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3 Stories of Rapid Cycling

Rapid cycling feels like a roller coaster

Rapid cycling is defined as four or more manic, hypomanic, or depressive episodes in any 12-month period. Rapid cycling occurs in 10-20% of all people with bipolar disorder, and is more common in women (read this article for more facts about rapid cycling). 

Bipolar disorder varies greatly from person to person. Similarly, rapid cycling can also mean different things for different people. To meet the clinical definition, there must be 4 episodes in a year. But some individuals can experience multiple mood shifts in the same day (for a visual depiction of this, check out the graphs in this article). Rapid cycling can also vary in how consistent it is: some people see the same patterns year after year, and for others it seems to be random. In this article we will hear from 3 different perspectives:

  • Melanie, who often experiences several cycles in the same day 
  • Lauren, who’s rapid cycling changes throughout the year
  • Lyndsay, who consistently has around 4 mood shifts per year 
What does rapid cycling feel like? 

Melanie: For me, rapid cycling is when I experience multiple “highs” and “lows” in a day. I am an extreme rapid cycler and I have several mood shifts throughout the course of a day. It’s really hard to handle, and it’s exhausting, as someone who works full time in an office setting. It doesn’t change minute to minute, but it sure feels that way! It really affects my energy levels and how I interact or want to interact with other people. 

Rapid cycling feels like your mind is playing tricks on you. You are sad one minute, hyper the next, giddy, and then back to sad, teary, and wanting to hide. It’s very confusing and it’s scary how fast your mood can change and change and change. You feel like your moods are changing so quickly and you don’t know when you will feel “right” again. It is one of the most frustrating parts of having bipolar disorder. 

I have to say that I have had to become a very good actress and very good at suppressing my moods at work, and as a result, at the end of the work day, or on the weekend, the moods can be more severe. I become frustrated with how emotionally labile I am, and I feel terrible that I have anger outbursts, am agitated and rude when I am in a  hypomanic state, or that I am “useless” and amotivated when in a depressed state, i.e. unable to cook, clean, empty the dishwasher, put things away etc.”

What is also confusing and frustrating about rapid cycling is that you can be anxious regardless of what state you are in. Or at least, that’s what happens to me. 

Lauren: Rapid cycling feels like a large roller coaster- but one that is never ending, with highs and lows of unknown duration and height/depth, going around over and over again. The depression of knowing you’ll fall, and the happiness when you’re climbing up, the anxiety when you realize you’re going to start falling again any moment.

Lyndsay: It feels painful (mentally and physically), stressful, scary, and dramatic. Most people think mania is great, but it’s not. During my manic episode, I spend a lot, I can’t feel any emotions, I shut people out, I’m impulsive, and I’m mean. Then I cycle into a depression, and it’s a quick transition. It’s usually a mixed episode for a couple weeks (both manic and depressed), and turns into full-blown depression. That’s when I deal with the repercussions of the mania. I’ll have spent all my money and find myself in severe debt. My relationship will need mending. My physical health will deteriorate. Imagine experiencing the mania to depression (back to mania) four or more times a year. It’s exhausting. And it hurts. It hurts my brain and it hurts my body. I think the worst part is knowing that it’s going to happen. No matter how hard I try to treat it in advance, it always happens; and I never know the severity in advance.

How often do you “rapid cycle”? Do you have mania or depression more often? Has it changed over time? 

Melanie: It depends on the day. I notice that on a typical work day, I start off in a hypomanic state, I am okay for a few hours, then I feel a wave of sadness after lunch, then I have trouble focusing for the rest of the day. By the time I leave work, I can be a little hyper, and my mood will change again. Sometimes I get so hyper by the end of the day that I have trouble sleeping. 

I first noticed the rapid cycling a couple of months after my diagnosis. Initially, my “main” state was hypomania. After a couple of years, it changed to depression. I am not sure if this had to do with life circumstances and events or if it’s “normal” for this to change over time. I do notice that when I am under stress, my predominant state switches to “hypomania”, because in that state, you feel “invincible”. 

My rapid cycling involves multiple cycles throughout a day. The day will end with whatever the predominant mood is. Under stress, I am very hyper and have difficulties sleeping, experience insomnia and of course, this is a dangerous cycle in and of itself! 

I think my rapid cycling will change again and again, depending on what is going on with my life. 

Lauren: My rapid cycling varies- in the summer I get longer but more frequent lows, and in the winter I get higher and more frequent highs. My cycles could change on a weekly or monthly basis. Sometimes I feel ahead of the game and my meds are on track, other times it’s a guessing game and I can’t keep up. I’ve had several major depressive episodes, which add even more frustrations to the mix. Because of this, I usually have to adjust my medications several times a year. The doctors I’ve seen said this might just be my new “normal”.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar type 1 over 13 years ago, when I was 18, but it wasn’t until a few years later they determined it was rapid cycling. It’s been suggested that I had child onset bipolar, but since they didn’t think that was possible at the time they just called it ADHD. So honestly, I don’t remember a time in my life when I was “normal”. I remember getting in trouble a lot growing up, and not being able to control my emotions, but also not really knowing what my emotions even were in the first place. I look back on it now and honestly remember it as living in a haze until I was diagnosed properly and started on the correct medications. 

Lyndsay: My rapid cycling is generally four times a year with little episodes in between. I would explain my episodes throughout the year like this: Every spring (March/April), I cycle into a manic state. My doctors and I assume it’s because of the time change, plus spring is “happier” than winter. I experience this mania for about four months, until a depression cycle comes along in August. I’m curious if this could be related to the start of school, as life changes from fun and playful to busy and structured. I become stable in October and stay that way until January when I find myself in a depression. Mania hits again in March/April. It’s like clockwork.

As I’ve gotten older, I find myself having more manic episodes than depression. I live in Southern California, so the abundant sunshine helps A LOT with managing depression (plus my sun lamp). When I lived in Ohio, the winters would generally be a time of severe depression. 

It seems that all people with bipolar would experience this, but they don’t. My brother, for example, has bipolar disorder and generally cycles once or twice a year (between hypomania and depression). The important thing to remember is that there are multiple types of bipolar disorder. My brother is generally depressed most the time; but he’ll have a few hypomanic episodes here and there (they do not last long). Plus, he’s never experienced full-blown mania.

Do you have any tips on how to cope with rapid cycling?

Melanie: I try my best to avoid triggers like negative people, too much sugar, anxiety-provoking situations and too much stress. And don’t watch the news before bed! 

It is hard to avoid stress, especially family emergencies and there is always “the unexpected”. You have to figure out what calms you down. I highly recommend meditation or hypnosis (hypnotherapy- it’s not what you think it is- not how it is portrayed on TV!). I have learned many techniques to calm down, even if it is short-lived from hypnosis. One technique that I tell people to try is counting backwards from 25, and picturing yourself writing each number down on a blackboard, one at a time, and erasing each number before writing the next. Visualization exercises help. And don’t forget to breathe. Another good one is counting backwards from 25 and picture yourself walking down a staircase, one step at a time. And each time you write down a number or walk down a step, take a deep breath! 

