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girlofscience's avatar

Are extreme, baseless bouts of excitement normal?

Asked by girlofscience (7527points) February 23rd, 2009

Occasionally (probably about once per month), I experience a spell of extreme excitement! They are not after an accomplishment, a win, or anything in particular; these spells occur for no good reason.

What happens is this:

I am suddenly so overwhelmed with excitement that I spend a half hour acting like a nutcase. These bouts usually begin with my arms in a position similar to this (except I have a gigantic smile instead of that weird face). In that position, I start shaking them vigorously and shout, “Eeeee!” I jump up and down, do gymnastics, squeal, scream, make up fake words, roll around on the floor, and giggle hysterically. All for no good reason. This behavior usually lasts between 20–30 minutes, and then I go completely back to normal.

Some things to note: What I do when I enter an excitement spell is completely under my control. If I am at work when they occur, I could completely suppress it. But when I enter an excitement spell at home, I let myself go with it because it’s kinda fun to feel like that, and who cares if my boyfriend and cats think I am a goofball? (My boyfriend thinks it is hilarious when I act like this, and my cats stare at me inquisitively.)

The only other person I have seen these excitement spells happen to is my mom. I remember her sometimes acting like a goofy excited person when I was a kid.

But then again, no one aside from my boyfriend and my cats has seen me during one of my bouts of excitement. So perhaps they are normal? Does anyone else experience these or have any knowledge of what may explain them?

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26 Answers

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Somehow I knew you were a cat person. The same thing happens to them. Perhaps you should ask your doctor if you are a cat.

queenzboulevard's avatar

Sounds like a sugar rush!! If I drink lots of caffeine and energy drinks for dinner I get like that at night. It makes me feel excited, although there’s no reason except for the sugar flowing thru my veins. It’s awesome though!

Maybe your sugar rush lasts for like 20–30 minutes, and then you crash because your high is over.

@girlofscience I get my dance on and cheer for random things.

girlofscience's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater: Somehow you knew I was a cat person? Maybe because I talk about my own daughters and my devotion to cats in general constantly on fluther?

Anyway, I have more characteristics that are similar to hoomans than to cats, so I am pretty certain I am not a cat.

And my mom is not a cat person (she is afraid of animals), but she experienced these as well.

So, being a cat or a cat person does not explain them!

girlofscience's avatar

@queenzboulevard: Quite possible! I always have tons of caffeine and sugar in me! What are your excitement spells like? Do you act in the same crazy way I do?

dynamicduo's avatar

Hmm. Very interesting. Since you say your mom demonstrates similar behaviour at times, my first instinct is to say this may be hereditary and simply a quirk that’s a part of your DNA. Having absolutely zero scientific knowledge, my thoughts are that it could be a spontaneous release of endorphins. What causes that release is something you likely don’t know, but may be able to find out by analyzing what you eat and do prior to these events. Maybe your mom knows more about them, or what can trigger them.

Actually, it’s evolution at work: one small mutation which causes you to be slightly different from a “normal” person. Time would tell if this was a positive or negative mutation. I don’t think there’s anything negative or bad with them, they don’t seem to be causing you ill effects and you can control it. If anything it may be a positive thing, the (possible) release of endorphins may cause you to relax and let stress go away. Another theory, perhaps it may make you feel a bit more enamored a polite way to say horny and thus it would in the long term (and in the old world that we don’t live in anymore, back a few centuries ago) would have lead to you having a bigger family and thus passing on this trait.

I would say though that no, these are not normal. I have not heard of anyone who has such enthusiastic and spontaneous periods of glee.

wundayatta's avatar

Warning: a gazillion questions to follow!

Do you or your mom have any other different kinds of behavior? Perhaps something where you suddenly get sad for no reason at all? When these days happen, are there any other symptoms? Do you sleep? Do you eat? Do you go to the mall, and spend lots of money? Do you feel like you are in the presence of something wonderful? Do you feel a sense of connection with the whole world? Do you have visions? Do you see people who may or may not be there? Hear any voices besides those of the people in the room? Are there any other clues you can provide?

girlofscience's avatar

@daloon: Will answer gladly!

