You'd think when your moods vary from Depression to Hypomania that it would be pretty obvious what mood you are in - it's called Bipolar for a reason, the moods are polar opposites.
It took a long time for me to notice that I was having episodes of Hypomania after I started to display Bipolar symptoms. In fact for 3 years I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression as I believed that any episodes of feeling 'good' were just my personality that didn't show through when I was depressed.
Even now, when I find it much easier to recognise when I am having a Hypomanic Episode I still experience times of confusion.
With so many different states of Bipolar Disorder it can be pretty confusing to know where you are.
Depression - A period of feeling low or lethargic. May include excessive crying and feelings of worthlessness.
Mania - A period of feeling high and energetic. May include rapid speech, delusions of grandeur and deceased need to sleep.
Hypomania - Similar to mania however may have the ability to carry on with everyday life.
Mixed Episodes - Features of both Mania or Hypomania and Depression.
Rapid Cycling - 4 or more episodes of Mania or Depression within a 12 month period. Mood swings can occur quickly like a roller coaster. Moods can swing from high to low in days or even hours. This can lead to feeling out of control.
(Source: Bipolar Disorder Signs and Symptoms - https://www.helpguide.org/articles/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-disorder-signs-and-symptoms.htm )
Being new to my diagnosis I am still trying to navigate all of these different things, this is something that I have particularly been experiencing recently, I believe that I may be experiencing a mixed episode however I am finding it difficult to identify whether it could be rapid cycling.
This can all be confusing and stressful. I wish that I could give an answer on how to deal with it or how to tell the difference however, all I can say is that it is important that you have people around you who you can trust and who are aware of how you are feeling. I also like to try and make sure that my environment is conducive to either mood. Making sure that I don't put myself in a position where I could do something irresponsible ( For example not going shopping if I think I may be feeling more hypomanic ) or making sure that I have a movie and people to talk to if I am feeling lower.