Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Video: Am I Manic?

Most people envision mania as the woman who rings up $2000 on her master card, or the guy up all night composing music. But mania, and especially hypomania, need not be so obvious or extreme. If you suffer from a “soft” bipolar disorder (Bipolar Disorder II for one today) like I do, where the manic cycles are somewhat difficult to identify, you need friends and family by your side to help you recognize when you’re heading into the danger zone.

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  • elizabeth

    it is so important to have people around you who can help — but at the same time, it is also important that those people do not use the information against you.
    not too long ago, i was involved in a meeting with someone I really respect. we were discussing some issues that have come up in our seeing an event and what happened at that event differently. My impressions and understandings were discounted greatly by one statement — “I’m learning how to read your moods and am trying to work with you in those — although you hide it very well” my observations and concerns were summarily dismissed as “off” because of this “mood thing” and so were ignored.
    I went home and really prayed about it — I called another person who had been at the event and asked them for their impression of the event, of my mood at this event and of my behaviour. What this third party sharred of their impression mirrored my understanding.
    Now I have the wonderful challange of going back to the one who discounted my observations and saying —- UM, “it is not fair to dismiss my concerns based on what you percieve as ‘my mood problem.’ I was hurt both at this event, and by your dismissal of what I percieved, we need to resolve this and you need to listen to what I saw”
    it is hard sometimes — we get excited like everyone else, we get angry like everyone else — and sometimes for real reasons that have nothing to do with how well our medication is working or not working. I have worked hard for years to moderate any and all emotional responses in any and all situations, Because I have not trusted my emotions. But what happens when I finally express a very real emotion and attempt to resolve the situation and am told –you’re just excited, or angry, or happy, or sad — because of the bi-polar thing… unfortunately, that happens all too often.
    I am so glad you found a friend who can honestly help you with this.
    I wish such a relationship for all of us.

  • Lizzie

    I agree with you and Elizabeth’s comment. I have found that it is a matter of choosing the right people. I had a coworker treat me the same way as Elizabeth discribed. Even though a coworker, I thought this person as a friend. I have sense learned speaking of your illness at work is not advisable. I have a couple of friends that I try to lean on to tell me and remind me of those “times.”

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Thank you, Therese, for once again addressing an issue that “hits me where I live” I STILK don’t accept the diagnosis of bipolar II disorder precicely BECAUSE I don’t experience manias, at leat not in the classic sense. As i’ve said before, seeing myself in a grandiose light would be analmost WEELCOME change from the every day existence of low self esteem which is my every day reality. Interestingly enough, none of my sisters or close friends think they’ve ever seen me in the grips of a manic state either; the closest I’ve ever come is staying up all night writing chapters of one of my several(all unpublished, sigh)reality based novels. Do I have a hard time managing money? Yes, at times. Have I ever gone through a period of less-than-prudent sexual liasons? Yes, once or twice. But I hae a hard time swalloing that those things alone are enough to classify me as bipolar. It’s the DEPRESSIONS that claim me, the descents into the snake pit, and THOSE periods are easily identifiable to myself, family AND good friends. Maybe I just need to look at the possibility that MY manic periods are unique rather than classic; that there could (possibly) be GRADIENTS of hypomania. Once again you’ve provided e with lots of fodder to mull over in my own mind and journaling. You’re a PEACH!

  • Larry Parker

    As always, you’ve done a far better job than I ever could (and I tried recently, in the “Diagnosis” thread in the BB social networking group that quickly went in a different direction) to explain how unique everyone’s symptoms can be — even with the same DSM-IV diagnosis.
    You and Margaret have said sometimes you don’t recognize your hypomanic symptoms. I certainly recognize mine — restless, aimless driving in the country (notice I don’t own or drive a car anymore), surly behavior toward those around me (as opposed to the “I don’t care” behavior of depression), and especially this bad “buzz” or agitation that probably doesn’t fit the DSM-IV definition of hypomania.
    It may even be schizoaffective. As I always put it, it feels like someone is giving me the world’s worst case of acupuncture, in my head and sometimes elsewhere, driving me to (understandable) distraction.
    As for duration, I’d say my hypomanias come a few times a year for a few days each time. The depressions used to come far more often, but on my new medicine I am far more stable.

  • Jill

    I’m not manic whatsoever (in fact the last doctor I went to diagnosed me having major depressive disorder) I’m curious though as to this doctor I’m going to now what my diagnosis is, I’ll have to ask him next time I go.
    My fiance will notice if I do wierd things that aren’t like me (staying up on the computer when we should be sleeping, or taking a shower at really wierd times of the morning…say 4 am)and when I do things like that it scares him, so I just don’t do things because it really is stupid and I have no reason to do them.
    This happened more when I had uncontrollable anxiety though and just felt the physical need to keep moving around, I couldn’t relax. I don’t feel like that anymore and haven’t felt that way in a LONG time. :)

  • JLLB

    I really fought the diagnosis the first time I heard it. Depression is less “stigmatized” (or so I thought). I have dealt with it before and had such long periods of feeling fine that it seemed like it was driven more by events in my life than any chemical and brain issues. I’m not sick; this is just how I react to tough times. But bipolar? Nobody can “get better” from that. I can’t be bipolar.
    Nobody brought it up again for a long time. Once it was better explained to me WHY I carried that diagnosis, I was more willing to accept it. Like Terese said, it often feels like I’m joining the real world because my behavior seems just like everyone else, not out of control – at least to me and frankly those in my world. But my depression is so severe that my symptoms are only recognizable to my psychologist. I also have the pressured and constant, quick speaking. I will always have some part of my body in motion. Once I decided that I that I would get a more advance degree and I spent hours and hours researching this. It is an impossible goal, but I had myself convinced that I could do this and could return to the workforce immediately. It was so far beyond reality that I look back and wonder what I was thinking!
    To me, it feels like I’m simply out the depths of my depression. Fortunately I know my my psychologist so well that she can tell when I’ve entered the “ups” of my illness.
    Once again, Terese, I feel like we are kindred spirits. Thanks for your video!

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  • delta6

    This girl had kids knowing she was bi-polar. So she put her family through hell with her mental disorder because of her selfishness. I have no sympathy for her at all. You can tell she is strange by the way she talks. And she seems to chew her words as though she has a speech impediment. Her kids will have a troubled life because of her – Women who have mental problems should not have families.

  • Kevin

    Seems clear you are moving through a major breakthrough………..
    Mood disorder nos v Bipolar nos———–your “hypomania” seems anxiety driven rather than mood swings—you swing to barely “okay”..
    The post above this one is an example of how not to be for any reason, at any time, or anyway. That type of nastiness is malignant. It violates all natural law for civility as a minimum acceptable standard of behavior. Point is: the writer had no right to fire venom as she did. It isn’t to happen. I believe there is agreement around the table on this one. Yes ?

  • barb quester

    as i read your posts on bipolar, i learn so much. i often asked my therapist if i was bipolar and she says no. i guess that is a relief. i guess for me, having CFS, it is more a ‘crash and burn’ when i hit the wall of exhaustion as opposed to having enough energy to get the lawn mowed and the dishes washed. sometimes though when the depression and anxiety comes (i wake up anxious every day — i think from the tension between my parents nearly every day when i was a kid), i am glad for my support system. the lines are so fine between the symptoms of depression and CFS (i.e., exhaustion, malaise, loss of appetite, etc) that it’s sometimes hard to know which is which.
    nonetheless, i learn so much from you every day. thank you, again. barb

  • joule

    I completely agree with Kevin. I am awe-struck at your courage to share the most personal stories of yourself and the struggle of life.
    Your blog makes me feel not so alone in my struggle, and it’s full of great tips and uplifting quotes, etc.
    Thank You Therese.