Do you or your mom have any other different kinds of behavior? No, not specifically. I mean, I’m sure we’re each quirky in our own ways, but nothing too out of the ordinary.

Perhaps something where you suddenly get sad for no reason at all? Sometimes I get sad for no reason. This always occurs a few days before I get my period. This baseless sadness is very, very common in women before that time of the month.

When these days happen, are there any other symptoms? Nope, everything else is normal.

Do you sleep? Yep.

Do you eat? Yep.

Do you go to the mall, and spend lots of money? No.

Do you feel like you are in the presence of something wonderful? No.

Do you feel a sense of connection with the whole world? No.

Do you have visions? No.

Do you see people who may or may not be there? No.

Hear any voices besides those of the people in the room? No.

Are there any other clues you can provide? Nope, I described everything I know about what happens.

(I am not bipolar nor am I schizophrenic. I have no psychiatric disorder. The only psychologically odd thing that ever happens to me is these excitement spells. And they don’t meet the criteria for a manic episode because not only do they not contain the necessary amount of symptoms, but they also don’t last even close to long enough. Manic episodes persist for far longer than 20–30 minutes.)

girlofscience's avatar

@dynamicduo: Your hereditary idea is possible, or it could be a learned behavior from my mother.

wundayatta's avatar

@Girlofscience: Yup. Just checking.

I suggest you do a food and drink diary to see if it is anything that dynamicduo suggests. You might also want to keep a diary that shows the intensity of your work or stress levels. You could also see if these events have any relationship (timewise) to your menstrual cycle. You could keep a diary about anything else they might be related to that you can think of. You’re a scientist. You know how important it is to gather data.

dynamicduo's avatar

I also saw similarities between a manic episode, but the lack of depressive portion, the short duration, the ability to control the mania, and the lack of manic activities (spending a lot of money, embarking on massive activities like redoing a room) ruled a full blown bipolar disorder out in my non-professional opinion.

I would suggest, if you want to gain more info about this, doing a full “debug” of yourself. Keep a day to day diary recording all sorts of things: what you eat and what time you eat at, how you feel when you wake up/at noon/go to bed, what the weather is, any significant stressful events that occur, what times you wake up and go to bed at, when your period is, what your body temperature is at a set time each day, and anything else you can think of, including of course when these excitement events occur. After a few events have occurred you should have enough data to begin looking at it and analyzing it to see if you see any obvious connections. Then, start tinkering with one variable at a time and see if it affects the excitement periods. It’s only when we have measured data that we can begin to draw relationships between it and the effects that happen with us and our bodies.

girlofscience's avatar

Wow, guys! What a detailed procedure I could employ to make a determination of the causes of these excitement spells. While I could likely do this, it’s too much of a commitment for me at the current time, and I’m not sure that the answer (oh, they occur when it is sunny and I have eaten swedish fish) would be satisfying enough to be worth the trouble. I kinda enjoy them, and they’re not negatively impacting my life, so I’m not sure the specific cause is exactly relevant. I was more curious if they were something that many people experienced but rarely talked about because of embarrassment or weirdness.

wundayatta's avatar

Well, here’s hope that someone does show up who has these “spells.” You might not be able to explain them, but at least you’ll know your family is not alone in these things. By the way, did you Google it?

wundayatta's avatar

@girlofscience: Well, it’s a long shot, but there is a partial resemblance to what you describe in this rare condition called familial paroxysmal nonkinesigenic dyskinesia.

