Mixed Episode or Early Warning Signs

I am struggling to figure out if I am having early warning signs of depression of if I am still in the middle of a mixed episode.

Potential Depression Signals 

I have experienced what feels like a slowing down, but I was hypomanic before so am I normal or am I slowing right down into a depression? My need for sleep has increased, but from like 4 hours to 7 or 8 not 10 or 15, but I feel tired now.

My thoughts have turned quite negative, particularly towards myself. I think I am not capable of doing things that form a regular part of my day even though I know that I can do them. My self-esteem is dropping, I feel afraid of confrontation, I just feel like there is a looming sense of nervousness hanging over me.

My dreams have turned to be quite negative, last night I dreamt I was sectioned due to an overwhelming mixed episode and I feel like I experienced that fully during my sleep, like my body went through that. I feel emotionally a bit wiped out, unable to fight.

This has been building up slowly, over the course of a few days now, each day seemingly getting progressively worse but very mildly.

Potential Mixed Signals

The reason I question if these are early warning signs or just a continuation of the mixed episodes is that it just doesn’t quite fit yet.

My mind is still racing, not as fast but I notice I still jump from idea to idea. I still experience the pressure to get things done although now with associated stress alongside it.

I am incredibly irritable, I have been having arguments in my head with people who annoy me over very small things which I may be making up. Not as in delusional, just overthinking the situation and its origins, making presumptions kind of way.

For the majority of the day I don’t feel sad, I don’t really pick up any extreme signals I just seem to be ok but with now mild mixed symptoms.

My Approach

Unfortunately I have none, I am too new to managing my bipolar and the medication I am on. I have to wait and see what happens, learn from the results, and be prepared. I am considering speaking to my doctor, just in case.

Being Prepared

Preparing for a potential depression episode for me mostly involves trying to ensure my mindset doesn’t lose hope. I need to understand that this is part of the illness, that this will pass and that I can do something about it, always. 

  1. This includes eating right, and taking supplements if I can’t.
  2. Limiting my sleep to ensure I don’t stay in bed for longer than my body needs.
  3. Exercise, luckily for me in depression the gym feels comforting as a place to be. I am thankful for that. Whilst I am usually unable to work out to my full potential, I can at least do something. This helps so much, I see it as working the depression out of my muscles.
  4. Reaching out about my needs to my close friends and employer to not feel so lonely and misunderstood.
  5. Break everything down into tiny steps. Can’t face work? Just get ready then see. Once you’ve done that, go to the car, drive. Now you’re there, stay for an hour. You see where this is going. It is really important that you only do this to a safe point, if you need to leave or take a break you owe it to your recovery to do so. 


The day after writing this I woke up feeling much more hypomanic than depressed and have continued to experience a mixed episode since. Perhaps this uncertainty is how to identify an upcoming mixed episode, or perhaps I have a lot to learn still.

Photo by James Burt from FreeImages

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