My “Problems” With Ultradian Cycling

I am an ultradian cycler. Now if you haven’t heard of this term in the Bipolar world, Wikipedia offers a good, concise explanation here.

I wasn’t always an ultradian cycler. I was “made” one. Or at least I like to think so. Some people might find that an odd statement–or at least an unproven or controversial one.

Initially, I was incredibly depressed as a child. I don’t remember any hallmark traits of Bipolar as it presents in children (but again, I don’t remember much) however, my sister has said that I was “moody.” I suppose that it is possible that I could have been Bipolar all along as a child? But depression and anxiety were my true hallmarks, fluctuations in sleep disturbances, some of which are normal for an adolescent but I was suicidal from a young age and exhibited self harming and injurious behaviours and tendencies from a young age as well.

In my 20s, things really got rolling. I remained in a (hypo)manic state for approximately…well, it’s hard to say but 6-7 years? It started off sort of small but grew to epic proportions when finally in my late 20s I crashed with a major depression that made me seek professional help. Yes, I had been “depressed” before but never clinically and to a degree that it impaired my functioning so badly.

I was briefly questioned about some symptoms of Bipolar but because I was used to functioning at a (hypo)manic level, it was considered the norm for me. I never even thought that I could be Bipolar! And because I was presenting as someone who clearly looked as Unipolarly Depressed, that was my diagnosis. Clearly that was not the case.

Fast forward many years later and I managed to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I learned that Antidepressants make me go completely out of control (some lower my seizure threshold but that’s another matter) and interestingly enough, I noticed that my cycling patterns began to change. This brings us back to the ultradian business.

So how exactly does one go from being in an extended (hypo)manic period lasting years to crashing and burning to then going back to cycling a few times a year (BPII–the diagnosis I was ultimately given and still carry) to now, cycling so damn fast I can’t keep up with what the hell is going on? Well, no one really knows.

The hypothesis of “kindling” has been suggested. This has been borrowed from Epilepsy or seizure patterning whereby progressive electrical discharges in the brain can lead to more and more spontaneous seizure activity. It has been proposed that this sort of thing can occur in Bipolar as well, especially if left untreated. I remained untreated for a long time. Kindling is still unproven and still debated today, however.

There is still the issue of my treatment with antidepressants and how they affected me so negatively. How did that impact me? Did that add insult to injury? Did that speed up the process and stir the pot of my already simmering neurochemical soup and bring it to a now roiling boil? According to Dr. Jim Phelps who I kind of like–maybe because we share similar views–if I believe this or worry about it, I am an “extremist?” It’s okay though. He has concerns about it as well.

You can read about some more about all of this on his site here.

Now what makes this all problematic and especially for me now is that when I cycle like this, it blows in like one hell of a storm and the moods are very hard to track. It’s not like they sort of stroll in the door and languish about. They change so rapidly and drastically. I’d have to completely redesign a mood chart and basically map things out by the hour–or less!

And at the moment, it’s not like it was before when I wasn’t suitably medicated. For I am partially medicated so things aren’t so wildly out of control. But I can still feel that something is wrong. And it doesn’t appear to be going away. And could I start another sentence with a conjunction?

This morning I seem to have gone from waking up immediately wanting to do a cutting (mixed state), to just blandness (depression,) to impulsively rushing a little too close to the public transit train (just try get a *feel* for what jumping underneath it would be like), to bizarre giddy laughing (not quite euphoria) to rage (dysphoric mania.) That was just this morning! Yesterday was a bit better of a day and I thought that things might be settling down but look what I woke up to today!

I have called my GP and left a message that yes, I believe I am cycling. At this point, I feel it would be rather irresponsible for me not to pass along the information. I have an appointment with her in a couple of weeks so I don’t know if I can see her earlier. I have left my work number should she wish to call me. Again, she is trying to find me a psychiatrist as she is unsure about monkeying with my meds but perhaps something needs to be done. At least she needs to be told.

  1. Give me an old cool bicycle, and I’ll ride around the city for days.


  2. You know Retro Bicycles…whoever you are…you have got to be joking. Are you for real?

    I’m supposed to be taking a bloody break from blogging because my head is spinning from something a bit traumatic (well I am at least taking a break from reading and writing) but I just couldn’t resist this.

    Did you care to read this post? So, indeed…hop on a bicycle? Good for Bipolar when your moods are getting completely out of control? I don’t think that will solve the problem.

    Maybe my head is spinning as fast as the wheels on one of your great retro bikes right now!

    Regardless, thanks for giving me probably the most irrelevant comment to a post that I’ve received ever. I’ll give you that one.


  3. Rachal

    Dear Patientanonymous,
    I believe I am ultradian cycling. and I just recently diagnosed myself. I’ve had a terrible run around with meds and dr’s. The last dr. put me on the highest dosage of effexor xr, and I got so bad that I was having very vivid nightmares, lashing out in my “sleep” (cuz we all know we don’t really sleep) I punched my 3 year old in my “sleep” and that’s when I found a new dr. He is right now getting me off of the effexor and he is pretty sure that I am a rapid cycler (on the extreme side) But anyway, my point that I wanted to get to, was, he has put me on Topamax. Which is more commenly used for seizures and migraines (which I get) but is now frequently being used as a mood stabilizer. I am only on my 3rd day, and I am really feeling the difference! I am starting to feel kind of normal. Have you tried this yet? He said that since rapid cyclers are sooo hard to medicate that a mood stabilizer might do the trick. I take mine at night, because it makes me drowsy, but it has slowed down my mania. Well, let me know what you think.


  4. Hi Rachal, nice to meet you and welcome. I’m glad you’re here because this is something I can definitely speak to you about–although remember that I am not a medical professional! However, I do have personal experience to relate.

    I have been on Effexor XR as well and was ramped up to 375mg per day. That’s pretty high but you can get away with more than that–but more than 375mg and you should be monitored closely.

    It was bar none the worst medication for me in terms of side effects. I could list them all but…well…it probably doesn’t matter as you are tapering off and we all can experience different things.

    The vivid dreams/nightmares is indeed one of the side effects–I had it terribly. I can not speak to the sort of thrashing around in your sleep issue but it is possible that you could have had sleep disruptions. I had some sleep issues but they were different. But before I move on (or rather off Effexor) I’d like to skip ahead to clarify something you said about Topamax and its use for seizures and migraines. You said you had…which? Both? One or the other?

    If you have seizures, Effexor (and Wellbutrin perhaps to a lesser extent–may depend upon the person–but Effexor definitely) lowers your seizure threshold. Unbeknownst to me, when I would drink while taking it, I would have nocturnal seizures. I didn’t know it at the time and this was years ago…and well–I can only guess as no one was with me but the biggest indicator was loss of bladder control.

    I know, I know everyone reading this…PA wet the bed! But really…it can happen sometimes when you get them. I spoke to the head of neurology (well emailed) at Harvard and he said–yes…this is probably what’s happening. Get your butt to a Neurologist. I didn’t do this until later though as I only actually have Simple Partials. Still, I was such a little prat, even back then. Emailing, bloody “Big Man” from Harvard!

    Anyway, so if you are seizure-y you might be bouncing around some in your sleep. If not, well you still could just be having restless nights because the drug is giving you a hassle.

    Okay, Topamax! Oh yes, my dear! I have tried it and I love it! I have been on it for several years now.

    Yes, you are correct that it is typically used for seizures and migraines but being that it is an Anticonvulsant, it can have properties to assist in the Bipolar department. However, it is usually not used as first line treatment and actually, because of the seizure/migraine issue, and efficacy, and testing–it’s basically considered an “off label” med for Bipolar.

    But that still doesn’t mean you can’t use it! It just may mean that some doctors might be idiots and perhaps apprehensive to try it? Or depending upon where you live in the world it might not be available? I think it’s pretty much everywhere, though.

    Now the thing with Topamax and I always say it, is that it is a Temporal Lobe drug. Because of this, more than other meds out there, it almost seems to work really well for some people and they love it or pfft. But if it works, I’m pretty sure you’ll be happy.

    I’m trying to remember how I felt initially when I took it. I had been on a couple of Anticonvulsants before and they seemed to sort of calm the (hypo)mania but not so well and I had gotten more out of control and was cycling so quickly. I think I did start to get some relief fairly quickly but the most important thing was to titrate to the proper dose. But that’s key for any med.

    Anticonvulsants do have a faster rate of kicking in, certainly more so than Antidepressants. It’s hard to say, however, exactly when you will feel better–or start to feel better. The toughest is Lamictal as that one needs a very slow titration and finding the right dose is tough precisely for that reason. But it’s quite good–possibly the best–for the Depression side of Bipolar?

    Yes, one of the side effects of Topamax is that it can make you tired so night time dosing is fine. It didn’t and doesn’t make me tired so I am fine with taking it in the morning. Also, that may wear off once you reach your appropriate dose level.

    To be fair, as far as what your doctor said, I don’t think that prescribing “mood stabilizers” has anything to do with cycling and that one “might do the trick.”

    I actually don’t like the term “mood stabilizer.” Truly, there really is only one authentic “mood stabilizer” and that is Lithium. The rest are all Anticonvulsants that have mood stabilizing properties.

    However, cycling is a part of Bipolar. Since that is the case, in my opinion, Anticonvulsants (or Lithium) are absolutely imperative in your medication treatment. Antidepressants treat Depression. They do nothing to address the (hypo)mania side of Bipolar. For some (such as myself) Antidepressants make us worse and destabilize us. However, some people with Bipolar can take them? They may help? But Antidepressants as monotherapy for Bipolar simply does not make any sense to me! Hence the fact that what he suggests “might do the trick?” Well, there certainly isn’t anything else out there that will help with your cycling!

    And speaking of monotherapy. Since Topamax is a Temporal Lobe drug, it is usually quite rare that you can get away with it being your only Anticonvulsant for treatment with Bipolar. However, I got away with it alone for several years. It was only with my last relapse in the spring that I had to start taking Lamictal as an adjunct. It is working quite well.

    It’s alright, some people need one, some people need two…the most important thing is to feel better. You’ll get it all sorted out.

    Feel free to come back and talk more, either here or via email. This is long, I know but I can talk about this stuff forever *laughing*

    Take care,

    Oh wait! Effexor tapering! It might get a little bad when you get down to the lower dose levels as Effexor has, or can have, a bad discontinuation period.

    Here’s a hint: Ask your doctor for a few days worth of Prozac if you are feeling really sick. What it does, is it tricks your brain into thinking that your Serotonin levels aren’t dropping through the basement while the Effexor is taking the train ride out of town. I did it and it worked like a charm. I discontinued off Effexor three times and only learned this the last time. I wish I knew the first two times before!

    And I know, this sounds like I’m advising funky drug business, everyone but this isn’t something dangerous. Really.


  5. crescentdave

    I’ve had an amazingly similar hx to yours, PA. And I wonder if the SSRI’s or the SSNRI’s helped to set off the ultradian cycling. What I thought of as normal was a sort of extended hypomania. These days, though, I swing from an absolute interest in many different activities to absolute exhaustion and disinterest in anything. Anxiety levels are unbelievable. I have a therapist and a psych who’s had no problem diagnosing me as bipolar II, mixed state. Which, as I understand it, is another way of describing the ultradian cycling.

    P.S. Effexor just destroyed me. I was hospitalized a day or two after I took it. Initially I felt fantastic and then I went into anxiety and a sort of muscular immobility.

    Thanks for you writings … they make me feel less “freakish” if you know what I mean.


  6. Hi crescentdave, welcome to my blog and gee…your compliment. I always feel so…eek(!) when people say such things. However, I am glad that you enjoy reading it.

    Interesting that you have had similar experiences. There are people out there (and I believe lots of them!) that don’t think that ADs can instigate faster cycling (or perhaps a better phrase would be…) contribute to a change in cycling patterns. That is why I linked to Phelps’ site above. We seem to be on the same page…a bit?

    Actually, a “Mixed State” is something altogether different. Granted I am not a M.D. and I always say that as a caveat but a Mixed State is a combination of anxiety and depression and a “Dysphoric Mania” is a combination of anxiety and (hypo)mania.

    “Rapid Cycling” can get confused with Ultradian but it actually fits more with the dx of Bipolar II. It means that you will cycle several times within an app. yearly time frame. Ultradian as per the Wiki link is faster. And even faster, meaning: within possibly weeks, days and hours. I fall into the latter. Yes, hours. Usually between 24-48.

    Another thing that you are describing re: a marked, almost extreme fascination in things and then exhaustion–and the inclusion of anxiety is similar to AD(H)D. AD(H)D and Bipolar are extremely similar. However, one can not actually “acquire” AD(H)D. There usually is some form or history to it and it follows a bit of a developmental course. Whereas Bipolar almost may lie in hiding and a trigger lets open the floodgates.

    So, bear in mind I am in no way stating or even implying that you have AD(H)D as I do. You may or you may not but it requires a lot of digging and proper diagnosing to make sure that you do have it. And with the cormorbidity, I had to fight very hard to get my dx when I knew I had ADD.

    Apart from that…it also sounds like you fall into the same camp as I do where you can not take ADs. They flip you out too much. Some people with Bipolar can; some people can’t. It’s alright–just a fact.

    And darling. You are not a freak. None of us with all of this head shit are. We are just as human as everyone else on the planet. Hell, maybe we’re even more interesting?

    Come back and comment anytime. Glad to have you aboard.

    Take care,


  7. SeeSaw

    This is similar to what I have. However, in my case, mood states will typically last a day (although the intensity will vary from hour to hour). They last a day unless I am switching out, in which case it carries over to the next day and then some. For example I can wake up with some lingering hypomania, and then toward the end of the day start to get lower in a more normal mood, and the normal mood can persist until the next afternoon when I am jostled by a manic explosion.

    Past week:
    extreme depression
    extreme hypo/mania
    mixed depression
    normal mood with agitation/iritation (left over from the mixed)
    normal happiness
    extreme hypo/mania
    normal mood (not particularly happy or not)

    … and judging by how I jumped out of bed and found myself laughing at nothing a few minutes ago, today will probably be an up day.

    So yea, my moods shift every other day. It is usual for me to have mostly depression, like you I started out depressed from childhood. In my early adulthood, I began noticing every other day my mood would flux – lower, low, normal, low, lower… kind of like a mild wave over a few days. I became used to that and accepted my depression was kind of cyclical. I never thought I had bipolar disorder because it was so short and I never had highs.

    This started to change a few years ago when I experienced hypomania after not sleeping for a long time. That is when I became aware hypomania was possible for me. It was not common, lasted only a few hours at best.
    I began taking SJW to solve my low baseline mood. It helped, but hypomanic triggers after sleep deprivatioon became more common. I continued on the next few years.

    What I am experiencing now – switches with a lot of ups – it is entirely new.

    So that’s my story, thanks for listening.
    I have two questions to ask if you don’t mind?

