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

shopping cart mania 50Here’s the basic info about bipolar disorder mania. It’s MANIA 101!

 I’ve decided to label mania each time I talk about it. All of the different terms we use can be confusing, dysphoric, mixed and euphoric, for example!

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 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 helped me cure that 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 donl’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. 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. 4. The behavior is not part of your life while stable.

There are many more symptoms of course, but those are the main ones the two have in common!  One thing I should add- there is one very big difference between the levels of mania: 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, it’s tough to recognize and treat. This is why preventing euphoric and dysphoric hypomania and mania is the ONLY treatment path that works!

If you have mania, I wrote a lot on my Julie A. Fast Facebook page about my last euphoric and very funny episode – involving the picture below.  Mania can be managed, but it has a nasty way of slipping back into your life when you least expect it!



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 putting this picture on here again. I write books on bipolar disorder. I’m pretty good at managing my symptoms, but mania is a tricky, tricky mood swing- I look at the cart below and realize I went merrily through an entire store and didn’t realize I was manic until I woke up out of my daze at the check out stand. Wow, we have to have a plan in place to stay stable- mania is too strong to just wait and see what happens!

shopping cart mania 50





Bipolar Disorder and Psychosis: Yes, we can have paranoid delusions!

Here is an example the Newsletter   

Today’s Topic:  Bipolar Disorder and Paranoid Delusions


by Julie A. Fast

Paranoia is a type of psychosis called a delusion. A delusion is a false belief.

For example, paranoia can be the belief that you have done something wrong and that a person or an organization is upset with you. This is a scary experience as it feels so real.

Paranoia used to really cause me a lot of trouble. I’ve worked hard so that I can at least recognize paranoia before it makes me do something stupid.

I often get the feeling that my friends are ignoring me and that they have met friends they like a lot better than myself. It’s a terrible experience. Luckily, I know the signs of paranoia and don’t act on them, instead I call my friends and ask them to hang out.  When they say yes, I know that all is fine. My friends are the type who will tell me if something is wrong- so my paranoia is always rooted in bipolar disorder and not reality.

Paranoid delusions are FALSE, but you have to be careful because they are VERY sneaky. 

– Paranoid worry is often based on at least some factual evidence which makes it hard to figure out what is really happening. 

– Paranoia does not stand up to factual questioning- but for the person in the paranoid episode, it feels more real than anything they have ever experienced. If you try to talk a paranoid person out of their beliefs, it won’t work.  It’s like trying to convince someone that the sky isn’t blue.

Here are some examples of paranoia. Have you seen these in yourself or your loved ones?

1. Believing that someone is standing across the street staring at you through your apartment window, but when you look outside, there is no one there.

2. Feeling with great certainty that your coworkers have a plan to get you fired. You know this because when they are in a group and you walk up to them, they all scatter in different directions without saying hi.

3. Once, when my former partner Ivan was in the hospital, he was very, very paranoid. I went in one day to say hello and he looked at me and said, “Why is your face so red? Have you been doing something wrong that you aren’t telling me?” True paranoia. He told me later that he really believed  I was seeing someone while he was in the hospital. 

When you are well, these thoughts never even come up. You know there is no one outside and you know that your colleagues wouldn’t have time to plot against you even if they wanted to! They simply go back to their desks when they finish a conversation. You are not the focus of their day.

Paranoia is dangerous when the person takes action such as calling the cops on a neighbor or trying to break into their own office building to find cameras directed at their desk. 

What is the best treatment for paranoia? The first step is a symptom management plan like I teach in the Health Cards and Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder. Once you have identified the symptoms, you can get help.  I use a combination of my trigger management plan, lifestyle changes and medications to manage my psychosis. Anti psychotics work well- the lower the dose the better due to the side effects. Paranoid symptoms must be caught early so they don’t move into destructive behavior.

Education and prevention are key!

This is what I have done, so it’s possible to stay stable and steady when you live with psychosis. 


PS: There is a nice man I sit next to in Starbucks who has a lot of paranoia. It mostly comes out when he is reading the paper. He says all of this very quietly. 