Breathing is important. It is very scary when your heart is racing and you feel nauseous from anxiety, because you feel like you can’t breathe. I think if you can stay calm, maybe your moods won’t change as often, or you can make it slightly more bearable for yourself.  I also recommend finding a hobby, or a distraction. Distracting your mind is very important. Recently, I bought adult “colouring books” and have been enjoying colouring in them and find it relaxing. Journaling or blogging is another great outlet- writing your feelings feels like I am getting the thoughts out of my system. 

Lauren: Some people keep a log, but that can be difficult if you have a lot of cycling, so I get help from family and friends. My spouse has bipolar as well, and is able to clue me in on different changes so we can tackle them head-on. I also try not to get upset with myself if I get into a depression funk. I have little notes around my bed so when I wake up I can see them and remind myself that it’s not permanent. Sometimes the switch in cycles is so quick, I wake up feeling a complete 180 from the day before. I’m not going to lie, some days it’s really hard to be a functioning human, but somehow I always come out ok.

Lyndsay: Visit your doctors every single month, no matter what. I used to think I only needed to see my therapist and psychiatrist when I was depressed or needed medication. Boy, was I wrong. Seeing my therapist regularly meant she could see my cycling before I could. This happened multiple times. It’s important to have someone who is unbiased (and truly, just someone else) to tell you when things are changing. We don’t always recognize it until it’s too late. By seeing your doctors regularly, together, you can catch an episode before it happens. This usually results in tweaking medication or seeing your therapist more often. That may sound awful to some, but it will help you get through the episode/cycle with minimal effects (to yourself and your loved ones).

Also, keep a mood journal. I never realized how “scheduled” my episodes were until I started keeping a journal. It was only then that I knew when I would become manic or depressed, which helped me to plan/prepare in advance. It’s made such a difference.

As for coping, don’t shut people out. I used to do that, and it only made things worse. I had to learn how to let people in, and it took me a while (by a while, I mean years). It’s much easier to handle the episodes with someone stable around you. For example, during a manic episode, my boyfriend will monitor my spending and take away my credit cards (not forcefully; we made this agreement before the episode). When I am depressed, he will be calm and understanding, and know to get me ice cream when I need it. It helps tremendously to have someone who understands the best they can, and that only comes from allowing them to come into your life completely.

What do you wish other people knew about rapid cycling?

Melanie: I wish people knew how exhausting it is. It really is like being at war with yourself. You are fighting with your mind. You want to find a neutral state, but it’s very difficult when your moods keep shifting, shifting, shifting. It’s very hard to find “a happy medium” and to find calm when your mind is always in flux.  

Rapid cycling is frustrating, and can seem scary and confusing to the person who experiences it and the people around him/her. The best way to help someone who experiences rapid cycling is to just be there! Be there by offering a hug, being patient, learning about it and lending an ear. Anyone who wants to support me, has to be willing to 1. Educate themselves and 2. Listen. 

Lauren: I wish there was a way to read it better, not just for other people but for myself as well. Sometimes people don’t get it, they will remember I was depressed/upset, and then if I am suddenly happy, but then get down again, they just give up and get frustrated that they can’t read me or track how I am. It’s not like there is a countdown timer going for each cycle. If it’s frustrating for them, how do they think I feel?

Lyndsay: I wish other people knew that rapid cycling is a part of bipolar disorder, and I don’t need pity. That might sound harsh, and I don’t mean it to be. I don’t want people walking on eggshells around me, no matter the episode I’m in. I’m not “crazy” and I will be okay; it’s simply a part of my life. If I had an employer, I would hope they would somewhat understand that I will cycle frequently, and I’ll either need time off or need accommodations. Though I suppose that’s the reason I am self-employed. I’ve gotten used to the idea that “other people” won’t understand bipolar disorder or what I go through; but I don’t expect them to. I used to get really upset at people’s ignorance, but you’ve got to understand that they don’t experience what we do, so how would they know? And that it’s okay for them not to know. As long as they try to understand, that’s enough for me.

Comments

I have had bipolar for over 25 years (diagnosed) and for as long as I remember..but it wasn't until 3 months ago during a very bad 'episode' that my new psychiatrist acknowledged that I was a rapid cycler.Every day I spin through what seems like a million emoticons...and it really is exhausting. I can't tell you how awesome it was to have a doctor just repeat my diagnosis back to me.I knew what I was but I have had psychiatrists tell me that a person doesn't cycle in a day.Omg!!!
Thank god for people sharing their stories....this has helped unleash the truth behind rapid cycling.
Thank you for this article.

Are you on medication? I am but still have bad days when I can't get out of bed & can't concentrate at work. My Mom nor anyone else in my family understands why this happens if I am on medication. Do you have the same problems?

Thank you everyone for all the stories and comments. I am awaiting the psychiatrist later this week but having read the posts and a lot more, I am pretty sure I know the diagnosis. My symptoms at present are just as Melanie describes above. I am exhausted, constantly battling myself, trying to find 'calm", normal. I think I have suffered from the disorder sonce I was about 15 (25 years) and have spent a liftime covering things up with pretence, alcohol and an alter-ego which is always happy and confident and capable.

I cant do it any more, the booze will kill me and as I have become more aware, it works less anyway. I used to work 100 hours a week, my own business. Now I have finally accepted that until I get this under ontrol I cannot either pretend to be happy during the lows, or sedate myself during the "manic" times. Work has all but stopped for the time being, that hurts but I have to do it.

I used to think that the manic part of the disorder just meant happy, I have realised for me at least that you dont have to be happy, just unable to shut off a mind that doesn't want to play ball.

I still don't know how to manage my condition, I am hoping that the correct medication will help. I just want to be able to sit down and read a newspaper!

Right now I am goign to eat a couple of diazepam and try to get some sleep to reset my mind for a few hours at least until it builds up again.

Thanks for listening, I hope I dont sound foolish, Ive never written on a forum before

I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder for many years and I still struggle. This year has not been the best for my family, and my trigger always begins with stress. From there, I begin to have trouble sleeping and calming my brain at night. I take medication but sometimes for weeks at a time I feel totally depressed. I'm still going to work and making myself function but I don't feel like doing anything. I'm irritable, moody, and more than anything else I feel terribly sad. I have been through many depressive episodes in my life and I'm feeling as though I'm starting to get there again. I always feel singled out and alone when I start to feel this way, and I hate talking about it. This is the first time that I've written anything about what I deal with on a regular basis.

Try reading , a hot bath, walks exercise. I like aromatherapy oils like lavender to relax or I go for a massage. Keep away from stress/ stressful ppl. Take things slow. It will get better. Set small goals. You won't be able to do everything but you can be happy successful in whatever path you choose. Good luck

Hi, Julie.

