I’ve never ridden a bike in my life…

…but I’ve spent the vast majority of it cycling.

I have a form of manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, which was described to me by my former psychiatrist as ultradian cycling. Cycles in manic depression go from manic to depression with periods of stability in between. Some people experience long periods of mania followed by periods of depression. Episodes of mania and depression don’t always match in length and there is no guarantee how long a period of cycling will last.

Ultradian cycling is a form of rapid cycling. Rapid cycling is when there are four or more manic/depressive cycles in one year, Ultradian cycling is where there are more than one mood swing in any given day. It is relatively rare and I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody who has the same kind of cycling.

I find it difficult to manage and the after effects are just as difficult. I have gaps in my memory because my mind moves so fast during episodes that memories don’t lay themselves down effectively. At times I feel as though I go through life in a nebulous way, above reality and never quite a part of it though my life experiences are very real.

I’m going through an ultradian cycle now. I’ve had a really good week this week and it feels as though I’ve burst at the seams with all the goodness that’s gone on. They’re not huge things in the big scheme of things but they’ve been significant things for me. I’ve been able to get my own website up and running and am thrilled with it. an email has confirmed that I’m very good at something that I hoped I was good at and yesterday I took some photos that I could have only dreamed of a few years ago.

All these things are very positive but they come at a price. If things go well for me I feel proud of myself and very pleased, if things go really well for me I begin to feel elated and if things go exceptionally well (as they have this week) then I become manic. Mania for me is not a period of elation it is a period of irritability, too much energy and very little food. It overwhelms me and it feels as though my mind is destroying itself.

Last night I took diazepam to help me sleep and it did but what it hasn’t done is stop the cycle. I tried not to assume that my mood had dropped significantly this morning but, as I go through the day, it’s obvious that it has and is already beginning to rise. I can keep an eye on what’s happening, I can try to soften the blow on my mind and body but I can’t stop the cycle.

I’m very aware that I need to eat properly today and have a good selection of home cooked food in the freezer but if I get hungry when I’m manic I may find myself eating barely cooked chips or something equally vile just because time won’t keep up with my mind and my expectations.

I’ve never ridden a bike in my life but I’m going to be cycling forever.

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