  • Nature Girl

    Delta6….what ignorance…you are the reason people don’t say that they have a mental disorder. There is nothing wrong with having children if you are mentally ill. Those with mental illness has as much love to give a child as anyone else. For me my children are loved and are aware that mom is ill but it does not get in the way of their life. My husband and i make it a point to let them know that they will always be taken cared of. They see me sometimes when I am not doing well and they understand, because they have been educated (as much as a 7 and 9 year old can be) about what is happening, and they can always talk to me or dad when they have a question. You have to get down to their level when you need to communicate with them about your mental illness. They just want to know that they are ok and that no one will die because of the mental illness. So Delta6, I hope you never have the good fortune of having any mental illness if you are going to have children. By the way sometimes you mental illness doesn’t show up until after you have children. So good luck to you and your perfect future life.

  • Monica

    I really appreciate your description of hypomania here. I agree that the more widely known symptoms of mania are different from those of us who have hypomanias – and they can still vary from one person to another. I think you bring up here (or in another blog) that the diagnosis can be helpful since many of us with hypomanias often only seek professional help with the depressions but SSRIs can push us into a hypomania. I look forward to hearing more about how you navigate the thin strip between wellness and hypomania. For me, there is hardly a difference. Thank you for sharing. depression and faith

  • Catherine Von Selm

    I would like to know your credentials
    Labeling someone Bipolar — smacks of mind control — who are you to determine NORMAL
    I suspect you are right in there w the over issing of meds to control anxiety
    i f humans were trained to handle stress well– the Quacks like you and the MDs — and the pharmaceuticals would be out of business.
    \You are a disgustin g cancer on the face of science|
    Shame on you — you are a leperous tumor…

  • alone with depression

    Thank you for your blog. You really do hit the nail on the head many times for me. Ok, here is my stupid story. This holiday weekend, I had one friend call me. She is th only one who calls me. Not to get together either. Otherwise I have been alone all weekend. It makes me really sad. I’ve tried AA but never was able to reach out to anyone and actually make a friend. I always feel like I am intruding on people. I know it’s my low self esteem. What do you do when you don’t have friends? Or family? Or a husband who is emotionally available? My only sister hates my guts and my Mom died last year. Sounds all very dismal, huh? But I would like to know what to do when the friends you made and lost because of being mentally ill leave you, how do you make new ones?

  • Carolyn Johnson

    Thank you for your help in understanding hypomania, and I am sure I have it too. I have been diagnosed with chronic depression, and I have high energy times, and times I talk to fast, or times I am suicidal, and I don’t always understand why my meds are working.
    I will check with my doctor, and be honest with her, but thank you for your writings on bipolar as I am a provider for chemically dependent people who have dual disorders.

  • sbayphilly

    My mom lived all her life with diagnoised Bipolar being treated with all manner of things from shock treatments to Lithium. She was a very intelligent, well educated and extremely kind and sensitive woman who never gave up. She taught me the meaning of courage. As medical knowledge of other disorders progresses I tend to beleive she was misdiagnoised. I have been diagnoised as an adult with ADD as has one of my daughters. At least one other may alsohave been born with this double edged sword. I think my mom was blessed and cursed with this also. ADD and ADHD is manifested slightly different from person to person and with a much different set of symptoms in women than in men.I struggle daily with symptoms that can make me brilliant and inept all within a 24 hour period.Remembering her courage and resolve gets me thru alot of the time. Sometimes medicine helps but knowledge of why, has been far more helpful.

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  • Inquisitive One

    I really appreciate sbayphilly’s comments as well as the struggles she and her mother have faced.
    As someone with ADD and depression, it would be helpful for me to understand how ADHD/ADD differs from mania. If this area has already been covered in some capacity, please share it. Thank you.

