The Enticing Euphoria of Hypomania

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The first time I ever experienced hypomania came shortly after a medication dose increase. I woke up one morning and felt like a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The world around me was vibrant, alive and inviting, like it had been waiting for me for so long. It gave me a sense of excitement and positivity that emanated deep into my soul.

I was miraculously recharged and for the first time in months, I was ready to start living again.

I felt amazing.

Thoughts began to fire through my mind at lightning speed and there were many things that I wanted to do right away. Projects I would start but never get finished because my mind would be easily distracted to start something new, but I still felt a sense of accomplishment in my productivity.

The energy I experienced was very intense. The best way that I can describe this energy is if you drank a pot of coffee every hour. If I stopped to sit, I felt like I could jump out of my skin. Within a few days I had stopped sleeping entirely. I remember trying to rid some of the energy by enduring long grueling workout sessions on the elliptical machine.

It didn’t matter.

Friends and family noticed my change in moods almost instantly. I remember them telling me how happy I was and talkative. It convinced me that everyone liked me more, even my few months old son who I had such a horrible time bonding with.

He finally loved me.

All this made me feel extremely giddy and I would burst out in hysterical laughter when I would think about how wonderful I felt and how beautiful the world was. I didn’t think that there was anything wrong with what I was feeling at all but there was a downside to this euphoria.

Extreme agitation and paranoia.

I would fly off the handle on complete strangers for no good reason. Once a woman had rammed a cart into my heels at a grocery store and I had humiliated not only her by my extreme outburst of yelling and name calling, but myself and my husband.

Then there was the constant fear that someone was coming to take my son away because they thought that I was a bad mother.

The day my husband put his foot down and dragged me to my psychiatrist’s office, I was convinced that someone had been in the house while I was taking a shower and I could “smell” them. When my husband said that no one was in the house I became combative and started swinging at him.

That day I was diagnosed as being hypomanic. I can’t remember exactly what the treatment plan was. I believe I was weaned off of the anti-depressant which sparked the episode and it took me a few weeks to recover.

While these symptoms of elation and energy seem very enticing especially when you have been feeling so ill I assure you that being hypomanic can be extremely dangerous. Please I urge you if you do have any of these symptoms let your doctor know immediately. Hypomania can lead to severe crashes and even mania itself.

Kimberly

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About Katherine Stone

is the founder & editor of Postpartum Progress. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011, a WebMD Health Hero and one of the top 25 parent bloggers using social media for social good. She also writes the Fierce Blog, and a parenting column for Disney's Babble.com.

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  1. Thank you for sharing. I've also found that coming down from the energy/ euphoric feelings is like jumping off a cliff and landing belly flop style on solid rock. Its absolutely horrible.

  2. Schwandy (Stephanie) says:

    I feel for you. I was diagnosed bipolar 13 months after the birth of my son after having a severe hypomanic episode (also sparked from an antidepressant) and later on a full on manic episode. What starts out as a good feeling can go down hill so quickly and can be so scary.
    I'm happy you are writing about your experiences, every voice helps.

  3. Kathy Morelli says:

    Wow. Thanks for that brutally honest description of your manic episode, sparked by antidepressant. I am very happy you were able to make a complete recovery. Very brave of you to post your story so you can help others.

  4. That crash afterwards is terrible but thankfully if you catch it in time there won't be a crash afterwards.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing Stephanie! I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 after this last episode. Sometimes it is hard to reach out for help when you're feeling so good but that feeling does come at a great price.

  6. Thank you Kathy. It was a long recovery after the first episode but after the second one we were able to change a lot of medications and treatment plans and I was able to come out of it much more quickly. I think too that myself and my family knew the symptoms and knew when to jump in to help.

  7. Survivor says:

    What is the difference between being passionate about something? manic about something? obsessive about something? I'm seeing overlap and some of this in myself…

  8. Kim, as you know, I can completely relate. Bipolar II disorder has it's ups and downs obviously. But now that you know it will be easier to treat.
    I am very in tune with my body and my mind. It took years to accomplish this "talent." But I'm glad I have it. Because it has saved my life on more than one occasion.

  9. Oh, Kimberly, how frightening for you and for your family. I'm so thankful you are working through this and getting help. You are an amazing woman – keep fighting!

  10. Its so wonderful what you do for so many other women by sharing your experiences. Thank you.
    Keep fighting Kim!

  11. Thank you very much, Katherine. It is such a nice thing to know that there are still people like you who are willing to help others by sharing one's experiences. I know of a friend that had terrible problems in his life, but instead of committing dangerous decisions, he decided to have an online counseling, which helped him a lot for recovery. If ever you have questions about mental health, you may visit this site: London counselling

    . They are a group of very good counselors ready to offer quality services to clients. I hope this will be a help in the future. :)

  12. I had a manic episode a week after my son was born. The first symptoms were feeling extremely hyper, and decreased need for sleep, and also feeling like everything was right in the world. A few days later I crashed and ended up in the psychiatric unit for a month and a half. It wasn’t until my son was six or seven months that I felt back to my usual self. Since this was my first birth, everyone thought I was just adjusting to being a mom unusually well. As hard as it was to go through all of this, I’m happy to say that with the guidance of excellent psychiatric doctors, I’m now expecting my second child, and while the risk does remain, it is hugely reduced by the fact that I’m on medication (seroquel) and I see a psychiatrist every 4-6 weeks which will continue until i”m at least a year post partum. Just a bit of hope for those that may think the door for another child was closed after your first manic episode.

  13. amandavanslyke says:

    Amazing.This is exactly what happened when I went on antidepressants.

  14. John huie says:

    My son committed suicide 3 weeks ago. He was not dianosed. And was never in a bad mood. Always the encourager but the last 3 days of his life he was exhibiting what I now see as hypomanic moods. Had set a apap meant on a Monday to meet with a counselor but he pulled the trigger on sat. Never saw him in a bad mood. Still looking for answers

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, John. I can only imagine your confusion and heartbreaking sadness. Suicide is a tragedy every single time. Please know that it’s not your fault. This is why Postpartum Progress the nonprofit and other organizations work so hard to raise awareness. The majority of people don’t know very much about mental illness. No one ever teaches us. We aren’t taught in school. At college. As parents. No one is ever taught what to look out for. What mania is. What bipolar disorder, or OCD or other illnesses look like and the many different ways they manifest. So how are parents, friends and others supposed to recognize the varying ways it might appear in our loved ones and what to do about it? It’s inexcusable that our society hasn’t done more to help. If there’s anything we can do, please let us know. Sending you love from the Warrior Mom community. ~ Katherine Stone