what Exactly IS the difference between Mania and Hypomania?

Mania or Hypomania?

That is the question.

Sometimes it is blaringly obvious which one we are experiencing.

Um yeah.


other times we have to once again flip through the pages of the rule books trying to find something that makes sense of our experience.

So where the hell is that dividing line between hypomania and mania?

That is funny that I used the word “line”.  Like Bipolar cares about the lines we try to draw.  Like Bipolar would do anything straight.

It’s like trying to measure a river with a ruler.

Bipolar is laughing and throwing Skittles at us.  Or scorpions.

Ya know.  It depends.

I lost the plot….okay… anyway

Why do we care where this “line” is?

Well because it is sort of the dividing factor for whether we get to be a Bipolar 1 or a Bipolar 2.  And lots of us really want to know the answer to that.

At least for awhile anyway.

So then the difference between mania and hypomania is a big deal right?  Too bad the DSM just kinda half asses this part. It seems to make the dividing line all about severity without much more guidance than that.

So it kinda depends what your Pdoc thinks….and what you think….and what you tell………uh huh yeah

Supposedly, part of considering severity is whether or not you retain your ability to function.

Now that is just lame because it is so subjective. What exactly is functioning? How exactly are we going to decide what is functioning and what isn’t? And can we measure it?

I mean it just can’t be that there is a hard fast line between functioning and not functioning.

It seems to me like it must be a more gradual decline kind of thing…..more like a long sliding board…not a magician’s box being cut in half…..

and at what point on the slide are you no longer considered “functioning”?

Is it really not until you fall off of the end?


Once again…

We are just jumping from one subjective stone to the next to the next to the next.

I don’t think there is a problem with that and I don’t know how it could be different.  These are not concrete things we are dealing with here.

These are the slippery, delusive tentacles of Bipolar.

I just wish there was more acknowledgment of this whole thing just being a tool, a guess, an attempt at figuring us out.

It is not like we have to jump aboard the Bipolar 1 ship or the Bipolar 2 ship and we have to be totally certain before we jump that is it the right ship and the ship is about to leave the dock and ahhhhhhhh

No.  It doesn’t matter.  The ship isn’t going to leave at all.  Ever.  But when first diagnosed it can feel like that.

Anyway, the functioning thing just doesn’t jive for me because while it sounds good on paper it doesn’t add up in real life.

Many of us keep on “functioning” right through some hefty mania.  Working jobs, participating in relationships, going to school, parenting, walking the dog….

ya know

that whole life thing.

And IF it is ONLY considered full blown mania if we are “unable to function” then lots of us have done some pretty outlandish shit while hypomanic.

Stuff that you are only supposed to do when you are fully manic.

Including experience psychosis.

Which is a no no.

You are not allowed to be psychotic during hypomania.

So if you have then you need to report to the principle’s office right now.

but what if you’re just tiptoeing into the psychosis spectrum?….like ……Wow, hmm yes I see that is one truly overvalued idea you have there….almost….eeeeee almost maybe I don’t know….a delusion?

Well then I guess just go sit in the hall.


So let’s see if we can get some of this straight…..

If you are functioning it is hypomania but if you have psychosis it is full fledged mania but you’re not supposed to function…. So if you are functioning it must be hypomania unless you are being super crazy and then they may send you back to mania but then if you are functioning too well it may be hypomania but then if you are mildly delusional it might be mania but if it isn’t keeping you out of work even if you are losing your shit it is probably just hypomania…..but it seems like you are getting prrrreeettttyyy worked up about undoing all your karmic wrongs…soooo….hmmmmm…..where should we put you…. oh just go back to mania….but you are actually functioning so well and achieving so much….so sure yeah be hypomanic….whatever….but then you go audibly mixed……

beeeeeeep …

GAME OVER…..its real mania now!…

oh sorry never mind that was an old DSM.  Now you ARE allowed to have “mixed features” during hypomania so go on back to hypomania. Sorry.

I guess we decide if we are functioning or not?

I don’t know.

Is it the Pdoc’s best guess?

And what if we are “high functioning”?

Do high functioners just not experience as much full blown mania. Or something?

I honestly don’t know.  I’ve ridden the “is it hypomania or mania” carousel quite a lot of times since my dx and I just don’t want to ride it anymore.

Let me off. I’m gonna puke.

On the street, I think we have our own casual idea of hypomania.  Or hypo as we usually say.  As in.. “I’m feeling a little hypo today.”…”I could use a little hypo right now”….

But does that mean we really are definitively hypomanic?

Oh no!

the ride up is starting again!

hold on….here we go……..

Is this hypomania or am I just hyper….do you think i am hypo or am I just………


shit man, I don’t know

Ask your Pdoc what the hard fast concrete rules for Happiness are.

I’m sure the normies need to know that too


Add Yours
  1. bpnurse

    Great post! You really get down to the nitty-gritty and I can tell you don’t accept the intellectual laziness of so many “pros”. Keep posting—you are AWESOME.


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