What do ‘lows’ and ‘highs’ look like?

‘Lows’ or depression usually lasts from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. During this time, you may experience low mood (sadness or flatness) and a loss of interest or pleasure in most things, as well as:

  • changes in appetite, such as having no appetite or eating too much and losing or gaining weight
  • getting too little sleep or sleep too much
  • feeling physically slowed down, tired or having little energy
  • feeling troubled or nervous (agitated)
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • having difficulties concentrating
  • having thoughts of suicide.

‘Highs’ or hypomania usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. During this time, you may feel extremely happy, elevated or irritable or more ‘wired’ and ‘hyper’ than normal, as well as:

  • feeling more confident
  • needing less sleep but still feeling rested
  • being more talkative
  • having racing thoughts and ideas which move from topic to topic
  • having difficulties concentrating
  • feeling physically agitated or overly driven to pursue goals
  • being too involved in activities that feel good or are pleasurable (such as sex or taking drugs) despite possible negative outcomes.