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Bipolar Disorder Community
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Avatar universal

Rapid Cycling

Has anyone had experiences with rapid cycling, with cycles that last hours or days?  I was extremely hyper and had racing thoughts and was elated the other day, then I felt ok but lazy for a few days, then depressed for a couple of days and super tired, and now I am extremely irritable and I keep getting mad and yelling at people and just about everything.  Yesterday I started digging my nails into my skin without even realizing it because I was so upset that  my husband invited a co worker to lunch with us and I didn't want to deal with people at the moment.  I went and drove out to a roadside park after lunch and just sat there because I was too upset and scared to go back to work.  I feel like I am losing my mind.  Every day is completely different.  My psychologist said he is still trying to sort out whether I am just extremely sensitive or if I have ultra rapid cycling.  I thougt he may have misdiagnosed me as bi polar after I first saw him a month ago but now I am pretty sure there is something wrong with me.  How long will it be before the lamictal I am taking starts taking effect?  I am still working up to a theraputic dose.  I am at 50mg now.  I am worried about my job because I deal with customers all day and I keep being sporatic and rude to people and it is not fair to them or to my boss.  I get really upset when there is too much to do or too many people around and feel overwhelmed and start getting nervous and jittery.  I'm thinking about quiting but I need the money and I don't know what else to do that doesn't involve people.  My job is not that hard.  In fact it is the easiest and most pleasant job I have ever had but over the last few months I just can't handle it.  I can't handle anything anymore! Not my marriage, my job, my house, my friendships, nothing.  I just want to stay in bed because I'm scared to see what the day might be like.
33 Responses
Avatar universal
You are not alone, I too have rapid cycling bipolar and it goes several times a day, I never know from one minute to the next what I will be feeling or how I will be acting.  I noticed quick relief with the lamictal, I am still on 50 mg/day and am working my way up to 100mg and then 200mg/day.  I don't have much advice on how to cope, just know that it is an illness, explain it to your husband and family/friends and ask for their support.  Sometimes I get to sick of being sick, but you have to hang in there and know that if you take your meds and follow doctors orders, you will get relief.  I know what you mean about being scared to wake up in the morning, I went through that as well.  Scared to fall asleep, scared to wake up, the whole nine yards.  Feeling like my entire life is spinning out of control and before long I will have no friends left because they don't understand what I'm going through.  Wanting to quit my easy, part-time job because I feel like I can't handle it anymore.  You and I are so much alike!  But I am feeling better now with the lamictal and I hope you will, too.
Hugs to you and best of luck.
Ruby
337492 tn?1212458836
Yep, it is a pain in the rear!  I am BP I with rapid cycling and mixed state.  I am so glad my meds are working this time!!   (fingers crossed)  Mine is usually depression during the day and I get manic in the evenings with those awful racing thoughts and no sleep.
209384 tn?1231168306
Crystlas and I have a LOT in common.  That used to be the way everyday of mine went.  Am kinda wondering if I don't have mixed states as well.  Have an appt. with a pdoc on the 8th, so will be checking on that also.

I'm a rapid cycler and can change moods 20 times a day.  Actually went back and researched the different kinds of bp and was surprised to see that rapid cycling meant more than 4 cycles/year.  I had to read it a couple of times.  I thought this was just normal for rapid cyclers.

Haven't had a problem with the mania for years, I've had too many other things wrong to be manic, but I am now.  Not so much the energy, still too sick for that--bluh--but I am so angry all the time.  Either that or I'm bawling my eyes out.  I'm getting really disgusted with this disease again.  Guess I've been stable long enough, it's time for a shake up.  And this one's about a 4.5.  lol
337492 tn?1212458836
Yuck,  20 times a day?  I would go seriously insane!  I would switch every few days or sometimes be depressed in the morning and manic at night, but not that severe as you.  I would be bald from ripping my hair out.  Throw in that flavor of mixed state and I would seriously want to end it all.  It is bad enough with where I am at right now being BP!
461596 tn?1541008358
My son, Austin, is like that.  I think his mood can change anywhere from 5 - 10 times a day.  I never know how he's going to act when he comes in the room.  It drives me crazy ... I'm sure he goes nutts too.  Plus he's going through puberty ontop of all of these disorders.  But he just doesnt want to get help.  One day he cries ... wanting to know what's wrong with him.  Then another day he'll say nothing is wrong, and to leave him alone (stop seeing doctors) ... and he says that I'm the one that needs to be on meds.   I told him that I wouldnt mind taking a 'chill pill', but I cant afford them.  LOL !!!!
209384 tn?1231168306
I understand how Austin feels.  I've always been this way.  Not every day is that way, but some days I flip so many times I scare myself.  I'm scared for anyone to try and talk to me, I don't know how I'll react.  And even if it starts out good, it can end very badly.

I'm really talkative, but there are days I just don't want to have to deal with anyone at all.  Not even my precious little boy.  Just don't have it in me.

Yes, I'm going to a psychiatrist on the 8th.  I'm really almost excited about going.  My moods have been hay wire since I started the new thyroid med and I want back off this roller coaster ride.  Didn't like it before and I still don't.
Avatar universal
I feel so very relieved to be reading all of these replies.  I am not alone!  Not that I would wish these feelings on anyone else, but it is so great to know that what I am experiencing is not so out of the ordinary.  I  need to have my husband read this to help him realize exactly how this illness can effect people.  He seems to be coming around, but he still blames the medication for my actions instead of the illness.  This is all so scary.  And I am so afraid of hurting everyone around me.  I feel like I'm spinning out of control sometimes.  But every time I come seeking help here I recieve it and it makes me feel so much better.  Thank you all so much.
142722 tn?1281533616
i do this daily - i can't stand it it drives me crazy
461596 tn?1541008358
Austin's probation officer came by yesterday after he got home from school.  He was rude to her, but didnt yell like he does with me.  Of course, she's use to those behaviors ...so it just goes over her head.  But she saw some of what I deal with everyday.  Luckily, he didnt act up after she left.  It was a pretty peaceful evening.

He still claims that his med isnt working.  He always says that though.  He still says that he cries for no reason ... and feels depressed.  But I never see the crying or the depression... so I dont know for sure.  

Since he's been off the zoloft, and on the Trileptal ... his grades have come up.  So, thats good !!!  He says he wants to make AB honor roll this time.  There's about 4 more weeks of school, so I guess that's about 3 or 3.5 more weeks of grades that count.  Right now he has 2 Cs, 1 B, 4 As.  If he keeps this up ... it'll be the best report card this school year.  I really do hope he can keep these grades up ... or bring them up even higher !!!  
Avatar universal
It is great that your son has a mom like you who understands him and helps him with his illness.  I hope things continue to go uphill for him.  It is so cool that you can see the medication working positively in his grades!  Maybe he is feeling better but still not quite "normal."  That is how I am feeling right now.  I have not had any major mood swings in 3 days, (yeah!)  but I still don't feel like I used to before all of this began.  I am not the same happy person I was a year ago.  Good luck!
447130 tn?1225470866
I had a friend who was rapid cycling and man is that tough. He was on Lithium and that really helped but he failed to take his other meds and ended up drinking away his cycles. Definately not smart!
Have you thought about a second opinion? Rapid cycling has very specific symptoms and it really needs to be controlled. I wish you the best. The support is here for you.
Erin
461596 tn?1541008358
Well, I guess I spoke too soon.  I got a call from the school today, and Austin is being expelled.  I have to wait to hear from the school board next week about an expulsion hearing.  Hopefully they will chose to send him to the alternative school for the rest of the month, so he can keep up with school work (so he wont fail & have to repeat the 7th grade).  

Now I have to deal with him at home for a few days (instead of him being in school).  I told him that he gets to rake leaves tomorrow... but he's refusing.  I guess we'll have another fight tomorrow about all that.  

And to top it off ... every time Austin acts up (& disrespectful & yells),  Logan copies the behaviors.  So, my 3 yr old will be a holy terror the next few days too.  

I feel like pulling my hair out !!!!!!!!  
461596 tn?1541008358
Found out that the Expulsion Hearing is next Monday.  They are making us wait a whole week.  I'm not happy !!!!   The principal told me to make Austin do all his homework this week, and he would gather up all the classwork for us.  They better give him credit for all this work too !!!  I dont want him to fail the 7th grade because the school board wouldnt hurry up.  

I've had Austin doing some yard work Friday, Monday, & today.  And it will continue all week long.  He has been talking back constantly, yelling, and being very defiant !!!!  And my 3 yr old is copying these behaviors.   I'm ready to scream !!!!!!!!!  
461596 tn?1541008358
Well, today is the day for the IEP meeting.  I'm nervous, but glad that it's finally here.  My mother, and a lawyer lady, are coming with me.  My mom said she's coming to keep me calm.  LOL !!!  I can get pretty fired up when I'm mad.  But I'm going to try to keep my cool, so I dont make Austin's situation any worse.

The Expulsion Hearing is Monday.  I'll really be nervous for that one !!!  The lawyer cannot come with me that day (she had something else planned already).  But my mother is going with me.  Austin has to be there ... so we've got to try & keep his mouth shut during the hearing.  I wonder if they would allow duct tape on his mouth?   LOL !!!

Pray pray pray for us over the next 4 days !!!!!!!!!!!!
461596 tn?1541008358
Well, all the meetings are over for now.  Austin was given permission to finish out the school year at the alternative school.  So if he keeps up with his work & doesnt get in trouble there, he will pass.  His grades arent very good right now since he had 7 days of zeros, but I think he can pull them up some in the next 2 weeks.  
Avatar universal
Great news! I am glad they gave your son a chance.  I hope things keep getting better for your family.  I know you have been through so much lately.  Hang in there.
461596 tn?1541008358
Things arent getting better.  He had a major explosion with my husband last night.  They yelled & screamed at each other for over an hour.  Austin refuses to follow our house rules.  My husband was ready to call the Sheriff's office !!!  Austin's on probation ... so if he gets much worse, he will have to get sent away for 18mths.  I dont really want that, but we cant live in this chaos much longer.  I want him to finish school, and then I'm taking him to stay a week or two at a hospital (so they can observe him 24/7).  I'm hoping to get him on the right meds soon, so next school year will be better.  
461596 tn?1541008358
Austin had a huge fit after getting in trouble yesterday afternoon.  I could hear him yelling & throwing a tantrum in his room.  I took Logan outside so he wouldnt have to listen to it.  

Later, Austin came outside crying & cried on my shoulder.    A little while later, he told me that he saw something in the mirror while he was yelling & upset.  He said it was him, but it wasnt him.  He was pretty freaked out.

I really dont know if he saw it or not.  He might've just wanted attention.  I told him to draw it & write a description (so I could show dr's).  Here's what he wrote:

'gray skin, hair was neater, no blimishes, and horns;  A dark ominous cloud with twinkling lights floating around it;  Solid black wings, and gold/yellow cat eyes'

He wanted his mirror removed from his room, but he uses it to put in his contacts.  I told him just to turn it around until he needs to use it.  
Avatar universal
I'm totally new 2 the cocept of "forums" & support 4 being bipolar. I'm so glad 2 read about other people goin' through the same thing as me.I was semi-diagnosed manic depressine 10 yrs. ago (I'm 38) now that I'm educating myself on this illness...I no that Ive always been bipolar.I was super sensetive, moody, passionate, aggressive & hypersexual, even as a small child.I definatly have rapid cycling & mixed episodes.After being on Abilify & triliptal 4 like 6 months, I took myself off my meds. I felt totally flat & lifeless on meds. (overmedicated...I dont no) That was a huge mistake! I've never been as manic, impulsive, & aggressive as I have since I've been off my meds. Im back on meds. the same mg. as I took be4, but it doesn't seem 2 be nearly as effective as it was be4. Even though I was flat be4 on meds.... I definatley was not having mania & was way more in control of myself. Not sure what's gonna happen from here. Got an app. with my doc. soon. I feel like my meds. should be upped. I'll just have 2 wait & c.-Karli
Avatar universal
I know just how you feel, and I feel my therapist and psychiatrist are just there to get paid. But I will tell you that Im on lamictal and it has helped me tremendaously. Im on 200 mg. now. It does take a little while, but for the first time I could actually sort out my thoughts more, think clearler, and feel less of bouncing back and forth with my crazy moods. I hope you do well.I would love to hear how you do with the lamictal.
Melanie
Avatar universal

Marsha_ann, I have you and Austin in my prayers.  I can't imagine going through he is at such a young age.  Are you getting help also or talking to a counselor?  I'm sure this is putting a huge strain on you as well.  I hope you are able to find the right kind of treatment to get his life back on track.  He is lucky to have your shoulder to cry on.  One thing that kind of freaked me out in your post was the description of what he saw in the mirror.  I don't actually see things,  but I have visions that suddenly enter my mind that I can't get out.  One I have had lately is of an old lady with gray skin staring at me with a big golden yellow eye.  No wings or clouds or horns though.

Meldawn 143, I'm glad you found something that is working for you.  I hope it helps me too, but at this point it doesn't look likely.  There is bound to be something out there that helps, though.  

Karli79, I'm glad you found this forum.  I hope it gives you as much support as it has given me lately.  This medicine roller coaster is rough!  My husband says doctors are like those mechanics who just change out parts until something works.  They just change out medicines until we get lucky.  I hope that happens soon.  

