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Bringing myself down from hypomania?


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Okay okay okay so hi.

 

So as I've mentioned before I think, I'm pretty newly diagnosed as Bipolar II.  So the whole idea of hypomania and monitoring for that is fairly new to me and I'm still getting the hang of it.  I've been mood tracking though, which has been helping a LOT with my self-awareness and is pretty great overall.

 

Anyway.

 

I can feel myself slipping up up up which feels good but I know I'm headed for what is probably a hypomanic episode and I'm a little scared because this time I know what's happening but I don't have any coping mechanisms for it.  At all.  Like all my years of therapy have been focused on depression, so I have plenty of mechanisms in place for those episodes, but understanding my hypomania is so new to me and I really would love some advice on ways to maybe try to stifle it a little.

 

Because like I don't know if it's coming across in my typing but I feel really frantic and like my skin is buzzing and my mood swung WAY up today which feels great but I know if I don't get a hold on it it's just gonna come crashing down badly later on and I'd like to avoid that if possible.

 

I can't afford a tdoc right now so that's why I don't really have anyone else to go to about this.  (Ugh I really need to find a sliding scale tdoc in my area ugh ugh ugh)

 

So: when you can feel yourself heading towards mania/hypomania, is there anything you do to help ground yourself a little?  What are some coping mechanisms you have for these types of episodes to kind of slow yourself down and bring yourself back to earth?  Or do I just have to ride this out?

 

It's scary being aware of what's happening and not knowing what to do about it.  I almost preferred when I didn't fully understand what was going on.

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When I feel it coming on there a slim chance of it getting under control, but there is hope to how deeply and for how long it goes on for and that depends on coping. I have to know my triggers going into a situation. What will put me over the edge, it's almost as if I can anticipate it in certain situations. By being aware I can tell someone or dodge it. I always have to tell myself over and over what is real and not to listen what my head tells me. My episodes come quick from a slight manic feeling good into angry and out of control then crying all in the same scene.

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So: when you can feel yourself heading towards mania/hypomania, is there anything you do to help ground yourself a little?  What are some coping mechanisms you have for these types of episodes to kind of slow yourself down and bring yourself back to earth?  Or do I just have to ride this out?

 

I always call my pdoc and he tweaks a med/s, usually adjusting the lamictal or abilify, and that seems to really help.  Usually the hypo/mania is triggered by something, so I try to deal with the trigger and I ride it out until the extra med/s kick in. 

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I agree with Melissaw. There are meds that can kind of stomp on the mania, if that is something your pdoc does. Pdocs are often particular as to which meds they like or don't like.  But whatever the case, you need to call your pdoc tomorrow.

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At that point where I feel it coming on, I have had some success with Benadryl.  Even if all the effect you get out of the Benadryl is to get yourself to sleep, simply sleeping might help bring you down a little.  But if you try this, don't take too much Benadryl, a low dose is better for sleeping.

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Have you been getting enough sleep?  For me sleep deprivation will just about every time cause some sort of hypo/mania.  When I get enough sleep in (if lack of sleep is the reason), I typically calm down.  The Benadryl that tamagotchi mentioned above works for me at times too, but I find I build a tolerance up to it very fast.

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"when you can feel yourself heading towards mania/hypomania, is there anything you do to help ground yourself a little?  What are some coping mechanisms you have for these types of episodes to kind of slow yourself down and bring yourself back to earth?  Or do I just have to ride this out?"

 

I make myself take my meds or have someone else remind me.

 

I stay away from stores and even hand my credit cards over to my husband.

 

Even if I feel like staying up all night and not sleeping a wink, I make sure I take my bedtime meds to try and get at least a little sleep.

 

I try to tell my tdoc or pdoc about it (I'm working on being more honest about this).

 

I try to at least lie down in a dark or low light room for a while and try to relax some.

 

Sometimes I take a PRN med.

 

I hope that helps and please do call your pdoc. It is hard for some people, but better to nip this in the bud right away rather than let it get out of hand.

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Thanks everyone. I really need to call my pdoc but it's hard to force myself to when I'm feeling so damn happy about everything hahah. Using some Benadryl to help me sleep was a great suggestion and has been hugely helpful, and I've actually also been using some aromatherapy type stuff to keep myself relaxed. That kind of thing and dimming the lights while I'm getting ready for bed has been helping me get sleepy enough to rest.

