When will it end?

I was first introduced to Rapid Cycling when I was twenty-one and deep into an addiction that would’ve killed me. It came back in 2020 when I moved back into my Mom’s. Rapid Cycling can develop in anyone who has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and it’s temporary for most. Rapid Cycling is when someone experiences four or more Manic or Depressive episodes in twelve months. These mood changes tend to happen quickly, either a few days or hours. Unfortunately, there’s usually no pattern when it comes to this. Rapid Cycling can be grueling, emotional, and scary. It’s more common in women…lucky me? Since it is temporary for most, I try to find solace that it is only temporary.

Rapid Cycling isn’t a diagnosis in itself. When someone gets stuck in this, it can take a great toll on them. The mood swings that you already get begin to get more intense and come more often. There’s a period of “remission” when your mood is neutral, which is what I call the calm before the storm. Sometimes, your symptoms can become too much. It can start to affect your everyday life more than your Bipolar Disorder always does. People who are experiencing Rapid Cycling are at a higher risk of being hospitalized or committing suicide. This vicious cycle of switching from low to high so quickly is scary. There’s just this little glimmer of hope in between. It’s the part where you’re just waiting for things to go to shit again. For that short moment, things are peaceful. Then it starts again. It can seem never-ending. Be glad and take comfort that it is only temporary.

When I was twenty-one, I was lost and hurting. Addiction had hooked its claws in me, and it wasn’t letting go. I had stopped taking my medication and would soon send myself into this rollercoaster ride. When I did my research before this, I read how Rapid Cycling tends to require hospitalization. My highs and lows had gotten so extreme that I was starting to get scared of myself. One night, I was strung out and stuck in this Manic state. I remember Tristan coming home and things just got progressively worse. Back then, Tristan had very little knowledge of what was happening to me. That night a switch flipped in my head, and I lost it. I don’t remember much of the in-between, but I do remember the beginning and the end. I got sent into a downward spiral of a mixed episode when he walked through the door. There was a lot of nonsense screaming and crying coming from me. The result was me sprinting down the street in an attempt to run onto highway six into oncoming traffic. Tristan stopped me. He threw my sweaty, barefoot ass in his car and took me home. This experience was traumatizing, for both of us. That night he gave me an ultimatum, and I chose him. I will always choose him. I quit my toxic job, got sober, and got back on my medications. My Rapid Cycling continued throughout the whole withdrawal process. One day I found myself so depressed that I could hardly function. I got in my car and googled “Mental Health Hospital”. Just thirty minutes later I found myself in the parking garage of a hospital downtown. I turned my phone off and cried. God, I cried so much. That day was so dark, I had become scared of myself. After what seemed like hours, I turned my phone back on and braced myself for the outside world. I ended up going home and spent a year getting myself balanced out. This time my Rapid Cycling lasted eight months. It took a lot of will to get through those months, but I did it. I came out on the other side. I fucking made it.

Rapid Cycling can occur at any time, and usually comes and goes depending on how well you manage your disorder. Rapid Cycling shows up in about ten to twenty percent of everyone who is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I know firsthand how physically and mentally exhausting this can be. There are a few different things you can do to help yourself cope and get through it.

Mood Tracking

  • By tracking your daily moods, you’ll start to understand what triggers you. I suggest buying a journal and keeping track of your mood swings. Get some colorful pens and make it fun. This helped me so much.

Talk Therapy

  • This helps you identify the issue and make a treatment plan. Therapy to me has always been a “no judgment zone”; which I think is something everyone needs. I’ve been going to therapy since I was young, and I really need to get back into it. Talk therapy has always been the best way for me to get my feelings out.

Rapid Cycling can make coping with work, life, and society extremely difficult. But knowing that there’s an end to the rollercoaster makes it a little easier to get through. When you’re going through this, you should be seeing your therapist and psychiatrist quite often. You should also always be transparent with them about how you are feeling. There are likely going to be adjustments made to your medication to manage the highs and lows accordingly. I took Lamogtrine when I was on the ride, and I’ve been prescribed it again to help with my depression right now. Anti-convulsants have proved to be best for treating Rapid Cycling. Now don’t forget that it takes some time for the medication to start helping. Psychotherapy has also proved to help. When you’re home, there are things you can do to help as well. Your therapist will be able to give you homework or exercises to help you cope. Always surround yourself with people you trust. It’s one of the best things that you can do. Having a support system will save you, I promise. There’s also no shame in getting help. No one should ever have to deal with this alone.

Although there is no known course, there are a few theories. I know how hard it can be, and I know how exhausted it can make you. Don’t forget that this is not a diagnosis; it shows how the course of Bipolar Disorder is experienced. You can use the fact that it is temporary to help ease your mind a little. Going from that extreme high to the depths of depression is brutal. If you think you are going through this, you should get with your doctor as soon as possible. I always think about the people who get stuck in Rapid Cycling but never come out of it. I couldn’t imagine, and I feel so lucky to have only had this temporarily. I know I say this often, but my inbox is always open. Don’t go through this shit alone. Find your people (or your person) and focus on your inner happiness. If you have any questions or want me to send you some coping mechanisms…you know where to go.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: