Hyperthymia: Sara Schley and General Gregg Martin’s Experiences

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Hyperthymia is a mood state. It is not mania. Just a little “up”, all the time.

On this graph of mood, the black dotted line is where most people live, most of the time.

The red line ups shows depressions and hypomania

The purple line represents hyperthymia, a continuous mood elevation.

More energy, more ideas, more creative, more talkative, more social, less need for sleep than most folks.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? These lucky people accomplish a lot. They have many friends. They are often very successful in their business or field. I’ll show you some examples in a moment. There’s just one problem.

If people with hyperthymia become depressed, they can have complicated depressions. More likely to get worse with antidepressants.

This makes sense because hyperthymia is part of the bipolar end of the mood spectrum. People with hyperthymic temperament are likely to have relatives with a more obvious bipolar disorder, for example.

Sara Schley

First, meet Sara Schley. She wrote an amazing description of her experience of depression that I highly recommend: she writes extremely well, making you want to keep reading.

Her story is a very clear example of hyperthymia plunging into depression and becoming worse on antidepressants. Read Brainstorm: From Broken to Blessed on the Bipolar Spectrum.

In characteristic hyperthymic fashion, now she’s making a science documentary about the mood spectrum for national television that will be equally gripping. Check out her Brainstorm, The Film project.

Gregg Martin

Second, there’s the amazing Gregg Martin. His book, Bipolar General: My Forever War With Mental Illness, describes years of outstanding performance in the U.S. military.

Promotion after promotion, success after success. Looking back, General Martin recognizes that he was hyperthymic the whole time — increasingly so, until finally he became fully manic. (This is not common; it may have been the stress of combat).

After a nightmare of ineffective treatments, he had a dramatic and full recovery. Gregg is now working on helping people understand the full spectrum of bipolar disorders, including hyperthymia. He’s doing so with typical hyperthymic energy

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