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What is the difference between being happy and mania?

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The past week I had a couple of good days in which I felt good. On one hand I was glad to feel happy, stable and good, on the other hand I started worrying that this was just a sign of hypomania.

How can you tell if you are feeling good, or actually is hypomania kicking in?

What is the difference between being happy and hypomania / mania?

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My sleep and thought patterns, and energy levels are a good sign for me. Less and less sleep needed + thoughts getting faster and feeling more "connected" to the world/other people + hyperactive energy out of nowhere = a good indication of an upward mood swing. Plus, euphoria isn't the same thing as genuine good-to-be-alive happiness, in my opinion. Sure, there have been times when I've felt a certain "rush" from happy events like falling in love, good conversations, a good grade, a good paycheck, etc. But they aren't sustained over a long course of time like with euphoria in a BP mood swing, and they aren't nearly as intense. 

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My thoughts... I'm very indecisive, and that's only if I can pin a thought down. Honestly sometimes I could cry because I don't know if I want to run a mile, paint or hit someone. 


I feel like I AM somebody, and not just in the literal sense. I feel like I'm the next J. K. Rowling. Like someone is going to knock on the door and just take me away and I'll be famous and just be amazing and everyone will adore me.


Another good measure for me is the TV... if I can sit down and watch a programme then I'm happy. Hypomania comes and I can sit but not sit still, my mind wonders, I talk back to the TV, I channel surf. I get bored. I have to move.

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Symptoms of mania (hypomania being a lower and less disruptive level of mania) are:


A restless sense of euphoria and wellbeing, often without rational connection to what is going on. So a feeling of bliss or excitement that is not triggered by a nice event, but an inexplicable onset of feeling good.


An increase in energy that often characterizes itself by restlessness, reduced need for sleep or reduced appetite


A greater sense of productivity, quantity of activity often fools someone into thinking they are more productive, when in fact they are so restless or lacking in insight that quality and detail is lacking.


Racing thoughts, fast speech and urgent plans that feel immediate and often aren't sustainable.


Impulsivity or big life changes made rashly.


Inflated self image, sometimes to the point of grandiosity or delusions.


Mania often seems to the sufferer to be a positive thing, it can be much more preferable than depression, often it fools the sufferer into thinking they are now cured, they tend to get more activity done and their social abilities may increase. Most people who live with someone prone to mania will say that they are easily distracted, irritable, make poor decisions, can be hostile when challenged, may do more but do a poor job and often are out of touch with what is going on. That is the main difference between mania and happiness, in my opinion: insight. 


When I happy, I feel good and make plans. But if my plans need time or life isn;t going my way, I can keep that positive feeling and be patient. There isn't an urgency, moderation is easy. My happiness can be affected by what is happening around me. I feel relaxed, generous, peaceful. Even when I am excited or feeling particularly creative, I can still rest.


When I am manic, I lose insight and everything that blocks my efforts becomes a massive hindrance. I am unwilling to wait on any plans or tolerate any delay. There are no shades of grey, just black and white, this idea is the BEST I have ever had, I am now TOTALLY cured, I am invincible etc etc.

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What Titania said:


Feeling genuinely happy and being manic is a very different thing, it is hard to describe though. I think real happiness just feels very fulfilling and calm whereas being manic often has some sort of empty feeling that comes with it, I'm never content when I am (hypo-)manic, I always need to do more. Insight is hard though, the euphoria really makes it hard to not give into the idea that everything is wonderful in mania.


As others have said, sleep and irritability are good trackers. For me, sex drive is the best of all trackers, but that might be individual.

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i just had an experience with this a few weeks ago when i dropped latuda and upped the abilify. i was feeling good, had energy, but was sleeping well. what the crap? but i was so so anxious and irritable, and spending money i don't have without my husband knowing. i thought i was just happy because of the abilify, but looking back, i was definitely hypomanic. it wasn't until i added back in my trazodone to really knock me out to sleep that i lifted out. i didn't have any insight, and that scares me, because i usually do.


when you find out the answer, let me know. there have been a lot of great posts on here to help distinguish between the two, but just remember everyone is different. watch your sleep bigtime, and maybe chart your moods so you can tell your doc.


good luck

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thank you so much for your responses!, they really help.

I guess I am lucky. From what you described, it seems that during the past week I was really happy and not hypomanic.

My sleep is the same (no need to sleep less), no irritability, or paranoia.


The only bad thing is that I haven´t had much patience for things, I want them to get done fast.

The only med change done, was that my metformin dose was increased.

So glucose control might have to do with mood stabilization.

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