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Do your manic/hypomanic episodes have a fixed pattern ?


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I had my first hypomanic episode 2012 oct - dec.

 

My second hypomanic episode was 2014 jan - march

 

Both lasted around 3 months .

 

The time interval between the ending of my first episode and beginning of second episode was exactly a year.

 

Just trying to figure out if this cycle is going to remain fixed more or less or is there no guarantee whatsoever.

 

Im not on any medications.

 

I love my hypomanias too much and am not willing to give up on them yet. I feel that if 80 percent of the time im going to be depressed or semi depressed then the hypomanias are the only thing that will keep me going.

 

So you can say im just waiting for the next hypomania and am trying to figure out how much more time it will take .

 

 

 

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Not wanting to give up hypomania is a common problem.

If you don't get it yet, many folks who get happy/euphoric hypos develop a shit-tacular crash of hell afterwards. Some folks' hypos change so part is spent in an irritable and/or dysphoric hypo instead.

Untreated bipolar disorder is subject to the kindling effect. Basically, each episode runs a rut deeper in your brain, and the longer you go the worse the ruts/episodes get. No, this doesn't mean the happy hypos will get happier. Though, some folks present as BP II for years, and end up developing BP I down the line.

I've never had a happy/euphoric hypomania. I sometimes get a teeny euphoric element, like a song or two that are AMAZING and such but ohhhhhh man all the other music SUCKS and shit-tons of anxiety, and agitated as all hell, can't stop moving, thoughts are very disjointed, explode in anger over anything, hate the world and want to run away, hellloooooo OCD, sensory processing disorder gets WORSE, fine motor control is exceedingly difficult, can't focus or motivate so despite agitated energy can't get shit done...

My mixed episodes are markedly different from the above. Anyway. My point is, some to a lot of those points can occur in a 'crash' or if your hypo type changes. The crash bit can also be directly into depression, for some.

With BP cycles, everyone is different. I have a period of the year where I tend to go hypo, but it's happened at other times, and sometimes gets triggered by stuff like stress. My hypos could go six/eight months to a year. Of what I just described. Except I didn't know I was BP then. Now with treatment, I can nip my hypos in about a week. Which is great 'cause I'm not very functional while hypo and I'm certainly not very functional on all those sedatives I take to flatten the hypo episode.

Some folks can be like clockwork. Others are incredibly random. Still others are some kind of mix of the two.

I've read time and time again of folks struggling to let go of their euphoric hypos. Or of missing them. But all the stuff I said is true - they could change, you could crash, and even all that aside leaving your bipolar untreated runs serious serious risk of it getting worse with every episode.

Here at CB we try to encourage attitudes of wellness-seeking, striving. The best we can to manage our health, what-have-you. Nobody's perfect and we can all struggle, and we can fuck up royally. So I recognize and sympathize with your stated feelings, but I would not endorse or aid you in such an endeavour.

I do encourage you to seek help. Meds, therapy, a psychiatrist, therapist, support group, something. Being here is a great part of my own support network, so I'm glad you found us too. But we're pro-treatment-leaning and peer-support in general. We aren't professionals, not even close.

I'll go out on one more personal story: I was undiagnosed but living with bipolar for maybe ten years, wholly ignorant. A hypomanic episode kicked in that I experienced as moderate yet still upsetting anxiety. Long story short, six months later my hypo got out of control and I physically assaulted someone in a fit of rage. It's the episode that led to my diagnosis. I know my experience isn't common, and thank Njord for that. But seriously, this is what I mean about untreated episodes getting worse and worse over time.

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I feel that if 80 percent of the time im going to be depressed or semi depressed then the hypomanias are the only thing that will keep me going.

There are other options. My mood stabilizer keeps away the depression and the semi-depression very very well. I have other meds to take as-needed (as I was instructed) for hypo episodes. But my mood stabilizer is seriously my magic pill against depression and foggy brain cobwebs. Everyone's different, YMMV, but there's a LOT more options out there, a lot BETTER options, than "wheelp since the depression takes over 80% of the time while I'm not on meds then surely my hypomania can be my antidepressant!"

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I had my first hypomanic episode 2012 oct - dec.

 

My second hypomanic episode was 2014 jan - march

 

Both lasted around 3 months .

 

The time interval between the ending of my first episode and beginning of second episode was exactly a year.

 

Just trying to figure out if this cycle is going to remain fixed more or less or is there no guarantee whatsoever.

 

Im not on any medications.

 

I love my hypomanias too much and am not willing to give up on them yet. I feel that if 80 percent of the time im going to be depressed or semi depressed then the hypomanias are the only thing that will keep me going.

 

So you can say im just waiting for the next hypomania and am trying to figure out how much more time it will take .

I wouldn't count on it. I've heard many cycle seasonally, but I think it's usually going manic in the spring or summer and becoming depressed in fall or winter. I've had everything occur fairly randomly, with perhaps a slight seasonal emphasis.
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Not wanting to give up hypomania is a common problem.

