Hypomania and Physical Burnout

Oftentimes for me, having a revved up mind can lead to having a worn-out body. After all, jumping rapidly from a severely depressed, sedentary state into one of intense energy and hypomania has typically meant going from walking zero miles a week to walking 20 miles a week (with no real form of titration).

It isn’t uncommon for people to hit the gym harder than usual when hypomanic, and since we can’t seem to feel the strain or pain associated with working out we assume it isn’t there.

Fast forward a few days or weeks or months and what you’ve got is a total physical burnout.

It can be very difficult to rest (or sit still at all) when in the middle of a hypomanic state. Resting can feel uncomfortable, and for me it is a sure-fire way for negative thoughts to creep back into my life, something that keeping myself extremely busy tends to help block out.

Well, Saturday (in the wee hours of the morning) I went to the emergency room. Though the pain I was feeling was  not a product of strenuous physical activity, I believe my hypomanic fast-paced attitude the last few weeks definitely contributed to my situation.

I have a pretty intense case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, something I normally regulate through what I’m eating and medication I take (errr, am supposed to take) several times a week. As I mentioned above, sometimes when my mind is revved up, I don’t pay enough attention to my body. Not only that, hypomania can often mask the physical pain that lets me gauge how well (or not) I am feeling due to IBS symptoms.

By the time I realized how severely my symptoms had gotten out of hand, I was in a hospital bed at 2 am loaded up on morphine after waking up an hour earlier at my apartment in so much pain I could barely speak or walk. It wasn’t until the doctor asked me how long the problem had been going on and I checked my notes (I keep notes for mood charting purposes on my physical and mental health) and I realized it had been escalating for three weeks and I hadn’t stopped to notice.

Ooops?

I was lucky that even though I was in intense pain, the problem wasn’t life-threatening. Still, as high as I was on morphine, all I wanted to do was kick myself for not taking time out sooner to pay attention to my own body.

Hypomania may make us feel invincible, but the truth of the matter is that we are not. Running our bodies into the ground is a sure-fire way to trigger depression, so taking a moment to rest a few times throughout the week can not only help maintain our physical health but may also help maintain hypomania longer by keeping physical triggers at bay!

I am still planning on going to Florida this week, I am just working hard to rest until then. I’ve already seen improvements in my physical health, and even though my mind keeps saying,

“Go, go, go! There is so much to do and so little time to do it in!”

I am taking my own advice and plopping myself down on the couch for as long as my brain will let me!

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2 responses to “Hypomania and Physical Burnout

  1. This is a good reminder to start journaling agin.

    Thank you!

  2. HHmmm…..I definitely need this reminder…..I have been getting around 5 hours sleep a night for weeks, when ‘normally’ I need around eight, and I really must stop. I’m still confused about the relationship between BPD and hypomania, but I do think it forms a part of my experience, I’m just not sure I understand how it ‘fits’ in to my diagnosis! I’m glad you took your own advice – I am horrendously bad at doing that 🙂

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