Bipolar II, Hypomania and Flower Essences

O'Banion_blog_imageKsenya O’Banion, Certified Herbalist

Flower Essences are safe energy medicines and have no interactions with any drugs or herbs; they can be added to  water, meals or spritzed into the air or onto clothes.  The universal nature of flower essences makes them available for both bipolar clients and the people who are around them.   

Bipolar II, Hypomania and Flower Essences

Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over a period of time. However, in bipolar II disorder, the “up” moods never reach full-blown mania. The less intense elevated moods in bipolar II disorder are called hypomanic episodes, or hypomania.

 

Dr. Phelps, a psychiatrist and author of the book Why Am I Still Depressed?: Recognizing and Managing the Ups and Downs of Bipolar II and Soft Bipolar Disorder has described shades of hypomania that might be useful to consider when formulating flower essence formulas for bipolar clients. There are indeed individual expressions of moods, but there are common general tendencies among those who live life on the roller coaster.  Below is the list of common traits of the hypomania state, typical for bipolar II and another bipolar condition, cyclothymia. The corresponding flower essences may be used for any mental/mood disorder with expressed similar characteristics:

  1. Grandiosity: a manic state that can be described as narcissistic personality disorder; it’s not just being depressed, but also includes a lack of confidence. Larch is the remedy for people who feel that they are not as competent as others. They lack confidence in their ability to do things well, assume they will fail.
  2. Decreased sleep: a form of inability to sleep rather than being fully awake as it appears in the manic state; the mind is full of ideas. White Chestnut is the remedy for unwanted thoughts and mental arguments that intrude into the mind and stop us from concentrating. This often leads to insomnia, which is common in hypomania. Also, racing thoughts are often combined with severe depression. Mustard is the remedy for deep gloom and depression that descends for no apparent reason or emerges out of the thought pattern.
  3. Talkativeness: very chatty. Pressured speech where the receiving end feels like they are being sprayed by “the verbal fire hose.” Heather can be applied for someone with the impulsive need to discuss personal struggles and thoughts with others.
  4. Destructibility: not able to stay on task. Claret Cup Hedgehog Cactus is used for inability to focus or concentrate on something. Scleranthus is for those who suffer from indecision, fluctuating moods and loss of emotional balance.  
  5. Increased activity level:  Oak helps those when inner strength wanes. It is usually used when one is an overachiever and will overwork and ignore their fatigue.
  6. Painful consequences: due to indulgence with substances, shopping, sex, etc.  Star of Bethlehem is indicated for all the consequences of physical, mental and spiritual traumatic experiences, irrespective of whether this arose at birth or only yesterday, for example, when one caught a finger in the car door.
  7. Irritability: the easiest manic symptom for people to recognize; mood shifts. Sometimes Beech intolerance is manifested as outbursts of irritability: the remedy helps to encourage tolerance and understanding, and as this happens so the irritability also fades.
  8. Hypomania: often accompanied by an intense righteousness.  Vervain can be used for over-enthusiastic expressions, when the individual becomes argumentative with fixed ideas and principles. Vine may be helpful for those who are strong-willed with a tendency to be domineering or inflexible and a strong desire to be in control. Hypomania can manifest with paranoid behavior. Aspen would certainly be the right remedy if one is lying awake in the dark, scared of something but not knowing what it is. Mimulus is appropriate whenever someone is frightened or anxious about something that can be identified (1).

There are many essences for support in building and maintaining healthy boundaries, which can be extremely important for those who help people with mental health issues.  Pink Yarrow provides maintenance in all situations by helping those with a tendency to merge with the emotions of others to remember what feelings are theirs and what feelings originate from other people. Bipolar mood swings are often displayed with emotional reactivity; the person may sometimes feel victimized by their own emotions and may experience severe insecurity. Ocotillo will assist to feel the feelings without victimization, will provide a deep sense of security and self acceptance. Rock Rose can help both the supported and the supporters deal with the terror and panic of emotional crises while Cherry Plum can be useful for the person who is displaying out-of-control or destructive behavior.  Black Eyed Susan can help to slow and calm one down who experiences a high level of anxiety and a constant need to act (2).

These are but a few of the possibilities that you can call on from the flower essence repertoire, and deep consultation with the individual will reveal what specific needs they have.

References:

  1. https://rachelmiller1511.wordpress.com/bach-flower-remedies-2/
  2. http://www.ohlonecenter.org/research-papers/bipolarism-a-more-holistic-approach/
  3. Jim Phelps, Why Am I Still Depressed? Recognizing and Managing the Ups and Downs of Bipolar II and Soft Bipolar Disorder, 2006
  4. http://www.bachcentre.com/centre/remedies.html