    1) PA, do you notice if your moods are triggered by the circadian pulse of cortisol? Or, if they follow a circadian pattern?
    Speaking personally, I have very clear “trigger” hours. 9pm is a tremendous trigger, and I start to feel it around 8:30… if I am in an up cycle, then 9pm can have me full blown manic for a few hours. 11pm is another trigger; if the explosion at 9pm wasn’t sufficient, 11pm will have me up running in circles talking to myself till about 1a.
    Weaker triggers are 12 noon, 2pm, and 6pm.
    As the day progresses, triggers are generally stronger (12 being weak as 2pm… 6pm is slightly stronger… 9pm is incredibly powerful… 11pm is slightly less powerful than 9pm).
    Even if I am in a low swing, 9pm can have me moving a little bit faster. If I am in a normal mood, 9pm will find me feeling a bit excited and hyper for a few moments with hypomanic symptoms. But if I am in an upswing, I’ve pretty much no choice but mania that lasts a few hours.

    2) Do you notice any internal sense of a “season change” correlating with switching? Speaking of my mood chart this last week, when I switched out of the depressive/mixed state (on day 4) and into the every other day flux of higher moods, it happened after eating a meal when I went into this “coma-like” state. In the “coma-like” state I felt very very sleepy tranquil and peaceful and it was as if all my anger and irritation left me, and I had this internal sense of it “suddenly being fall”. It is early summer. After that the highs started (day of high, day of normal, day of high, day of normal, and today seems like another high day).
    It seems that having a sense of it changing seasons correlates with a marked change in mood pattern.

    For example, today I woke up very early, bolted out of bed, found myself laughing over nothing already… I can tell I’m slightly up right now and inside I have a feeling of it being more like late september instead of july.

    It just seems like a mark shift in mood may correlate with a sense of the season being fall, or shifting. I think this may imply that there is something very wrong with my circadian rhythm keeping, because it is usual for serotonin/melatonin to change during the shift from summer to fall, which shifts rhythms… maybe my brain has an innate sense of this, so whenever my chemicals or whatever go KERPLAT, my brain rationalizes it as “it must be a season change”. Except it’s NOT a season change, it’s just an unfortunately all to usual even these past few weeks/months.


  8. Hi SeeSaw, welcome to my blog as I can’t recall if I have seen you here before. If you have been here, then welcome back.

    Whoa! Now this is a comment I can really sink my teeth into! I hope you like reading as this may get a bit long as I’ve found some research that you mind find interesting? Others out there too might enjoy it? And I’m going to go back to my buddy, Dr. Jim Phelps who I linked to above in the post. I just love him!

    Now, to begin with, I’m going to ask you some questions first. Or get into a bit of a things with you personally.

    You do sound like you could be in the Ultradian Club like myself. I can’t be sure as I am not a M.D.

    And a point re: things changing. My patterns sure did and now, I’m in the 24-48 hour sort of range. Before becoming suitably medicated I once cycled in 15 minutes or something wild like that!

    So apart from the St. John’s Wort, are you on any medication? St. John’s can be/is contraindicated for people with Bipolar. Also, so are Antidepressants. I can’t take ADs as you may have read here and I tried St. John’s years ago and it either did nothing or made me cycle…I can’t remember as I wasn’t properly medicated at the time, anyway.

    So, regarding the above, those could be definite factors at play here.

    Of course, I don’t mind listening and of course I welcome your questions! *grin*

    Alright, now regarding all of the “time” stuff. I find this actually very fascinating but I am uber-geek anyway. *laughing*

    Here’s a link to some graphs just for fun re: wacky, kooky cycling like this, before meds and after meds with one person with Bipolar:

    And now for your questions. Oh, man this is SO wicked! And they are actually both linked together! There is a connection scientifically!

    In general, we all know that sleep can seriously mess up your moods and your cycling. That’s a no brainer as far as Bipolar goes. Without enough of it we can totally go bonkers without proper treatment and even with it!

    Now you asked me if I had ever noticed any personal triggers regarding sleep changes, Circadian Rhythms, season changes etc… I would have to say, no. Only perhaps when I was very young (around my teens and such with seasons but it felt more like SAD.) My triggers seem to be external and I can usually identify them (like a major life incident or stressor.) Also, I may even go a little bit high if something exciting is happening but that could be ADD related? The joy of having comorbidities and ADD and Bipolar are similar in several ways.

    You asked about Cortisol. Oh, if you haven’t read some of my blog already you may not know of my love for Cortisol as well! How I go on and on about how I believe we Bipolar folks just have tonnes of it flowing through our bodies like rivers, lakes, oceans… I mean, we get pretty damn flippy at times. It is a hypothesis and Cortisol is just massive as a one of THE stress hormones. THE stress hormone?

    I couldn’t find anything specific re: Cortisol and wacky Ultradian stuff but it is certainly implicated with Circadian Rhythms and sleep patterns. So are Melatonin and Serotonin. The latter? Bells are going off in my head re: Antidepressants above. A loose connection, perhaps, but with all of these hormones getting way out of whack?

    So regarding the Circadian Rhythms and your cycling. We all cycle differently so it’s really hard to say. Also, if there are odd variances, it may depend upon just how varied as well your sleep patterns are, how long they have been out of whack. As above your treatment regimen (if any?) There are so many variables to consider (and still so many unknowns about Bipolar in general.)

    Here’s a really ginormous link about Bipolar and Light…Dark…

    AD(H)D’ers, read at your own peril. I just didn’t bother as there is no way I am up to it today. I am just going to toss it out there for general interest:

    Alright, now for the “cool” stuff as you asked about Circadian Rhythms and seasonal changes. There is a science to it and freakily enough, Lithium is involved! I shit thee not.

    I’ll explain and then I will supply and link. And even though it does look I am having a big love-fest with my pal Jim, this stuff can be found elsewhere.

    First, we’ll start with biologically how your “clock” is reset.

    Within the link, the beginning is a reference to ancient times where a bowl with water was used as a timepiece. The bowls had holes in them and slaves were required to maintain their function. Sometimes the bowls would be used to sink to an area filled with water, sometimes they would slowly empty when filled with water.

    So if 24 hours is our bowl, let’s look at our DNA and how it works in comparison. At the beginning of the process there is a “kick off” of “promoter” molecules (Bmal, Clock) that tells our mRNA to move on with another process. The mRNA gets changed into another couple of molecule/genes called Per and Cry.

    This takes some time and is all “ticking” away with the bowl-emptying clock. As per the pictures in the link, we need to keep track of time so how do we do it? Place another bowl under the emptying one. This way, we’ll know when the process is all over and we can then “turn off the process.”

    How do we do that? Well, we have to get Per and Cry to tell Bmal and Clock to kind of shut up. They were “promoters,” right? Well, Per and Cry are “repressors.”

    So, all done and the second bowl is full. It’s now “time” (I know…so many bad puns to work with here…) for a new cycle to begin. How do we refill the first bowl? Well, we need to get rid of Per and Cry and that is done by our bodies by creating a Phosphate molecule to eat them up or “degrade” them.

    And hence…we may begin the process all over again.

    Really? No, not quite. We’re kind of missing a “reset” button or something. We’re kind of just sitting there. However, as per the link and what we’ve seen, things do “move.” The clock can be adjusted. Our bodies do it…or at least they are supposed to.

    Adjustment. Here is where the importance is with light, the seasons–this is the connection or we’d all just be doing the 24 hour deal over and over. Another good example is jet lag?

    When we lack light, the sun goes down etc… a protein molecule called Rev-erba (alpha) is made that is another repressor. It sits on the same DNA site and prevents the process from starting again. What should happen in the morning or when we are stimulated by light is that Rev-erba should be knocked down by a protein that is synthesised called GSK3b (beta.) But it’s the inhibition of GSK3b that is key, not the synthesis of it alone.

    Okay, the Lithium…I’m finally here. Not that this is a bad thing about Lithium and not that it’s going to mess up your sleep! It’s just interesting. Lithium inhibits GSK3b! No, ’tis true!

    Of course that’s not all it does but it demonstrates that there is some proven link somehow between Lithium and Circadian Rhythms and keeping things on track.

    Here are some links:

    Oh, boy…what else can I say?

    I’m not familiar with your current situation SeeSaw so I don’t really know what to suggest. Also, again, I am not a M.D. so I wouldn’t make any MAJOR suggestions anyway! Are you seeing anyone right now? Any physicians?

    We can talk further if you wish.

    Any kind of sleep disorders (in general) or Circadian Rhythm Disorders can be very hard to treat–not that I am saying that is your issue here. I just know that they can be difficult and the latter–very hard to pin down, the research is…whoa. That is why I only gave the connection above and not really any sort of “solutions” out there. It is very poorly understood.

    I have a feeling that a certain blogger out there is going to chime right in on this one. First to comment upon my science work and then about the entire sleep issue. *laughing*

    Take care SeeSaw and come back any time.


  9. Jonathan

    Hi….I hope you can help me. Never had depression before, but had a little bout of anxiety about 5 years ago. My anxiety resurfaced about a month ago due a stressful job. However, all of a sudden I felt sickly depressed. Just last week my moods have been up and down throughout the day – mainly feeling depressed to over excited but really frightened about twice a day. I have a psychotherapy appointment on Friday but I’m terrified I have this ultradian cycling…I have a good job, a loving partner and a wonderful family and feel that I am about to loose everything…can this be treated? Please help me. Jonathan


  10. Hi Jonathan, welcome to my blog. Nice to meet you. Also, thank you for your emails.

    Okay, now I know this may sound really stupid and incredibly difficult but try and breathe! I can almost feel the fear through your comment (and your emails sent!)

    Now, I’m not an expert here, most certainly not!

    It is very good that you are getting some medical attention right now. Well done. Now, today is Wednesday and I know where you are and you mentioned a Psychiatrist tomorrow and a Psychotherapy appointment on Friday? I don’t know if these are two separate appointments? Or if the Psychiatrist is a new one or a M.D. you already know?

    Either way, it may not matter.

    Alright, not being an M.D., of course, I certainly can’t give you any advice as to what is going on but I can give you some tips for your appointments? Tell them everything!!! Since we’ve communicated, you’ll hopefully be back to read this in time?

    Make a list of everything that has been going on before you go to the appointment. It will help you be more clear about things as it can be awfully hard to remember it all. I still do this with my doctors after years!

    Also, you can ask them questions too. Even if they may not be the biggest and grandest questions, you can still ask them if they have understood what you have told them and if they may have any ideas? You can also stress the fact that this is really important (if they don’t get the fact that you’re really feeling scared and in trouble here) to maybe push for some answers?

    I understand how frightening this can be. If you have never felt really depressed or any kind of serious mood changes it is very disconcerting to say the least!

    But let’s not put the cart before the horse here! You need a good doctor, a good diagnostician to really find out what is going on. I know you have obviously read things I have written here and they may sound like what is happening but no one can say for sure at this point.

    Focus on the positives that you have mentioned above. Those are all great!!! Again, yes, I know you are feeling very frightened now and I’m sure it is of ZERO value for me to say…oh, try not to be frightened now…but again, try to relax just a tad until someone can figure out what may be happening here. Right now, you’re in “Panic Central” as you say you fear losing everything!

    Again, this may have the good ol’ “zero value factor” but I think the chances of that are quite slim!

    I don’t know what is happening but if it is some type of psych diagnosis then yes, it probably can be treated. There are lots of folks that read my blog, that have their own blogs, there are lots of folks out there in the entire world that have psych diagnoses and we all live our lives. We may have good days, bad days–ultra shitty days (well, we do…) We may end up being hospitalised at times but it doesn’t mean your life is over, Jonathan.

    I am living proof of that as I sit here typing. I don’t know how much you’ve read or if you know but I have: Bipolar Disorder, ADD, Seizures and Migraines! Yes…four lovely diagnoses! So sweetheart, if I can go on living…you can too.

    I hope this helped somewhat. Feel free to let me know how things go/went okay?



  11. Jonathan

    You truly are an angel PA….I will let you know how I get on. You words comfort me more than any other I have read and I feel so relieved to have you on board. Everyone is being so supportive at the moment but speaking to someone who has been there makes it all the more better. I hope you are ok too and I’m sending you all my hugs during this time. I’ll be in touch!

    Take special care

    J xx


  12. Oh Jonathan! An angel? Oh dear…thank you so much. I am glad that my words have helped. Your comment means a lot to me and I am also so glad that others are being supportive in your life right now too–and well, moving forward as well?

    I agree that it is also very helpful to know and talk to those that have been through similar experiences. Others may not really know what happens but bless them for trying.

    Thank you for your support in return! Yes, we all need it! And I will admit that I do need it now too!

    Hugs and kisses back,


  13. Jonathan

    Just got back from the psych…phew what a sesh! Feels like I’ve been ten rounds with Tyson lol! Well here’s the beef – been diagnosed with severe mood fluctuations caused by stress and anxiety…looks like its been building for years and I’ve just sat on it. Anyway, I’m going into hospital tomorrow for 2 weeks to start my meds and begin CBT. Feel really positive about it actually and I’m looking forward to a new start in life. PA I want to thank you for your words…in a time of my life when I have never, ever felt so lost and alone, you have been there for me. I just hope that one day, I can do the same for you.


  14. Hi Jonathan, thanks for letting me know! And also, I want to thank you very much for posting about how things went for you on my blog. I respect you very much in doing so for your honesty and courage. It also shows others that as you asked me, “Can you get help?” I scream back, a resounding, “YES!”

    I am so pleased that you are going into hospital for a stay to get everything sorted and you are not “fighting” things and not in denial about anything or everything. A lot of people out there are very resistant to doing this and it can be very hard to do but I always say, when you need help, you need help.

    I know I was scared as hell when I went for my first stay but after a wee bit, it was fine. And I was SO grateful afterward. Since then–every one up to my sixth–I’ve had no problem with any of them.

    You make me so happy too that you are taking a really positive attitude about this. It may be a long haul and you may have to try several meds, the side effects can be really crazy and sometimes awful. Even with a med that seems to be working you might have to spend lots of time tinkering to get the right dosage and then maybe even add another! Yes, meds can be a real pain in the arse but with your attitude, I know you can stick to it. Good for you.

    Oh, you’re welcome for my “words.” And sure…as I said before, we can always benefit from the support of others who have gone through similar situations. So keep hanging around here. That way you can keep tabs on me. *wink* I’m not going anywhere.

    Keep well during your stay and good luck.



  15. Roy Wall

    I only started researching ultradian cycling bipolar disorder today and came across this site. I’m 60, been depressed on and off since I was about 20; experienced a two year high folowed by 18 months low but am now ultradian according to my own diagnosis tho’ symptoms are not acute.

    I am taking 75mg of Clomipramine and 25 mg Chlorpromazine which helps me sleep. Last night I forgot to take them and woke at 5 am unable to sleep any more. On waking I felt really low. After two hours I had improved but then went back into a low. These are serious mood swings that exhibit non-acute manic and depressive elements.

