How do I know?
April 27, 2015 11:22 PM   Subscribe

I asked this question a handful of months ago. Now I need help figuring out when it's mania, and when it's confidence and feeling well and in a good mood.

I think this one started as confidence (I think) on Friday. Today (early Tuesday morning), I'm up to being wide awake at 2am, wanting to go clean out the closet, and under the desk, and reorganize the bookcase, and, and, and....

How do I know the difference between "I feel great, let's get this done" and the racing thoughts and wanting to do all the things right this very now? (Before you say it, I'm seeing my therapist at 10am, and will be asking her this exact same question.) I don't want to work myself into manic episodes....but I want to WORK. I feel confident when I work, and it puts me in a good mood. But then I start questioning myself, wondering if it's hypomania, or the beginning of a manic episode.

What's driving me the most crazy is the not knowing. I don't know how to tell if I'm just confident and feeling great, or going into mania. Help?
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If the only symptom is racing thoughts, I think it's just anxiety. If you were to actually get out of bed at 2 in the morning and go on a cleaning spree then that might be a different story.
posted by blackzinfandel at 12:03 AM on April 28, 2015

You're therapist can ask you specific questions about this and answer, shortly.

Have you heard of the vitamin L-Glutamine? I don't think it interacts with any medications (google to be sure!) but it is a supplement that helps you stay asleep. GMC version is pricey, Vitamin Shoppe is more affordable.

In general, creative people mostly feel motivation at night, but NO - you should not wake up at 2am and want to organize. It is natural sleep cycle to wake up briefly and then fall back asleep.

Supplements like Melatonin, Valerian Root, and L-Gutamine help you get a good night's rest, whether you wake up or not.

Talk to your care professionals about your specific concerns.
posted by jbenben at 12:39 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm what they call "emotionally labile" and can tip into hyper happy, but I've learned to spot it early and keep the reins of the horse tight, so to speak.

Basically I've noticed there's usually an inciting incident - a nice thing happens (I get flowers, say; or I have a positive thought about myself that really hits home for me.). Then I feel happy, and it's in my heart. It's peaceful with a lightness. I call that the healthy level of happiness.

What then seems to happen is that I get excited/anxious/scared about being happy, and so the feeling shoots from my heart to my head. The happy feeling turns into happy+a touch of anxiety, and then a couple of "now my life will be *perfect* from here on in!" type thoughts start to squeak in. Instead of feeling (in my body) that I am relaxed/contented/satisfied, or even a little bouncy/happy, I start to feel "all in my head" and as though there is a current of electricity running through me and convinced that I've finally reached where I need to be, and I can just keep it going by [cleaning, doing, arranging....].

That's when I say to my self: whoa. Slow down partner. It's great to be happy, just keep in mind that it doesn't mean anything more than this moment.

So I hate to say mindfulness but mindfulness really helps. The earlier I catch that first zing of happy/excited in my head, the more I am able to gently laugh at the tendency and just keep it calm happy instead.

So through mindfulness you could learn to tell the difference between
- relaxed
- contented / satisfied
- happy / warm fuzzy
- optimistic, "can-do" attitude
- confident
- energetic / bouncy
- excited / anticipating
- anxious-excited
- mentally excited ("all in your head")
- manic

because they are very different states of happiness / energeticness.

So I might still clean and do stuff, but I make sure to do it slowly, deliberately, mindfully and I don't let my thoughts speed faster than my actions. (The feeling of accelerating internal rpm is definitely a sign.) I try to keep the mind slow, the actions slow and my attention in my heart/body rather than in my head. Then rather than pushing myself, I work as long as make sense to do so, and then put away the task and go to sleep or finish it later or what have you. Like, I am in control here, not that the energy is in control of me.
posted by serenity soonish at 6:44 AM on April 28, 2015 [5 favorites]

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