Thursday, 17 May 2018

Mental Health Awareness Week - What Is Hypomania?

For those of you who haven't read my blog before or don't know my story, I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. More specifically bipolar 2.

There's a common misconception that all people with bipolar are the same when in fact bipolar has many different branches.

Bipolar is an umbrella term.

 In film and on tv shows bipolar sufferers are usually portrayed in the same way and that is very manic usually with some psychotic element, always a bit scatty and odd anyway and that's the image that people have of bipolar sufferers. Like we're all a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
In essence the "bipolar" they're trying to portray would be categorised as type 1 but they neglect to even mention that there are other types. It's just "you have bipolar". Yes, very informative.
Another thing I despise is the continuity element of mental illnesses in shows and on tv. People have one episode and then are miraculously cured and it's never mentioned again.... But that's a rant for another day.

The problem with that is that you're left with the impression that that's what bipolar is and that's how it affects people. You begin to assume you'd know exactly what a bipolar sufferer looked like.

When my psychiatrist said he thought I had bipolar I actually laughed.

I'd always had the impression that to have bipolar you had to be manic, up and down like a yo-yo and completely out of control: partly because of my naivety and partly because of how I'd seen bipolar portrayed in the media. I myself had assumed all sufferers were the same. They were the weird people that rush around, bouncing off the walls, talking shit and just generally being the definition of crazy. That was all I knew.

When I tell people I have bipolar they often have the same reaction. They laugh or they raise an eyebrow. I feel wildly uncomfortable at the assumptions they must be making. 
Either they think I'm bat shit crazy or they think I'm lying. Usually the latter.


For me bipolar 2 means I experience a mildly elevated mood alongside the deepest of lows. 
For me it's the low moods that are the worry as opposed to the highs. I don't suffer from the typical mania that most people associate with bipolar but instead I suffer with hypomania. This means that my life isn't severely impacted by the elevations. I don't experience that 'on top of the world' feeling. The feelings of euphoria are only experienced with bipolar 1. The same can be said about psychotic episodes and hallucinations.
Instead is very affected by my depressive episodes. My depression is relentless. Without medication my "normal" state is low so when I hit a depressive episode it's bad. I get incredibly depressed. It's written all over my face and take over my whole body. I suffer both mentally and physically. The depressive episodes terrify me.


The symptoms I experience in a hypomanic episode:

  • Can function on significantly less sleep
  • Excess energy (I usually clean a lot, reorganise things, start new projects)
  • Irritable
  • Can't focus/easily distracted
  • Constant racing thoughts
  • Incredibly impulsive
  • Social anxiety sky rockets
  • Usually feel more body confident and give less of a f*ck
  • Argumentative
  • The people closest to me see a change in my behaviour 

Everyone is unique and their experiences vary so this is just my story and experience but I just wanted to give you an insight into what hypomania is and how it differs from mania.

If you have any questions or want to share your experiences then please leave them in the comments.
If you're looking for help or advice then please check out the websites below.


MIND

Bipolar UK

Rethink

The Hearing Voices Network

YoungMinds

10 comments:

  1. I learned so much about hypomania and the fact that there are different types of bipolar disorder. It's important to know about the symptoms and I am glad you're getting treatment. Sending you lots of positive vibes ♥

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

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  2. Thank you for sharing this, I study psychology so although I'm no way near professional, I thought I had a pretty good idea about mental health in general but had no idea about this! Very informative and its great that you're spreading awareness - https://sophiehearts.net x

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    1. Thank you Sophie. I think a lot of people don't know about hypmomania. It isn't talked about much which is why I felt it important to talk about it :)

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  3. My best friend has bipolar 2! Until she was diagnosed a few years ago I'd never heard of it before and as you said, many people only see bipolar how it's portrayed on TV. The fact there's different versions is something a lot of people seem to struggle to understand a lot of the time. I've never met anyone else who (openly) has it so this was a really great read. Thanks for spreading awareness x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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    1. It's really hard. I think people fear talking about bipolar because of the stigma around it and even more so if you have bipolar 2 because you're so very different to bipolar 1 sufferers!
      Thank you Sophie x

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  4. Such an informative post. I must admit I didn't know about the different types of bipolar but I knew there must be more to it than what's portrayed in the media. Thank you for educating me a bit! I think knowledge is power in all forms of mental health. More people need to take the time in actually finding out what different diagnosis actually mean rather than just thinking it's what they see on TV
    Menna x

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    1. I 100% agree with you: knowledge is power especially when it comes to mental health.

      Thank you so much for reading x

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  5. A lot to be learned from this post, thank you so much for sharing. The whole post was really informative.

    Efia @ Effy Talks Life xxx

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