This post has been a long time coming. Over the past few weeks, my wife and me managed to find a few opportunities to explore how some of her depression (? bipolar disorder type II – ambivalence continues) mood states look like. This set a tone of self awareness that has been incredibly helpful. We even worked on together a draft symptom list of how depressed mood looks / feels like to her, like I started for anxiety.
All the books I’ve recently reviewed say that hypomania mood, particularly the milder spectrum, is the hardest for sufferers to see themselves. This makes sense. When a person finally moves out of th unpleasantness of anxiety / depression, they are not likely to notice feeling good (really good), as being a problem. What’s wrong with feeling good?!%?! I have seen many ‘self-aware’ bloggers write excellent accounts of this difficult to describe mood state.
The problem for my wife, is that there is there is a narrow space on her mood spectrum before feeling good slips into the ‘spaciness’ & ‘floating’ of hypomania, and not much further before it becomes more severe and unpleasant (dysphoric mania – to be explored separately, because it’s so different).
[Just thinking about this stuff to write it down, is making me stressed and causing my reflux to worsen]
Below I have tried to describe what my wife’s hypomania looks like to me. Everyone is different. Eventually, I will invite her to review it (scary – shit shit shit) and contribute her perspective. I will try place descriptions of the more severe spectrum at the end of each category.
A couple final introductory remarks. When considering many of these ‘symptoms’ individually, it’s common to think: “What’s wrong with that!” or “We all have moments like that”. I have discovered that when many of these things happen together, it often seems to progress into a spiralling negative shift in mood, and the inevitable fall after the high. Also, some of these signs could be considered coming from concurrent ADHD, but often times it’s just the mood disorder. Definitely need for experienced specialist to differentiate, to guide treatment plan.
Using the system described in Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, here is the list I came up with for my wife, for hypomania state:
Hypomania – 1st draft
Do you think I’m hypomanic! (defensively/angrily)
Tension with partner over family schedule and car sharing
Thinking partner is criticizing, controlling or boring (ouch! 😉 )
Disorganised and neglect of home responsibilities
What partner does:
Rapid mood fluctuations, to angry / teary unexpectly
Occasionally drinking a little too much alcohol
Breaks in usual exercise, learning, prayer routine
Trouble focussing on family schedule, meals, bedtime etc
Spending behaviour (I am capable of many of these):