    I’m sort of retired early ‘cos of fatigue associated with depression. I’ve a low income so can’t afford private health care here in the UK and free healthcare is close to useless when it comes to depression, etc. I effectively have to do my own diagnosis and I find it useful to hear other peoples experience.


  16. Hi Roy Wall, welcome to my blog. Nice to meet you.

    I’m sorry to hear of your problems with the NHS etc… I have heard from a lot of people and their troubles with it, too.

    I am glad to hear you find it useful to hear of other peoples’ experiences. I feel the same way.

    I had to think a bit about your thoughts re: Ultradian Cycling and the non-acute manic symptoms. True, we all cycle differently so you may be “missing” any (hypo)manic elements.

    Again, I am not an M.D. so there is no way I can tell exactly what is going on or offer any diagnosis, right?

    So at this point, you are taking a Tricyclic Antidepressant and a First Generation Antipsychotic and they are helping you. Some questions:

    1. How helpful are they? When taking them on a regular basis, are you still cycling?

    2. Who prescribes these drugs? Could you not talk to this person and share your thoughts?

    3. These meds are rather “old.” They are both “First Generation,” actually. As an addition to point number one above, if you think that they may not be doing their best, there are a lot of newer medications that have been developed over the years.

    Just some things to ponder, perhaps? Again, I am not a M.D. but as per point number two, someone must be writing the scripts and I know you are not happy with the free system but again, maybe you should speak to your current practitioner.

    Hey, it couldn’t hurt right?

    Take care,


  17. Sarah

    Hi there,

    I stumbled upon your site today after a very difficult and frank discussion with my mum about my current state of mind i.e. it’s in a state!

    I suppose it would make sense to start at the beginning although I find it difficult to do things in any kind of logical order these days! My father was killed in a car crash in Australia, where I was born, when I was four years old. My mum subsequently took me and my younger brother to live in Ireland, where she’s from. I was very close to my father, even at that early age and remember being intensely sad, disoriented and frightened after he died and indeed throughout my childhood. I suffered from childhood insomnia because I was terrified that if I went to sleep either I, or someone I loved would die. This was too much for my poor mum who was trying to bring up two young children (one very difficult one!) on her own and she started to hit me when I wouldn’t sleep at night. I should point out that this is something that she feels horrendously guilty about now and I harbour no ill will towards her for it.

    I don’t know if I would say that I was depressed as a child – I was certainly a live wire – but I do remember always feeling a bit lost and scared.

    When I was in my early teens my mum remarried and that’s really when things started to spiral out of control a bit for me (through no fault of my stepfather who is lovely). I went a bit wild, as many teens do, and became quite violent (most often, thankfully, towards inanimate objects and occassionally myself – rarely towards others). My GP wrote a referral letter for me to see a counsellor which I found and opened thus discovering some pretty shocking things about my dad who I believed to be the most perfect human who had ever lived. After that my life descended into chaos – I was a hurricane of emotions and made the lives of those around me impossible. I was up and down all the time, either crazily happy and excited, deeply unhappy or in a state of rage about something or other.

    I began to take drugs and partied hard throughout my early twenties finding it impossible to stick with anything for very long and living constantly on the breadline. I dropped out of college twice and my parents finally intervened when they found out that I hadn’t been paying my rent for months and was choosing instead to spend my money on drugs and parties. My memories of this time are understandably sketchy but I remember my mum saying that she never knew who was going to walk through the door when I came to visit – manic Sarah, crying depressed Sarah, or ‘pick a fight’ Sarah. Things calmed down a little when I started a post graduate course which I threw myself into heart and soul. I deperately wanted to achieve something that would make my parents proud. I graduated first im my class and subsequently moved to England for a job.

    Unfortunately the upheaval of moving resulted in a year long deppressive episode, I shudder now even thinking about it. I began to self harm – breaking my wrist and causing numerous bumps and bruises to myself
    (I never cut myself). I came out of that about three years ago and had one year of relative calm (well, my calmest anyway) – the rapid mood changes could still be there but I managed a successful career and the breakdown of my relationship without going to pieces so I guess you could call that a good year for me.

    About a year and a half ago things started to slip again, I lost interest in my job calling in sick regularly, lying about work I hadn’t done and being confrontational with other staff members. I left my job to take a few months off completely ignoring the fact that I didn’t have enough money to do this and spending the summer going to music festivals and taking silly amounts of recreational drugs. My life descended into chaos again and my moods were all over the place. Since then I’ve been flitting from one thing to another – getting hugely excited about new projects and then losing interest a day later. I moved to France on a whim and moved back again five months later.

    I can wake up in the morning elated, be sobbing by lunchtime only to be elated again going to bed (flying into a rage with someone or something at some point during the day!). And I’m constantly anxious about everything. My brother has said that he can’t cope with me anymore and wants to distance himself and my parents have had to bail me out of another financial mess and are understandably at the end of their tether. And me? Well, I’m exhausted and hugely dissapointed in myself. I feel as though my life keeps on going in these cycles. I’ve just started a new job and I absolutely have to stick with this one and make it work. The thing is I have all the ingredients for a great life – I’m young, have a good job, a great social life and lots of wonderful friends, a loving family and really, the rest of my life to look forward to. But I just wish I could find some kind of peace and contentment within myself and get my life on a track that it won’t career off in a few months time.

    When I found a description of ultradian cycling online I cried tears of relief – it so accurately describes what it is like living in my world. My mum has always suspected that I have some form of bipolar disorder but I always argued that my mood changes were too quick for that. I saw a counsellor a few times when I was fourteen but apart from that I’ve never had any psychotherapy and I’ve never taken any medication. Where I grew up such things are not common.

    Given my suspicion that I am an ultradian cycler perhaps you could offer some advice on how I should proceed?



  18. Hi Sarah, nice to meet you and welcome to my blog. Thank you so much for sharing your story. That is very brave and strong and it means a lot.

    Also, I don’t know if finding information about Ultradian Cycling here made you feel relieved or what but however, I am glad that you have felt some relief. I know how scary, and frustrating and painful it can be when you really feel like you are going out of your mind and you just can’t find any “answers.”

    However, I am not a M.D. and I always say this–therefore, I can not say that you have Bipolar and are an Ultradian Cycler.

    But…since you have asked for some “advice?”

    Alright. You need to go see a doctor now. A GP, a Psychiatrist (that would be better as they are the specialists?) but if you can’t get to one of them without a referral, the a/your GP first.

    You’ve done an amazing amount of documenting everything here. I always say to people (and I even do this myself as it’s so easy to forget!) write bloody well everything down before your appointment. No, every damn thing you can think of! Get it all out because it’s all important!

    In my “non-professional” opinion, you could very well have Bipolar Disorder. Just from what you describe, there is a lot of mood fluctuation and it is rather extreme! And it is happening frequently and has been happening for a very long time. It seems like it has been an established pattern? It’s not like you just got pissed off a few times?

    That is somewhat significant. I would say, based upon that and so much more that you have written, you need to discuss this with a doctor. Absolutely.

    As far as the “Ultradian” part? There is still a lot of disagreement within the medical community as to whether or not it even exists and a lot of practitioners still refer to it as “Rapid Cycling.” The Wiki link in this post quite properly and succinctly puts it all in order. You could print that out although some doctors get a bit edgy about patients bringing things in from the Internet. *rolls eyes*

    In a way, that’s true as there is a lot of shit out there…here? HA! A joke about my own blog. *wink*

    Regardless, just start with explaining everything and go from there.

    You did mention some positives in your life and that is good. That is really good! It just to me, seems like if you have Bipolar, then it needs to be addressed, get treated and then you can start getting your life back on track. Getting where you want to go because you clearly have motivation to do that. It’s just that this mood changing shit and how it’s been going on and on has held you back. Or you feel like it has. Or both…I’m not sure as I am not living your life, right?

    Well, guess what? You can get help.

    I’ve been battling this fucking demon for years now. Shit, I just cycled last night and it’s still kind of lingering? My good old 24-48 hour range?

    But don’t let that deter you. Bipolar is chronic–you have to live with it forever but it doesn’t mean your life is over. It can be a real struggle at times–I won’t lie to you. But hey, I’m still here! And so are a lot of us who carry the dx.

    Take care and let me know if there’s anything else you want to talk about, any other questions…whatever.



  19. Anonymously Unstable

    I was going to read most of what y’all wrote, but then I saw how much y’all wrote and said screw that. Lol, but as with y’all, I have ultradian cycling. Right now, i’m actually doing alright, despite having the urge to beat someone half to death… That would be my stepfather, who has bipolar too. But now, he’s off his meds, and quit smoking pot a few months ago, so he’s completely uncontrollable. Not only that, but those ignorant fucking psychiatrists at the V.A. have had him on antidepressants for years, and after he got baker acted, put him on more AD’s, although he was and still is FUCKING MANIC! I hate those stupid shits.

    But to the point. I have moodswings between every 15-45 minutes. Some days I might only have about 4 or so, but that’s rare. A few years back, I was on Prozac for a few months, up to 60-80 mg’s (don’t remember exactly, cause, well that’s what i’m getting to.). I stopped taking them, because I lost every bit of control of myself, manic as hell, yelling at everyone and anyone I knew or didn’t know at school, outside of school, anywhere… I constantly had thoughts of killing people violently (those thoughts are still there, but more normal now)… I’d do the most dangerous and stupid things, disregarding mine or anyone elses safety, and so on. But, for only 3 months of taking it, I was like that for a year, and it took about 2 years for me to become my normal, ultradian cycling, bipolar self.

    But, I became extremely unstable again about a year ago, because of school and my severe RLS, along with insomnia and delayed sleep phase syndrome, and my severe anxiety and OCD. It’s like I didn’t even have different problems, more like one HUGE problem filled with side effects that multiplied the severity of each of them, if that makes sense.

    But now, i’m a high school dropout, and they probably won’t let me back, because i’m a so-called “threat” to the fascist teachers that seem to like to piss people off for shits and giggles. Alot of them learned not to with me, but it’s a little too late for that now.

    But basically, waking up day to day is like waking up in a completely different part of the world everyday, not knowing where the hell you’re at, and just walking straight forward as you leave your room, not knowing where you’re gonna go or what situations you’re going to get into along the way… then somehow, you wake up again, in another place, just to do the same thing, with your legs moving constantly, no matter what you want them to do…

    And no matter where you walk, hell seems to be right around the corner… so you have to walk through it, just to make it to the other side, just to find out hell’s surrounding you all over again…

    I don’t see it as negatively as that in my head, but if a perfectly sane person were to be able to experience it just for a day, they’d probably describe it as a living hell intertwined with normal everyday life, along with times of nothingness…. For me, the mania is the nothingness, and the hell… the depression is the hell, and the nothingness. Then those times i’m centered, it’s just plain nothingness. I can’t even remember a few days ago. Definitely not a few months ago.

    I quit smoking pot about 3 months ago, because of money issues and the difficulties of getting a job (so i’ve been trying the last resort places that are strict about drug testing)… I’ve not gotten any better… I’ve gotten worse. Not only can I not control my moods at all now, but i’m also not able to see myself from a third person point of view at all. So now when I slip into a fucked up state of mind, I don’t notice it until farrrr after i’ve left it. Which, if I were to snap, and do something to say, hurt me or someone else, or destroy something, it’ll be too late by the time I realize it. The best thing pot did for me was allow me to catch myself within’ a few minutes of having a moodswing. Now i’m barely noticing their onset at all, despite them being a bit worse. And rapid… I thought the pot made mine more rapid, but since I quit smoking, they’ve just gotten worse.

    I never disliked pot because I thought it made me worse, since it’s the only medication i’ve had that’s actually worked (out of antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, antidepressants [those stupid fucks prescribing me those], and anti-parkinsons drugs…. 6 different drugs total), but I always wondered if maybe it made me worse, although I was always better on it. Now I know, it is truly the only drug i’ve taken, that has helped me control my symptoms of almost all my disorders (except Delayed sleep phase syndrome)…. All the drugs i’ve been prescribed have either made my symptoms worse, or just gave me bad side effects. The antipsychotics were the best at controlling my symptoms, but after 4-5 days of taking them, i’d have a chronic headache for a week straight… And I’d take it in the morning (around 8:00 am) and have an irresistable urge to fall asleep around 5pm… As if I was coming down from them, cause while I felt them working, I was fine… but then the zombied feeling would go away and i’d get tired and passout.

    But yeah, I don’t even remember much of what i’ve written, but i’m sure someone can relate in some way to my problems (maybe not just the bipolar)… But some people say ultradian cycling just isn’t realistic, and to those people, I have to say STFU, cause apparently they don’t know shit about the nervous system and ill-controlled neurotransmitters. Ultradian cycling is very real.

    Good day and stable minds everyone. Btw, GREAT treatment for mania, is the gym… Instead of hurting myself in otherways, I go to the gym and completely destroy my body and it has helped me tremendously. And hell, now I can workout harder than 98 percent of the people in there for 3 hours straight and still have energy to ride a bike home haha (I DO NOT recommend working out for 3 hrs, even if you’re manic. It’s not supposed to be good for you. So moderation and intensity is the key for relieving mania lol.)

    Ok i’m done. Y’all keep it easy.


  20. Hi Anonymously Unstable, welcome to my blog. I haven’t seen you here before.

    I’m glad you got through the post. Also, thank you for sharing your story. It really helps other people to understand.

    Wow, though. It really sounds like you’ve been through the wringer. I’m sorry that you’ve been on (what sounds like?) so many meds without any positive result. I know that can happen with a lot of people. I’ve been fairly lucky, I suppose. However, very unfortunately we have to live with this shit-fucker illness for the rest of our lives.

    Your cycling sounds particularly tough too because of the “violence” factor. That can be scary as since we can not control these things, what may trigger us, etc… if you do lash out in a rage, it could be very serious as you admit.

    I like the idea of going to the gym though to get all of that cycling (no pun intended) energy out! That’s very good. And I must agree with you–three hours is not recommended for folks out there! Wow…you’d need to go to hospital for sure after that people!

    Are you seeing any M.D.’s regarding this? Any therapists? I know it can sound kind of bogus as really we have no control over our neurochemistry but it may help to at least talk (aka bitch), to someone about life.

    Also, I know you’ve been on a lot of meds but would you consider giving anything else a go? Hey, you never know, right? Sometimes, too, they may need to work in conjunction. You may need an adjunct to something else.

    Your choice and I respect that–I always do for people.

    Take care,


  21. JustAGirl

    Hey PA.

    So I’ve read through your post and every comment trying to get a feel of what’s going on. Maybe I’m a little late since the last post was September 28, 2008. But I’d like to speak with people in this state of mind.

    I, too, have just started researching ultradian cycling today. It sounds a lot like me.

    As well, I started out severely depressed around the age of 12 or 13. (I’m 18 now) I thought they were normal feelings as teenagers are often moody. But my severe agitation and irritability are way out of hand.

    I’ve been to about 5 different therapists and they all have just told me I’m depressed. I’ve been on about 4 different types of anti-depressants and none have really worked. My mom said she saw some increase in good moods, but I saw nothing and felt no different.