  • Joan Breining

    I thank you for being so open about your personal issue. I think you are very fortunate to have such a wonderful friend who you can trust in. I was diagnosed by a ‘professional’ after 30 seconds of observation outside his office. My grandmother was dying and my marriage was coming to an end. I went on Lithium for 22 years. I eventually discovered through my general practitioner that I am not bipolar. I curse the man because he never told me to stay out of the sun. I have a permanent red bib. He told me things to eat and avoid. He was wrong! My sister finally sent me information out of a medical book which sent me to another Dr. I felt I had my life back. Five years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment, it was suggested I take Effexor. At my 5 yr checkup, I asked if I could stay on the Effexor. It has been a God-send.
    I have had professional jobs since the age of 20. I am now 63. I still work and am able to find the time to help others get on the right track. Two years ago I helped my niece get her mother professional help. I was in denial for 5 years and finally saw ‘the light’. I haven’t seen my sister in over 18 months because she is still upset with what I did for her. I can live with that because I know she is safe. I now can look back at my mother’s, her mother’s, and my other sister’s past behavior and understand where it was coming from and leading to. My other sister is in denial, as well as her husband and 2 daughters.
    I now have a much stronger bond with my daughter and granddaughter. We talk about what goes on in our lives. We have a better understanding of my mother and sisters. The past episodes have helped us find out who we are and what we need to be ‘free’ in a way many others cannot because they keep their mental issues locked up in a ‘box in the basement’ of their lives.
    The comments that appear negative to me remind me of my sisters. They are in denial and living with a secret. A situation that will only cause more illness: physically. Their children and grandchildren will carry ‘the cross’ until the ‘chain’ can be broken.

  • Tom Stern

    You are an inspiration to me. I suffer from ADHD, depression, BiPolar 2 and probably a host of acronyms that haven’t been invented yet. I also feel the need to connect with others through writing by creating a positive message. I too believe humor is important in recovery
    and have tried to laugh as much as possible in my 21+ years of sobriety. To learn more about my work please go to my site During my manic phase I did a nationally syndicated radio show,comicstrip,blog on Fast Company and Huffington Post, wrote a book based on the strip, won an academy award for writing a half hour animated short and did public speaking-YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
    Now I’ve slowed down, but still like to give talks and write occasionally. I feel like reading your blog is a part of the new and more grounded me.
    I’d love to give you a signed copy of my book, ” CEO DAD- How To Avoid Getting Fired By Your Family” with a fantastic forward by Stephen Covey, just let me know where to send it. My email address is

  • David Monroe

    Asking for credentials is a worthy topic. I agree that many people and corporations benefit by assisting the Mentally Ill. Your assertion that
    “if humans were trained to handle to handle stress well–the Quacks like you and the MDs — and the pharmacueticals would be out of business” is simply ignorant. I am simply a consumer, and would like to share my perspective. Without the insulin my body needs to function, i.e. process sugars and carbohydrates, my life span would have ended some 25 years ago. Thank you Dr. Lilly. Some forms of mental illness are also chronic, just like Diabetes. Without medicines to alter my Brain chemistry, or with insulin my body chemistry, I simply cannot function efficiently enough to achieve my daily goals, or to interact with others in an effective way. These hampered interactions are not defined by me, my psychiatrist or psychologist, but by society as a whole. Drop your anger and fear so you can get on with your life.

  • lostgirl

    I think this an important topic. Hypnomania is not problematic for all people. I am bipolar I and experience both hypomania and full blown out psychotic mania. We don’t even treat my mania as illness though I usually clearly match the diagnostic criteria for hypomania. For me, it’s a productive time where I feel better and despite it being more then normal people would experience, it has never caused any harm to my life. I have a cleaner house, get more writing done, am up early for my kids, etc. Hypomanic does not always have to mean “sick” or “ill” even when one meets the full criteria.

  • Maryann

    Thank You. For all those that need to be diagnosed you gave a wonderful presentation.

  • Andi

    WHat do I do when I believe my best friend is exhibiting signs of mania? We used to be very close and had a intimate friendship where I thought I could tell her anything and vice versa. Since the onset of this in her life, I have noticed that my opinions seem to only aggitate her and push her farther away from me. Obviously this is the opposite reaction I had hoped for. She is making choices she would have not made before and spending time with people she would not have spent time with before. Almost like she is throwing in my face, “I don’t need you anymore”. Maybe I went too far when I told her my thoughts but I was basing my comfort level with her on the person I used to know. I don’t know this person. I still, however care very much what happens to her and pray that we are able to rebuild our friendship. So, do I just step back and let her come to me (which is what I’ve been doing lately), or do I try to be the friend to her I used to even though I don’t believe my comments would be well received and would probably be viewed as judging.
    Any comments would be so appreciated.

