BP II + Major Life Events = Rapid Cycling?

I’m a BP Newbie.  I readily admit I’m not sure what to expect when major life events happen – how they will affect my mood, my cycling, etc.  Well, the Major Events are coming fast and furious the last two weeks.  Am I reacting normally or am I rapid cycling?  It’s all very daunting.

The new pdoc held a telephone session with me Friday and wanted to see me this week – a week earlier than my usual check in – to see if my moods were still seesawing.  we both agreed I may be rapid cycling.  I have, of course, come across the term during my hypomanic research on bipolar, but what does rapid cycling really mean?

Well, Wikipedia describes it as:

Most people who meet criteria for bipolar disorder experience a number of episodes, on average 0.4 to 0.7 per year, lasting three to six months.[93][94]

Rapid cycling, however, is a course specifier that may be applied to any of the above subtypes. It is defined as having four or more episodes per year and is found in a significant fraction of individuals with bipolar disorder. The definition of rapid cycling most frequently cited in the literature (including the DSM) is that of Dunner and Fieve: at least four major depressive, manic, hypomanic or mixed episodes are required to have occurred during a 12-month period.[95] There are references that describe very rapid (ultra-rapid) or extremely rapid[96] (ultra-ultra or ultradian) cycling. One definition of ultra-ultra rapid cycling is defining distinct shifts in mood within a 24-to-48-hour period.

Awesome.  This pretty much describes what I have experienced the last two weeks. But, again, am I just reacting normally to stress or am I really doing rapid cycling thing?

I decide in addition to the pdoc, I need to see my General Practitioner.  The weight gain on these drugs has been horrific (25 lbs in the last 7 months) so checking my blood sugar can’t be a bad idea.  Might as well throw in a question or two about bipolar in general.  My PAC hasn’t seen me for a physical in almost a year and has no idea about my hospitalization or BP II diagnosis.  Better to fill her in.  The trip proved to be unhelpful as far as getting any bipolar info, although she did strongly suggest I talk to the pdoc about the gastrointestinal distress the meds are causing.  One vial of blood later (to check glucose levels for the last three months) and off I go.

Before I get to the pdoc, however, there’s one pit stop I forgot to mention.  Marriage counseling.  Neither my husband nor I am in a very good mood.  Work has treated both of us horribly.

On to the pdoc appointment.

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