    When I was about 16, I started feeling a lot more different. My moods seemed to go up through the roof and down through the basement. I read up on “mood disorders” (specificly Bipolar and Borderline) and I saw that almost all of the Bipolar symptoms fit me.

    My problem was (and still is) that frequently in the day, I feel so depressed. I’ve done self-mutilation a ton and have come so close to ending it all. I just wanted the pain to end. I’ve abused drugs and drinking and even popped pills. The pills made me feel okay for a short time but then I was back to my normal fluctuation of moods.

    And then there’s the mania as well. It’s like one hour I’ll be so depressed that I don’t want to do anything (not even live) and then so quickly it changes into me being overly-happy and my thoughts race so much I can’t take it.

    My last therapist has sent me to a psychologist and he prescribed me Lamictal and Seroquel. At first, I felt like it was starting to work, but recently I have been noticing my swings are more severe. It’s really hard for me to function sometimes and it’s hurting me because I feel I may lose the man I love. I’ve gone off the drugs, pills, and alcohol abuse because I’m trying my hardest to not get my life out of order, but I feel I may have this disorder. Although I have not been diagnosed as any type of bipolar, I really feel I am.

    Actually, the dr said nothing to me. He just pretty much said “okay I’m going to put you on a mood-stabilizer and a medication that will help you sleep” (because it was so bad, that I wouldn’t sleep for maybe two nights and if I were able to sleep, it would be from about 4am until I had to get up in the morning.

    But I did some reading and noticed that Seroquel is used as an anti-seizure medication and as an anti-psychotic. Is it possible he just wasn’t telling me? Because all he said was that it’s a sleeping pill. And is it possible that the doctors are either not seeing it or not telling me that I have this disorder?

    And I’m wondering if I bring it up (because I have before to my school counselor) that they will just tell me I’m too young to have this disorder. As I read, though, I notice that a lot of these say they started in adolescent years. Or maybe they will do like in the military? (if you claim you’re crazy to try and get out, they wont believe you because obviously you’re sane enough to diagnose yourself)

    I’m not sure exaclty what I want out of posting this. Maybe just to get some reassurance that everything will turn out okay.

    Thanks for your time.


  22. Hi JustAGirl, first, nice to meet you and welcome to my blog. Not to worry about being “late.” I enjoy coming back to my older posts and discussing things and speaking to people about anything that is on their minds.

    Alright, let’s see what we can discuss here. I do have some thoughts and opinions but as I always say, I am not a M.D.!

    You are correct that going through adolescence can be a difficult time and yes, you can be prone to feeling “low,” shall we say. However, you also said that you felt severely depressed when you were a child. I did as well and actually felt my first suicidal impulses then, so I do understand. At least to a degree, though, as I am not you.

    Now that you are 18, you are saying things are getting worse. Alright. Here, I am going to get into some questions and things that I take issue with.

    Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers etc… are not qualified to diagnose people. Only medical doctors are. Even if your Psychologist has a Ph.D in Psychology, I personally feel that it is not appropriate for he/she to diagnose patients. And I will get to your questions re: a diagnosis in a bit.

    You say you have been on four Antidepressants. You are 18. I have concerns with prescribing psychiatric drugs to children (although you are now 18) but having said you have taken four does bother me. Not that I don’t think you are alright, I just think that things are not necessarily being handled properly here.

    With Antidepressants, it may take up to a month (sometimes less) at an initial dose to see if they are helping. Then, if or if not, they may require an increase. If you have been on four, when did you start taking them? Four is quite a lot considering your age?

    The reason for my concern is because children’s and younger people’s brains have not yet fully developed. So to prescribe medications that affect their brains may not be so safe. However, no one knows for sure. It is a dicey issue and a real “hot potato” argument in the medical world because the only way to even attempt to find out would be to do multiple tests and trials and that presents unbelievable ethical issues!

    So, who prescribed them? You later skipped down in your post to say your psychologist has put you on some new medications and then you make mention of a doctor. I’m just a bit confused as to your medical history. Also, which Antidepressants were they?

    Now, you say that your moods are still fluctuating up and down and it is still a problem. Well, obviously that needs to be addressed. Especially if you have been self-medicating and practising self-harm behaviour. That definitely indicates, to me at least, that this is a significant issue!

    However, I will say a huge congratulations to you for addressing the self-medication! That is fantastic and the right thing to do as it will just make things worse!

    As far as your new medications, there is also a bit of confusion here as well. The “mood stabilizer” is actually an Anticonvulsant, being the Lamictal. It is used to treat Bipolar and Epilepsy. The Seroquel is actually an Atypical Antispychotic and can be used for a variety of things (including sleeping issues) but it is not used to treat Epilepsy. I am currently on both of these medications. I take Seroquel for my sleeping problems, the Lamictal I take for Bipolar and Epilepsy.

    Also, the reason it is called “Atypical” is only because it is a newer form from older Antipsychotics developed years ago and the ones in the Atypical class are presumably more tolerable for patients to take.

    One of the reasons you might have started to feel a bit better is because the Lamictal may have just begun to work but it is a very tricky Anticonvulsant. It needs to be titrated (increased in dosage) very slowly due to some side effects that may occur that do not with other Anticonvulsants.

    I can not diagnose you, however, I will not say for certain either that you are “too young” to have Bipolar. In many cases, it can begin with a “Trigger” for people in their early 20s. So you are not too far off the mark there. Within the medical community and also within, let us say, the “Parental Community” there is a great deal of debate about children having Bipolar as well. Again, I can not make a decent comment there, either!

    I do not know why your doctor (again, I am confused who you are seeing and who is telling you what, not telling you what, prescribing…) is not communicating in an open and frank manner and simply prescribing you medication. In my view, that is extremely unprofessional and unfair to you as a patient. You need to know and deserve to know the status of your health!

    So, I would suggest (and this is only a suggestion) that you think about how you would like to handle this–if you wish to–and it sounds like you do. You could plain out ask what their opinion is. You could bring up the notion of Bipolar.

    I would caution you to, perhaps, stay away a bit from the issue of research and self-diagnosis. I am not sure, though. A lot of doctors do not like such a thing. I do not know the relationship you have with your practitioner but something sounds off if they are not communicating with you.

    On a final note, as I mentioned above, only medical doctors should be making diagnoses. If your GP or Family Practitioner is qualified enough in a Psychiatric background, that may be fine. If not, you really should be seeing a Psychiatrist.

    Oh, and as for “reassurance?” Well, if you do have Bipolar, it is a chronic condition that you will have to deal with for the rest of your life. You will have ups and downs but it does not mean that your life is over. It is just something that needs to be managed. However, many of us who do have it live our lives and handle it as best we can. I have for years and I’m still here!

    I hope this helped. Please come back if you need anything else, have any other questions, whatever you wish.

    Take care,


  23. gigi_382

    Hi! I know the last post was a few months ago, however, I too am trying to figure myself out and just today am reading about ultradian cycling. It is good to hear real life accounts of what this looks lie instead of just reading a list of criteria and symptoms. I have been so frustrated lately because I have no answers and many possible diagnoses. For starters, I have been diagnosed with major depression since I was very young.

    I also have been on AD since I was about 9 or 10, (scary, I know!) I am now 27 years old and still have never found the right treatment. I have always been an extremely emotional, sensitive, and anxious person, since very young. I was known as a ‘worry-wart” and a “cry-baby” and never considered that these could be a result of something in my head rather than personality flaws.

    Anyway, my parents divorced when I was 12, I saw many psychotherapists, and once a psychiatrist as a teen that my mom refused to take me back to because he diagnosed me as bipolar after only two visits and wanted to put me on lithium. My mom was angry that he would want me on that so young and made the call after only two visits (the first visit I was very mad about having to go, crying and carrying on, as teenagers do, and the next visit, I was agreeable to going).

    So the unipolar depression label stuck and the treatment with AD continued, but never really seemed to help. One thing that I have started noticing recently is the mood swings even looking back at adolescents. But the thing is, they ALWAYS occur right before my menstrual cycle. PMDD perhaps? I don’t know. I spend every month like this; the week of my period and the week and a half after mildly depressed (disthymia?) and always anxious about everything. Generally low energy and fatigue and a general sense of not caring. I go about my day wondering if I will ever experience true contentment with my life. I worry about my future and what I am going to “be when I grow up” often changing my mind about careers from worrying. I also suffer from very low self esteem and self worth.

    Then the week or two before my period; days of feeling angry, irritable, short-tempered, prone to crying episodes and feeling like everything is a crisis situation even when it not. I feel those days like I cannot go on, can’t handle life, feel like I was not made to handle this life like everyone else and want to give up. Some days, or even right before or after crying spells, I will get kinda silly (not exactly hypo manic though b/c no real increase of energy or risk taking). I might get giddy and laugh a lot, especially when I am talking to my mom (we have an ongoing joke when I am like this). She always knows when I am due for my period (even my step-dads can pinpoint this, which is kinda weird!).

    Throughout the month, like I said, I experience low self esteem, anxiety, worry, self doubt, cloudiness, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating/ focusing, ruminating (thoughts all over the place and obsessing about something that happened over and over, replaying the situation and what I “should” have done or said). But I know how to go out with friends and family and have fun too. There are things that I enjoy doing and get involved in. But overall, I am discouraged by life and overwhelmed with everyday pressures and responsibilities.

    All my symptoms can fit many different things, such as PMDD, ADHD, bipolar II/rapi cycling/cyclomania (according to the Psychiatrist that I am seeing now) and now I am reading about this ultradian cycling that I never heard of.

    I am being treated right now for bipolar II with Lamictal and am also still on an AD, lexapro. I also take a birth control form my GP for possible hormonal imbalance. So, here’s the thing, the last few months I have been fairly stable around my period, however, I started the Lamictal and birth control at the same time, so I don’t know which works or if it is the combo. Then last month I stopped the birth control b/c I ran out and was afraid (anxious) about calling my GP for a refill. That month I broke down right before my period and even had an anxiety attack. I was in complete hysterics and was taken to the hospital for an eval. however, was not bad enough to be admitted (partly b/c I did not admit my thoughts of not wanting to live). I did want the pain and constant struggle to end, but I had someone with me, so having that support, helped me battle the suicidal thoughts (versus when i am alone). Then I was referred to further outpatient care. I still feel like I have no answers and struggle monthly. No professional has considered other things or will take the time to explain what is going on with my body and WHY bipolar II fits. I am not convinced and I feel they are too quick to diagnose. (I am now on my second psychiatrist.)

    Any advice would be helpful, hopefully if you still read these posts. I know you are not an MD :) but having someone who has experienced these very real symptoms is more comforting than an MD who seems to be making a stab in the dark because I have, what, maybe three things that fit bipolar II (depressed most the time with bouts of anger and irritability) but that fits many things, not just bipolar II! When I read blogs/posts from people with just bipolar II, it doesn’t sound familiar what they describe, although I know it looks different for a lot of people. But I definitely have more than the normal “at least one manic episode a year” and even the “at least four episodes a year” for the rapid cycling. Ultradian cycling seems to be a bit closer to what I experience, but I rarely have highs, just anger and irritability right before my period. I know that these disorders also can go hand in hand with one another (comorbidity?). I am so frustrated and feel like I can’t receive proper treatment if a proper diagnosis is not made. How can you treat something when you don’t know for sure what you are treating?

    Thanks for your time. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s posts about their very real experiences. Sorry for such a long post.


  24. Hi gigi_382. Welcome to my blog as I see you are new. Also, not to worry about responding to an older post or me getting back to you! Or this being long. I receive notifications of all comments and I get back to everyone. Unless it’s spam!

    So, let’s see what we can do here. My comment may be quite long too!

    ADs when young. Possibly scary and possibly not. However, a real hot potato in the medical world and even the non-medical (i.e. blogs not run by professionals, parents etc…) It opens up so many ethical questions and even more general ones due to exactly when a child’s brain has fully developed (thus tossing drugs at it–or into it?) That then leads to the ethical dilemma of their efficacy. How do you test the meds on kids?

    Also, skipping ahead to “Ultradian Cycling,” still some debate there too as a lot of professionals don’t believe it exists or they confuse it with “Rapid Cycling” that is up to four episodes a year–if you didn’t know that already. I’m not sure what you have read. Apart from me not really being a M.D. Thanks. That was funny.

    I too have always been extremely emotional and sensitive since being young. I can now attribute it to my own dx’s and more but you are exactly right that it is not a “personality flaw.” Please!

    Now, as far as “the rest” (and I don’t mean to demean it in any way) it is extremely difficult in my opinion to “diagnose” any children with psych issues. You need a very good, even excellent, child psychiatric diagnostician to deal with anything that is going on. Hell, even as an adult you need an excellent diagnostician.

    So many “things” may be happening with kids right up through to their teens. How can you tell if your child is just acting up and jumping around as opposed to really warranting and AD(H)D dx. Or Depression? Or Bipolar?

    Again, not being a M.D. my feelings are the same for (perhaps?) a child as an adult: “Does it hamper or get in the way of the person’s degree or level of functioning?” For a child, I am thinking: “NOT in the way of the parent’s functioning!” The two may be hard to separate in today’s “oh-so-busy” world but I’m sorry. The kids take priority!

    Alright, so that was a bit more of a “rant” but it may be why the ADs may not have been working–again, no one knows how or what or…you get it with the kids. But I’ll get to more on the ADs now that you are an adult in a bit–considering your current combo of the Lamictal and Lexapro (and the birth control pills.) First, I want to tackle the “possible” PMDD idea and/or…?

    Just like everything else in the psych world, our brains and bodies, the meds… This gets messy, too!

    I’ve just done some digging (and I know this why…?) One of my meds that I take for Epilepsy is supposedly the best for Catamenial Epilepsy! “Catamenial What?” you say! Fancy Pants word for your period and something that can happen when you have it–like seizures with Epilepsy.

    Now, the info is extremely sparse out there regarding Catamenial Bipolar. I’ve looked into this before as well. I’ve now gone back to see if maybe I could find anything “new?” Again, a whole lot of WTF!

    What I did manage to find? Quite interesting for all of this. It is rather complicated and up in the air but food for thought, perhaps.

    Yes, I love research. It rocks my socks! Plus, I’ll add some names and dates from what I’ve found–the studies–just so people don’t think I’m arseing around. Okay, get ready! Here we go! And a caveat as always: Nothing conclusive here folks!

    (Rubinow 1995) and (Blehar et al. 1998) are saying, yes. Something could definitely be going on with hormones–and not just PMDD. However, how can we define? Still, they’re not ruling out any other illnesses–and certainly not Bipolar. Also, (The American Psychiatric Association 2002) is all cool with the hormonal/Bipolar idea as well.

    (Diamond et al. 1976) was even moving toward increased suicide rates and hospitalizations. 1976, huh? That’s kind of interesting. However, back then, I think things were definitely more cloudy. No doubt.