I have had similar problems for years. I, too, quit medications--and drugs and alcohol, but that is another story, of sorts, though it is part of my depression story, as well--and went to college. I earned THREE degrees in the space of time that most people earn just ONE...or only PART of one. I was that driven and full of energy. This started when I started college, and I think that part of my soaring energy and brain powere were in part due to mania that was barely under control. I burned up so much energy by working a new computer business that I started, taking 20 - 26 units each quarter, teaching classes on the weekends, tutoring at the student center on weekdays, tutoring privately in between, and even taking a starring role in a one act school play (even thougn I was NOT a drama student. I was just helping out a friend!), on top of my weekly exercise regimen and computer sessions for playing games, writing poetry, and other such activities that helped to burn off extra energy and to relax me. WHEW!!! That exhausted me just recalling it. Oh, yes. I forgot to mention that I was also the treasurer and meeting chair for a couple of different A.A. meetings in my area, as I went to about 4 - 6 meetings a week, on average, and led two of them.

Anyhow, I now think that the activities were what saved me. Being so incredibly busy mean that my mind HAD to be extra busy, while at the same time being "laser-focused." Also, I feel that having people who counted on me was very important. I had SOOOO many people who were counting on my work, my word, and/or my input, that when I wanted to stop, sleep in, or just run away, I found myself thinking about them, and what damage I would do to the friendships, business relationships, and trust positions (where people put their trust in me for tutoring, acting, etc.). I COULDN'T let down all those people. And when I finished college, all of that more or less disappeared; except for some tutoring, and my business, of course, which grew, and as such helped to replace SOME of the responsibility and "thinking" that I almost completely used up while I was in school. Heck, I LIVED on just two - three hours a DAY, for years, until I finished college as the class Valedictorian, with a graduating GPA of a perfect 4.0.

My GPA would have been higher, due to other GPA points that I earned from the high school college class program in which I had to enroll to become a "student tutor"--for which, technically, I was not eligible. But as I was in the program, helping the students in the only way available to them--as a fellow-student tutor--I earned extra GPA points along with everyone else. And that program allowed students to accumulate up to 5.99 GPA grades to make up for GPA losses incurred by not being on their own campus, or SOMETHING like that. It wasn't my program, so I didn't pay much attention. Besides, as well as knowing that the extra GPA points could not count for more than my current 4.0 GPA under any circumstances, and as I was the only multiple-award, single-recipient scholarship winner, I had much more of everything than I could use, on most fronts. I had straight A+ grades for my entire college run, and this was now graduation time, so more GPA points would have been useless. But the FUNDS, on the other hand, THOSE helped to pay for my college expenses, like supplies and housing costs, as the state paid my school fees under the Disability Program, but not for much else.

AAAANNNNDDDD SCENE! End college career! Fade to black... Enter a NEW scene: my sober life OUTSIDE of school. I was ill-prepared to have all of the free time and time to sleep, as well. That is when it all started to fall apart. My anxiety levels began to increase, and just adding more A.A. activities to my schedule was not nearly enough. It helped, but not by much. I did get into more stuff in an attempt to stay busy, but other than writing very difficult poetry styles prolifically, I still had a LOT of "free" time to sit around and to become depressed...or manic. In any case, and for whatever reason, my thoughts raced and I was unsure of what to do. Nothing helped. I even quit drinking Diet Coke cold turkey, and I LOVED that stuff! I drank about 4 - 6 2-liter bottles a DAY up until I quit. And then, OMG! the HEADACHES!!! I had tear-inducing, light-swirling, pain-bomb-explosion-creating headaches that I had never heard of nor even knew were possible up to then.

But I stuck it out, figuring that if I had to go through something like this, I would do it while I was in control of when and where it happened, and while I had the time and the place in which to do it. One month later, I was FREE...of the headaches. The depression, though seemingly not as bad, was still there. I threw myself into my business, and that did seem to help some. Plus, my business took OFF. I was quickly a million-dollar business. And that is where it stood for about ten years, until the racing thoughts and the depression slowly got worse and worse, and then overtook the rest of my life. It was my incredibly bad luck to meet the woman, online, for whom I had always searched. We were good together, and we had three children over the next six or more years. I LOVED MY BABIES LIKE NO ONE BEFORE OR SINCE, but with physical problems also plaguing me, and no doctor being able to pinpoint my depression's root cause, I received no treatment for either.

Instead, I lost my business, as I was no longer able to work, but I LOVED spending the time with my angels. After the last one was born, and I was now almost deathly ill, someone turned us into CPS for supposedly endangering our babies because I was too ill to care for them, and their mother was too angry all the time--which she was, but mostly out of feeling helpless about our situation, and NEVER towards the children. She loved them as much as I did, but I think that she was even more exhausted than I was, simply because she also had to care for me in my state of perpetual illness.

One thing led to another, and though no one EVER proved that we had ANYTHING but incredible love for our babies, and with the psychologists that the STATE FOUND FOR US saying that, at least with ME, taking the babies away would irreparably HARM them due to ALL THREE OF THEM being incredibly bonded to "daddy," that being me, of course. However, as we had state-paid attorneys, who were more there for the state than for us, I could tell by their refusal to do ANYTHING to help us, and especially to help ME, as I was very ill. In any case, my attorney flat REFUSED to help me, even after the judge SAID that she had to. And since California has some insane law that says if the kids are in state custody, and one of them is about to turn three-years-old, then they HAD to be adopted out before they got any older, and maybe became too old for anyone to want.

Of course, this was never the case with our babies, as they were all three golden-haired, white-skinned, cherry-red-lipped, beautiful children by anyone's standards. The foster families even fought over them,as they were incredible angels...UNTIL they were taken from daddy's arms, time and again. And each time, the CPS workers learned, they would have to extend the visit by taking the children somewhere to calm down after we left. That's how badly they were ruining our babies', and our, lives. Eventually, in this perpetually messed up state, they found the PERFECT family: a gay couple of men who wanted and "instant family," as they had just gotten married, and now wanted the family life. So they gave them MY FAMILY!!!

"Depression" doesn't begin to describe what I went through after that. Well, what WE went through after that. But my wife bugged out and found the first guy who would look at her, and ran away with him the day before her birthday--and ten DAYS before our hearing to see if we should have our parental rights severed. My ex-wife, at that time being not very discrete, wrote about the entire incident of her Facebook page. Somehow, the CPS workers found out, and the rest, as they say, was history.

The last day that I got to hold, hug, kiss, and tell them how much daddy loved them--and ALWAYS would--was October 24th, 2014, well over three years ago! I cry while I type. There is NOTHING that I can do, though I tried EVERYTHING, and EVERY appeal until I ran out of time, energy, money, and everything else. Of course, one month before that last fateful court hearing, my dad died. Also, about six weeks before that hearing's scheduled date, my new doctor found out what had been killing me all these years: a simple, but devastating case of Vitamin D deficiency. My Vitamin D was so low that I had NO immune system. I should not have been alive. And even now knowing that I had been telling the absolute TRUTH all those years meant NOTHING to them, as they lied and created false evidence all the time. I AM NOT EXAGGERATING. I suppose that they THOUGHT they were helping our babies, even though they could not have been farther from the truth. And even when their own state-paid psychologists--who, as it turns out, did MANY of the state's child welfare cases for California, but suddenly, in OUR case, they decided that the psychologists didn't know anything about that on which they were speaking. Wow. And the CPS workers kept calling US liars, even though they NEVER, EVER caught either me or my wife lying about ANYTHING...EVER. Not one lie, though THEY lied all the time. I have PROOF, which nevertheless the Appellate Court simply ignored, as did the Appeals Court.

