Dreaded Change

Do you have any suggestions, recommended resources available to help an ultradian cycler deal with change (moving, new job, new boss, etc)?

I wake up, my feet hit the floor and this overwhelming sense of I can conquer the world envelops me. I start my routine and a few hours later I am sunk in the pit of depression. I can’t think straight, I can’t do anything right and all I want to do is crawl back into bed. By the time I go to bed I am superwoman again. My kids are confused, I am confused heck even my cats are confused. But such is the life of a rapid cycler. There isn’t a particular trigger that changes my mood, believe me I have tried tracking them. Sometimes there is an event that happens that makes me swing one way or the other but honestly most of the time it just happens.

Rapid cycling in and of itself is difficult to deal with. You are euphoric one minute and whether it is a matter of hours or days you have cycled down into depression. I personally would rather be one or the other as I feel it would be easier to deal with and can be more mentally prepared. But to have both hit me in a matter of hours takes its toll. Add to the rapid cycling a series of changes to life and I am a complete mess! New boss in October, moving in February, new routine for everyone to get use to, I had completely lost it!

No one whether bipolar or not likes change, but those of us with bipolar have a difficult time adapting to change, I feel, because it interrupts our basics of routine thereby interrupting our cycle. I have been a rapid cycler for as long as I can remember. I have yet to find a medication combination to stabilize my moods. However, it is vitally important to discuss with you medical provider what the meds are doing. If you are rapid cycling, start keeping a mood chart. This can be done in a variety of ways, I keep mine in a little purse calendar so when I go to my doctor, I have data to show my moods. Some days have multiple entries because of the rapid cycling. It is important to discuss these things with your doctor with the data because it can help show if there is a pattern to the moods. Some female rapid cyclers tend to be worse during their menstruation. Having the data will show if that is contributing to your moods. Another way to keep track of your moods is through a variety of websites available to you by doing a search for bipolar mood trackers. There are many out there so find one that is best for you and you know that you will use it.

With all the changes it is important to get back to a routine as soon as possible and especially keep to a sleep schedule. Keeping a schedule I have found prolongs the periods between cycles. Whether it is a whole day between where as before it was just a matter of hours. Make sure that you are getting in exercise as it increases the level of serotonin in your brain enabling better sleep. Have a good support team that can help you identify when you are one mood or the other to help change things to protect you from falling deeper into one extreme or the other. The thing I feel helps me the most process changes in my life, is to journal. Writing out my thoughts, feelings and symptoms helps me process everything going on around me. I tend to be a catastrophic thinker thinking the worst in every situation. When I write it out I can better see that I am projecting my own fears into the situation rather than basing it on any actual facts that have happened. Rest assured these things do not always stop the rapid cycling or make dealing with the changes easier, but it helps me feel like I am taking active steps to prevent a major crisis from occurring. After all I have found my mind set affects my cycling more than anything else. If I can remain in a positive mental thinking pattern it lessens the severity of the swings.

Remember it is a mind set of I am NOT bipolar, I have bipolar.

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