    Okay…hang on. Now this gets really “crazy!” Let’s bring Rubinow back into this. (Rubinow et. al 1988) stated that basically, the premenstrual lows can occur, then later you can get swingin’ up high as you move on through your cycle. Sounds kind of like Bipolar? This was noted in women with documented PMDD.

    Also, (Schmidt et. al 1991) later moved into the direction of a co-existing relationship of PMDD and Bipolar or long-standing PMDD evolving into Bipolar. I see.

    Now. Treatment? Don’t feel too bad. You’re in the same boat as the rest of us. A lot of times it can take a while to get dx’d, find the right meds etc… From all of the above, one thing that was kind of interesting about Lithium serum levels was from two studies. And the book where I found this, at this point, actually stated “Catamenial Bipolar.”

    (Kukopulos and Reginaldi 1978) found that Lithium serum levels decreased during Depression and increased during Mania. In asymptomatic women, Lithium serum levels remained constant throughout their menstrual cycle (Chamberlain et al. 1990.)

    Now…moving onto the birth control pill. I can’t (of course, like everything else) find anything conclusive that it may be helping you. In another place, good ol’ (Rubinow et al. 1998) stated that hormonal imbalances were pretty hard to nail for all of this mood, bouncing around, business.

    Although, a lot of times when stuff like this is going on, a full work up should be done of your physical health as well. I don’t know if this has been done now that you are an adult. A lot of doctors check your Thyroid and if hormones are involved, maybe some Endocrinology work done? Perhaps B12 as well but again, a full work up.

    You did say that you really freaked out after you went off the birth control pill. I’m not sure why that was and only you may be able to tell, yourself. Maybe the anxiety of going off it in your mind? Being afraid? Who knows what can trigger us?

    Alright…now the combo of everything. I don’t think the birth control is harming you in any way. These days I think they are all pretty low dose? However, something to double check with your doctor.

    The Lamictal? I don’t know what dose you are on and when you started it. That’s crucial information for me to kind of say anything–even though I am not a M.D.! The AD? There are some people that can’t take ADs that are Bipolar. That is me! I go positively out of my mind! However, some can.

    Anything I missed? Ah, the cloudiness, trouble thinking, focussing etc…? ACs can make you kind of stupid. That’s why it would be interesting to know your dose of Lamictal and when you started etc… I know I definitely feel like I’ve lost loads of brain cells since I’ve been on my ACs (Topamax and Lamictal!) *laughing*

    Ah yes! I just thought of something. Apart from all of the studies and such listed above–only food for thought, again. Science is good but it can only go so far.

    What I would personally recommend for you is to do some serious Mood Charting! It is excellent for figuring out where you are on a regular basis as it is so easy to forget when time passes!

    Just do some searches in Google as there are lots of them out there. Look closely at them all and choose the one that is the best for you. Here is one that I posted on my blog as it even has tick boxes for when you are on your period! It looks a little wild with all of the colours so if that is too much, you can just print it off in B&W:

    Please let me know if I did miss anything and/or you have any other questions. Anything else to add?

    Take care,

    And I hope this wasn’t too geeky! To everyone else reading, also. Again, too much scientific information that was noted and I couldn’t spout it off as my own. Give credit where credit is due.


  25. gigi_382

    Patient Anonymous

    Thank you so much for the response. I really enjoyed reading it (your sense of humor is great!). You have definitely given me some food for thought. One thing I wanted to note is that the cloudiness and forgetfulness I have had since a child (ADHD-inattentive type perhaps?) and I think this may apply even still. The moodiness around my period has also always been around. So, I guess I am still convinced the mood swings are related to hormonal fluctuations, but I just need to have more info before I accept anything else as my dx (denial perhaps, not sure).

    I do have one more question about ultradian cycling; can the moods sift from day to day rather than hour to hour in order for the symptoms to fit? I may be balling my eyes out one day (most the day) and then the whole next day be irritated at everyone and angry. Then a normal day, the next is back to feeling so overwhelmed like I can’t take it anymore. But all this occurs the week before my period and after that I have two fairly normal week with normal mood fluctuations.

    It really is good just to talk to someone who knows what it is like to be “sensitive” and have mood swings. I think I am finally starting to accept the fact that it is not “me” that is the problem (personality wise) and that no matter how hard I’ve tried to “toughen up” or “control my emotions” really it is not completely within my control. I don’t have to “change” I just need to learn some strategies for dealing with how my body functions and recognizing some of the triggers.

    Oh! thanks for the link to the tracking chart! I had downloaded one to use, but I like yours better! Very comprehensive and I hope to take it to the doctor (psych or general prac.) and better figure out what is going on within my body. I have also considered getting a full workup, especially checking the thyroid thing (which runs in my family) however, paying out of pocket for insurance basically covers nothing, so hopefully I can afford it soon enough.

    Whether I have ultradian cycling, catemenial bipolar, PMDD, or a thyroid problem (or something else for that matter), thanks for talking with me. I have learned a lot, and at this point, the doctors aren’t finding me any answers, so I guess I have to try and find my own answers or find a new doctor. So many of the symptoms I have can fit under different disorders/medical explanations, yet seem to have no test to verify which it is. But I will definitely keep looking until I find what fits and which treatment works best.


  26. Hi gigi_382. Thanks for the compliment about my sense of humour and I’m really glad you enjoyed my comment.

    It may be possible that the cloudiness etc… since childhood could be ADD Inattentive Type. That is my dx. You may wish to pursue that with your doctors. It is a Developmental Disorder (i.e. you are born with it.) That is to say, it doesn’t just appear one day with a trigger, as Bipolar can tend to do many times with people in their early 20s. However, that is not to say you still can’t receive a dx. in adulthood. I had to wait that long for both my ADD dx. and my Asperger’s dx.

    I can’t speak for all but some doctors and diagnosticians may want to do a careful screening of family histories and your childhood as again, you are born with it. Also, your degree of functioning re: symptoms to see if you warrant any meds. Some may be sticky about prescribing stimulants. It took me forever to get mine.

    The mood swings around your period could still very well be hormonally influenced. It is not uncommon for some women to deal with quite severe ones. You still could be right as far as that goes.

    As far as your question re: Ultradian Cycling, no, the shifts do not need to occur from hour to hour or within a very short time frame such as mine. Even for me, that can be extremely fast! On most occasions, I will run maybe a 24-48 hour period. For any Ultradian Cycler, it can be longer in duration.

    I just tried to Google a Wiki link that stated everything quite well, nicely and succinctly but it seems to be gone. Hell, the third hit was my own blog! *laughing* I think I may have even linked to the page somewhere in a post but again, they may have taken it down. Nonetheless, the distinction still stands in the difference between Rapid Cycling and Ultradian Cycling as I mentioned. Though, the duration in lengths that can vary with Ultradian Cycling are equally as important to note as a distinction.

    Is that clear?

    I’m also very glad that you are happy to be able to find people to talk to about these issues and your emotions. The absolute worst thing you can do is try and bottle them up inside. In fact, it just doesn’t work–at least not for very long. Eventually, they’ll all just come exploding out of you like a volcano erupting! And again, you are right. There is nothing “wrong” with you. We are all human and we all feel things!

    Yes, that Mood Chart is my absolute favourite but some people may find it is too complicated for their own needs. That is fine. I used to also track my seizures with Charts as well. I find them invaluable at times.

    Interesting to note that you have a family hx. of Thyroid stuff. Hmmm… However, that sucks about the costs. I am lucky enough to not have to worry about such things.

    Oh, you are so welcome for me talking. Hey, that’s what I’m here for! Well, apart from being a babbling brook of redonculous twaddle on my blog a lot of the time!

    Another piece of advice I always give to people re: researching all things medical. Be careful of your doctor’s position on that. Some don’t like it at all when patients come in with a bunch of stuff printed off the Internet. Unless perhaps it is solid, hardcore research. Even then.

    One suggestion you might want to think about is asking first, although I don’t know your relationship with your physicians. Or, maybe you could ask questions based upon your existing knowledge and hopefully they won’t stonewall you. That tactic requires a fair amount of confidence, though!

    Take care and come back whenever you want,


  27. fellow sufferer


    As a fellow sufferer I know what its like but really some of the posts here are just juvanille.
    I cycle rapidly as well, maybe a few great days lots of energy high on life, then a few days of apathy, suicidal thoughts etc.
    I can also cycle during a day or hours even. I know what its like. Put this all together with body dismorphia and obsesive behavior and you can imagine some of the fun stuff I have been through (still I am thankful for my life).

    Looking to blame everybody and everything for your condition is not going to help. Stop being a victim, yes a victim to yourself.
    After a while this blog just blurs into a big “blame this, blame that”, this drug is the cause, this doctor is the antichrist etc etc.

    Enough. Your condition exists seperatly from all these factors. Its part of you and your unique brain chemistry. The triggers are all your own and probably of your own design (life experiences and personality).

    Take responsibility for yourself, THANK others for trying to help you and figure out ways to help yourself now. I am not telling you to stop getting profesional help, I am saying they are not going to cure you with YOU helping.
    Objectivally look at yourself and were you are now and you will see we are a slave to our brains biochemistry.

    Wether you want to follow the same old neural pathways over and over again and keep triggering your condition is up to you.
    ADAPT, its why we humans have suceeded so far. Learn from your own history dont revile it. Embrace who you are and the strength that let you survive with everything you have been through.

    Blame is one of the lest constructive emotional repsonses we have. It serves very little purpose. You cannot change the past you can only learn from it.


  28. Lili

    Whoa. Someone needs a nap.


  29. Hi fellow sufferer. Welcome to my blog as I haven’t seen you here before. Thanks for your input. It is much appreciated.

    Hi lili. *raises hand laughing*

    I don’t know about anyone else out there, but… Even though I’m still trying to get as much rest as per “Doctor’s Orders” from this seizure, I’m still feeling pretty zonked.


  30. agirlconfused

    Reading your post has helped me very much. I am 20 years old and just been diagnosed with bipolar (like recently I mean in the past 6 months.) I just started to go to a psychiatrist in the past month. Still in the process to find where I am at with my bipolar. My whole life i was depressed, when I was a child my whole family knew that I was always extremely moody, where I would try to kill myself then freak out over anything for as long as I can remember. I have always been suicidal. Even in as a teen. I was diagnosed depressed for years and had to take medication for depression and as the same as you it made me worse, I would go to a psychologist but as I said I was feeling worse, they told me I would get better but I wasn’t I was out of control, so i quit taking my meds, and quit going to a psychologist. Where then I fell into hard drugs and drinking for a few years. Slowly in the past year I have had a lot of support from my family to get me back to my feet but I still deal with ever changing moods, extreme depression where I lost my energy to do anything, cant focus on my work thoughts of suicide. Then a few days later I will be hypomania, then very agitated having all the symptoms of hypomania, then days after that back to depressed and so on and these moods are changing every week. Rarely do I have normal moods and when I do it may only last a day or sometimes a few hours. I never really understood to why I was feeling so different all the time. I am starting to do a journal to keep track of my different moods but it is very hard to do for me, its always changing, I am always either extremely depressed or extremely hypomania. So far reading about Ultradian Cycling I am beginning to think that I may have this, everything is so similar, of coarse I am no doctor so I will be seeing my psychiatrist this Tuesday and we will discuss this further, until then I guess I will be trying different medication. Right now I am not on any.. about a month ago I freaked out and chucked them out because I felt like I was crazy( I know we are not but I let my moods get the best of me) Doc is gonna put me on different meds on Tuesday, going to further look into this. An older friend of mine who has bipolar says I am very lucky to have discovered my illness at a early age before it worsened. In a way I do feel blessed and I hope that one day I will feel stable or whatever that suppose to mean.


  31. Hi agirlconfused. Nice to meet you and welcome to my blog. Another person that has come to this Post. It does seem to draw a lot of people out, and it is a sensitive topic, so again, welcome and thank you for coming to share. I see you’ve written a lot here and that takes a lot of courage.

    I am going to say thank you again for saying that this Post has helped you. That really means a lot to me.

    As I think I have stated, who knows how many times, I am not a M.D. either, just a “Med Geek,” but having Bipolar and all of my other Mental Illnesses and Developmental Disorders…well, it has definitely taught me more than a lot.

    Even though we are not so identical (i.e. not like twins), I do understand that desperation and moodiness as a teenager. I held it all within but still, the feelings were there–or at least the depression. Other things “got in the way.” Most notably the Asperger’s, I suppose. However, I hear you. Plus, I was also suicidal then.

    I have some strong feelings about younger people taking medications, especially children. You have already taken them, though, so I suppose there is no turning back the clock, so to speak? You sound extremely bright and intelligent and even though this is extremely difficult and painful, maybe you can grasp that fact and accept it. It might help you?

    It bothers me that someone “told you” that “you would get better.” If those were actually the words that spouted from their mouths verbatim. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Bipolar is a chronic illness. Quite unfortunately, we have to live with this all our lives and learn to cope with it; learn to manage it as best we can. And part of that, as you sound like you definitely know, includes medication.

    Medication can be a real pain in the arse. It can take so long to find the right one or ones. You already said that you had problems with Antidepressants. The typical route for Bipolar is to take Anticonvulsants, or the true and only Mood Stabilizer that is Lithium.

    I also understand the entire issue of self-medication as a coping mechanism, to try and alleviate the symptoms of all of this. I have done it for so many years and just now I have finally decided to stop drinking (I was never into drugs but let’s not split hairs–it doesn’t matter.) I think it’s excellent that you have stopped or am trying to stop? I’m not sure but most excellent, is that you said you have a solid support system in place. So many of us don’t and we need that.

    Mood charting is very difficult when your moods change so fast, isn’t it? I eventually had to give it up but I always tell people to do it if they can. It’s a really good thing because it is so easy to forget all that is happening or all that did happen after you’ve gone through a Bipolar Cycling event! You can go so out of your mind! You said you are keeping a Journal, though, and that is a fantastic alternative. Way to go!

    If you are not on any medication right now, you are no doubt not doing so well. That would not surprise me in the slightest! I think it’s very good that you are seeing your Psychiatrist soon. Also very good to get on some meds and keep trying to get things sorted. I know it may be a rough ride but we’ve all done it.

    Again, you sound so smart in that saying you feel lucky to have discovered this at a young age. Despite the fact that it is so hard, you may be quite right! You’ve got a jump on it, so you can fight it! And, yes, since this is a chronic illness, I feel that stability is the ultimate goal. We can not be “healed” or “cured.” At least not as far as I see it…yet?

    I know scientists are still working away to figure out what is behind this, genetic causes and determinants, but still a long way to go. In the mean time, stability. We will always have triggers that will make things hard, but we’ll always come back out through it–or at least we have the capability and resilience to do so. We can adapt. It’s hard to remember that but we can.

    I am living proof? I’m still here!

    Take care of yourself and come back anytime. Email me if you wish, as well. Please feel free.