I know I need to call my pdoc though. Ugh.

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I take all my meds as I am suppose too even if I have to set reminders and see my doctor and/or therapist too.
 

I also find ways to try and get rid of the amped up energy. I find that some kind of vigrous exercise (I usually do a staionary bike or eliptical machine)

 

This may sound odd but I have found if I go to a pool and just allow myself to float in the water it really kind of calms and comforts me.For some reason the water really slows me down and allows all the "noise" to just float away..

 

Good luck! :)

Edited by emack
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When you feel good, its harder to pick up the phone to call the pdoc, or even log your moods. I've been there, done that! Guilty. :)

Ask about free counseling services in your area. I had a tdoc for free for a while when she worked on her PhD. There may be waiting lists for free/sliding scale tdocs though, but it can't hurt.

You have insight, which is a great thing. 

I use patientslikeme.com to track my moods. I log on about once a week, or if I have a big shift, or feel 'off'.

I found when I got hypomanic and couldn't sleep I'd go for a long bike ride or swim and tire myself out, and sleep well. Exercise is great for any mood, too. Definitely get in touch with a doc in case you need a med changed/added or a PRN to keep from going all the way up. Keep logging and sometime its great to ask others if they've noticed a change that you may not have noticed about yourself.

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My first known hypomania to myself was a three day stint of WHAT THE HECK IS THIS! I was in IOP at the time but what worked for me was intialy noticing this is not fun for me. I switched meds and that helped to kill most of it. After that I tried to walk off as much energy as possible and then to talk to myself (in my head!) using some mantra I came up with at the time.

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HUGE congrats to you for recognizing what's going on, and ESPECIALLY for motivating to rein yourself in!! Please give yourself lots and lots of credit for that! That's most of the battle right there.

 

My main clues that I was revving was decreased sleep and decreased appetite, so I'd make sure to focus on getting enough sleep and making sure I ate. My sleep meds are Klonopin or Ambien - Benedryl doesn't really work for me - and if I wake up in the middle of the night, I read something kind of boring and it puts me back to sleep. Energy bars, bananas, whole milk, and nuts are a good way to get healthy calories if I have little appetite, and I eat at regular times even if I don't feel hungry.

 

Exercise is great for spinning off energy, swimming especially (though it's also important to check in with yourself and make sure to not wind yourself up even more). 

 

Breathing exercises are helpful. One kind is "alternate nostril breathing," which I learned in yoga and it always calms me down, and it's easy to find how-to's online. Stopping at any time and taking five slow, deep breaths is also helpful. (And if that feels like it's taking too much time, that's even more reason to do it!)

 

One of the most frustrating parts of being bp is to have to question our health when we feel on top of the world. That's when it helps to have some reminder about what depression is like, to help motivate self-care and calming down. It's okay to feel awesome, but it's dangerous to feel ecstatically amazing, and there's definitely a difference. (And a stable "awesome" is still totally awesome!)

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I am entrusted with PRNs that can be used (along with other coping methods) to knock my hypomania back on its ass.  These PRNs are meds that were given to me to bring me out of a hypomanic episode when I went IP back in March.  I believe that I have successfully pulled myself back from... something, quite recently.  Now, part of it is that at least with working part-time I now go outside a lot and visit a few friends here and there, and I'm creating more art.  The other part is that I keep up eating properly, and if my sleeping gets too out of whack (or if I stop sleeping, really,) I medicate my sleep back into submission.  This is what my doctor tells me to do, and now I do it on my own (though I keep up a running contact with her through e-mail about various things.)

 

Though I do sometimes use the zopiclone just for sleep rather than for an episode, and the clonazepam is also my PRN for severe anxiety shit, they both serve as my more heavily relied-upon meds when I feel myself flipping "up."  I also specifically have a PRN for quetiapine, for these sorts of things.  My very minimal part-time hours now with work (formerly I was a full-time manager for two years) now allows me sometimes to cope with a potential episode outside of the hospital.

 

But, as I said, I keep in close contact with my pdoc about these kinds of things, and I've been entrusted with my PRNs.  I fill in both my pdoc and my gdoc about how frequently I've been using them, because they want to keep track. 

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