This has been a particularly weird week for me, and I don’t know exactly what is to blame at this point. It could be the weather (overcast half the day, sunny the rest), it could be the time of year (things get rather busy in the summer, after all), it could even be the quetiapine (though that is something I intend to explore a little more next week).
In any case, I’ve been experiencing a distinct reduction in the amount of middle-ground I normally experience with my bipolar mood fluctuations. Let me explain.
Normally, for me, I can cycle extremely rapidly (more than one mood swing in a day, sometimes more than one kind of mood swing in a day) in addition to having the more typical drawn-out episodes that last days, weeks, or months. Usually in these situations, there is some kind of transition period… some kind of middle ground my mood passes on the way to the next mood.
For example, moving from:
Depression -> brief period of stability -> hypomania.
Depression -> brief period of stability -> depression.
Usually there is enough time (even if it is a matter of thirty minutes) for my mind to teeter through a point of stability, allowing me to poke my head out of whatever mood swing I’m having, look around, prepare myself for whatever is about to come next, and duck back down.
This is generally how I operate on a daily basis, and this small snippet of feeling “okay” is part of what allows me to mentally prepare myself to shift gears, or gain a moment of respite before ducking back into an ugly place. Something like coming up for a breath of air before diving back down to… wherever.
However… there are people out there who have mood swings that operate differently. This week I was one of those people.
I have been jumping back and forth directly from one extreme mood state to the next, which looks a little more like this:
Suicidal depression -> euphoric hypomania bordering on true mania -> suicidal depression
The gradual transition I am used to has been replaced by a sporadic jumping straight from extreme state to extreme state. These jumps are, admittedly, rather jarring, though I’m much less likely to put up a fuss going from feeling suicidal one moment to totally high and euphoric the next (as opposed to the other way around). As I said, I don’t know exactly what is causing this change, but I am going to keep my eye on it for another week (unless things get ugly) before talking to my psychiatrist.
Unfortunately, this sort of thing is fairly typical for me when trying new medications (which is a little funny, because they tend to have the opposite effect for me than they do with everyone else) but I am trying not to jump to any conclusions. Again, more time and attention is needed before I make any moves, and who knows? This could be a summer-time fluke that will straighten itself out again before too long.
In any case, I am finding the severe depression much more tolerable when paired with euphoric hypomania. The trouble there is that, as someone with zero income, I can’t really afford to spend too many more days like yesterday, frolicking in the sun buying two dresses, a new purse, a pair of shoes, and four dvds. Normally I don’t have a huge problem with the “spending money” aspect of hypomania, (and what I bought may not seem like much to someone who has had more than $7 in their bank account for the last 6 months) but yesterday’s hypomania was a bit of a doozy.
So happy Friday folks! We’ve made it through another week! Today I’m feeling a little curious; do you (bipolar diagnosees) typically experience a more gradual change in mood, a rapid switch from one mood to the next, or a combination of the two? If you feel like exploring this topic in the comments, I’d be interested to know. As a side note, lets skip any comments about the medication I’m trying because (as I mentioned) I’m planning on coming back to this more in-depth next week. Thanks!