Rapid Cycling is very often used to describe the fast flip-flopping that Bipolar sufferers can experience in their mood cycles. Up one day, down the next day and so forth and so on.
Whilst it is possible, from what I understand, for a sufferer who normally experiences slower more protracted cycles to suddenly experience a period of rapid cycling it is I think fair to say that my understanding is that bipolar suffers generally fall into one of four camps. Those who slow cycle, those who rapid cycle, those who experience a mixture of both, and those for whom no real pattern has yet been identified.
Actually, if I am honest, I have very real difficulties with the differing scales or guidelines that are used in order to qualify someone as rapid or non-rapid cycling. Additionally, and I am speaking from experience here, I think it is not uncommon for bipolar sufferers to have short isolated episodes of rapid cycling even in the course of one day. Of course that may not fit into the frames set up by the experts but sadly my mental illness has yet to learn to be compliant with the experts’ definition and I have to say I know of very few people who’s mental-illness has.
I mention this because today has been one of these days for me. I am up, I am down, I am agitated, I am compliant, I am focused, I am confused. I find myself going through all of these things and to be totally honest here I am typing this post extremely quickly for fear that my mood or I will change before the end of it and just delete the whole darn thing.
Over the past 20 minutes of so my mind has been racing. Numerous thought processes all going at once, undertaking numerous tasks all at the same time, Devising and designing grandiose plans for my home that I know (now I am slightly calmer) will never take place or never even be attempted and indeed why should they – why in God’s name would you want a moat around a bungalow anyway?
I really, really dislike when my brain does this to me! I dislike the effort it takes to keep up with my mind when it is like this and I dislike the extreme tiredness and dark depression that normally follows immediately after I have been like this.
All day long my moods have been flip-flopping and whilst I have been able to keep a lid on any stupid or reckless behavior, this has in the main been achieved through my isolating whenever I feel my mood changing. I have an extreme (and I use that word most accurately) reluctance about letting people who are anywhere in my vicinity see me when I am like this or even know that I am like this when I am. It scares me so who knows what it would do to them or how it would make them feel?
There is without doubt and ever decreasing sense of control that converts into an ever-increasing sense of lack of control when this happens and couple this with the unhealthy and darn-right harmful thought processes that often lay stalking me within my mind and which seem to grow in strength both in power and volume when I decrease in mental strength it is without doubt a worrying time.
Thankfully I am not alone in my home tonight. My son and his partner are stopping with me at the moment and so there is at least some form of safety-net here. If I were to suddenly go out at this time of night/morning my son would immediately realize that something was serious amiss and come and check on me and likewise if I get to the stage where I mindlessly wander around the house all night/morning he would also notice.
The advantage of this is of course that it drives me to my room and that has already been mania-proofed and so there is little damage that I can do in there or to myself in there. I am grateful for this although I do know that in many ways this just prolongs the immediate torment but at least it reduces the potential for longer-term or resultant torment that usually comes after I have done something stupid.
Could that actually be what is happening with me? Am I not rapid cycling at all today but instead experiencing the results of not giving into the mania and of trying to fight it? Or indeed am I in the middle, start or process of a manic episode and just not realizing it or accepting it? I don’t know and can’t tell and to be totally honest if I am in the middle, start or process of a manic episode is my judgement sound enough to make that assessment in the first place?
Nope there is nothing else for it I have to go and rest and to try to ride this whole thing out. I know that I will not be able to rest and yet I owe it to myself to try, or do I? Is it better not to try to to simply accept that which is going to come? The voices tell me one thing, the thoughts another and my logic yet another.
I have just glanced at the clock and it is near two in the morning. Yes I need to go and try to rest. I know I will get through this the only question is when and at what cost. See now I am anxious. Ok time to take some form of control I am going to go and try to rest before this gets even worse and beyond my ability to have any form of control that is if I even have any left right now.