CPS had tried to make a case that my wife was just an enabling, weak woman (MAN, they NEVER met HER in our house! She ran EVERYTHING her way, though I didn't care. I was too sick to do much except to care for my angel babies. And they were SOOOO good! They loved daddy so much that they never wanted to disappoint me. So they were the best-behaved children anyone ever saw! Even CPS had to admit that, even though they thought that we beat them or something to get them to be so compliant. But I was just an incredibly loving dad, and they knew that. So much so that they would ASK if they had disappointed me when they did something "wrong." Of course, I told them "No!" every time. I would simply get down on eye level with them and explain how daddy was worried for them when they misbehaved, because they might get injured if they did that while we were out shopping, and some danger was headed their way. The conversation was always a bit different every time, but they understood that I just loved them so much that I would worry about them getting injured or someone "bad" getting too close to them if they couldn't hear me...or whatever was the situation. Anyway, they KNEW that they were NEVER "bad" kids, and that I NEVER would think that about them. Even if they had to spend a minute or two in a corner thinking about how they, or their brother or sister, could get injured or something if they didn't behave, or did not do what they were supposed to do, etc. Kids are VERY smart, and they understand when they are doing something they shouldn't be doing. Just that knowledge was often enough to get them to behave. And the poor little guys always felt SOOO bad if they thought that they "disappointed" me! I would always hug and kiss them, and tell them that they could NEVER disappoint me, though I WOULD worry about them! Then I would "hug it out," sometimes through their tears, until they felt better. Then we would kiss, and they would run off all smiles. GOD! I miss my little angels!

But I digress... As I was saying, CP)S just thought that I was a fat, lazy, drug-addled old man...even though THEIR surprise drug tests--including a hair test where they took pubic hair (including the roots), and a "head hair" test (where they cut three samples down to my naked scalp, and left me looking like, I don't know, a mange victim or something!)--showed NOTHING; no drugs of any kind in either of our systems. And they repeated these tests continuously through our entire, horrible ordeal, even though not a single test ever came back even "undetermined," or whatever was the term they used where they could not be sure about the sample's test results. Ours were always negative. Period. And EVERYONE could see that this annoyed them TERRIBLY when the results would be read in open court. I TOLD them that I was very ill, and when my Vit. D test results SHOWED that, finally, they could not care less. They never stopped trying to persecute me for being depressed and sick.

In a way, as depression played such a large part in this case, one could say that the state gave away my children to strangers because I was ILL with depression AND a physical disease, neither of which they gave a damn about. How can a state call itself humane and lie that they are only: "...trying to keep families together, not tear them apart!" (they line they used on US!), when they decidedly came down on the side of tearing our family apart with THEIR lies, deceptions, "on-the-record" forgeries of documents, etc. I lost my ENTIRE FAMILY because "It takes a village!" or some such nonsense.

And then, suicide became a viable option. Talk about thoughts whizzing around someone's head: I was dizzy from all of the thoughts in mine. But now, the state had my kids, so they didn't need to do anything for me or to me anymore. They just dropped me completely, though they DID try to charge me with Felony Child Abuse. With my severe depression it was hard to fight it, but with all of the proof that I had of their misdeeds, I refused to plead to ANYTHING! Not even a parking ticket, which they eventually tried to lower it down to. I'm not kidding. My new attorney told me that the final charge they offered, just to get the "win," and to show SOMETHING on my record for my children having being taken, was the equivalent of a "moving violation." I still refused, and eventually, they had no choice but to drop it. Otherwise, they would have to have a jury trial, call my wife as a witness--since SHE pled guilty, which I told her NOT TO DO (she now has a FELONY charge of Child Endangerment on her permanent record!)--call the psychologists--who both told me they would testify to the lies and forgeries in their names that the CPS worker committed--and so much more.

So I staggered out of the court a broken man, even if I did win their case against me. And the depression just gets worse and worse most of the times, though the "manic" phases that I used to get are now more like a few giggles, then back to major depression. The trouble is that I cannot tolerate ANY of the meds that they have tried on me. My doctor thinks that it has something to do with the racing thoughts. He explained it something like, if I already have an overabundance of serotonin for whatever reason, and as most meds try to regulate serotonin by raising its levels in the synapses, thus making it available for the brain to use on a regular basis, I get what is very close to a "Serotonin Storm" (also now known, I believe, as "Serotonin Syndrome"), which if full-blown, is essentially fatal. Consequently, I cannot dare to even try any meds that mess with serotonin levels. And what few meds are available other than those do not work. They make me feel as if I am going out of my head! On one med, I ran screaming into traffic holding my head, and had to be put into a near coma state until the med cleared my brain! Since then, my doctors will not give me any meds, either. But what am I supposed to do?!

That is why I am scouring the net on a regular basis, looking for new studies--one of which I found today!--that addresses my symptoms or my medication anomalies, etc. I have never even gotten close until the new study that I found today online. What's weird is that it is NOT a new study, but I have never heard of it, nor had it referenced, nor have seen it anywhere before today. I have no idea why, but I am going to look for more studies or follow-ups to this case study wherever I might find them. I am sorry for writing a book to you, but I rarely talk about this stuff to anyone, especially to a "stranger" online. But no one I find has the same symptoms as me usually, either. So there is that.

If all of this information is just too much for you, I will understand. Heck, it's not even the full story, but I didn't want to drive you back into a depressive episode if you were not already in one! Oh, wow! That would be bad! Maybe you shouldn't read this, if you check the bottom of the story first, like some people I know, do. Well, if you DID read this whole thing, I hope that it didn't depress you! And if you DIDN'T read the whole thing, maybe that is for the best? lol I don't know. I find it hard to tie my shoes, some days, so I won't be much help with the "higher functions" in most cases, if you understand my meaning.

Okay, I'm done. I will go back to scouring the Internet. Have a nice day...if you read down this far! 'Bye!

Shawn, I cant do anything, te you anything that has great solution in it. But my hearts shifted in my chest hearing your experience. Bought tears to me for you Im with you on some sorta plane. God bless.

Shawn. Sending those babies of to people you don't know, who wanted an instant family, where does one even file that? It reminds me of a cult. Reminds me of the 'stolen generation' here in Australia, where the governing bodies took whole families of kids off of the indigenous people of our land, and gave them away to strangers. Its not real different. I haven’t had children. It causes me unremitting pain. To lose children of your own tat you made through your body-but not even to foster helpers whom you co-parent with, is to test life itself: to create pain that of course is firm of torture. People do survive of course. But it must be so horrific. Heart bends for you. I only wish all the best for you. I hope you find support and a life you can live Shawn.

Wow. It is so awesome to hear other people dealing with the same crap. I was diagnosed bipolar when I was 17..and I had many years in and out of hospitals and meds trying to fix it. I am now 34 and I've been off meds for at least ten years. I started to think maybe I was misdiagnosed..I've never heard of anyonE bipolar living without meds before. But I made it through college living on SSA disability and finally managed to get my dream job as an accountant at a nonprofit. All with no meds. But since I started this job I feel like my past has come back to haunt me. My mood swings have been very severe..to the point I miss work some days. I wonder what is going on? I made it so far even with the emotional problems...why is it becoming so unmanageable now? Just when things are going so good? I really don't know. All I know is my mood is all over the place every day and I'm so exhausted when I get home I'm struggling to keep up. I am losing hope and feel like I'm falling back into a huge pit. Does anyone else have a similar experience???

