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Warning signs! Tips to keep things under control

C

Clearmind

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Va
Hi all!

I have bipolar 1 with psychotic features meaning I almost always enter psychosis with my mania.

Today I had some warning signs of mania. I felt like I kept having to push delusional thoughts out and distract myself from a background narrative. The tv seemed to have “extra” meaning or messages that I tried to ignore. The light seemed more intense and I definitely felt gittery with racing thoughts. I was able to slow down but it is definitely a warning and familiar feeling.

what helps you keep mania under control? I am on meds btw
 
G

Ginger Kitten

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Oct 2, 2020
Messages
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Location
Surrey, Uk
I think you need to speak to your psychiatrist or other mh professional; perhaps your medication needs to be 'tweaked'. You have insight and clearly know when you are having delusional thoughts (such as the TV having 'extra meaning or messages'). This is known as 'ideas of reference' and is a sign of incipient psychosis.

I don't think it's possible to 'push delusional thoughts out' (or away), as psychosis is part of an illness, not something you can stop with an effort of will. It is possible to reduce mania in its early stages (hypomania) by reducing stimulation, slowing down, gentle exercise, etc, but I get the feeling you are beyond the early stages. I am sorry to say so and I hope that has not worried you or hurt your feelings, but I do think you need to involve your doctor before things get any worse - especially given the history of your symptoms you've mentioned above.

If your best friend were telling you they knew the warning signs of mania shading into psychosis, and that they were currently experiencing them, what would you tell him or her? When you flip it like that, sometimes it's easier to be objective... I wish you well. Kind regards, GK.
 
C

Clearmind

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Va
I think you need to speak to your psychiatrist or other mh professional; perhaps your medication needs to be 'tweaked'. You have insight and clearly know when you are having delusional thoughts (such as the TV having 'extra meaning or messages'). This is known as 'ideas of reference' and is a sign of incipient psychosis.

I don't think it's possible to 'push delusional thoughts out' (or away), as psychosis is part of an illness, not something you can stop with an effort of will. It is possible to reduce mania in its early stages (hypomania) by reducing stimulation, slowing down, gentle exercise, etc, but I get the feeling you are beyond the early stages. I am sorry to say so and I hope that has not worried you or hurt your feelings, but I do think you need to involve your doctor before things get any worse - especially given the history of your symptoms you've mentioned above.

If your best friend were telling you they knew the warning signs of mania shading into psychosis, and that they were currently experiencing them, what would you tell him or her? When you flip it like that, sometimes it's easier to be objective... I wish you well. Kind regards, GK.
Thank you for your input! Yea.. I was afraid it was more along the lines of psychosis. I took measures to slow down and that helped. It just so frustrating because it seems like I can never quite catch the hypo mania stage. I wish I was more tuned in to those signs. I’ll reach out to my doctor. Maybe I just always think mania is the more intense signs like what I described. Ugh..man, any time I feel good or like “wow today has been a really great day” I always have to wonder is this a warning?

Do you have suggestions of how to see those early signs? Or what are some early hypomanic symptoms you see?

thx!
 
Kotter

Kotter

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Mar 7, 2021
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45
Location
USA
personally, my biggest sign is less need for sleep.
i know about feeling good at first, but for me, it always turns out ugly.
 
C

Clearmind

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Va
personally, my biggest sign is less need for sleep.
i know about feeling good at first, but for me, it always turns out ugly.
Sleep loss is definitely a big one!
 
G

Ginger Kitten

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Surrey, Uk
Hello Clearmind,

I wanted you to know I haven't forgotten you: yesterday was my first day back at work after an absence so things have been very busy for the last few days. I'm getting ready for work again this morning, so I will reply in more detail about early warning signs of hypomania at the weekend, if that's okay. Also, did you want me to say the methods I use to alleviate early symptoms? Or will that be too much information to take in all in one go? I will try to help if I can.

Kind regards, The Ginger Kitten.
 
C

Clearmind

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Va
Hello Clearmind,

I wanted you to know I haven't forgotten you: yesterday was my first day back at work after an absence so things have been very busy for the last few days. I'm getting ready for work again this morning, so I will reply in more detail about early warning signs of hypomania at the weekend, if that's okay. Also, did you want me to say the methods I use to alleviate early symptoms? Or will that be too much information to take in all in one go? I will try to help if I can.

Kind regards, The Ginger Kitten.
Aw thanks Ginger! Hope you are able to find some time to destress :)
Both would be helpful if you feel up to sharing.

Be well,
Clear mind
 
G

Ginger Kitten

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 2, 2020
Messages
96
Location
Surrey, Uk
Hello again, Clearmind. Apologies for the delay in replying: this is the first time I have been able to sit down to give your question some thought.

I once did a self-management course for bipolar disorder at my local Mental Health Trust (I live in the UK and NHS areas are split into 'Trusts'). Here is a list of symptoms taken from that course (I've edited it down):

Feelings or emotions:
Feeling more energetic/gregarious/very excited/grandiose/'driven'/irritable or angry/more confident/impatient/less inhibited

Thinking:
Speed of thinking increases
Racing thoughts
Thoughts jumping around
Grandiose thoughts
Thinking 'I am right'
Thinking becomes preoccupied ('bee in the bonnet')
Increased creative thought (writing poems, articles, posts, etc)
Senses sharper (lights brighter, sounds louder)

Behaviour:
Increased activities (including goal-directed activities)
Achieving more (increased productivity)
More social contact/socialising
'Pressure of speech' (urgent need to communicate)
Making more phone calls
Staying up later at night, waking earlier
Decreased need for sleep
Talking more quickly/loudly
Driving faster/more recklessly
Spending more money (even if you don't have it!)
Increased libido
Eating less

The manic drive propels you onwards, but the best thing to do once you identify the early warning signs (with me it's talking more, speeding up physically, staying up later, feeling elated, feeling slightly more irritable than usual, writing longer and longer posts, emails, etc) is to reduce stimulation and calm yourself. (For instance, I know someone who used to sit in a darkened room alone for a few hours, with gentle music playing in the background, as she started to the beginnings of hypomania. This wouldn't work for me but definitely did for her and prevented a 'full-blown episode' from taking hold.)

For me, the following things work:
Deliberately telling myself to slow down
Meditation
Breathing exercises
A nice long bath
Exercise - and lots of it! Walking (I recently walked for 1-1 1/2 hours every day for 3 days, and it calmed me down completely), cycling, yoga and swimming
Socialising a bit less and spending more time with my cat (therapeutic for me!)
Spending time with people I find calming and gentle (like my mother) and avoiding people I find annoying (as this only triggers more irritability).

I hope you will find some of this info useful, Clearmind. I have tried to be as comprehensive as possible, to pass on some of what I was taught, but please bear in mind that everyone is different, and not all of this will apply to you - indeed, it doesn't all apply to me.

How are you feeling now, btw? I hope much better. Kind regards, Ginger.
 

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