Hypomanic Menagerie

I’ve been having general symptoms of hypomania for the last week or so, insomnia, momentum, ideas, but my mood and energy both felt like they were in a normal/stable place. I wrote it off to a mini-episode, something I call a “point 5” (as in, it only registered as a .5 on my 0-5 mania rating scale), basically half a hypomanic episode.

Then yesterday, the hypomania broke through the flat dirt road of my stable mood and energy level, sprouting into a crazy tree of twirly branches and colorful birds.

I updated the blog. Read through 7 costuming books. Created 2 garment patterns. Spent a little time on online research. Then it was time for lunch.

I find myself constantly thinking of ways to describe what this feels like, when really I could just say,

“I find myself constantly thinking of ways to describe what this feels like”

Those moments of thinking long and hard about something are duplicated until there are 15 of those moments occurring at once, every once in a while I turn my attention to one of the topics to give a thumbs up or a thumbs down. I am the CEO sitting at the head of a round table of creatives busting their asses to make me happy.

And whenever this happens, I feel genuinely amazed. I mean, almost an awe. How did I ever live without this? Slow and inefficient? Having one idea at a time? Barely making a decision on my own?

(I can’t help but feel like anyone who scoffs at the idea of mania/hypomania addiction hasn’t experienced it, because when it happens, all other functioning feels insufficient.)

Meanwhile, all of this increased brain activity is coupled with a physical feeling in my chest. Something akin to eating a large bowl of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) at my favorite restaurant and feeling warm to my absolute core. It says (very much like the pho), “bring on the rain Seattle because I am warm, I can take it!

(If you haven’t had pho, I would highly recommend it, especially in cold weather!)

That warmth radiates from the hum of a chainsaw, the energy pulsing through that rotating chain just aching to fell some trees. To tackle an obstacle hundreds of feet high. If I listen hard I can hear the hum as it pulses to my fingertips. My nose. My toes.

Needless to say, it is quite nice. This is where things become confusing for those of us that have felt this. I couldn’t call this experience evil (at least, not at these levels), and it feels life-altering. Right, even. It is hard to understand that, though people abuse various substances to try to achieve something similar, we are given substances that tend to erase it. Very tricky, and -as I said, confusing for folks.

Why can’t I keep, “quite nice”?

Anyway, those 15 creatives sitting around my board room table can get cranky at the end of the day if I don’t feed them enough bagels and good quality coffee. They start to slack off and text everyone they know instead of working. Or work too hard until they become obsessed. Or put on a slide show that contains repeated images of different types of drawstrings.


I cried last night,

“Drawstrings! Drawstrings! Too many drawstrings!”

(I wish I was joking. If you want your boyfriend to think you are crazy, start ranting about drawstrings.)

Monkeys start jumping on the boardroom table. The copier breaks, blank paper shoots across the room.

By 9pm last night, my board room had become a menagerie. I wouldn’t exactly call it “quite nice” anymore. Maybe “not quite so nice”.

As I woke up this morning, the hypomania was just breaking through the flat dirt road of my stable mood and energy level, sprouting into a crazy tree of twirly branches and colorful birds.

A warmth begins. A chainsaw hums. And my group of creatives gather around the board room table, swept clean by the overnight crew.

6 responses to “Hypomanic Menagerie

  1. Hypomania (under control) – can be quite productive and it even amazes us. What do you think someone from the outside ‘normal’ would see? Someone quite amazing I would think. We are quite amazing people. As long as it’s not the irritable hypomania and we’re using it for ‘good’, I say go for it.

  2. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Good job, beautiful. There is a brief moment in the mania spectrum where it is productive, if only it would stay that way.

    • Sarah @ bi[polar] curious

      Unfortunately, things for me have had a way of going from productive to awry very quickly these days… as much as I’d like to believe otherwise. Thanks!

  3. Great way of describing hypomania. It’s a shame we can’t just have it at our command!

  4. Love your description! I would say in our society, hypomania is actually encouraged! Multi-taskers, always “nice” and ready to jump at a new project, willing to do other people’s jobs.

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