The changes that occur when your mood is elevated (and when becoming elevated) happen in three related areas – in your thoughts, your feelings and your actions. When your mood is elevated, your activity in these three areas can be very uncharacteristic of how you are when you are well (at your baseline/stable mood). Sometimes individuals who experience mania may report having hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that no one else can see or hear), or delusions (interpreting things in the world differently from ‘normal’ people).
These changes might occur gradually (building up a little bit at a time), or may be more sudden (out of no where). For some they tend to occur following a depressive episode.
An elevated mood can be a seductive thing, with feelings of being overly self-confident and feeling elated. However, the fallout from an episode of mania can have devastating consequences. Such as realizing that you blew your whole life savings, noticing that you maxed out all your credit cards, and for women: finding out that you are pregnant or that you contracted an STD due to hypersexuality which tends to happen during manic/hypomanic episodes.
In mania and hypomania, there is a cycle of energy that can become more and more severe as your mood increases.
You can find yourself pursuing more and more projects and ideas. However, none of these projects usually get completed. the energy levels in a manic/hypomanic episode are such that it can be hard to stay focused on one task for any period of time. You might also find that you tend to do more things you find enjoyable, such as shopping, gambling, or socializing. Doing more things increases the energy and fuels the cycle to spiral up even further.
Within this cycle, there are a number of factors at play that interact with each other, and the things happening in your life, to feed the elevated mood cycle. These relate again to three key parts of your experience:
- How you think
- How you feel
- How you act
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.