Bipolar Disorder: Christmas & Hypomania

Song of the Day: Seven Devils by Florence & the Machine.

(Photo Credit: available under a Creative Commons Licence).

Christmas. A time of year wehere I become hypomanic during the build-up and then depressed Christmas week and into January. This has been like clockwork for the last 6 or more years. Think the pre-Christmas hypomania is setting in already.

My head is so spinny today, with excitable thoughts racing around. I feel energy pouring out of every cell in my body. Noticed my speech has been much quicker too. I feel an intense drive to say things as soon as they enter my head- it’s practically a compulsion: I feel I absolutely have to get the thoughts out of my mouth or my head will explode! There is no sense of choice. The early Christmas decorations in the city appear so vivid and bright with their twinkly lights. I am easily hypnotised and distracted. Everything feels so much more exciting today!

It’s my birthday on the 15th of November too, which brings extra cash. This I love, but I always get extra hyper with more cash. I never save it- I have very good intentions to, but always get so impulsive in the city and excited by buying things; it’s so hard to resist. Even when I need to buy things like shoes or a new coat, I end up buying other things I don’t need. It’s like the sensible shopping can trigger the less-sensible shopping!

I really wonder if I should go back on Lithium to calm these hyper periods. I just hate going to the psychiatrist with a passion! Lamotrigine has been brilliant at preventing and easing the depressive episodes, but I know it isn’t used to prevent hypomania. I thought I’d love still being hypomanic, without such harsh depressions, but it almost always gets me into trouble: I’ll say something stupid which causes lots of friction with friends and colleagues, I’ll be overly “helpful” ie. sticking my nose in where it isn’t wanted, over-gossipy, irritable to the point of snapping, even raging at others. I have also been aggressive a couple of times in the past. This is extremely against my character and I still feel intense guilt and shame about the two incidents, one of which cost me a good job. So all in all hypomania is not worth the trouble and the main consequence is broken relationships.

Think I need to stay as relaxed as possible over the next week or two, and stay away from too much stimulation, so less TV/internet/shopping/socializing in city etc. No crowded, noisy places that can make me even more excitable.

Not many people with bipolar seem to talk about their hypomanic experiences, as far as I can find on the internet. It would be good to hear about other people’s episodes, their triggers and symptoms. I only ever seem to read about full-blown mania, with delusions and thousands of pounds-worth of debt. I’ve never been worse than £1700 of debt, and that was when a student, so not out of the ordinary. Spending was definitely a big issue at uni. Suddenly you have a couple of thousand in the bank from your student loan and it all gets a bit exciting! Flirting and getting it on with guys was a major issue then too. I hurt a lot of guy’s feelings back then- when I wanted one night stands and the guy wanted a relationship. See it isn’t always the guys who are heartless! I am so so sorry that I hurt those people.

My hypomanic periods now seem to be characterised by intense positive energy, accompanied by feeling that I am special in some way, that I have spiritual powers that can heal or something. Ha ha, that sounds so crazy now, but I don’t think it’s delusional because I’m aware enough that it sounds silly, so have never told anyone else about it whilst feeling this way. I still have some inhibitions left- but not many! Uninhibited is a good word to describe my hypomania actually. My sense of self-importance becomes very high too, like everybody else is wrong and I am most definitely right!! My opinion counts the most! Woe betide anyone who disagrees!

Anyway, strategy for calming down over the next week:

Lots of:

Reading, writing, quiet, dog walks, yoga, meditation, baths, quiet, a bit of cleaning, listening to calm music and more quiet. At work I need to make sure I don’t become involved in any dramas and keep to myself a bit more.

So I’m off to catch up on X Factor & Strictly….(totally love Janet Devlin, Mischa B-despite the bullying affair, Little Mix and cute Marcus).


4 thoughts on “Bipolar Disorder: Christmas & Hypomania

  1. Hannah

    Hypomania in the build up to Christmas – I can usually tick that box… Hasn’t happened yet, but it will… Then big drop when it actually gets to Christmas Day? Yup…! You seem to have it pretty well thought out tho with techniques to stop it escalating, & you’ve recognised it, which is really important.

    And – X Factor – WHAT HAPPENED TONIGHT?!?!?!


  2. Sandy Sue

    All of this is very familiar and well written.
    Compulsive spending is also one of my hypomanic traits. I need to drive more. I don’t know if its a fight or flight response to just get out of town, or if its the actual feeling of freedom. Probably both. I think I act a little drunk–talk too loud, laugh too much, say things that shouldn’t be said, move faster.

    The most important thing for me is to stay aware. I know I’m prone to spending too much, so I don’t go shopping when I’m hypo. I know my mouth gets me in trouble, so I keep quiet.

    And I have trouble around Christmas, too. I told my family and friends that I was done giving gifts, that the pressure and expense was just too much. I also said I could only attend one group gathering, which is a huge change for me, but necessary, I think.

  3. rachelmiller1511 Post author

    Thanks Sandy Sue. I also have that acting drunk behaviour- get a bit giddy and silly. Wish I had the self control to not go shopping when I’m hyper!

    I like the idea of not giving gifts at Christmas, as often the gift-shopping is what gets me more hyper and puts me in a more vulnerable position. Maybe I could do it online this year- hadn’t thought of that!

  4. Pingback: Crazy, Hypomanic Birthday-Shopping!!!! | My Bipolar Life

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