People with familial paroxysmal nonkinesigenic dyskinesia experience episodes of abnormal movement that develop without a known cause or are brought on by alcohol, caffeine, stress, fatigue, menses, or excitement. Episodes are not induced by exercise or sudden movement and do not occur during sleep. An episode is characterized by irregular, jerking or shaking movements that range from mild to severe. In this disorder, the dyskinesias can include slow, prolonged contraction of muscles (dystonia); small, fast, “dance-like” motions (chorea); writhing movements of the limbs (athetosis); and, rarely, flailing movements of the limbs (ballismus). Dyskinesias also affect muscles in the trunk and face. The type of abnormal movement varies among affected individuals, even among members of the same family. Individuals with familial paroxysmal nonkinesigenic dyskinesia do not lose consciousness during an episode. Most people do not experience any other neurological symptoms between episodes.

Individuals with familial paroxysmal nonkinesigenic dyskinesia usually begin to show signs and symptoms of the disorder during childhood or their early teens. Episodes typically last 1–4 hours, and the frequency of episodes ranges from several per day to one per year. In some affected individuals, episodes occur less often with age.”

This description does not say it is controllable, nor does it mention feelings of excitement. If it is what you have, then you seem to be able to channel it into specific movements.

zephyr826's avatar

I have these spells – at least once a month. I believe it’s because my life is so full of things that I just need to let things out. Fortunately, i work in a profession where mild insanity is appreciated, so usually I can direct it towards constructive things.

elijah's avatar

Does this happen immediately after the consumption of pancakes? Because I thought that was normal post pancake behavior…

essieness's avatar

@girlofscience I have always called those “happy spasms”. In my opinion, if they’re not hurting anyone, and you get immense joy from them, who cares why you do it and what people think? Enjoy yourself! That’s what it’s all about!!

loser's avatar

The first thing that came to my mind was “bipolar” but you sound normal to me.

Jeruba's avatar

To answer your question directly instead of diagnosing you, I don’t consider myself to be the arbiter of “normal” (which seems to be equated with common or predominant, and which has always seemed like a weird definition to me), but I have never known anyone to exhibit this behavior and have never heard anyone describe it before. Either it is very unusual or it is pretty universally suppressed.

If I were going to start hypothesizing, I might speculate that it is more common in the general population than it appears because people do learn to suppress it as a result of parental pressure. (And maybe yours didn’t because she exhibited the same behavior herself.) Young children run pretty much on impulse until they are fully civilized. Perhaps some of them do have an unobserved rhythm or pattern in this behavior, not noticed because “x is just acting wild again.” If the old folks who have worn off their veneer of civilzation also act this way, and especially if the pattern could be seen in the same seniors who had it when young, you’d have a case for a natural (even if still not common) phenomenon.

Instead of keeping a food diary, I’d make a note on the calendar when it happens, to see just how regular the cycle is and whether it correlates to your other cycle at all.

augustlan's avatar

After reading your description of these episodes, I’m kind of wishing I did have them… it sounds like great fun!

andrew's avatar

I, too, get this way—usually accompanied by a desire to run up and down stairs, scream, or pretend I’m a prize fighter. My mother also gets like this, though she’s been diagnosed as bipolar.

It’s as if something just clicks, and you have to express the wonderful nature of the universe.

I’ve attributed it as a positive side of my ADD, and as such, I diagnose you as a spaz. A happy, happy spaz.


LouisianaGirl's avatar

I accually do the same thing but its usually when I`m excited so if you find out what it is please tell me!

Nimis's avatar

I get these occasionally. I just chalk it up to a shift of chemicals in my head. But since it’s in my favour, I just enjoy it!

I like it when I’m by myself.
So I can totally spaz out to my heart’s content.
Sometimes the neighbors notice though.

90s_kid's avatar

Saying that basically all the girls do this (no matter what situation :s), I’d say it is fine. It Adds excitement to your life! kinda

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i can completely relate! i can’t think of anything that causes the excitement, but sometimes i just get this random bout of complete happiness/giddiness. sometimes it’s in public and i kind of just try to chill out but i act a lot more outgoing that normal, but when i’m at home i kind of just dance around and giggle at everything/nothing and just act like a total spazz.
i lurve this question though, because i thought i was just a total weirdo.

gottamakeart's avatar

I LIVE for “bouts of exitement” :D

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