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Hypomania: Bipolar Lite

There was an article about me in the New York Times yesterday. It’s on the front page of the Business section: Just Manic Enough: Seeking the Perfect Entrepreneur.

I am not actually mentioned in the article. It’s about a brilliant young entrepreneur named Seth Priesbatsch. But it might as well be about me and my hypomania.

” “Elevated” hardly describes this guy. To keep the pace of his thoughts and conversations at manageable levels, he runs on a track every morning until he literally collapses. He can work 96 hours in a row. He plans to live in his office…He does not socialize. He no longer reads books, nor does he watch TV or movies. He works from 8 am until 10 pm, seven days a week.”

Seth, I love you, man!

I am not quite as bad as Seth, today. He is 21-years-old and I am 51 (which is the new 31.) But I am not far behind. Yes, I exercise just about everyday until I foam at the mouth. I am at my computer, writing, by 6:30 am every morning – sometimes much earlier. One of the best things about my daughter going away to college is that I can stay at the office as late as I want – especially on Friday nights. Most of my socializing is done at 12-Step meetings. I belong to a book club but don’t read books – just shorter newspaper and magazine articles.

I try to watch television, I really do. I have had Netflix for months and have watched three movies – one about newsman Edward R. Murrow, another about author Truman Capote ¬†and finally, a flick about covert U.S. funding of the mujahidin in the late 1970’s. Sometime in the next few weeks I will make time to watch a documentary about Al Jazeera! Not exactly the Lifetime channel.

Like Seth, I am all work – mine is journalism – all the time. My mind races. Sometimes I have really good ideas and I cannot stop thinking or talking about them. I go to extremes to make sure I learn and investigate as much as I can. When I am on a story, I mean really “on” a story, I am on it like a bad rash.

Last week during confrontational interview with a high ranking official at a public agency I turned to look at others in the room – one woman had pushed herself deep into her chair and was looking at me with raised eyebrows. Another guy looked at me as though studying the proposed trajectories of a hurricane on The Weather Channel.

That’s hypomania. It’s frog’s hair from flat out bipolar disorder I. Here is the difference from an expert quoted in the article:

“It’s about degrees,” says John D. Gartner, a psychologist and author of “The Hypomanic Edge.” “If you’re manic you think you are Jesus. If you’re hypomanic, you think you are God’s gift to technology investing (Seth’s obsession.)”

I am in good company. Teddy Roosevelt, George Patton, Henry Ford and Steve Jobs. For me, I did not know I had hypomania. Most folks with bipolar disorder, either I or II, don’t recognize it in themselves because that is our normal. Thankfully, I had a therapist and nurse-practitioner who recognized it. I now take a mood stabilizer, which was really weird at first because I felt level – that’s the only way I can describe it.

I worried when I began the medication that I would not be as creative or productive. That has not been my experience. Actually, I can do more. It is easier for me to focus and organize my thoughts. I recognize my hypomania now. I still love being manic but I know it is not healthy or safe. Life is good.

My brain now obeys the laws of gravity.

Hypomania: Bipolar Lite

Christine Stapleton

Christine Stapleton has been a journalist for 35 years. She is now an investigative reporter for The Palm Beach Post. In 2006, began writing a blog for PsychCentral called Depression on My Mind. Her latest blog, Addiction Matters, draws on her 19 years of sobriety and her coverage of the drug treatment industry in South Florida.


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APA Reference
Stapleton, C. (2010). Hypomania: Bipolar Lite. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 20, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/depression/2010/09/hypomania-bipolar-lite/

 

Last updated: 20 Sep 2010
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Sep 2010
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.