Author: Lisa Graas
•5/29/2007 10:34:00 PM
What is Rapid Cycling?

The definitions of rapid cycling vary between individuals because there seem to be different manifestions of bipolar disorder that could be termed "rapid cycling". For the well-known definition, try this one at About.com. The folks at About.com have been awfully good to me and I think they know their stuff, but in this one particular instance I will have to disagree. In fact, based on what I've been hearing from others with this illness, a lot of people would disagree with About.com AND with me. As I said, the manifestations vary.

In my case, it can be rather complicated. Suffice it to say that I can "cycle" many many times in one day. Some people refer to this as "ultra ultra rapid cycling" and I think that's a good name for it. I have what is called "mixed episode" Bipolar Disorder. I have some of the symptoms of depression and some of the symptoms of mania at the same time and in different combinations at different times. When those combinations change, that is, when my mood changes drastically, it is a "cycle", so when the changes come rapidly it is called "rapid cycling". Sometimes it is like being on a bungie cord although the "bounce" doesn't occur quite as quickly as that. In my case for the past several days, the "bounce" has occurred about every 10-20 minutes.

Mixed episode bipolar disorder is arguably the most serious kind of Bipolar Disorder. In my case, my episodes don't last "at least one week" as the diagnostic criteria manual states. My episodes, if an episode is basically what the medical community says it is, are ongoing. What I personally refer to as an "episode" is when I get psychotic because psychosis is the biggest variation in my emotional spectrum. The bottom line, though, is that I am here and I am surviving and I am learning how to get some fulfillment out of life because I have placed all my trust in God our Father. You can do it, too. Just trust in Him, okay? Open your heart to Him and listen. He will be there.

God's blessings to you.
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