Hello, and welcome. If you’ve been handed this README, then you’re likely interacting with me while I’m experiencing a hypomanic episode. I’ve written this README on some ways you can help (if you’re so inclined) and some best practices for interacting with me.

About (my) hypo-mania

I have been diagnosed with bipolar II with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) component. I’m under the care of doctors and counsellors who are aware of the diagnosis and prescribe appropriate medicines and therapies. Despite this, I still have regular hypo-manic episodes. These episodes can have obvious triggers, but often they don’t. They generally occur about once every three months and last one to four weeks.

During an episode, I experience:

While I am in an altered mental state, I do not (yet) experience psychosis or mania. I am mostly “in the driver seat,” but I may be prone to taking risks or commitments that I wouldn’t take in euthymia.

If I’m just coming out of a depressive episode, I may be more at risk for suicidal ideation, planning, or execution.

How you can help

Of course, my mental health is not your responsibility. This guide assumes you’re a friend, co-worker, manager, or family member who is likely to interact with me during this episode. These are suggestions and requests, not requirements. The most important thing I can ask, is be kind, gentle, and understanding. Set boundaries if needed, and take care of yourself before taking care of me.

signs that I need to go to the hospital

There are certain signs or symptoms that indicate that I should go to the emergency room. My preferred hospital is CAMH at 1051 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1H3. If any of these symptoms arise, insist that I got to hospital, and if I refuse to go, please call 211 or 911 and report that I am a diagnosed bipolar person experiencing a dangerous manic episode and need to go to CAMH emergency.

if you’re a coworker or manager

Sometimes I am much more productive when hypomanic, especially if my attention stays fixed on work, but sometimes my attention can be sporadic and disorganized. I will probably talk more in meetings and be generally more jovial. I may share some things with you that I’d normally only say to a non-work friend. I’m more likely to swear, and I’ll likely walk the line of “work appropriate” behaviour. I may get behind on work correspondence.

The best things you can do are:

on absenteeism

In very rare circumstances, I will be AWOL (away without leave) from work. If that’s the case, especially if you’re my manager: first, I sincerely apologize, second, you’re welcome to call me and confirm what’s going on. Calling is better than e-mail in this case, as I’m likely not checking my e-mail. When I return to work, I will talk to my manager and confirm what happened, back date any requests for sick/personal days, and accept any disciplinary action.

if you’re a friend or family member

When I’m hypomanic, I’m more disorganized. This carries over into my calendar and correspondence. I may miss texts or forget to respond to them. Please, please feel free to double text (i.e. text again even if I didn’t respond to the first message) or call me if its urgent.

Some things I find helpful from friends during an episode:


Thank you for taking the time to read this README. If you have any questions, you’re welcome to ask. Mental health disorders, their causes and symptoms, are an ongoing field of study. Items I’ve listed in this manual as helpful to me, may be harmful to other people with (hypo)mania. If you have friends or family members who are struggling with (hypo)mania and/or Bipolar disorder, talk to them about how you can be most helpful.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, there is hope, and you do not have to go through this alone. You can find a hotline to call in your country at https://blog.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlines/.