    All the best,


  32. agirlconfused

    Its so nice to hear from people that are going through the same thing. It gets so hard sometimes because I do have some support but they don’t really understand what I am feeling so most of the time I feel alone, like I have no one to talk to. I have been holding in these feelings my whole life and it is starting to affect my relationship and my school. I decided to go back to school this year to get my grade 12, its so hard because most times I just want to give up.. and I can’t focus. I know its going to be a battle because I have not yet to find the right medication and I know that I am going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life. But the plus side, I did quit doing drugs, I try not to drink as well.. Been clean since June. I want to take psychology so that I can one day help me with this disorder and other disorders people struggle with but its going to take all I have to achieve my goals… most of the time I can’t even get up and I have to force myself to attend my classes, I want to have a good future it just seems like its so far away. Reading yours posts gives me hope because your now helping people and your fighting it and if you can, I can too! I have some many plans to become the person I want to be but I need to deal with this before I can do any of this. But I would really like to email you.. it would be nice to talk to someone you seem like you understand so much, its inspiring.


  33. Oh, agirlconfused! Your comment has brought tears to my eyes and made me cry. Not to worry though. It is not a bad thing. Sometimes I get comments like yours and it happens. I do not feel that I “understand” that much, or “inspire” people so much, but thank you.

    It is true that not a lot of people understand this. You have to experience it to really know. You have to live it. It can be rough feeling so alone in this place at times. Yet another painful aspect to it all.

    I held so much inside too for so many years and it really took its toll on me. Mentally, physically…I was just a total wreck. It does help to talk to people. It really does. Again, though, you’ve got that whole issue of finding people who understand. However, you can still find people who do not have Bipolar that do have sympathetic ears. They are out there!

    Regarding school, now I don’t want you to take my lead here as an example, that’s for sure! I never even made it through uni! Oh, how I wish I did… I tried several times but couldn’t do it every single one of them. A lot of people say that it doesn’t matter now, but I still feel regret about it (even though I say I like to live my life with no regrets!) HA!

    As far as high school, I had to work very hard to get my grades up to a suitable level, to get accepted to all of the schools where I did apply the first time around. That was definitely due to my ADD. Although, there is some question about Bipolar, and if I did have it as a child. Not to mention the Asperger’s. It is a Developmental Disorder along with the ADD–meaning, you are born with it and do have it as a child for sure!

    So…rather complicated there!

    Nonetheless, I managed, so you can too. Don’t rush ahead to even think of my craziness regarding uni! In fact, don’t rush ahead too much at all. If I may give that as some advice? You may put too much pressure on yourself. It may just make things even harder. I know, I know…as frustrating as it is already and anxiety provoking as well, right?

    But in your writing, I am hearing your distinct positives. That is so good! Do you know what that means? It means you are already so strong and determined to fight! You are already doing it, in fact! You may not see it but I can. That is what it sometimes takes. Someone from the outside to listen (or in this case read), what you are saying (or writing!) Someone taught me that many years ago. We are too close to ourselves to see or understand what we are doing! Forest for the trees, right?

    As I said before, the offer stands to email me, of course. It would be my pleasure.

    Thank you so much, again.


  34. Barbara Blume

    So glad to have found this blog.
    I am recently diagnosed with BP ll and have been trying to chart my swings for the pscy. I finally realized yesterday
    that I am Ultradian and as a result have had a difficult time
    charting. I also have a difficult time when I see the dr. to allow him to see the mood swings. Somehow I (for a lack of better words) am on my best behavior when in his office. Most times I am depressed before I go to him and by the time I am on the way home I am becoming hypomanic. In between I appear quite stable, or somewhat stable. This, I’m sure makes it very hard for him to see the extremes I am going through except for the fact that I tell him and he believes me. I really don’t want to go on Lithium one reason being I have already gained weight without any obvious cause. Can anyone suggest ideas to control these cycles to some degree.
    I am taking Lamictal and Klonopin. I also use a therapy light for SAD. Thank you!


  35. Hi Barbara Blume. Welcome to my blog and thank you so much. It means a lot to me, quite a lot, to hear that you are glad that you have found me.

    True, charting Ultradian can be virtually impossible!

    It’s interesting in the way your moods present before seeing your doctor, and then seem to change afterward. I’m not sure exactly what to say about that, but I know something I went through for many years. I called it: “Doctor Anxiety.”

    I grew up thinking that physicians were almost Deity-Like figures. They basically knew all, and you never questioned anything they said. This followed through into my adult life, and combine that with mental health issues and much more, it just made things even worse! However, I did not have any sort of mood changes after I saw them. Perhaps only more anxiety or frustration if I did not get any positive results? Or depression for that same reason?

    I think it is excellent, however, that your doctor does believe you, though! There is still a lot of confusion out there regarding Ultradian Cycling, and even disbelief. And yet, the Medical Profession is finally starting to catch on, whereas no one had any clue before!

    As I have repeated above, I am not a M.D. so I can not, and will not, make any medication suggestions on a direct or firm basis with anyone. I can only cite things that I have read and know, and what has worked for me, and anecdotally for others. Everyone is different, and we all react differently to medications.

    What can work work very well, and has worked for me is Topamax/Topiramate. Although, note this about the drug. It is a temporal lobe med, meaning it can be hit or miss. It can work very well for some people, or not so well for others. Also since it hits the temporal lobe so specifically, you may need an adjunct–such as Lamictal that you are on–or another Anticonvulsant.

    I was rather an anomaly in that area, as I remained on Topamax for several years alone. It was only through some life changes that caused things for me to get worse, where I ended up on Lamictal/Lamotrigine, as well.

    So, you might want to bring that suggestion up with your doctor if you have that kind of relationship. It sounds like you might, since he has accepted the notion you are an Ultradian Cycler.

    The reason I say “might” want to suggest a certain med or other things, is that there are doctors out there that do not like to hear that from their patients, or have them bringing things in from the Internet etc… Patients need to be careful in that area.

    So, I hope this was helpful, and please feel free to come back if you have any other questions–or simply if you want to come back at all!

    Take care,


  36. Don

    I’ve been a type 1 diabetic since 4 yo. I have also been bipolar since 9 yo which was my first suicide attempt. I was manic and depressed every year or so for most of my life until I had a breakdown about 10 years ago, I was given 6 different anti-depressants over a one year period and none of them helped, in fact 2 of them put me in emergency wards on suicide watch with an arm full of Haldol and Thorazine..

    Since that time my cycles have increased in frequency until today I get manic and depressed 4-8 times per day. The words “plan for tomorrow” are impossible. It’s now a disability for sure. I have tried so many drugs over the years and am now taking lithium plus an antipsychotic and an anti-manic and they seem to do as good a job as I could hope for. I went totally drug free for 6 months last year that turned into a disaster. I was a train wreck. I was nearly disowned by my wife and best friend as well as the world at large.

    I also have blackouts where I don’t remember what I do for a day and afterwords find out Anti-Don sent nasty and hateful things to people. I worry about this every second I am awake. It’s so much more stressful than TV news, which I can no longer watch.

    I try my hardest to try to figure out if I am in a manic mood or not or whether I should be writing anything to anybody. My mood changes happen within minutes and they catch me off guard. I really am two different people. Not Jeckel, because he did that to himself, but the Wolfman.

    The drugs I take, fence my moods in, but when my brain decides the fence is laughably low enough, it leaps over it with no effort like a cat and then I am in trouble. For depressions I still have to watch for myself using a past trauma to justify one of my 6 lows every day. If I refuse to use an old excuse, in 30 minutes I feel fine. This took a long time to get practiced at.

    All of my suicide attempts were born in the past and I have taken them all and banished them using a Wiccian method. I had tried Christianity and a dozen other alternative methods before I finally found what I needed, and what worked for me. This is the method I used to make myself safe from something that can happen many times every day for me.

    This is something I wrote for another web group about suicide as an Ally. It is the culmination of decades of study and some lucky guesses.

    Bipolar Disorder – Suicide as an ally

    Having the will and the means to commit suicide does not have to be a sign of desperation. It is the ultimate in personal power and can be an asset. I see it as a shield against all evil on Earth. I don’t have nearly as much evil inside me now, and what is still there, I am no longer afraid of. Before suicide can truly become a shield, major sources of hate, fear, trauma, etc. must be reduced from the mind and soul, every tiny degree of reduction adds to your power. This places suicide into your hands and takes it out of the hands of past bad memories. I know this is hard to do, it took me many decades to figure that out, and it really helps to live in the present.

    All of my suicide attempts were born in the past, from a time I was damaged in some way. Because of bipolar disorder, some of these memories became deadly over the years, became much worse. Because depression is part of bipolar disorder it just happens. Any little event of the day would bring memories up from the past and add to the pain of the present. It’s a vicious circle of pain and death. Refusing to try to be normal, like to grieve for a reason, gives bipolar people the chance to grieve for no reason at all. This is something unique and interesting, and is a powerful way to find a productive and fulfilling life in spite of all this.

    I am an ultradian cycler, meaning I get manic and depressed 4-8 times a day. I always believed I was the unlucky one, but because I can go from manic to depressed in 30 minutes, I was able to watch and feel it happen once. Deciding I was not going to look for something sad to go with my sad mood, just for once, was an experience I will never forget. After 30 minutes I felt good, like it had never happened.

    Because I no longer get depression hangovers, from thinking bad things during a depressive cycle, my periods of mania are more tame too. In 2 weeks I cycled half as many times every day. This gives me so many more hours to be productive, to do the things I love doing, the overall effect has been astounding.

    I still get manic and embarrass friends in restaurants, and get depressed, but those times I use for writing and for poetry. Life is a lot easier now. I still think about suicide at times, and most bipolars do, that’s part of it. Normal people may think about suicide once or twice in their lives but I am capable of doing it any day for the rest of my life. This is pure and ultimate personal power. Because I am capable, I am also safe, especially from the past, so suicide is mine. Not many people have this kind of power. This gives me impunity from any power or pain on planet Earth. Nothing can touch me now, I am powerful, and I have protection from the ultimate evil, through my safe and trustworthy ally, suicide., especially from the past, so suicide is mine. Not many people have this kind of power. This gives me impunity from any power or pain on planet Earth. Nothing can touch me now, I am powerful, and I have protection from the ultimate evil, through my safe and trustworthy ally, suicide.



  37. Hi Don. Nice to meet you and welcome to my blog.

    To start, I would just like you to know that I am going to alter your comment a bit. I see that you have written (or cut and paste?) your piece twice that you placed on the other website.

    The first one seems to have been cut off at the end, and is missing a portion of the last paragraph. I just wanted to let you know if you come back, and it looks like your comment had been monkeyed with.

    I very rarely change what my commenters have to say here. I do it only if it may cause them, others or this blog harm.

    You have shared quite a lot here as many other people, and as I have said to them, that is very brave and courageous. So much (SO much!) of this blog is about busting the stigma of mental illness. I will not put up with it!

    You haven’t seemed to ask me any questions, so perhaps I will just leave this as my response to you. This is an open space where I also feel people may say what they wish (again, as long as it isn’t harmful.)

    One thing I will say, however, is that through your piece it sounds like you have found some ways to manage, and that is a good. We all must strive to manage our illnesses and what may be their repercussions.



  38. tillymint

    My daughter’s just been to see a psychiatrist because of rapidly changing moods. She’s 13 and it’s difficult to understand just how much is teenage hormones and how much is depression or bipolar or ultradian cycling. All I know she is up high, so high that she’s crying with her giggles, and then, could be just minutes later, she’s in her own cell, not wanting anyone close, not wanting anyone to talk to her and certainly not wanting to talk to anyone.

    The psychiatrist didn’t mention ultradian. She said she didn’t think she was bipolar, but that she has a mild case of rapid cycling disorder. From what I’ve read in the short time since we arrived back home, it would seem that RCD can occur perhaps a few times a year. This doesn’t sound like my daughter. A few times a day sounds like my daughter. And yet, not every day.

    I’m now afraid that her psychiatrist won’t acknowledge ultradian cycling (as, it would seem, some won’t). But if it’s not happening every day (more like a couple of times a day, a couple of days a week), is it possible that she doesn’t suffer from ultradian cycling.

    I found your writing very interesting and informative and I’ll bring it up again at our next meeting with the doctor.

    Thank you.


  39. Hi tillymint. Welcome! Thanks for coming by and commenting here.

    It was really good to read your comment. Despite it being due to the problems your daughter is having, that is exactly why I am saying it was good to read. Your daughter is quite young, and this opens up an entire, other issue in terms of Bipolar.

    Now, before I begin, my permanent caveat on record here: I am not a M.D.! I could probably say a lot more here than I actually will! If you want me to, just let me know. *grins*

    The notion of Child/Adolescent Bipolar is enough of a hotbed already, apart from Ultradian Cycling! However, it sounds like you have come along far enough to be dealing with a Psychiatrist that is at least paying attention. This person has acknowledged that something is going on and is offering up a Dx. of Bipolar.

    However… “…a mild case of rapid cycling disorder…” Forgive me, I don’t mean to make fun, but rather vague? Not very helpful?

    Still, some time may be needed to get things sorted. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee you that, even if your daughter has the smallest hint of Bipolar. It does take time to get things straightened out. It can be done, though!

    Ultradian isn’t carved in stone, just like any other form of cycling. In fact, cycling can never be predictable in any fashion, simply based upon what may trigger us into an episode in the first place. Also, Ultradian need not mean every day. Thank goodness it doesn’t! Now that would be a living hell, don’t you think? *laughing*

    Thank you very much for your compliments about my writing. That means a lot to me. Again, I am not a M.D. but I like to share what I know of myself, what I have learned along the way and continue to learn. Please come back if you have any other comments or questions.

    Also if you wish, please come back and let me know how things turn out. I would be very interested to know. Plus, I would be happy to see that your daughter got the help she needed–if she needed it.

    Take care,


  40. Josh

    Hey PA,

    Love the Blog it is so helpfull, you are very knowledgable. So I wanna know if you can help me. Heres my story.

    Its been a long bumpy road but i finally got correctly diagnosed in 2004 with rapid cycling BP1 with psychosis. I also have mild OCD, ADD-Innattentive, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and random Panic Attacks. I currently take Abilify 5mg, Topamax 200mg, Buspar 60mg and Klonopin 2mg. I cant take anything for the ADD cause they trigger mania so I just have to live with it like the OCD. I have a history of alcohol and substance abuse mixed together. Right now I just finished detox and now going through hellashish withdraw symptoms from 10mg of xanax a day with lots of beer. I had to stop the beer cold turkey, and tapper down the xanax and up on the Klonopin. Neways to the point. Ive been looking into Ultradian bipolar because it sounds like me and i wanted someone elses opinion. I take my meds regulary and never miss. I cycle maybe 10 times a year and my cycles are weird to me. I rarley see depression, but when I do it hits hard and lasts for a couple of days. Then I know I have it coming.

    Last week I was depressed over a life changing event, the admission, guilt detox and now withdraw of substance abuse. Now im on day 4 of non stop cycling, sleep depervation, auditory and visual hallucinations, migraines, dull headaches, tremors, muscle cramps, back pain, anxiety, anger, euphoria, up down up down up down: heres the schedule:

    day 1 normal all day, cant sleep 11:00pm hypomanic
    2:00am full blown mania
    4:00am exp psychosis
    8:00am anger towards loved ones
    meds at 9
    10:00am hypomanic till around noon with euphoria
    noon throughout rest of day normal with occasional mood swings.
    starts all over on day 2 around 11ish to midnight.

    Im on my 4th day with no sleep, weird mood patterns, the psychosis scares the shit out of me, I think im going f’in crazy, but i havent missed my meds. Doc said to up Klonopin and take every 6 hours around the clock and see her in the morning. Why didnt she up the abilify? Do you think im Ultradian, do you think I need to ask for a diff med. Topamax works well as an adjuct its the primary I keep having to change. I was on Geodon for years and it got rid of the psychosis, but i built up a tolerance to it and had to increase the dosage several times until i was a zombie and couldnt function. Now its been a downward spiral trying to find something else that works. Help me?


  41. Hi Josh. Nice to meet you and welcome to my blog. Thank you so much for the compliments about both it and me. That really means a lot.

    Wow, coming back to this post! Which is fine. I love coming back to older posts and seeing how things were “back then.” Plus, always happy to hear from readers from any post! I also didn’t realize this now has 41 comments including yours and the Pingback.

    So, let’s talk. Also, if you’ve read any of the posts, my standard caveat: I am not a real M.D.!

    Apart from the Ultradian, I’m also interested in your comorbidities. As you may, or may not have read, I have many. It has caused me trouble regarding treatment and stability, granted we all can have those problems. On the comorbidity note, though, this response might be a bit wobbly because of that! I’ll try to tackle things in an orderly fashion.

    I’m glad you got a BP I diagnosis! It sure sounds like that to me. Also, you sound pretty confident with the others, so that seems good, as well.

    I think we can both agree that you are walking through a landmine of triggers at the moment. These things could definitely send you cycling and spinning away. However, you mentioned that you have concerns over past episodes.

    Of course there is no magic number of cycling episodes to delineate all of the Bipolar diagnoses. Rapid Cycling is more than four times a year. That is “correct” in terms of diagnostic criteria. What is of importance is the length of the episode for Ultradian Cycling. What is also important is finding actual doctors that are finally cluing in to what Ultradian Cycling is! I think more of them are getting on board.

    Still, what you describe could fit the bill as far as my thoughts are concerned. Even though you experience different things than I do, the changes are too marked, severe and FAST!

    It’s great that you’re still being med-compliant through all of this! Good for you! You need them more than ever right now.

    Segue…on to your meds. Let’s start with the “Have Not’s” instead of the “Haves.” It’s such a pain when you experience a tolerance to a med that actually works. Geodon/Ziprasidone’s out. No stims, so fine, not a contributing factor. You didn’t mention taking Antidepressants. Have you ever tried any? Sometimes they can assist those of us with Bipolar, and be added as an adjunct. You may not need to add another Anticonvulsant to an existing one.

    Now, the “Have’s.” One Anticonvulsant, one Atypical, one benzo, and good ol’ Buspar/Buspirone that’s in a “class” by itself! Remember, just my thoughts–not a real doctor!

    The Topamax/Topiramate might not be the right Anticonvulsant for you. Or you may need an adjunct. It works hard on the temporal lobe, and that is usually why. The thing is, it’s an Anticonvulsant generally used for epilepsy. Perhaps that’s why my brain loves it so much on two fronts: epilepsy and Bipolar! *laughing*

    People find that it may not work well (or at all.) If it does show some promise, you may need an adjunct. I am still wondering if it really is the best Anticonvulsant for your situation with BP I. Only you can tell me how well it works based upon your history.

    Abilify/Aripiprazole. Not a bad one for BP I? There are other Atypicals out there. All of our brains are different, all meds are different, so if it has been successful, that’s good. If it hasn’t been so much, another Atypical might be in order. Although, you did raise the question of titrating the Abilify. This could be something to consider if the drug does help.

    Klonopin/Clonazepam/Rivotril…I love to name this one to death. Benzo for anxiety. Just like all other meds, which works best?

    Benzos are kind of interesting, I’ve always found. Lots of variety, lots of dosages and ranges, their half-lives. A lot of variance here to find what can work as an anxiolytic and/or sleep aid. The one thing that I’ve found that can be problematic with Clonazepam, is that with extended use, it can lead to Depression. This is a possible side effect. It happened to me.

    If the Clonazepam isn’t working so well, another benzo might be worth trying. Granted, you are just getting out of detox. One of the things that aids in detox is usage of benzos. I know, it sounds ironic since you are trying to get away from the Xanax/Alprazolam situation. That said, in my opinion…opinion only, I don’t think it would be good to make any significant changes with your benzo. Except for what you are already doing with your doctor. She said to increase it and contact her ASAP. I think that is excellent.

    Buspar/Buspirone! I do love this med, even though I’ve never been on it. Oh, dear. I must say, I fear this med is rather useless. It really isn’t on par with benzos for anxiety, not strong enough for GAD, plus when with associated Panic Attacks… *sighs* Again, just my opinion. How do you feel it is working for you?

    Considering we’ve got two anxiolytics going on here, I’m kind of wondering just what’s the point. It makes me think of why I was taking both Seroquel/Quetiapine and Imovane/Zopiclone for sleep at the same time. We dropped the latter. It was like a pharmaceutical redundancy. When were both the Clonazepam and Buspar prescribed?

    Why did your doctor not titrate your Abilify? Well, I am not your doctor, but if the change in your meds was immediate, her choice was probably to work with the benzo first. That is because it may have been the easiest and fastest route. Perhaps, a “quick and dirty?”

    Benzos can be played with a bit more easily, I feel. Pharmacologically, they have more “wiggle room” than an Atypical. If you make a change with an Atypical, chances are it will be pretty significant. If you’ve been on your/a/the Atypical, the change may be permanent. If not, dealing with discontinuation can be more difficult. Again, I just feel that way.

    Pharmacology simply speaks to me here: different class of drugs, and way more potent for dealing with other things! I think you can grasp this as you even asked why not make a change with the Abilify.

    I’m not sure if any of this helped or not. I did ask some questions back to you about other meds etc… I know you asked me for “help.” I think that help, at the very least, was an answer to whether or not I thought you may be an Ultradian Cycler. If so, I think you may be.

    Please get back to me with answers to my questions, anything else and we can keep this dialogue going. I would love to do that.

    Take care Josh and I hope to see you back.


  42. Jack

    Hi there,

    ive just come across this blog. i am weening myself off Cymbalta. i am diagnosed BP2 and have been on various meds. my mood is beginning to swing quite rapidly and its quite reassuring to come across this blog – i thought i was going mad.
    my mood can go from anxious and bleak to positive and happy on the 1/2 hour and then onto other feelings. is this common???
    what can i do about it???



  43. Hi Jack. Nice to meet you and welcome. Another newcomer? That’s great. Thank you as well for finding my blog reassuring in some way. Sometimes, I’m not at all sure that it is. It means a lot to hear that from people.

    I’m not exactly clear of what you are saying. Please do not take any offense. I guess what I mean to say is, have your moods been like this in the past, or have they just started to become this way after your discontinuation of the Cymbalta/Duloxetine?

    If your moods have been so erratic within such brief periods over time, it could be indicative or Ultradian Cycling. Again, I will repeat that I am not an actual M.D. I am in no way qualified to diagnose people on my blog!

    Is Ultradian Cycling common? I really don’t know. There are no hard statistics or numbers. However, it does exist. I’m sorry if that isn’t a sufficient enough of an answer.

    What can you do about it? Well, I would say that in terms of treatment, it would be the same as dealing with Bipolar overall. As per my post, I actually ended up cycling faster and faster over the years until I ended up where I am today. Initially, I fit the diagnostic criteria of a Bipolar II Rapid Cycler. In fact, that is still the diagnosis I hold to this day.

    If you have a good relationship with your doctor, perhaps you could bring up this subject with them. I’m not sure. Some doctors are amenable to discussing “new” or “alternative” diagnoses. I think that is something that only you can know dependent upon that relationship.

    Please let me know if this has been of any help. Also, please come back with anything else you would like to discuss, and any other questions. I would be more than happy to keep talking about this.

    Take care,


  44. Jack

    thanks PA your reply is very helpful.

    i have had this very rapid cycling often in the past and when i raised it with my physician he more or less dismissed it. that was not helpful and left me feeling confused. i havent had it for some years now as i have been medicated with Cymbalta which has helped me – but since ive been reducing the amounts i take my mood is all over the place again, in the space of hours rather than days. i get exhausted from midday also. work and relationship is difficult. thanks for your help. i’ll check back in again.

    bye for now.



  45. Hi Jack. I’m really glad you came back and that you found my response helpful. Thank you so much. When discussing important matters such as these, I do love it when readers continue to let me know how they are doing, at the very least.

    I’m am saddened to hear that your physician acted in this manner. As I had mentioned above (and still will continue to do so) there are a lot of physicians who remain ignorant to the fact that Ultradian Cycling is a true phenomenon. If only they could actually witness our behaviour when it happens, huh? Perhaps we should all start videotaping ourselves to provide some “evidence.”

    Well, that could be one idea if we live alone. Another might be having someone else come to our appts. to back up our “cases” and act as witnesses to our behaviours. Such a shame to have to resort to these suggestions.

    And yet, maybe not. I have preached to the highest mountain tops (and still will continue to do so) the absolute necessity of obtaining a witness account for seizures when you have epilepsy. I always try and do so when others are around me in case my consciousness is altered or lost completely. Although, when cycling with Bipolar that’s pretty extreme. However, you are in another land, to be sure.

    The discontinuation of the Cymbalta would no doubt destabilize you. Well, perhaps I shouldn’t say no doubt but… *raises eyebrows* The reason why, is because I want to ask you some questions.

    Are you only taking the Cymbalta, or are you on any other meds right now? Further, what is your medication history? What other meds have you been on, and tried in the past? You did mention there were some, but what were they?

    Do you have any other diagnoses than Bipolar? Even if they aren’t mental illnesses or disorders, anything physical?

    Are you seeing any other medical professionals or mental health professionals, such as a therapist etc… What type of physician are you seeing? Is this person a GP or Psychiatrist? How long have you been seeing them? Do you live in an area where it is difficult to find physicians and/or therapists (i.e. lack of resources etc…)

    Okay, now that I’ve shot so many questions at you, still willing to come back? *laughing* I do hope so. I think some of them may be worthwhile.

    Talk soon…I hope! Just kidding.


  46. Jack


    well ive been depressed from the word go – as a child. i found that out a few years ago when i was seeing a EDIT: Name removed for Privacy in London – a very nice man. i had recently come out of a treatment centre in Arizona for alcohol and cocaine addiction. ive used most illegal drugs over a 20 year period but alcohol was my primary addiction. i had been prescribed anti depressants when i was using but they didnt work as everything else was far stronger and my emotions were constantly being controlled by substance abuse. i would point out that my depression was always there – pre my drinking and using. alcohol was a way of relieving the pain. back in the 80’s in Ireland we were not very knowledgeable about depression – or alcoholism for that matter. anyway, after a world tour of treatment centres i ended up clean for 18 months. i relapsed in a big way on Ibiza. i ended up in a phychiatric hospital in Dublin – very high. had to be medicated down over 6 weeks – cant remember the name of the drug. then was put on lithium for a year – i ballooned. lithium kept me 10% below happy all the time. ended up on cymbalta which has helped but i want to get off it if possible but not sure i can now. i dont drink or use anymore. i’m currently on a 1/2 dose per day so i think i will just keep with that for a while and see if i stabilize. i had tried to cut it out a bit too sharp i think. had to leave work at 3pm today exhausted – not good. thanks.



  47. Hi Jack. Sorry if I overwhelmed you with a lot of questions, there. Also, just in case you notice, I did make a small edit to your comment. I very rarely edit my readers’ comments as I feel they have as much right to speak about things as I do. However, you had mentioned a physician’s name in person. I don’t want you to worry or anything. I simply removed his name for privacy.

    It sounds like you’ve had a really rough time with self-medication. Congratulations on getting clean, though! Good for you! That’ a huge accomplishment and so hard to do. You should feel very proud of yourself.

    As far as the meds, I’m a little confused and concerned. Lithium is and was a good choice. It’s the only true mood stabilizer and is one the front line meds that can be tried when treating Bipolar. However, then to just leave you high and dry with only an Antidepressant?

    Antidepressants are just what they say they are: used for treating Depression. They can be useful in some folks with Bipolar, but for me, they make me cycle like crazy. I am just within that portion of the Bipolar family.

    If not Lithium, Anticonvulsants should be front line treatment for Bipolar. I fail to understand why you are only on an Antidepressant. Sure, it may be easing some of your depressive symptoms, and that is good. It may show promise that Antidepressants might work as adjuncts to your treatment with other drugs–Anticonvulsants!

    But as you say now, you are only on that one med and trying to go off it. After hearing that, I’m more worried about other things. First, you’re going off the only med you’re on that might be helping you just a bit. Then, you want to go off meds entirely!

    I try not to “preach” too much on my blog, but most readers know how I feel about going off meds. I do not feel it’s a good idea at all! Well, unless under the supervision of a physician, they have ordered it etc… On your own, though? I feel it can lead to disastrous results. In your case? The Bipolar might only get worse. And you think it’s unbearable now.

    Again, not a physician myself! Nonetheless, I don’t think you’re getting adequate treatment at all. When you’re Bipolar, being on one, single Antidepressant is just preposterous to me! Ludicrous is another good word.

    That may be why you want to get off it. You haven’t said. You may feel it’s not working. If so, as I mentioned above, no bloody wonder! It’s not even the right drug to begin with!

    So, I think now that you’re clean and sober, a wonderful brand new beginning, it’s time to seek some “proper” treatment. You need to get on the right medication to handle Bipolar.

    Your thoughts?


  48. Jack

    Thanks PA,

    thats good advice. i am seeing my phsychiatrist soon and will discuss this further with him. take care.



  49. Hi Jack. You’re most welcome. Also, I’m glad that what I wrote you found helpful, again.

    Please come back if you wish, and keep me posted. I hope things go well!

    You take care too,


  50. Hi, PA. I was fascinated by many of the things discussed here, in part because one of my family members (daughter, age 27) is definitely asperger’s, juvenile onset bipolar ultra-ultra rapid cycler, and has seizures. I am particularly interested if there is any pattern here in the type of seizures that you or others you know have. Daytime or night? Any particular lobe? What type of triggers, if any? Thank you for all your openness concerning your condition. My daughter is “disabled” due to this syndrome, but still is able to write brilliant poetry – with most of the poems having a theme related to her very “unique” experiences with life.

    Best wishes, George


  51. Hi George. Nice to meet you and welcome–both to my blog and this discussion. I am quite intrigued that it seems to be getting a lot of attention these days. Which is good! I also think it’s good that you managed to get through it all!