If you don't get it yet, many folks who get happy/euphoric hypos develop a shit-tacular crash of hell afterwards. Some folks' hypos change so part is spent in an irritable and/or dysphoric hypo instead.

Untreated bipolar disorder is subject to the kindling effect. Basically, each episode runs a rut deeper in your brain, and the longer you go the worse the ruts/episodes get. No, this doesn't mean the happy hypos will get happier. Though, some folks present as BP II for years, and end up developing BP I down the line.

I've never had a happy/euphoric hypomania. I sometimes get a teeny euphoric element, like a song or two that are AMAZING and such but ohhhhhh man all the other music SUCKS and shit-tons of anxiety, and agitated as all hell, can't stop moving, thoughts are very disjointed, explode in anger over anything, hate the world and want to run away, hellloooooo OCD, sensory processing disorder gets WORSE, fine motor control is exceedingly difficult, can't focus or motivate so despite agitated energy can't get shit done...

My mixed episodes are markedly different from the above. Anyway. My point is, some to a lot of those points can occur in a 'crash' or if your hypo type changes. The crash bit can also be directly into depression, for some.

With BP cycles, everyone is different. I have a period of the year where I tend to go hypo, but it's happened at other times, and sometimes gets triggered by stuff like stress. My hypos could go six/eight months to a year. Of what I just described. Except I didn't know I was BP then. Now with treatment, I can nip my hypos in about a week. Which is great 'cause I'm not very functional while hypo and I'm certainly not very functional on all those sedatives I take to flatten the hypo episode.

Some folks can be like clockwork. Others are incredibly random. Still others are some kind of mix of the two.

I've read time and time again of folks struggling to let go of their euphoric hypos. Or of missing them. But all the stuff I said is true - they could change, you could crash, and even all that aside leaving your bipolar untreated runs serious serious risk of it getting worse with every episode.

Here at CB we try to encourage attitudes of wellness-seeking, striving. The best we can to manage our health, what-have-you. Nobody's perfect and we can all struggle, and we can fuck up royally. So I recognize and sympathize with your stated feelings, but I would not endorse or aid you in such an endeavour.

I do encourage you to seek help. Meds, therapy, a psychiatrist, therapist, support group, something. Being here is a great part of my own support network, so I'm glad you found us too. But we're pro-treatment-leaning and peer-support in general. We aren't professionals, not even close.

I'll go out on one more personal story: I was undiagnosed but living with bipolar for maybe ten years, wholly ignorant. A hypomanic episode kicked in that I experienced as moderate yet still upsetting anxiety. Long story short, six months later my hypo got out of control and I physically assaulted someone in a fit of rage. It's the episode that led to my diagnosis. I know my experience isn't common, and thank Njord for that. But seriously, this is what I mean about untreated episodes getting worse and worse over time.

 

Thanks for taking the time to warn me about all the dangers involved.

I do have the shittiest crashes.

 

But the euphoria and every thing else that comes with being hypo it is too hard for me to give up.

Confidence, Self Esteem, Courage, Sense of humuor, Conviction it all goes through the roof.

For those three months Im superman.

I can connect with each and every human being on the planet.

There is no fear , just oneness.

 

My biggest problem now is living without all that.

Had I never had an episode, had i never tasted a slice of euphoric hypomania, i would have taken the pills.

Its like theres just no going back from it.

 

I feel I can never get undepressed because my normal or euthymic state will never be able to live up to hypo me.

I will always feel that stark contrast in life.

Constantly missing it.

Ever yearning for it.

 

I dont have the will power to willingly stop the thing that i miss every waking moment.

So I wont be taking meds.

Im sure if they turn dysphoric ill have no other option.

So i understand where you are coming from.

But till then ill take my chances.

I feel that without my hypos to look forward to I literally have no motivation to live.

 

About the kindling effect, just like every thing else regarding bipolar its very debatable.

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djm, this is a pro-treatment site. We are not here to get anyone high, using any format. A lot of us have had euphoric hypomanias, I did for a year once, and yeah, it was great. But usually mine are dysphoric. And just because you haven't experienced dysphoric hypomania yet does *not* mean that you will not in the future.

 

We are anti-brain damage. Every time you have an episode, your neural pathways are changed, or reinforced, in atypical and unpredictable ways. The more episodes, even happy hypomania episodes, you have, the more prone you are to future episodes, and that includes depression. So in an attempt to feel better, you will make yourself worse, and harder to treat.

