Explains hypomania and mania, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.
Dealing with hypomania or mania can feel really difficult, but there are lots of things you can try to help manage your moods and look after your wellbeing.
Monitor your mood. It can be helpful to keep track of your moods over a period of time. You could try using a mood diary (there are many freely available, such as MoodPanda or, if your mania or hypomania is part of bipolar disorder, this one from Bipolar UK).
Understand your triggers. For example, if you often feel high after a late night, it can help to recognise these patterns. Then you can take action to avoid the trigger, or minimise its impact.
Learn your warning signs. You may start to notice that there is a pattern to how you feel before an episode. This could be:
Being aware that you are about to have a change in mood can help you make sure you have support systems in place and that you can focus on looking after yourself. Triggers and warning signs can be very personal, so it may take a little while to work out what yours are. It can also help to discuss any warning signs with family and friends, so they can help you.
"I believed that I was always right and everyone else was always wrong. I was bubbly and my confidence was really high. At work I would complete tasks simultaneously and felt that the work was way beneath me. I also started spending a lot and would spend almost all my wage."
You might need to try a few things to find out what works for you. For example:
You might also consider making a lasting power of attorney so that someone could help you manage your finances if you became unwell again. See our pages on lasting power of attorney for information on what this means and whether it might be right for you.
"I have to be careful how much social contact I have - too much can send me high. I have to start saying 'no' to demands."
Stick to a routine. Having a routine can help you feel calmer if your mood is high and can help with feeling more stable in general. Your routine could include:
Manage stress. Stress can trigger hypomanic or manic episodes. There are lots of things you can do to make sure you don't get stressed or look after yourself when you do encounter stress. See our pages on managing stress for more information.
Manage your finances. You can contact National Debtline for free, impartial financial advice. Also see our page on money and mental health for information on the relationship between money worries and mental health and our legal page on financial decisions and capacity for information on your rights.
Plan ahead for a crisis. When you're in the middle of a crisis it can be difficult to let others know what kind of help you would find most helpful, so it can be useful to make a crisis plan while you are well which sets out what you would like to happen and how you would like to be treated when you are unwell. See our pages on crisis services and planning for a crisis for more information.
"I have an alarm set on my phone so I take my meds at the same time every day."
Get enough sleep. For lots of people with hypomania or mania, disturbed sleep can be both a trigger and a symptom of episodes. Getting enough sleep can help you keep your mood stable or shorten an episode. See our pages on coping with sleep problems for more information.
Eat a healthy diet. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet can help you feel well, think clearly and calm your mood. See our pages on food and mood for more tips.
Exercise regularly. Exercise can help by using up energy when you're feeling high and releasing endorphins ('feel-good' chemicals in the brain) when you're feeling low. Gentle exercise, like yoga or swimming, can also help you relax and manage stress. See our pages on physical activity for more information.
"The trick for me is not to be seduced by the 'high' and to look after myself – get enough sleep, good nutrition."
It can help to have conversations with trusted friends or family about your condition, how it affects you and how they can help. For example:
"The hardest thing to explain is the racing thoughts when I'm manic. It's like I've got four brains and they're all on overdrive...it can be scary but also euphoric at the same time."
Making connections with people with similar or shared experiences can be really helpful. You could try talking to other people who have experienced hypomania or mania to share your feelings, experiences and ideas for looking after yourself. For example:
It can also be helpful to see if your local area has a recovery college. Recovery colleges offer courses about mental health and recovery in a supportive environment. You can find local providers on the Mind Recovery Net website.
And if you're seeking peer support on the internet, it's important to look after your online wellbeing. See our pages on keeping yourself safe online for more information.
This information was published in January 2020. We will revise it in 2023.
References and bibliography available on request.
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