep in mind is that as your brain gets kindled, the episodes are likely to become both more frequent and more severe, and "more severe" can mean destructive rage or intensely suicidal mixed states. From what I've seen here on these boards, it seems like the more episodes one has had, the more likely it is that future episodes will be of the mixed or dysphoric type. 

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Hello and welcome!

 

I know how you feel about the manias. I have felt like that too. It's hard for me even now if I'm euphoric manic to take a PRN or to take my afternoon meds that help calm me the heck down. But now it seems that even if I am manic or hypo, it spirals out of control if I don't take my afternoon meds or a PRN. I get irritable to the max and can't stand to be in my own skin and that really hasn't happened before to me during manic/hypo times before.

 

Anyways, I'm just trying to say that your euphoric times may not always stay that way. They could go bad really fast.

 

And I always try to think of consequences when I know I am heading upwards. I know when you are really high that is difficult to do, very difficult. But when you first start noticing little things, like not sleeping, then try and think of all the bad things that this comes with and that may just help you take your meds.

 

Finally, if you are still getting manic, you may need a med adjustment. I would call your pdoc about this before you have too many consequences from mania and have too many pieces of your life to pick up. Been there done that! I've lost jobs, lost my apartment, relationships, been hospitalized more than a few times, etc. Going down that path is not so fun.

Edited by Wonderful.Cheese
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Thanks everyone.

 

The funny (well, actually not that funny) thing is that before it went out of control, I had talked to me tdoc, I had realized I was getting on a high, we had made a plan since I was taken out of my routine, but I just didn't follow anything on the plan, I had no interest. I'm usually quite well aware of my moods, but I wasn't at all when it went out of control.

 

I am on a mood stabilizer and also have some benzos around for emergencies, but I tend to not take them much because I hate the effects they have. The mania certainly didn't go dysphoric or as self-destructive as it did before, and it also didn't last very long (~1.5 week), so I guess the meds do some good. 

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The funny (well, actually not that funny) thing is that before it went out of control, I had talked to me tdoc, I had realized I was getting on a high, we had made a plan since I was taken out of my routine, but I just didn't follow anything on the plan, I had no interest. I'm usually quite well aware of my moods, but I wasn't at all when it went out of control.

 

Do you have anyone that can hold you accountable, and keep you sticking to your plan? Maybe a partner, a family member or a close friend? Maybe they can help to keep you on track. Another thing you could do is, when you're getting manic, just go to the ER immediately. Seems a little bit like overkill, I know, but it would keep you safe and out of trouble. Or, you could make an emergency appointment with your pdoc, provided they could get you in within a day or two. 

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I've never had a "good" mania, although I have had "good" hypo-mania. That stopped about a decade ago, and I get dysphoric everything.

 

It is really, really hard to take it seriously when you feel good, I totally understand that. But it can spin out of control in hours.

 

Parapluie has a good idea about accountability. My husband does that for me, and he has talked me into calling my pdoc more than once.


Oh, and as has been said, you often lack insight into your mood (there are always exceptions, but they are exceptions). That's another reason it would be good to have someone keep an eye on you.

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