I’m Rapid Cycling, But I Don’t Own a Bike
Today’s Throwback Thursday on rapid cycling was first published in April, 2008. I’m still riding rapid
I’m special. Not only that, I’m special amongst the special. To top that I’m actually special amongst those who are special amongst the special.
What the hell am I talking about? I’m talking about percentages.
Statistics and percentages are a tricky thing when referring to the mentally ill. Considering the vast number of homeless who are mentally ill, and those who fear to speak openly about their mental illness because of the stigma involved, it’s hard to get good, firm data. After doing a lot of research I’m going to use the most prevalent numbers I’ve found out there.
I have bipolar disorder. The percent of the general population diagnosed with bipolar disorder is only 4%. This makes me special
The percent of of those with bipolar disorder who are rapid cyclers (which I am) is only 15%. That makes me special amongst the special. I’ll explain rapid cycling in a moment.
Finally, I am a man. Women are three times more likely to be rapid cyclers than men. That is why I’m special amongst the special who are special
What is Rapid Cycling? The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance provides the definition from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. They state that rapid cycling occurs when a person experiences four or more mood swings or episodes in a twelve-month period. However This definition is not well received amongst many psychiatrists. Personally, I think it’s a load of crap. I don’t know of anyone who has bipolar disorder who doesn’t have four or more episodes within a year. Not one. If we go by this definition then everyone is a rapid cycler.
Definitions state that rapid cyclers can have mood swings as much as each month, or each week or even within one day. Most of my cycles were within days. A couple of episodes each week. However, it was not uncommon for my cycles to be all within one day. Depressed in the morning and manic in the afternoon. Or vice versa.
You never knew what kind of mood I was going to be in each day. That didn’t make things easy on Maurice, that’s for sure. Maurice, on the other hand, is excellent at determining my mental state. Looking at me , and especially in my eyes, he always knows what kind of space I’m in and what kind of space I’m transitioning to. Usually way before I do.
I was diagnosed as a rapid cycler long ago, but I learned a new word today. Ultradian. Ultradian mood cycling is characterized by cycles shorter than 24 hours. Before we found the right meds for me, this happened all the time as I said above. I just didn’t know there was a word for it.
So now I know I’m a rapid cycler who is ultradian. I guess that makes me special amongst the special who are special amongst special amongst the special who are amongst the special. Like most people I usually enjoy being special. I like my individuality, but for Gods sakes, even I have my limits. This is ridiculous.