“I'm a little worried, because I'm exhibiting symptoms of lack of sleep and extremely talkative. Things are starting to be more positive, but you know how that rollercoaster rides. It will dip at an extreme level. All I can do is watch and try to steer it in the right direction. These are all encompassing feelings, and it's hard to know if anything will work.”
Thank you, Rose, for the timely reminder. It’s been about twenty years since I experienced severe mania (not counting an antidepressant-induced mania nine years back). That mania resulted in the loss of a job, ruined my chances of finding another one, and turned me into a social leper.
These days, hypomania is as far as I go, but these highs are more cause for concern than cause for alarm. Yes, I had a few close calls in situations of extreme stress, but I never felt as if I were losing my mind.
Thanks, Rose, for bringing it all back. The feeling of the roller coaster leaving the platform is one of the most frightening in the world. The brain is driving you rather than you driving the brain. There is no bailing out. All we can do is hold on for dear life and pray we have a life to come back to after we crash-land.
Rose was responding to my last Ask the Expert Patient, which discussed spotting mood triggers and acting on them before the situation got out of control.
Country Girl, in response to the same article, had this to say:
“I CAN"T stop the coming of the changes, no matter what. I've tried all the coping skills, all the positive thinking, all the yoga, all the meditation, drawing, music, journaling,etc. But what are we to DO when we recognize them? I mean really I want to so badly to thwart these rapid cycling moods and especially the mixed stages and can feel them coming but nothing seems to stop them....why is that? Is it possible TO stop them?”
Okay, Country Girl. Let’s answer your last question first. The short answer is no. Even normal people flip, and that is often healthy. Rather than jamming a finger in the dike, often it is more productive to find a safe outlet for your emotions. You mention you have a supportive husband. When you feel you are losing it, you need to give him a heads-up. That way he can create a safe environment for you to go to pieces.
But you also mention you are a 4.0 masters grad having problems with rapid-cycling in what I must assume is a work environment. Your colleagues there are not going to be as understanding as your husband. Moreover, I assume you are talking about extreme rapid-cycling - what the experts call ultradian rapid-cycling - the type that come on with virtually no warning, that can whiplash you from one mood extreme to the other in a matter of seconds.
I was in a loving relationship for three years with someone who ultradian rapid-cycled. Believe me, I know where you are coming from.
And the mixed states - I still experience those. You do not want to know me in a mixed state.