Cyclothymic Circus

Cyclothymia is a mystery to me. The rapid shifts from high, low, stable. I don’t know what my mindset will be two minutes into the future. It leaves you with a sort of mental whiplash where you feel the earth is constantly shifting beneath your feet and you never get solid footing. So you live your life perched on the edge, teetering this way and that way, never quite going over but never really able to step back.
It’s stressful.
And it spills over into every aspect of your life to the point where the cyclothymia is your life. I don’t obsess over it, it stalks me to the point where ignoring it is not an option.

I felt decent yesterday. Uber functional in spite of my recent physical issues. I wasn’t happy nor sad, I was just dealing and doing it well. That made me feel pretty damn good. It’s as close to stability as cyclothymia gets.

Happy Birthday to me. I am in the gray zone, the waters of the dark abyss nipping at my heels.
No trigger. No catastrophic negative life event.
Maybe it’s because the rib is hurting again, a lot, and the hacking cough of the bronchitis makes it agonizing.
Maybe it’s the gray cold day.
I can’t get comfortable. I have no motivation. My mind is spinning and yet I feel nothing but disgusted.
The shrinks will never grasp what it is like to live this way every day of your life. Okay, mood stabilizers help. They don’t cure and they sure as hell don’t control. They manage.
So without meds, the shifts are like falling down a staircase.
With meds, it’s more akin to missing three or four steps.
But falling down every single day, whether a whole flight or a couple of steps…It takes a toll.
I quite honestly resent cyclothymia and I resent more the doctors who call it “the milder form of bipolar.”
I’d rather live my life in long periods of up or down rather than six hour stretches of up, down, stable, standing on my head.
Mild my ass.

From all that I have read, borderline personality disorder mood swings are generally sparked by outside stressors. Truth be told, I’d rather have that. Because that makes sense, and you can alter your behavior to outside stimuli.
Cyclothymia has no rhyme or reason. It’s just nutsy kookoo. You cannot “counsel” yourself and “modify your behavior” if your brain is forever sending out wrong signals and keeping you in a constant state of flux.
It affects every aspect of my existence.
Sunday when R’s wife said she wanted to take me out for my birthday for drinks on Friday, I was up and it was like, oh, that’s so nice, awesome.
Now that the time to do so is upon me…I am sliding down the rabbit hole and the thought of socializing and faking interest and smiles makes me cringe.
All the professionals I’ve ever seen have told me to power through it, chances are I will have a good time.
They are morons.
Not that they aren’t occasionally right, but the repercussions of doing something your heart and mind aren’t feeling up to…You burn bridges when your mood is exposed to those around you and the little telltale signs of your negativity ooze out.
It becomes a matter of, “Do I want to roll the dice on having a good time more than I want to prevent alienating others?”
There is no right answer.
It’s just life on the edge.

Ironically, I was sick on my birthday last year as well. Which is why I usually blow off birthdays, I don’t want a big show or shows of attention. Because inevitably, my mood will be the ultimate decider and I hate disappointing people who are simply making kind gestures.
And my mood is less reliable than the weather report.
oh, if only there were a Doppler radar for predicting cyclothymic mood shifts ten days into the future.

Yesterday, the world was my oyster. Stable mind frame, functioning highly. I looked around and realized how lucky I am. I have a decent life. It ain’t great, but then again, I don’t care about material or superficial things like others. Their idea of a good life is at odds with mine. My child and I have the necessities and a few frivolities. We don’t go hungry, we have clothing, we have shelter and warmth.
So to have all that and have my gratitude for it change from mood to mood because my evil brain is tainting things with falsehoods…
It makes me a pissed off bitch beast.
My saving grace, and perhaps the only perk of cyclothymia, is that I know I won’t feel this way in an hour or maybe sixteen hours. It’s every changing.
I ride out the mood storm and I get another mindset to deal with.

For now…I ride out the storm. I do it with a grudge and major disgust, though. Mental illness is the cruelest illness of them all. Broken bones heal. Infections can be cured with antibiotics.
Mental illness can only be managed and endured and there is no end in sight. There is no magic day when you will be all healed.
Instability, as a way of life, is not mild.
I think more attention needs to be paid to cyclothymia. Bipolar one and two are pretty mainstream. But cyclothymia…That’s barely a blip on the mental health radar unless you’ve been diagnosed with it. It makes me wonder how many people are out there with wrong diagnoses, suffering because some doctor is telling them their moods shift too quickly to be bipolar so they don’t need mood stabilizers. I’ve been there, done that. They were supposed to help me and instead, I lost about ten years of my life being given the wrong meds which only worsened the mood swings.

Maybe that is the whole point of my blog. Borderline, bipolar, depressive disorders- they’re all out there in the spotlight.
Cyclothymia is some mystery.
Knowledge is power. I guess I want to splay my life open for others in hopes it might help educate. Whether you have a mental illness or someone you care about does…Knowing about it, having facts, realizing it’s not personal and the mentally ill person isn’t beyond redemption or simply a mercurial personality…
That’s the point of this blog.
Shed light on a mental disorder that too few know about.

Cyclothymia is a bitch.
But it is real, and it impacts your life no matter what the doctors say.
It is not mild. It is not trivial.
It is what it is.
I wish it would burst into flames and die an excrutiating death.
It’s the hand I’ve been dealt so I will deal with it.
All the while giving it the middle finger.


3 Responses to “Cyclothymic Circus”

  1. Um. Who gave you that definition of cyclothymia? Cyclothymia is indeed milder – mild to moderate depression, mild hypomania. But you’re right, cycling as fast as you do is hellish. Here’s how to describe it:
    Rapid cycling: more than 3 episodes per year
    Ultra rapid cycling: epsiodes last days
    Ultradian cycling: moods shift within one day

  2. Victoria A Says:

    your words are like angels strumming harps in heaven. your words heal me. they transcend me. they say everything my brain is thinking. you are able to make feelings so fluid and describe perfectly what a true hell in your mind is. a cave that you are trapped in, with greedy bears, that will at any eye pinning moment gobble you up. you speak the truth and I thank god that you do! thank you for being just who you are. Honest.

    • Sincerest thanks. Much needed words at a time where my mental state is so flaky I’m not sure I am even writing sentences coherent to anyone but me. Glad it resonates.

      On Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 8:23 PM, Take a Ride on My Mood Swing wrote:


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