BIPOLAR DISORDER MANIA 101: Do you know the difference between dysphoric and euphoric mania?

shopping cart mania 50

Julie’s cart during a manic shopping spree. She put ALL of it back when she realized she was manic. ARG!


MANIA 101: Here’s the basic info about bipolar disorder mania. 

Let’s start at the beginning.  There are two levels of mania: hypomania and full blown mania.

People with bipolar disorder II (two)  have hypomania only. People with bipolar disorder I (one)  have hyomania and the very dangerous and very life disrupting full blown mania. I have bipolar disorder two, but I’m one of the unfortunates- My type of hypomania is right on the verge of full blown mania. If I ever do move into full blown mania, I will then have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder one.  Fingers crossed that never happens!

Within these levels of hypomania and mania, there are two types of mania: Euphoric and Dysphoric mania. It’s simple to describe the difference between the two.


What are the signs and symptoms of euphoric mania?

Elips speech red 50uphoric mania feels better than the greatest sex a person can have. It feels like falling in love, getting a dream job, winning an Oscar, traveling the world and seeing flowers bloom.  You get the picture.  People with bipolar disorder get these euphoric feelings without any of the actual events. People tell me that cocaine has a similar feeling, but unless you have experienced euphoric mania, you will not understand how good it feels. It feels so good it gets people with bipolar disorder into a lot of trouble. I met my boyfriends and two husbands while manic- then they had to deal with my depression! Wonderful guys- they stuck with me- until I left! Often when manic. (In case this sounds stressful- I should let you know that this is NOT my pattern now. The Health Cards help me manage this manic behavior. 

When the euphoric mania strikes,  I’m more artistic, sing karaoke with no stage awkwardness, talk with anyone and I mean anyone, can pick up any guy and talk so fast it’s hard to stop myself, but I don’t really want to stop because it feels so darn good!

 What are the signs and symptoms of dysphoric mania?

 Now for the tough, tough, awful dysphoric hypomania and mania. It’s easy to describe this mania  as well- it’s often called a MIXED STATE because it’s a combination of the very high energy of hypomania and mania combined with agitated depression. There is no feeling of good will or peace or fun- it never feels good.  The body is restless, jumpy and the mind is always irritated, often aggressive and swirling like a blender full of ickiness! Once again, there is little way to describe it unless you have experienced it.

mania dysphoric

Dysphoric mania is often mean, accusatory, unreasonable and fickle. Nothing is every right with life when you are dysphoric manic. I had a big episode a few years ago where almost every moment of the day I thought- I have to leave Portland. I must get out. My life is terrible -people are terrible- moving is all I can do. Luckily, I once again had the Health Cards and they got me through it. Much of this episode was internal. I wrote about it in my Bp Magazine column.  Dysphoric mania has a high rate of road rage and suicide. Most of the people in jail who have bipolar disorder are there because of a full blown dysphoric manic episode. 





Both levels of mania and both types of mania have some very specific and shared symptoms. 

1. It’s extremely and I do mean extremely hard to see that you’re manic.

2. Pressured speech. That’s why I used the mouth graphic for this blog post!

3. Need a lot less sleep, but are never tired the next day. Please note, people who are manic do not sleep the next day after a night of not sleeping. They will tell you they do not want to sleep or need the sleep.  Not sleeping when manic is NOT insomnia. 

4. Increase in non thought through and unsafe behaviors- such as driving way too fast or sleeping with someone you don’t know- something you would not do normally.

Please note that mania is a really mood swing.  The manic behavior is not part of your life while stable. Once you learn how to recognize your symptoms by using the ideas in my books or a plan you find that works best for you, you can manage the mania. Without a plan? The mania will take over your life. 

There are many more symptoms of course, but those are the main ones the majority to people with bipolar disorder mania face.  

What about Psychosis? 

Where a person is euphoric or dysphoric, people in a full blown manic episode often have full blown psychosis. This is especially true with dysphoric full blown mania. Hypomania rarely has any psychosis.

My book Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder has an excellent description of mania- as well as a management plan. To be honest, I work well when I’m mildly to moderately depressed- but mania! Wow, like anxiety, mania is very tough to recognize and treat. This is why preventing euphoric and dysphoric hypomania and mania is the ONLY treatment path that works in my opinion. 