I have Biopolar 2, so am actually always in a hypomanic state naturally, usually always up up, but not full on mania. I don't suffer from the deep depression, I get more irritable and angry. I have never been on Bipolar meds, but due to having a high stress job as a manager, I am trigger constantly which throws be in to rapid cycles which Can change daily, weekly or monthly... all depending. I am finding that this type of a high stress job is too much for my brain to handle and stay balanced. I am starting lamotrigine today actually. I want to function in my current job, but if mood stabilizer's don't work for me, than this job may not be for me and that is frustrating as he'll because it is a job I want to do, and do well. My employees drama exhausts me and set me off the most.... its trial and error time to see if i can get myself to be cool, calm and collected....

My guess the issue is you new job. Great stress can be just as debilitating as bad stress. Don't try and tough it out or you might initiate Kindling (Sensitization):
FROM DBSA - According to the “kindling” theory, early episodes are triggered by actual or anticipated life events such as the death of a loved one or an upcoming job interview. Over time, the person with the illness becomes increasingly sensitive to more minor “triggers” or stressors, and becomes more likely to have an episode in response to these events. Eventually the person may begin to have episodes without any “triggers.” Episodes become increasingly frequent and the end result of this process, when the illness is not properly treated, may be rapid, ultra-rapid or ultradian cycling.you might initiate 'kindling.'

Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I loved this post.
It was helpful. Keep on posting!

Thanks for that, I went through something similar myself a couple of months ago and just felt like the most worthless person ever...I'm rapid cycle too, but unfortunately my brain tends to keep me on the darker side of life. I love my hypo times, but if it's more than a couple of days I end up panicking... Been unmedicated for a year, and first year in 10 that I haven't cut, so progress being made. I have 2 jobs and 2 boys, and think they are what keeps me present x

I have been dealing with very rapid cycling bipolar since I was 10. My family didn't seek help they judged me and criticized my actions. For years I've covered up my problems and it lead to sever drug abuse and compulsive spending, stealing, things I would never do. My moods control me. Things will level out and I will start doing better without medication and I will sober up and not have too much of an issue. I build my world back up, I get jobs, go to school, deal with my legal issues. And I feel like there's a ledge I'm walking up to and I know when I get to the edge I won't just fall, I will walk my moodyself off of it. I can't keep jobs or friends. The only way I have ever managed it is by making myself ad numb as possible. Ive had some really great years where ive done alot of good and not cycled as bad but it never fails. When I'm doing really really good. I fall harder back into horrible habits and loose everything.

Thank you for your honesty...I have the exact same problem!! I'm trying to get sober again right now and I'm not on any bipolar meds and I'm starting to realize I can't do it w/o them. I just realized that I've been UP as well as my usual down and spending all my $ and doing drugs. I haven't had 30 days clean in like 3 years :( I've had over a year clean 3 separate times, but then I come to that ledge you were talking about and I just jump right off bc I don't know how to control my emotions...i feel EVERYTHING so deeply, to my core, that I run and try to escape it. Only leading me back eventually to being suicidal, unsuccessful suicide attempts, and eventually...jail. I'm trying my damndest to quit before I hurt myself or go to prison. I guess progress, not perfection...but I hate life and it's hard to have hope based off my track record. I feel your pain and I wish for you all the best things in life...

Kayla,
I empathize with you completely. You just summed up my life in your paragraph.

I am 38 and just accepted been diagnosed with bipolar, I'm in Townsville.my mother told my kids I've always had it, I am on no meds, seven years ago I was once for a few months, I crashed my car lost my engagement a till I went loco crazy and tried to hang myself . one night in mental ward senthometoldnothingwrongeith me. My kids cut the rope and got me down. I was homeless for two years living at mates my mum's my newboyfriend(awgad) my son ended up leaving home at fourteen a few a half, that's when I realised the most important mman in my world was always there, my son. He replaced my father or any man's love I had ever received except forsexaully of cruelty. I am pleased to say he has forgiveness and we're getting there he's 18 this year. I am devastated that me breaking the cycle for my children starting 8 months ago noticeably but a year and a half from myself mentally was how I was recently diagnosed with lots of mental issues, I have most of them. My kids too now. I smoke pot a lot and find this other than addiction issues helpful. In Townsville I was told no too 2mg valium as I'm working on addictions for weed. I got told no but offered the methadone program, I reacted. Now I'm banned from all the surgeries they own. I have lost all and only have my kids, I now want to make right what I never understood or got help for whether that was as a child or as a adult. I think my youngest has bipolar,she's been diagnosed with ptsi, anxiety, add, they all have ptsi, like myself. I never hit or swore degraded my kids but I was ME, where do you start from here I'm on the internet asking you I guess. My bipolar has all the kids and animals liking me not many if any adults. I'm polite respectful, HONEST BLUNT AND CRAY CRAY my boy says but I just thought that was me. SILVER LINING was a good movie to watch. If my mum or family had seen it, understood this illness if I had, would I have that family support or just family now everyday I wonder the hurt anger goes I work with love instead, trouble is how do you work out cycles when it all makes sense a day too me it's my life. Doctor you say, I don't have one now. He literally banned me because I went and loudly told wholesurgey that I can't have valium but I can get methadone and become a junkie,... Yep being me, destroyed me and broke my family. My mental health services, I am still unable to get proper medication as I have no regular doctor to prescribe his opinion and my mental health didn't want me to see the first councillor I ment and liked, so every appointment I was called on day and it was cancelled. This is genuinely true, the clinic apologised too me and after my choice left town, I was welcome to see a dude there, I never went. I went to another psych referred from doctor who has known my mother and family since I was 16 and then got banned from clinic plus all others he ow s. , I got this because of the valium situation and loudly expressing. The truth about my opinion of running their clinic, for their lack of support helping and teaching myself to cope adapt, now I have understanding I can't control THIS only live with it the best that I can be for what family I have left. Glad my kids love me and they have been my biggest help understanding these cycles that have always been ME. FORGIVING MYSELF FOR THE UNESSECARY PAIN I'VE CAUSED THEM. I TELL MYSELF EACH DAY AND ACTIVELY WORK OR BE A HUMAN BEING FILLED WITH LOVE. for the first time in my life I'm getting better I don't want to die, I am learning to love me and everybody never surrending or not staying in that place if I do so much quicker, I'm aware of my loudness my projection or attributes on others or myself. My kids are coming out with me in public again and I am not having a Jo moment I'm learning to breathe. I'm a psychic (I'm delusional, whatever) in 38 years I've never been able to mediate or breathe... Breathing is the key. My children's and other kids animals few people though have shown me I'm not evil but I scare the adults I'm told when I asked kids in my life do I scare you when I get mad or when I'm sad? Too which I was told on different occasions and by different children, no mummy, no aunty, no jojo, you would never hurt us. you scare the adults aunty jojo with the biggest grin on his face, you scare them your silly aunty you'd never scare us another time. I asked my kids their reply was mum you hurt yourself this scares us.... Yes I did hurt them by growing up with my mental illness and me not knowing just always thinking it was ME. Surprisingly love/GOD HAS HELPED ME TOO.

