Not everyone with bipolar is vulnerable to mood episodes that coincide with the seasons (known as seasonality). Springtime brings more assignments, which can challenge his sleep schedule, which in turn can trigger mania.For those who are, the typical pattern is depression that recurs in winter and hypomania or mania in springtime or summer. “I’m always looking for something new that I’ve never done before.
You feel driven to do something but don’t know what to do.” It can be difficult for individuals to realize what’s going on, Aiken says. Aiken identifies three common warning signs: sleep irregularity, rapid speech, and physical hyperactivity. However, he adds, that figure includes those with mild seasonal symptoms and others with only winter symptoms.
Check, check and check for Steve F., who traded the stress of life in Los Angeles for the calmer pace of a small town in Pennsylvania. As far as what sets off spring mania or hypomania, he says, “It’s not just one thing.
It’s a combination of things.” That could include an individual’s psychological reaction to spring’s arrival; how someone responds to weather factors such as wind, barometric pressure, and temperature; and an underlying biological sensitivity to day length.
Longer days often mean more evening activities and more opportunity to socialize, which can translate into more reasons not to get to bed on time.
However, Aiken says, “A lot of research shows that it’s not the quantity of light.
It’s the rapid change in light.” Quick refresher course: Starting with the winter solstice in December—the shortest day of the year—the amount of daylight starts to increase until the summer solstice in June, which is the longest day of the year.The further from the equator, the greater the overall change in length of day.“It’s true that my phones do ring a lot in March,” says Chris Aiken, MD, director of the Mood Treatment Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and a clinical instructor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. of New Jersey recently sang on stage for the first time in a decade, reclaiming a piece of herself.Her last hospitalization stemmed from a springtime manic episode, so she totally relates to the lyrics of the jazz standard “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most”: “My grandiosity led me to apply for jobs for which I had none of the qualifications, start businesses for which I had no funding, hear voices that were not there, and struggle with severe agitation and restlessness,” the New Jersey woman recalls.As necessary as her inpatient treatment was, though, there was something especially galling about the timing.“There is nothing worse than being behind a locked door during the season in which the majority of the population are out enjoying activities such as bike rides, walks, and softball,” she says. When spring comes, it’s almost like somebody put me in a slingshot and thrust me out the door.” A veteran stagehand, Steve goes through a work lull during the heart of winter.