If you have mania, you need a daily management plan that looks for signs of mania and has a system in place for when it does show up.  I consider myself a rather good bipolar disorder manager- but my bipolar laughs at this. The picture of the shopping cart with all of the stuff hanging off it like an overloaded Christmas tree was a hypomanic episode. I got in line and realized, are you kidding me! I’m manic! And I put everything back. In the past, I would have spent the money on junk.

 Mania can be managed, but it has a nasty way of slipping back into your life when you least expect it! What is your plan? 



PS: Mania and Depression are two side of the bipolar disorder coin. One is not better or worse than the other- they are both BAD.  I’m sorry to burst your manic bubble. I wish we could somehow just have mild, euphoric mania that causes no danger and simply live there, but we can’t.  We just can’t.

Click here to read Letter from A Euphoric Manic Person from Bp Magazine. 

Click here to read Letter from a Dysphoric Manic Person from Bp Magazine. 


) Julie is currently working with Southern Methodist University on a research project that is testing her idea that we can recognize signs of mania in the eyes. Click here to read about the SMU Mania in the Eyes research project. You can submit pictures of your eyes and help the team change the world of bipolar disorder management.  Yes, mania means hypomania as well.)


Accepting New Parent and Partner Coaching Clients

b father

Julie has room for a new client. She is currently accepting clients where court, jail, cannabis and other legal issues are present. She works with the court system regularly and can keep your child out of jail. She also guarantees success regarding getting a child into psychiatric treatment. 

A note from Julie:

I specialize in coaching that eventually becomes a management plan for the whole family. My work is extremely discrete. I never share my client list and I offer help even when change feels impossible.  You are not alone. Coaching works.   I also specialize in helping parents and partners understand the connection between cannabis and bipolar disorder symptoms.


Over seven years ago, I started coaching partners and family members of people with bipolar disorder as an addition to my writing career.

I never thought I would find work that I enjoy as much as I enjoy coaching. I feel at home with the parents and partners as I have been where they are- and I remain calm during the crises that many of my clients are going through while we are working together. Bipolar disorder is like a puzzle. It’s not always easy to find the right pieces on your own. It helps to have a coach as a guide.

My coaching practice has room for new clients. It’s a partnership that saves relationships and often lives.

Coaching is not for everyone, but if you are concerned about your relationship with a person with bipolar disorder, it may be a good fit for you. The following link will tell you more. I look forward to talking.

Julie Fast Family and Partner Coaching

My work often involves custody cases, loved ones in the justice system, helping loved ones get into the hospital, problems with loved ones who have a substance abuse problem (especially marijuana) and many more situations that require extreme discretion.


More about Julie’s coaching: 

Julie guarantees success regarding getting a child into psychiatric treatment. Please note that Julie is an experienced and professional coach with a plan that utilizes the ideas in her books. People already using Julie’s books have priority over those who are unfamiliar with her work, so please note the books you have read of Julie’s when asking for a coaching intake.

There is hope. Julie succeeds where treatment facilities and hospitals can’t due to being tied by the rules of HIPPA. You, as a parent can get help for your beloved child. Julie will show you how.

Partner of a Person with Bipolar Disorder?


Julie, how do I know if my partner really is better? He got out of the hospital last month after a massive manic and psychotic episode, but I feel like he is still sick. Julie, how long does this take and will ‘he’ ever come back? Loretta

Hello Loretta,

Yes, your partner will come back. Bipolar disorder symptoms are not permanent. With the right treatment, he will come back to homeostasis. You then need a management plan, but that is another topic!

Here is the list I use with clients when they ask how can they possibly know when someone is actually better.

Your husband is better when you see the following:

1. He acknowledges the trouble, pain and heartache he (due to his illness) caused when he was sick. “I am so sorry you had to go through this. It must have been hard for me to be in the hospital while you took care of the kids and kept the business running.”

2. Focus goes external instead of a selfish internal naval gazing that puts the blame on others. He will say, “I can see how I affect others and how my mood swings caused a lot of stress in the lives of the people who care about me. I was so sick I could only think of myself and what the world was doing to me. I now see myself and how my actions affect the world.”

3. Will discuss health care with you. ‘Yes, I want you to be at my next appointment. Create a list of questions you want to ask. We are a team.”