They are rearranging everything to see you.  It’s the big pharmaceutical companies. What are they not telling you? Look at that picture all of those men. Too much stuff. It’s garbage. It’s all it can be. There is no reason to be there anyway. There is no reason to be there. It’s a prison.  All that stuff- 10s of billions. (Laughs.)  I’m not gonna hang around for Obama Clinton.  They do not acknowledge a single one- not one. Like the Tea Party. My mind is made up.

When he talks with friends- he still has the paranoid thinking, but it sounds more like an average conversation. His paranoia is around big pharma and I can understand that! 






What I Do When I Can Tell I’m Getting Depressed or Manic

1. I feel a bit sad for myself and upset and worried and lonely and scared and bummed out and pissed and…… you get the idea.

2. I ALWAYS look for a trigger. If I can find the trigger, I change the trigger. This is always upsetting because my trigger is usually doing too much work and I LOVE to work.

3. If it’s depression, I do everything possible to stay out of bed and keep myself from isolating. I use the ideas in Get it Done When You’re Depressed ever minute I’m depressed. There are a lot of ideas in this book that work immediately and I truly use them.

4. If it’s mania, I work on my sleep first. If I can’t get it to calm down with my management plan, I take 5mg of lithium orotate and that often knocks is out.

I HATE getting sick. But it’s ok. I will survive. I stop it early now. I am so much better than in the past.

I have to adapt to the hand that life deals me.


Accepting New Family Member and Partner Coaching Clients

b father

(A note from Julie: I specialize in crisis coaching that eventually becomes a management plan for the whole family. My work is extremely discrete. I never share my client list and offer help even when change feels impossible.  You are not alone. Coaching works. Over 50% of my coaching clients come to me for help with a loved one who is using marijuana and having mood swings.)


Over six 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



PS: 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. I also work with families who have a very young child with mental health symptoms starting at age four.


How to Say THANK YOU, NO THANK YOU when You Have Bipolar Disorder


Julie, come to the concert with us! We have a box and I know you love the band! You will love it!

Thank you so much for thinking of me. I want to go and the stable me would LOVE to go. Unfortunately, the bipolar me, the one I dislike but have to live with every day simply can’t handle the big crowds. I get overstimulated and this can lead to so many symptoms I simply can’t have in my life right now. I am sad to miss this. I know you are going out to dinner first, and I can definitely join you for that part of the evening. Thank you very much for asking me!

Julie, I don’t see why it’s so hard for you to travel. You love it so much. We are just going for the weekend. It’s the coast and it will be fun. I will drive! Come with us! 

Thank you! I wish with all of my heart that the regular me you see in public is the me I have to sleep with at night. I can’t and don’t want you to have to understand what I go through to be honest- it sucks, but I can say that as much as I want to go with you, I want to be stable more. I have to give up so much so that I can be the friend and family member I want to be. Please send me a video. In fact, a video chat would be amazing. I feel sad I have to miss this. I feel that I miss out on a lot of things, but I can say that I’m healthier than I have ever been since I’ve been really watching my triggers. Travel at this time is too much for me. I hope you have fun!!!

It’s all about trigger management when you have bipolar disorder. 

It’s hard for people who don’t have bipolar disorder to understand that FUN things can make us sick. Triggers are ANYTHING that causes mood swings. There is no positive or negative to a trigger. It’s just a trigger!
Learning to say no in a way that also educates people about how you take care of yourself really makes a difference. People know to keep asking you- because maybe you can go in the future, but they also get to see that you are committed to staying stable so that you can maintain the relationship!
Woo! hoo!


Signs a Loved One with Bipolar Disorder Needs Help

1. Current behaviors are not in line with past behaviors. For example, – a person who has been empathetic throughout life suddently becomes selfish and callous and says, “I don’t love you and never have! You are finally seeing the real me!”

2. They stop paying attention to what has always been important. This can include being with their children. People who once cared about helping animals will forget to feed them or might kick them for example.

3. They don’t listen. And when you point this out, you are always the one with the problem.

4. They simply can’t see that they they are doing or are about to do isn’t going to end well.


Page 2 of 18012345678910...Last »