This was amazing to read and I really appreciate you taking the time to share. The more I read, the more I want to give you a hug and be your friend. It sounds like you are making progress in figuring out yourself and the way life works for you and I wish you luck in the rest of your journey.

Dan, SSRI’s and antidepressants are not good for bipolar. They lift the lows, but push the highs ever higher, then you crash down. They work for a while AND some people do need to be on them BUT people with bipolar need to be on a mood stabilizer.

It can take a long time to find the right meds and the right doses. Find a good prescriber that cares and pays attention. Good luck, I know how this stuff feels.

ya i have yet to properly diagnosed, but im 40 and have been a severe type 2 since i was 17. i used heroin and methadone for many years when i was young but obviously that had to stop. for the last 15 years i just smoke lots of pot. but i got off heroin, went to collage got straight A's started a great career got married had 3 kids. ya im a very good actor and a very good liar. i have had to quit jobs and move over manic rage. sometimes people really like me but over the years i have stopped calling all my friends, nvm i never really had any. so i went to a dr recently and put me on an ssri which was nice cause it brought me up out of suicide feedbackloop but yesterday i told my wife that we were getting a divorce, manic damage. so now what ive been waiting 6 weeks to see a psychiatrist to figure out whats wrong with me. im over this maybe i was better off without the drugs

Dan, I'm so glad you shared your story. You are doing the right things and getting yourself healthy. I was diagnosed a year ago when I was at my lowest and have been so helped with medication. It was a miracle that I think saved my life- or at least my marriage and family life. God bless you and keep reaching out and sharing with people who understand and care. This is the first forum I've read and appreciate it so much. With prayers for your healing, Michele

This page has helped me so so much. I haven't received a diagnosis yet, initially I was treated for depression on and off for a few years and after describing what it was like to my doctor she referred me to a mental health facilitator. I have been looking everywhere to try and find something that matches my symptoms, what I have is near enough exactly the same as what Melanie describes. The closest I found before was Borderline Personality disorder as I thought bipolar was huge shifts in moods that lasted a period of months. I can experience up to 20 dramatic mood changes within a day and it's driving me mad not being able to control this. The mental health facilitator explained that there were different types of bipolar other than the one with the huge shifts in mood over a period of months. And then I've done some research and found 'rapid cycling' and i'm almost certain that this will be my diagnosis. Unfortunately I think I am a long way off from a diagnosis as my mental health facilitator doesn't have an available slot to see me again until December. And then i'm presuming she will need to refer me to a psychiatrist which will take a while. Just to read on here about other people who are in the same situation helps a lot, I've felt so so on edge about all of this because I couldn't find anything in any forums where people were experiencing the same thing. This gives me hope so thank you all

Omg Hoillie, it's like your speaking about me. My mood can really change up to 20 times a day if not more. I am on medication but the worst part is the fact that people do not understand why this is happening or how it feels about the fact that it's totally out of control. I also find it extremely hard to focus at work, I wish I can know what can be done regarding this..

DENA: you and Hollie both sound like me! I am in the middle of getting a diagnosis. Pdoc says bipolar II. I think i rapid cycle and have NO CLUE what meds to take... What the _____ is left that helps a rapid cycle and no weight gain or hair loss or thyroid issues??? Lord Help Us All!

Have you tried Epsilim? It is like Lithium but apparently doesn't give you the weight gain? My shrink diagnosed me in an hour, rapid cycling and knew exactly what to prescribe (ok I only filled the script today and am yet to start them) but this guy you see through Skype as I live in a small regional town, so qualify for this bulk bill service. I only found out about this service from my awesome GP when i went in 2 months ago asking for him to refer me to a head doctor before I topped myself. So it is medicare bulk billed and no travel required, and it is private (I go to my normal doctor surgery, he leaves me in a room by myself for an hour and noone knows why I am there)

Trilipetal ( I think is how you spell it) my son at 11, after speaking to doctors and having a brain scan(which showed his chemicals in his brain never slowed down) was diagnosed with rapid cycle. He done great from 11 to 18. Graduated with honors and was the "good kid" as he said. He turned 18 And started college and from the outside you can tell he is struggling. He decided he don't need meds, which he tried to stop taking them about a year ago and I'm a weeks time admitted he hasn't taken them and later in my lap crying because he didn't want to be on meds the rest of his life..I love him so much and wish I knew what to do to get him to get back on his meds..he never even wanted to drink or anything..the past couple of months he has engaged in drinking several times and i have tried to explain to him that it will only make his cycles worse. Please pray my son that graduated with honors, has had his future planned all his life doesn't throw his future away because he doesn't want to take a pull a day. God bless all of y'all for striving for better!!!

It's so good to just read these other anecdotal stories from other Bipolar People. I'm like Dan in that I have been self medicating (off and on) for decades. It's exhausting to be this way. The "alter person" whom I present to pretty much everyone is so happy, upbeat, and likeable. People have no idea how much I would like to just take an overdose of my meds and just climb into the dark crawl space under my house and hide until I'm dead. That fear of going that final step is just so overwhelming to me. The relief that a decision like that would seem to offer seems too inviting after a full day of being the "fake me" at work, or in social situations. But I know if I do it there is no coming back. I've shared all of this with my psychiatrist but I'm not sure he believes me. I'm just trying to currently keep it together one arduous day at a time, and to not think to far ahead; the thought of a long future of this kind of fear, exhaustion, and desperation is just too much to bear.

I feel exactly the same way. I get along with everyone swimmingly. People think I'm so happy but I'm plagued by thoughts of suicide. I have been pretty much my whole life. You are not alone!

I relate to Melanie’s story so much it brought me to tears. Lindsay, I am also like you - I always try to rationalize the term bi-polar and through my own research I got the impression those around the bipolar individual feel the most grief and are aware of the highs and lows.
That’s is not the case with me - I am the most kind, friendly, happy person but I am dying inside.
I fluctuate with highs and lows so often throughout the day that I cannot even trust my own emotions anymore. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember (I’m 28 now). I’ve seen several doctors but they all state the same thing: “bipolar disorder is characterized by highs and lows, over periods of weeks or months - not within a 24 hour period”. Then they all state I have anxiety and depression but, I’ve always know it was way more than that. The unexplained gittyness and euphoria throughout the day - mixed with horrendous lows.
It’s worst mid-day and at night. I can fake it very well - the only people who are aware - are my parents because they receive the true uncensored me. The people I take for granted and lash out on (or as I’d say “those I express my REAL emotions towards”).
I’m educated (bachelors of science) and in a successful career in medical research but, in every other way I completely ruine my life. I isolate myself from nearly everyone and shut everyone out because I hate having to pretend when I don’t have to (I.e., not at work and being paid to pretend).
Thank you so much - I am so relieved to know I’m not alone.