4. Will ask insightful questions about what happened. “I know I was pretty out of it. I have some memories of what happened, but I need you to fill in the rest. I do remember picking the fight at the work party. What else happened?”

These all show insight. When your partner has insight, you will know he is fully out of the mood swing.

It takes a year for the brain to fully get back on track after a massive episode, but… many improvements happen during this process.


The Path to Happiness when You Have Bipolar Disorder

Julie, is it different than the path anyone would take when seeking happiness?

Yes, I do believe it is!


I’ve lived all over the world-  I moved a lot before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I feel I can say with great conviction that I have known, loved, worked with and met far more people who are stable than those who have bipolar.  This is natural as about 6% of the world population has bipolar disorder. It makes sense I would meet a lot of stable people.  I have observed that the path to happiness for stable people is incredibly straight forward. Not easy by any means, but definitely a path that a person can see and track with confidence.  For example, the desire to be a lawyer, have a child, be on the stage or to.. travel can be very straightforward when you are stable.  It looks like this! You can step off the path and you have to look at what you are doing, but it’s one path.

Bipolar disorder complicates our lives to the point that we rarely if ever can take a straight path to reach a big goal, such as being happy.

A straight path that is planned for and even carefully mapped out simply can’t handle the hurricane that is a manic episode or the deep valley and rocky road that is severe depression.  Instead, our path has illness detours that take us in a completely different direction even if we want to stay on the straight and narrow path of stability.

I can’t think of one thing in my life that has been easy. Not one thing.

I’m not complaining and I’m not being a victim. I’m stating my reality.

I can’t speak for you, but bipolar disorder affects everything I do. No path is straight. No plan is accomplished with ease. Nothing is every straightforward in my life. Is it the same for you or for the person you care about with bipolar disorder? it probably is which is why you are on a bipolar disorder blog!

Our paths look like this.

Same goals and dreams- to reach the mountain top of a goal, but the path to that goal is a rough and winding road filled with mood swings. Happiness is often a luxury when you are dealing with bipolar disorder. I have often settled for just being semi stable enough to work and pay my bills. That is no way to live in my opinion, but it has been a reality for me due to my illness. I am not happy with this kind of life, as few are….. so I strive and strive for real happiness. For the most part, I can now say that I have found my path to happiness and often feel very content with life. Then a mood swing happens and I build myself back up to happiness. That is my path.

If I know my path looks like a child drew the plan, everything I do has to take bipolar disorder into account first in order to finally reach a goal. I use the ideas in my books. I have my Health Cards.  There is a starting point and there is a mountain top- getting married, having a child, getting a degree, learning to restore old cars, getting a book published, so many hopes and dreams and the path is simply going to be twisting and longer than the path for someone stable.

I wish our path looked like this…..

but it doesn’t. It looks like this….

I accept it. I can accept what I don’t like and I can move forward even though it’s going to be much harder for me than a stable person.  My path to happiness means treating bipolar disorder first so that all of the side roads still lead to my ultimate goal. I want the same for you!






The Best Thing About Bipolar Disorder….

…… that the mood swings end.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not a cliche.

You can get better. Sometimes the tunnel is really, really long, but there is always an end to the pain and your life opens up again.

There is hope.


You are Going to Be Ok

Bipolar is rough. It’s rough on you and it’s rough on the people around you. Take it seriously. If you feel sick, ask for help. I’ve now lived with a serious mental health disorder since age 16. I was diagnosed over 20 years ago. And it still hurts when I get sick.

You are not alone if you feel you can’t go on. That is a symptom. It doesn’t mean you can’t go on. It means you are sick and need help.

Being manic feels fun at first, but you are probably not on this page while you’re feeling GREAT! You are on this page because you are struggling.  The struggle comes when the feeling great ends.

Meds help, but they are not enough.

People help, but they are not enough.

Therapists help, but they are not enough.

You are the secret ingredient. Learn to manage this illness so successfully that when you get sick, you are still sick, but you will not die. You will not lose friends. You will not have to quit what you love. You will simply need to use the plan you already have in place. Use my Health Cards Treatment System for Bipolar Disorder.  Use the WRAP program.  Learn about DBT if you also live with trauma. Take charge of your SELF and manage this illness.

You are strong. You can do it. We are going to be ok.


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