  • Leddie

    I have had this condition most of my life,without knowing it.I was in my twenties,the first time,it was post pardum depression,or so I thought.You see I didn’t get over it,got worse every year there after.I got diagnosed years ago and I;m on medication.I don’t ever want that roller coaster again of bipolar changes,I’m better for it.Please get diagnosed if you think you have it,there is help out there.

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  • darcy

    Thanks so much for putting this out there for us who think we are just literally losing our minds. I live in a small town where people still stereotype and aren’t very open minded about mental health issues. My symptoms sound very similar to what you experience but I can never seem to find the right kind of help because of where I live and the fact that my health insurance doesn’t cover anything to do with mental health. I have been diagnosed with chronic depression for more than half of my life now, but I believe that I am bipolar and it runs rampid in my family, even though, they won’t admit it. I take a hefty dose of Prozac but still feel suicidal and useless way more often than I think I should. Any recommendations? I am about at the end of my rope and nobody understands. It is very frustrating to feel all alone. I appreciate your openness on the subject. Thanks

  • james

    been there done that-been through 3 hospitals in my life for mania. its not fun. it destroys your life and falling down is not pleasant.
    i have been on all sorts of meds from litium to abilify now i am on kloplin prn.
    if you need help get it -dont let it destroy your life.

  • Lorri

    This is for Darcy . . . Darcy, I was put on several different anti-depressants (first with my family physician) and when he gave me an anti-psychotic to supplement the mania, I was horrified. I didn’t take it. Wished I had now! I went to another physician, and he tried different anti-depressants, but it wasn’t until I took the same anti-psychotic (Zyprexa) that I really found relief. I also try to keep my diet healthy, exercise a lot and try to get out in the sunshine at least 30 minutes a day. I switched to Seroquel over a year ago from the Zyprexa due to side effects my doc wasn’t crazy about, and it seems to really help. I laugh now because I could have alleviated my episodes if only I had listened. I had prayed to God all along, but I failed to listen to His solution. We shouldn’t let stigma’s cause us a great quality of life.

  • Shelley

    Thank you so much again for sharing your story. I have been diagnosed with Chronic depression with episodes of major depression. I could fit the discription of Bi-polar II with what you have said.
    I talk fast, am more social, agree to volunteer for everything, and start large projects I think I can finish. It last s only for a few days. Interestingly, my “mini” manic phases occur just before a big major depressive episode. My husband (and best friend)noticed it first and would ask me how I felt when he saw my behavior change like that. This frightens both of us knowing what could happen if it really is a manic phase. We do the best we can one way or the other. This is why it is so important to pay attention to your behavior and your body to alert you about the changes before it becomes out of control.
    For Darcy,
    I too live in a small town where there is a stigma about mental illness. But at some point I realized it was important to allow people to know about my illness. Opening up like that, I found many other people in the same situation I was in, but afraid to talk about it. You are not alone.
    Also, maybe you need to change meds if the Prozac isn’t helping you enough. My prayers will be with you that you find the help and comfort you need.

  • Lucy

    Hello my name is Lucyister takes medication for also antidrepression and she is also suicidle too i found a few month back too.I was reading yall stories. I have learn too i know what loneliness does to yall. I just resently stop working,i dont drive at all,and when my kids go to school, i feel real lonesome too.I resently got close to God,join a group of women bible study.I started praying and reading the bible daily. I feel deeply that God heard me and one day the next my neighbor we started talking about Jesus Christ about being save and i felt the Holy Spirit in me.It felt good i feel im walking with GOD now im not lonely anymore.Now i have met good christian friends and i learn that we have alot in common.God does hear us when we call on him, just have faith and believe in him. He been answersing my prayers now and im learning to walk with him spreading her word. I will pray for yall Lorri, James,Darcy,Shelly. Just pray to him to hear your cry have faith in him,he will hear you.

  • http://no Catherine Von Selm

    kwajdfl;kawhf w;


    hi manic i need to introduce with you.



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