Wow. I am so relieved to hear you say how you feel about being the "fake you" at work and in social situations. After a day socialising I have the most massive headache for all the next day and I feel so down about myself. And sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is the thought that I can top myself. I actually know that I would not do this as I could not do it to my 18 year old son. I had a friend whose father committed suicide when she was little and it devastated her into her adult life. Most of the time I just feel like such a social loser.

Great contributions. I´ve been through all of this for 5 years now.

I like the way you accurately describes mania as not always feeling happy, but like you can't shut your mind down. I'm having a rapid cycle right now that began yest morning. Got a big project done at work but when I came home I couldn't stop doing chores and art stuff, but I didn't feel high and happy. I felt like an exhausted robot. I was dx in 1984. There are LOTS of ways to have some control. With meds you can meditate,do yoga, walk or jog, alternate nostril breathing helps me calm down (yoga thing..just Google it), artistic Hobby's, volunteer work,and, um, a healthy diet.research BP self-care.also journaling.forgive me if e gone on too long. Your post just helped me think of my wellness tools. Thanks for your first post.

You dont sound foolish, you sound like someone trying to get it together!

Our son (28) has been diagnosed with rapid cycling bi polar this year after his most recent (5th) car accident, which he was lucky to escape from alive. It has been a confusing time but I think has made some sense out of his behaviours over the years. He's on Aripiprazole which seem to be making a difference, he says that he feels better than he has for years. One thing which is difficult to deal with is that he lies compulsively... About anything, but particularly around anything to do with money/debts, is this part of the process? Thank you for sharing your stories, I think you're all very brave & reading them has given me a much greater understanding

Annie,
Background before I mention $:
Untreated Bipolar gets worse with age (and it changes), so my parents have trouble understanding why or how I've spent so much money now that I'm in my mid-40s. I used to be very good with money, and I was fortunate that I was able to focus my energies academically. I managed to get a phd with what seemed like "ease" b/c I had so much energy to spare and kept myself locked inside an apartment reading and writing all the time. I was lucky that that's all i wanted to do. I was incredibly focused and controlled and in a bizarrely hypomanic productive way that I would KILL to have back! I mean it still sucked in many ways b/c I was a rollercoaster at other times.

But anyway, I went from all this productive hypomania and ability to control myself, including financially, to massive debt, unproductive hypomania (more of a mixed state that includes lots of energy to be even MORE anxious and irritable!), and many depressive cycles.

Unfortunately, chronic pain, surgeries, children, jobs (teaching outside the routine of being a student is harder for me b/c it's more unpredictable), and getting older changed the entire dynamics of my bipolar. It's like a totally different disorder in some ways.. Now I'm just holding on day to day. But, online shopping has been the death of me, as it has for so many with bipolar. I'm very aware I do this. I'm a smart guy; I've read about my mood disorder, etc. BUT sometimes awareness, intelligence, medications, and therapy are still not going to solve all the problems. You might talk with him about what he wants to do financially in the future. Does he want to think about ways to protect himself from himself? My wife occasionally will lock up credit cards or take away login info, check credit cards regularly, give me a limited amount of cash, etc. But it only works when I want to work. So, your son has to want it to work.

Overall, my life is good, but I've been lucky, I'm able to fit my life to my moods mostly.

The most important recommendation I can make is for your son to seek routines. Sleep routines, routines in activity, etc. For me, reading is perfect b/c it's the same activity over and over and over and over again, but I get to learn different things all the time so I'm not bored with the sameness of the routine.

Surprises are awful for me. Good or bad. I hate to be surprised. Often even by a gift, b/c then I get anxiety about appreciating it or using it or being grateful etc. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. And birthdays and holidays are awful. Anything that's supposed to be a big deal puts me in a tail spin. I prefer a normal everyday day to a day that's supposed to be GREAT. They usually end up in an emotional meltdown for me. then i feel guilty and hate myself for them.

Routine solves so much.

I understand the lying. It feels awful to admit the stupid things you do that you KNOW are stupid.

There is hope. Many many many people like me with bipolar live full lives. I wouldn't trade my life for the world. When the stars align with my moods and everything is going well, it's just perfect! So, I've learned to savor those moments.

So, in some ways my moods have gotten worse as I've gotten older, but I've also learned how to deal with them better in some ways now that I'm in my 40s. But my story won't be your son's story. We all have our own, and when you are dealing with bipolar, you're dealing with infinite variety. We each have our own little special snowflake-like individual varieties of bipolar. Most of them include the unpredictable within each day, over the weeks and months, and even across the years as our disorder takes on different personalities at different stages in our lives.

people with bipolar can be very intense and we suck you into our reality. Try to resist. It's hard to do. Most the time my wife is able to just discount me when I'm over-reacting. She knows I'll apologize later. But if she reacts, it's like fuel on a fire.

I'm not saying put up with anything. Being abusive emotionally and verbally, not to mention physically, is NOT okay. But I get heated and irritable and over-react to small things, and if i get my wife to take the bait (though I don't mean to do this), we can escalate very quickly. Later she is always confused by how she got so caught up in the moment reacting to my over-reacting as if it were normal! So, within reason, try to be patient! I know that's hard.

There is a great graphic novel about bipolar called Look Straight Ahead. I highly recommend it. It's about parents dealing with their son's getting diagnosed with bipolar. It's a moving book. Another great graphic novel is called Marbles--it's more "graphic" it the adult sense and not just in the "visual" sense, so I don't know if you want to read it. But both books helped my father understand me better. There are two more books I recommend: Unquiet Mind (look it up and read about the author!). And recently, I found one of the best books ever: Living with Depression and Bipolar. It's author also keeps a fantastic website. Reading the first 100 pages of that book to get a quick accurate overview of bipolar in a way your doctor probably won't explain it to you.

I hope these resources help you. If you can't find the names of these authors, just write back. If you've never read a graphic novel, don't dismiss them. Comic books deal with serious subjects too (a graphic novel is just a book-length comic book).

Thank you for your comment; it sounds so much like my situation. Online shopping has been a really embarrassing issue of mine. It's actually what prompted me to seek a diagnosis in the first place. However, I though I was going to be diagnosed as ADHD because that's what I was diagnosed with as a child (though my parents never medicated me because I excelled in school).

All my life, I have felt so different. Growing up, my bedroom was always a mess. I could never do homework. I had little regard for authority. I drove too fast and wrecked multiple times

Thank you for your comment; it sounds so much like my situation. Online shopping has been a really embarrassing issue of mine. It's actually what prompted me to seek a diagnosis in the first place. However, I thought I was going to be diagnosed as ADHD because that's what I was diagnosed with as a child (though my parents never medicated me because I excelled in school). Last week though, the Intake Counselor said he thinks I am Manic Bipolar.

All of my life, I have felt so different from my friends. Growing up, my bedroom was always a mess. I could never do homework. I had little regard for authority. I drove too fast and wrecked multiple times. As I aged, my relationships were tumultuous. I got into drugs and alcohol and car sales. I would have moments of super productivity and success, followed with periods of outbursts and failures.

