Stability was a welcome relief after years of manic and depressive episodes. But I missed the euphoria of hypomania, so I had to find safer ways for that adrenaline buzz.
“High” of Hypomania
The state of hypomania is alluring, so much so that it’s a common reason we go off of our medication. Everything feels wonderful during this phase of the illness. We seem to go about our day without a care in the world, and our daily tasks are accomplished with ease. Unfortunately, for most people, hypomania only lasts for a while before mania sets in.
I used to love the state of
hypomania. It seemed like I got more attention from men when I was hypomanic. I
smiled more. People listened to what I had to say. I was on top of the world, and
no one could hurt me with their words or actions. It seemed like I was oblivious
to the challenges most people had on a day-to-day basis.
After 10 years of ups and
downs, I finally became stable. But I knew I would have to find other ways to get
to that place and feeling again—the adrenaline rush of hypomania. I missed that
sense of euphoria.
For quite a few years, I attended singles dances. Before I became stable, dancing had allowed me to burn off the excess energy I had when hypomanic. I forgot about all my problems and just focused on my steps and the music. And the attention I received when a man asked me to dance was an added bonus. I felt appreciated and cared for when in the arms of another on the dance floor. I continued to go to these dances when I became stable, and I was still able to enjoy that same rush.
Intimacy with a Long-Term Partner
A more obvious way to get
an adrenaline rush is, of course, in the bedroom. And I don’t mean casual hookups
with multiple partners. A few years ago, I found someone that I was really compatible
with, and I think part of what gives me that rush is that my partner is completely
focused on me. I am the star, the center of attention. During that time, I am in
a state of euphoria, and nothing and no one can bring me down from the high that
I am experiencing.
I want to reiterate—I am NOT
endorsing casual hookups. I am talking about being with the same person on a long-term
A less obvious way to find
an adrenaline rush, for me at least, is playing card games. I have always loved
playing cards. In my family of origin, it was a way of relaxing together. A few
years ago, I discovered the game Texas hold ’em poker. Learning the game was easy;
mastering it hard. There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to play the same hand,
depending on how many chips I have, how many people are in the hand, and my position
at the table. The excitement I feel when I am in a hand gets my heart racing. Not
knowing if the right cards will be turned over or if I will have the winning hand
gives me an adrenaline rush similar to hypomania. Playing a card game may not work
for everyone, but it works for me.
Playing with My Grandchild
Recently, I became a grandmother.
My grandson is 21 months old now. He is a bundle of energy. While playing with him,
I forget about my bills, my loneliness, and my job. I am completely immersed in
his activity. And I am starting him young—we dance to his favorite tunes.
It may seem silly to some
that I get an adrenaline rush from playing with him, but anything that allows me
to forget about my problems for a little while gives me that high feeling of hypomania.
You see, when we are in a state of hypomania, it seems as if we have no problems.
Life is easy.
Writing is the fifth way that
I experience a healthy rush while staying on my medication. When I am “in the zone”
and working on a book or short story, I am completely relaxed. My mind is immersed
in the words on the page. I am able to block out all distractions and focus entirely
on whatever I am writing about. Although this doesn’t give me the euphoria that
dancing or playing poker does, as I said before, when I am completely relaxed and
wholly engaged in an activity, I forget all about my problems and life is wonderful.
Housework and laundry can wait. I have more important things to accomplish.
Sometimes I have moments where I get a small adrenaline rush. For instance, a few weeks ago, I donated $500.00 worth of items to a local (Canadian) nonprofit called 310-COPE. It’s a distress line people can call to talk to a trained social worker when they are experiencing a crisis. This service has helped me many times. They also have three beds that people can stay in for a few nights if they need to. My daughter and I enjoyed buying toiletries and other items for people who use their services. It makes me feel good to be able to donate to the charity that has helped me in so many ways in the past. (And, yes, I got a little adrenaline rush when making these purchases.)
I challenge you to find ways
to have that euphoric feeling without going off your medication. It really will
change your life and make you want to stay medication-compliant when you find out
there are natural ways to get the adrenaline rush you are craving.
When Lynn Rae was 39 years old two psychiatrists told her that she would NEVER work full time again. She had accepted the diagnosis of bipolar disorder but would never accept the prognosis. After working part time at several different jobs between episodes of depression & mania Lynn was finally able to work full time and has been since 2009. She has now enjoyed over 10 years of good health. Lynn Rae can guide you in making those important decisions in your life surrounding Family, Friends, Fun, Fitness, Fulfillment, Finances & Faith through her Keynote “The Seven F’s to Your Fantastic Future.” She has written 3 books and self-published one of them which are available for sale on Amazon. Lynn received the Marilyn Nearing Award from York Support Services Network for the contribution she was making as a volunteer in the mental health field. Lynn Rae has her own business, GTA Office Services , in which administrative tasks are done virtually for her various clients. She makes her own home in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.
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