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The problem I have is that I'll give almost anything to feel alive again when I'm depressed. So I've thought about going off meds or using a blue SAD therapy light to trigger (hypo)mania. And I've had the "bad kind," or at least mixed states (which, as many know, are not exactly fun). A risk I was willing to take, especially since Zyprexa works so well for me to end manic and mixed states. I'm probably already the victim of the "brain damage" you describe, as I've gone untreated for so long— at least if last year is any indication. I guess that's what keeps me from actively pursuing a manic high, as I don't want to go through that again (or, God forbid, something worse). I just can't. So I take my meds. Doesn't stop me from wishing for a manic state or enjoying a breakthrough episode when it occurs. Hey, at least it's not my fault then, right? Fortunately I'm not in that place now, at least not when I have enough Ritalin in my system. BTW, whoever designed this "game" sucks. Stupid thing penalizes you even for the only good part of the damn malady?¿ SRSLY?¿?

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I have no idea if it feels like euphoric mania; it doesn't feel like how I used to get on recreational drugs when I abused them a long time ago. But, I experience much uplifting, amazing, profound experiences about being connected to the world and/or certain others during my spiritu)/religious practice.

Therapy has helped IMMENSELY with my anxiety, of all. Types. And I have some meds to help with that too, though I have come to need the. Anti-anxiety meds less and less often.

Therapy programs exist to work on building self esteem and confidence. Groups and workerss exist to aid one in developing/practicing/improving various aspects of social skills.

Turning dysphoric may not be obvious to you or your doc(s). I've had wwhat are, looking back, blatantly fucking obvious dysphoric hypos and nobody even seemed to realize something was wrong, I sure didn't.

Your difficulty in letting go of the hypo experience - are you sooooo sure you'll let it go at the drop of a hat if you go dysphoric and begrudgingly go on meds?

Some things you say sound like very distorted thinking. So let me reiteratee a few points:

There is no reason to go along assuming you'll be depressed 80% of the time when lots of treatment options exist, and lots of us here can tell you directly that we've been there or similar and we found far better options for our depressions.

Nothing's like hypo/mania, no. But happiness, joy, euphoria, connections with others, etc. all can exist without hypomania, and they can feel strong. Mania doesn't fix social anxiety, even *most* (not all) of us on meds for anxiety aren't meant to fix or treat-over-life with those meds, because therapy and skill-building with professionals are incredibly useful and for some necessary.

If you are at a point of "must wait for/trigger mania or else I have no reason to live" then yoou need to get to an ER or something. This is bipolar brain, the illness clouding your perception.

And yes, we are a pro-treatment site. That means *trying,* cause so much can interfere or make it drag on.

Hey, some get lucky with meds. most folks don't find out they have dysphoric hypos 'cause they assault people - my example is meant to show a worst-case-possibility, but dysphoric hypo can be so much more subtle than that. But, it's what woke me up, sure. I've seen people wrack up huuuuuge amounts of debt from hypo spending sprees and still struggle to manage and stick with treatment - even with awareness of what's going on.

Back to meds - the second med we tried for my BP was juuuuust right, once we hit my effective dose. That was in a few months, including the first trial on the med that didn't work. A few months after starting med trials for my BP, my depression LIFTED like magic.

I have a bit of a snarky point here, but seriously. Euphoria, confidence, feeling connected, self-esteem, being funny, feeling like superman... yeah, I used to think I couldn't let go of that. No, not hypo - lots of stimulant abuse in my history. LOTS. The crashes come, but I got used to those too. It started being really hard on my body, obviously in a physical way, and undoubtedly in a neurological way too. I was doing much risky behaviour with my use back then.

Look, I didn't need therapy to get over drug addictions, or to accept my Dx and stick with treatment. The therapy I did was helpful, immensely, and was all about *skills building*. Miss mania, struggle to believe you'll ever feel connected to the world like you did while manic? Therapy can help you develop skills so you can cope and get through these rougher periods, can help you change your life in other ways too.

Lots of options exist. Happiness and so much you listed as something you seem to believe will only come true or 'truely intense' via hypo/mania is some hella distorted thinking - which, like, mental illness does that. My own distort my thinking too. But mania *is not* necessary to feel and experience those positive things. It pays off for you now, short-term, leaving you potentially worse off MI wise in the. Long-term. Investing the work/effort, time, and the help of a support network (including medical professional) is rather unlikely to provide instant or even linear results, but it's often faaaar longer-lasting.

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Untreated bipolar disorder is subject to the kindling effect. Basically, each episode runs a rut deeper in your brain, and the longer you go the worse the ruts/episodes get. No, this doesn't mean the happy hypos will get happier. Though, some folks present as BP II for years, and end up developing BP I down the line.

 

What happens after you start treatment?  Do these ruts get repaired at all, or are they permanently damaged?  Do episodes that happen while medicated still deepen the rut?

 

I was undiagnosed for many years and I wonder if that's why I now have a very hard time thinking positively.  I get stuck in a negative rut and can't see anything good.

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Episodes while medicated are still problems, but a lot of medications actually have neuroprotective properties, so I can't say, "Yes, you will be x amount worse." But generally, it is assumed that every episode makes you more difficult to treat. But as always, YMMV.

 

I think it is more likely you need to see a therapist, or maybe take a CBT class, than that you are guaranteed to be in a rut all your life.

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