I don't know if the lamictal is going to work, and it might even be making things worse.  I went to the doc a couple of days ago and he started me on abilify in addition to the lamictal.  He says the illness seems to be progressing.  I have been having scary thoughts that seem to be forced into my mind lately, and the doc said they are kind of borderline psychotic.  He hopes the abilify will help help my moods and keep me from having true psychosis.  I have had a rough couple of weeks.  I was doing fine for a few days and then went on a fast downward spiral.  I wanted to jump out of my skin and just stop feeling.  I felt so overwhelmed that I destroyed about $6000 worth of equiptment I bought to use to start my own business.   I am still paying on that stuff.  Worst of all I kept having really awful thoughts I couldn't get out of my head.  Everything I saw looked gruesome in my mind, which is wierd because I can't even watch a scary movie and now there was one running through my mind constantly.  That is what sucks about the mixed state episodes,  I am depressed and therefore have bad racing thoughts instead of productive ones.  My family wanted to take me to a hospital, and the doc said if I get any worse he thought it would be necessary.  But, I am starting to feel a little better.  I still don't want to leave my house, but the disturbing thoughts have mostly stopped.   This is all very difficult for me to accept.  As much as it breaks my heart to know that others are suffering like me, it also helps to know that other people understand what this is like.  
461596 tn?1541008358
Thanks for praying for us !!!!  Austin is on probation (has about 10 mths left), and has weekly court ordered Anger Management counseling (but its not helping).  He sees another counselor too (through his pdocs office)... about once a week.  She's starting a group therapy this coming Tuesday.  Maybe he'll be able to listen to other kids his age that might be going through similar things.  

Besides all that, there's no other counseling.  I probably need to find some sort of support group for me to attend.  But I dont know if I have time.  Maybe this summer I can go to some meetings, while my mother-in-law babysits (she just retired).   I'd love to try some sort of "chill pill" ... but we cant afford any meds for me.  Austin has Medicaid ... so we dont have to pay for his meds.  

We're constantly getting onto our 3 yr old for copying Austin's behaviors.  He yells at us, talks back, and stomps around when he doesnt get his way.  It's exhausting dealing with both of them !!!!!


Avatar universal
I know exactly what you're going through!! I too rapid cycle many times a day and it's unnerving! All i can say is first be good to yourself. If you see a situation that will really upset you then try to avoid it. Like the lunch incident.You couldn't avoid it but I've got to the point where if I get that upset,I just make an excuse to leave and not put myself through it... if possible. if you don't feel well then try to give yourself space to handle how you're feeling.I also would avoid things like caffeine,that will aggravate your moods ect. When you feel this way EVERYTHING"S a problem, so try to not let things upset you knowing that if you felt better you might see it differently. Again, I have walked away or cancelled something or just didn't join a group ect. when I was feeling that way because I knew no matter what something would set me off and really you don't deserve to have to sit there digging your fingernails into your arm. Been there and wanted to jump out of my skin or rip something apart I was so irritated. So don't put yourself into these situations ,if possible,... until you feel better! You almost have to think ahead and be good to yourself! No one else is going through what you are and they have no idea. It's good your family is learning how things are. It takes time for people to have a true understanding. God, it takes us time to figure it all out!! Don't be so hard on yourself,it's not easy! Good Luck! The meds will help once you find a good mix!
461596 tn?1541008358
I took Austin to Brentwood (hospital) Monday morning.  He threw his rage tantrum Sunday night ... so I guess he got it out of his system.  He was quiet on the way there (playing his gameboy).  But after about 30 minutes of being there, he started acting silly.  I guess he was having a manic mood swing.  After he ate some lunch there, he started being really silly !!!  Laughing at everything.  Laughing so hard he couldn't hardly breathe.  Of course, I laughed some at him too.  It was really strange... but I'd rather hear him laughing than yelling at me !!!!  He got a little moody/crabby about 30 minutes before I left, but he never threw a fit.  

I was there from 10am to 2:15pm.  That's how long it took to do the assessment & check him in.  It was insane !!!  It was freezing cold in there.  Even the workers had on long sleeves or jackets.  Austin's croc shoe strap broke Sunday, so I went to Kmart after I left Brentwood to buy him some new croc-like shoes.... and I bought a lightweight jacket.  I took those back, then headed home around 3:45pm.  I didnt get home until almost 5pm.  It was a LONG day !!!!  I was so ready to get to sleep last night.
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