Two failed marriages and two children later, I have managed to marry a wonderful man. We have been together now for almost seven years but I often wonder where I would be without him because he is the reason I am able to stay in check for the most part... he is a business owner and a very astute man. He called me out on all of my bullshit antics (promiscuity, substance abuse, social inappropriateness) at the beginning of our relationship in a way that made me listen and admit I was not living in an acceptable manner--particularly for a mother.

Although I don't lead such a destructive life anymore, I still have some major issues that need attention. I am overly snappy--I take every remark as a personal attack. I cannot drive without messing with my phone or something else (I can never just give the road my full attention). I am addicted to applying for credit cards and requesting credit limit increases. I am addicted to online shopping and will go on binges anytime we have an event of some sort coming upon us. Then, I'm embarrassed as the packages start arriving. I have actually started putting them in other people's name (whoever I bought them for in the household), to save face.

Anyhow, I don't really know where I am going with this, but your response resonated with me. I am trying to come to terms with my diagnosis and figure out a way to move forward and deal with this appropriately. Do you take medicine?

I read a post from Lynn on 11/1/17. She stated she had bipolar and was in her 40's, and going through menopause at the same time. I am 49- and the last 2 1/2 months I have been working outside the home. I am going through the same thing. I have bipolar 2, wake up soaking wet like I took a shower, my breast are so sore it hurts, I had a hysterectomy 1 year ago, they left my ovaries in. I still have hormones going crazy- no period thank goodness. My mom died at 44 from stage 4 breast cancer, which was estrogen fed. For that reason, they won't put me on hormones. I just started Latuda 2 days ago, got off the trileptal. I was taking 300 mg at night and it was not helping. This is the worst episode of bipolar I have ever had in my adult life. I know I had it as a teenager, however in the 80's I would just self medicate with alcohol. No one really knew what it was back then. I didn't get diagnosed until I was in my 30's. I feel like just giving up, I am so exhausted, everyday is another day where I am in the boxing ring and they ring the bell, and it's time for round 1,000. I am mentally and physically worn out. My husband gets very frustrated with me, I totally can understand why. Help, I just don't know what to do anymore.

Hi, I found your experiences so similar to mine and my bipolar. And it's true what you say about being well educated about your illness, on the right meds, self aware etc etc there are still times when Im not in control.
I'm in my 40's too, the main difference tho is I'm going thru early menopause, and being bipolar. Can you actually imagine what the PmT is like on top of that little lot lol!!
There isn't a lot of information I don't think about bipolar and menopause...so it's kind of, what doesn't kill you..
Hey, it is what it is, and I can only do the best that I can, everyday.
I love reading everyone's stories, make you feel, not so alone x

Wow and OMG! Your story--at least the first part--sounds like my story almost EXACTLY! I ran up THREE degrees in college in the time that most people get MOST of one degree, if not one complete degree for the more driven students. Plus, I starred in a school play; tutored at the college in English, Differential Equations, Advanced Algebra, Trigonometry, Logic, Biology, and Chemistry; taught weekend Statistics and English classes; did private tutoring; and started a busy computer business with all of my first customers being teachers, students, and the college itself.

I was also a newcomer to A.A., so I went to a lot of meetings, too. I ran some meetings and was the treasurer for one and the "chip" person for another. In short, I was VERY busy all the time, but I think that I would have exploded if I was NOT doing all that I was doing. I even lost weight and got into great shape with the help of two friends of mine at the college. One was the girlfriend of my best friend, and the other was a driven sheriff wannabe who wanted to be the first female sheriff in our area. Between the two of them, I got into excellent shape with a lot of muscle and great cardio.

And after college ended, I wanted to go straight back...but I needed the money that my business was bringing in. I got rich, but was going out of my head. I "remedied" the situation by becoming a heavy gambler. I was fairly good and fairly lucky, so I had a lot of time to gamble with my winnings. I also traveled a lot, and took friends and family with, or sent them to places they couldn't afford to go. I sent my parents to Hawaii for a week for their 50th wedding anniversary.

Basically, I earned money and I spent it. This kept me from going completely insane, but not by much. Eventually, my health was impacted in a big way. I lost my business, and then crashed into permanent depression. A lot more has happened, like a wife and a family, but I told that in another post to "Julie" on this same page. Suffice it to say that I cannot shake this depression, and meds don't work. I came here looking for answers, as I do all the time since I left college in 1998.

Well, I am out of time, but I just wanted to drop this line after I read your highlights. I have never before read anyone's story that started out, at least superficially, so similar to mine.

'Bye for now!

A few days ago I remembered that my psychiatrist told me some years ago I was rapid cycling, something I barely remember registering in the days that were a haze. It is good, a bit liberating I guess.

Yes.I have been diagnosed with bipolar and I constantly cycle, I get frustrated because I feel I can go out and at least work " part time" and I go for an interview get the job then can't configure how to deal with my wood swings family the job and staying on top of
meds, let alone a social life.

Thank you for saying what I knew but didn't have the facts to back up and explain how I feel.

My diagnosis recently changed from major depressive disorder to bipolar disorder when I revealed to my psychiatrist that I've been having dramatic mood swings for a long time, often several in a single day. I've been trying to make sense of this change, because none of what I'd read before about bipolar disorder seemed to apply to me at all, but reading Melanie's experiences with rapid cycling has finally given me something I can relate to. To echo Janine thank you so much for this article. I've been so frustrated and confused and this is helping me finally feel included, like my diagnosis makes some sort of sense.

I have been bipolar all my life but diagnosed for 15years, and I have rapid cycles alot mostly when I am in the mall I am very manic spend more then I can afford and when I go into a depressed mode. I am slowly learning how to acknowledge them having friends helps alot to have someone to talk with

My boyfriend suffers from bi polar 2 with rapid cycling, this has really helped me to understand what rapid cycling really is and how it must make him feel. He explains to me how he feels but it's really useful to understand it from someone else's perspective and to make him realise that he's not alone in this. Thanks for a really interesting article

Melanie's story: it sound just like me, I have had bi-polar for 52 years (am now 52 years old) my whole life I feel I've been like this, some years feel worst than others, my mood can change in moments, I work full time and hide it well, must say after reading this article I now feel like crying am so connected with the comments. Thank you for sharing.

Lyndsay! I'm so proud of you for sharing your journey and what you've experienced and learned along the way. I may never fully understand what you feel or go through all the time, but I'll always be there for you and make those ice cream runs. (Ice cream is a temporary cure...haha)

I'm diagnosed bp2 cycling and BPD I'm in a depressed fall seen phsyciatrist no change to meds assessed for extra input but turned down I'm finding friendship hard no family local not in relationship I get through but its so difficult I don't know how to get up to a level where I have at least some energy to at best feel a little content and a little in control

I am 55 and still struggling. I am at the point where I no longer need the acceptance of others that don't matter to me. I am blessed with a good family, involved clinicians and a loving and forgiving husband. I have cycled for over 35 years. Didn't get treatment till 1996. 5150 commitments too many to recall. But, my life is good. I am greatful for all I am. I have been blessed with empathy and sympathy for those who suffer. Yet get up again and again. My father would say, "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go on."

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