    I am equally fascinated by your comment. First, your daughter and I share several comorbidities. Also, since I write as well, I am interested in what she writes about. As always, with epilepsy, my mind jumps immediately to Dostoyevsky who was so inspired by his seizures. His creativity exploded as much as his brain did at the time. However, he paid dearly for it afterward.

    So, let me see if I can help you in any way here. I know you’ve read it, but I’ll say it again: Dr. PA is not a real M.D.

    In reading your comment, I don’t think there is anything I can say back that will “help.” If anything, we may be able to have a good discussion about Neurology, Developmental Disorders, Mental Illnesses, and perhaps, some things your daughter and I might have in common. The reason I say this, is because nothing is concrete in any of these areas.

    Further, when you get into situations where “we” have comorbidities, it does make our brains so much more complicated.

    My epilepsy is “idiopathic” (of unknown cause.) Does your daughter’s have a type or specific diagnosis? For example, JME (Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy?) What types of seizures does she have?

    Mine run the gamut and have changed a lot over the last two years. I was laid off from my job (still unemployed) and the idea was that stress was the problem.

    NOTE: I’m a stickler here for terminology. Things don’t trigger seizures. Events occur that lower your seizure threshold.

    Some may wish to get into a semantic argument with me there, but I will still stand my ground. The only place I may give a bit, is with Reflex seizures which I do have. However, I will still maintain that my threshold will need to be lowered enough to have one.

    Oh, dear. Dare I go on about my seizures. This could then turn out to be a very long comment. Perhaps I should just list them all briefly: Simple partial (manifesting in SO many ways–psychic, motor, gelastic, olfactory–also in combination) Atonic, Complex partial, Reflex, tonic-clonic. I think that’s it?

    EDIT: I had to add Myoclonic as well. For discussion purposes.

    I once managed to wake up and realize I was having a nocturnal seizure (Simple partial.) I could feel some eyelid myoclonus. I was aware enough to touch my eyes and sure enough. I have had some strongly suspected ones, as I have felt post-ictal waking up, and had motor issues with my legs (seemed pretty obvious.)

    EDIT: Upon further reading, it may not have been just a Simple partial. See below for discussion into Partial/Secondary Generalized!

    So, there’s a bit of my history. No known cause. I’ve had just the Simple partials since six years old. Everything under control until roughly 2.5 years ago and KABLAAM! Stress is the only thing thought to have lowered my threshold.

    Oh, one other thing that I mentioned in a post recently. I may have been seizing and not even realizing it. NCSE. Non-convulsive Status Epilepticus. Titrated my Lamictal/Lamotrigine and I’ve had no seizures since. I’m not sure, but I’m not questioning it!

    Any particular lobe? Oh dear. I’d probably get slapped with the typical diagnosis of TLE. However, due to all the different types of seizures and what happens. Oh, my neurons are going nuts all over.

    I mean, I know I have significant issues with my occipital lobe that may also border onto the parietal, as I go blind a lot with my Simple partials. No, I do. I lose all vision. There’s one example. Gustatory may be parietal? My gelastics go further down into the limbic areas. I’ve only had three of those. Olfactory? That’s in that weird little “nutshell” of a space!

    But let’s not forget about Partial vs. Primary Generalized, right? Partials would involve discharges held within specific areas of the brain. Primary Generalized Seizures are widespread blasts, that hit both sides of your bean all at once!

    So, let’s have some fun with me. What are my Partials and what are my Primary Generalized?

    Partial: Simple partial, Complex partial

    Primary Generalized: Myoclonic, Atonic, tonic-clonic

    Reflex? Okay…had to check that one as they are VERY freaky.

    Can fall under Partial or Generalized. My Reflex issues have come about by a bit of light, patterns and thinking. Yes. Higher Cognitive Processes in very fine detail. Scary, huh? I “thought” myself into having a seizure. Nice.

    Neurology is completely nuts. Yes, terribly erudite, was that not?

    So, I really would like to speak more and learn about your daughter, just hear anything from you. I think it would help me give you some more information. With my crazy, Aspie head, sometimes I can get really bogged down in the details. Uh, yeah. Read this comment, and I’m also a med geek!

    One last thing I am going to leave you with is this. It’s from Wiki which is an alright resource. I don’t mind it, but as all else re: health/heads/medicine etc…grain of salt.

    It’s a list of associated conditions, illnesses, disorders…for us folks on the Spectrum. I find it hilarious, as it reads like a Laundry List for me! If I really drill down, I hit NINE of them! *laughing*

    Take care and I hope to hear from you soon.


  52. Carol

    I can’t believe I didn’t find this page sooner. I was an ultradian cycler for 4 years, being completely disabled, hospitalized for 6 months at one point, cycling up to 6 times a day…for 4 years. I’d be down, mixed, up, down, mixed up in any variety of combinations rarely having even a good day in between. I’d get “better” on a med and have up to a week or so without cycling and then I’d become allergic to the med. I tried every med out there and was either allergic, they did nothing, or the side effects were so severe that even if they had helped I wouldn’t have known it. It all started before the bipolar diagnosis (started out with just a major depression dx from age about 11) but years after the changes became apparent to me at least. After so many failed drug attempts, I eventually decided upon my own medication cocktail after my psychiatrist told me he didn’t know what to do with me and I should seek other advice. Which I did, lucking into knowing the right people and being able to work with Dr Jan Fawcett who listened to me and let me make the final choices about what to try and in what combo and doses, under his guidance of course. I’ve been relatively stable for 9 months now, back to work and dealing with the med side effects including weight gain, high fasting glucose and being wicked tired from the Seroquel XR. Dr Fawcett told me that I was the first person he’d seen a true difference between regular seroquel and seroquel XR which I combine with Geodon. I’m extremely grateful for every day that I have now free of the cycling and that I’m able to work again. I’m on a very strict timeframe for taking my meds. I have about a 3 hour window which makes evenings limited and if I wait too long, I will become hypomanic (as I choose to be tonight so that I could hang out with friends–something I rarely do in the evening–before taking my meds) or full on manic (as happened once when travelling and I couldn’t get my meds in me until late because I had to drive) but I have to say that having to put limits on my evening activities is worth it for the most part because I have so much stability now and am able to work again and get off disability. I’m a bit fearful at the moment because I’ve moved and am in the process of getting a psychiatrist whom I hope I like and is knowledgable and understands that the final choice of what to do with my meds is mine and not his/hers.


  53. Hi Carol. Nice to meet you and welcome to my blog. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences regarding this issue.

    This post is definitely one of my most popular so it confirms what I’ve always known: There are a lot of Ultradian folks out there.

    It sounds like you’ve had a real battle trying to figure things out, and then finally reach a point where you’re pretty stable. There are no guarantees, of course, as we can’t control being Bipolar. Nonetheless, I always say the best thing is to shoot for “stability.”

    I find it interesting that in order to get the best results for that, is sticking to a med schedule that is so specific! We all need to be med compliant and sure, people must take things n times a day. However, you are the first person I’ve heard from who actually must take their meds within such a short time frame (I’ll exclude sleep meds for insomnia and waking schedules–that’s obvious.)

    Still, if it works, do it! We have to! I’m just glad that you found something that does work for you. That’s fantastic.

    Take care and feel free to come back anytime.


  54. Lindsey

    I think i have finally found whats wrong with me. Unfortunately i cant get my GP to listen to a damn word i say. I have had extremely bad moodswings for as long as i can remember. Even my family tell their stories of how hyperactive and uncontrollable i was as a small child. I tried explaining my day to my GP, i dont think he quite got it though. Is it possible to cycle through the different cycles? I’ll have months where my mood changes by the hour… not subtle changes… i can wake up full of beans…. ill clean up then start some eloborate job like redecorating my kitchen, rage will kick in for no particular reason and im kicking paint tins all over the place… then its back to manic and im scrubbing my floor with a toothbrush while emptying my cupboards and scrubbing them at the same time…. but i dont finish because when i went to the toilet i saw my ironing pile so i compulsively started doing that… but i wasnt concentrating and the iron fell on the floor leaving a big print on my carpet… so i cry…. and start feeling like a completely useless slob because i cant even iron my clothes, then i have a laughing fit which is suddenly followed by anger because i now have to buy new carpet.. which is then followed by fear… the kind that has you in tears because im afraid of what my family would say…. but i dont live with them, its my house and my carpet so why should i care… so then im in a “go to hell” kinda mood where i really dont care what anyone else has to say or what they feel, so after standing looking at the iron print on my carpet, having cried, laughed and then though bugger it i go back downstairs where i am faced with all my kitchen cupboard contents on the worktops and the toothbrush and bucket on the floor… i survey the chaos i created in what was a nice clean and tidy kitchen when i woke up and i go cry on my sofa. That all happened in 3 hours.


  55. Hi Lindsey. Nice to meet you and welcome to my blog. Thank you for sharing and adding to this comment thread. It’s one of my more popular posts.

    I have said for so long that the medical community does not understand this issue at all. Perhaps we all need to videotape ourselves having such episodes. I can’t recall if I already said that up there, but I know I’ve said it somewhere on my blog! I’ve repeated ad nauseum how Ultradian works and what it’s all about.

    Apart from a videotape, have you thought of mood charting? I know I made a bit of a joke about it up there, but maybe in a different manner. Say, specific columns for times, feelings, what you’re doing…items like that, or anything else relevant. It might make it all a bit more concrete.

    To cycle within cycles. Do you mean going through all of those different types of mood states within such a brief time period? I believe it is possible. It may not be possible for everyone as we are all different, but what you wrote actually reminds me of something I did! It was extremely fast, as well!

    If you mean having periods of stability between cycling at all? Yes, that is definitely and absolutely possible.

    I have a couple of questions for you. That is if you come back and feel comfortable answering them.

    Are you on any medication currently?

    If you don’t feel your GP is understanding this, would he be willing to give you a referral to a Psychiatrist? Or, would it be possible to find one on your own (despite most requiring referrals?)

    Take care,


  56. carol from the uk

    hello and where can i begin to say thank you already. it’s a relief to find such valuable information.
    i’ve been ‘diagnosed’ with border line bi-polar 2 (they missed the ultra rapid cycling bit! – my mood changes can be within a day.)
    i’ve probably had bi-polar 2 for 29 years undiagnosed (i’m now in my 40s)
    please forgive me if you’ve already covered my question in other people’s posts. i’m finding it hard to concentrate at present, however, i got a lot from ‘see-saw’s’ post and your response.
    i’ve been struggling to find out the link between light, stress and nutrition and my mood swings.
    i’m not on any medication at the moment (being generally anti meds and more into self management/prevention)
    any pointers in the right direction would be so much appreciated. i’m quite methodical so would be open to keeping charts for a while.
    i’m also vegitarian and keep trying to find some definitive information on how the lack of certain EFAs can maybe even cause my condition, instinctively, i feel that nutrition is a major key.
    please excuse dyslexic spelling.
    thank you.
    carol, from The UK x


  57. Hi carol from the uk. Nice to meet you, and welcome. And you are, “welcome” in terms of the thank you. I’m glad you found this post useful.

    It’s not a problem if I need to reiterate something, or if something’s already been covered and I need to answer a question specifically for you. In fact, I’d rather have it be that way. Then, you and I can have our own dialogue.

    Yes, if your moods can be changing within a day, you could be Ultradian as opposed to Rapid. Rapid means at least four episodes of cycling per year. It does not make any clear demarcations of cycling patterns that are so fast, that do indicate said pattern. That’s the entire problem, as that is what needs to be addressed. It’s a whole other animal.

    I’m trying to think of all the non-med routes you could take and things you could try. I’m sure there are more, but these are some that I have done and some not. However, over the years, there has been a growing body of evidence for some that have serious contraindications. They may produce adverse effects and work “backwards.” They exacerbate things and induce episodes. Regardless, they may be fine for some.

    St. John’s Wort – This one’s been around FOREVER. I tried it and it didn’t work at all. It is one that now has been recognized as having serious contraindications.

    SAM-e/SAMe (However they want to spell it) – This is a chemical compound that is also dicey. I say chemical but…well, I suggest you look it up and see. It is sold in Natural/Health Food Stores, though. Although, same caveat as the St. John’s. Can have serious adverse effects.

    I remember trying it and it was “behind the counter” in the Health Food Store! Uh, okay. Also, it was nasty. It made me crazy!

    L-Tryptophan – Helps modulate sleep. I tried it and it didn’t do a thing. As we know, sleep is incredibly important regarding Bipolar, and if our Circadian Rhythms are getting out of whack, maybe there is a correlation? Who’s to say?

    Melatonin – Ditto the above, but I’ve never tried it.

    A Light Box – Again, I’ve never tried one but some people are big fans of them. I think they are more suited for Depression. However, they do work along the same lines for sleep issues and SAD.

    Omega-3!!! – I just had to save this for (second) last. This is the biggest one out there. It’s also the biggest one in terms of being misunderstood. Most people think you just have to eat a couple of salmon steaks every week. Nuh-uh! I did try this too. Nothing. Also, you have to do it for months to try and see if it works.

    The amount of Omega-3 you need to ingest is incredible, huge, massive, insane! Plus, it’s on a daily basis! Also, IF you decide to try this, go for the liquid and not the pills. For one, the liquid is more concentrated so you don’t have to take so much. For two, with the pills, you can get the lovely “fish burps and/or fish breath.” Charming.

    Finally, and I kind of doubt this would help, is what some folks do with kids (or even themselves) on the Autistic Spectrum. If there is any link between Bipolar and Autism/Asperger’s (I have both Bipolar and Asperger’s) it is very tenuous and not really established. However, a couple of dietary things have been tried for the Spectrum folks.

    Since you are a vegetarian, this would be simple. Cut out gluten, dairy and wheat. Or even just some? One? The other is Chelation Therapy. This involves removing heavy metals from your body. I am not a big fan of this. Some children have have actually died by having their parents do this. Still, it is your choice?

    As for the rest, mood charting is always a good thing to do. When we’re so caught up in everything, we just aren’t capable of remembering it all after the fact.

    Stress is always a factor, too. What can we do about it? Well, try and reduce it, but that can be a pretty insurmountable task! Our hormones are responsible for so much of that so what can we do, there? Sure, you may be on the right track with some dietary changes, but our bodies are so complicated. I also don’t think we can ignore the neurology aspect. I really wanted to keep my “pro-med” stance out of this, I did. Sorry!

    Not to worry as well about any “dyslexic spelling.” I have Dysgraphia so my writing is pretty much a disaster most of the time.

    Take care and come back if you want to talk more. Or email me too.



  58. carol from the uk

    hello PA and many thanks for all the suggestions for consideration, some i’d not heard of so will get on teh case.

    One thing you highlighted earlier, which i’m sure has a bigger impact than many others for me is sleepcyles.
    I fall asleeep quickly, sleep an average 9-10 hours deeply, dream a lot, take ages to wake and almost always still feel tired on waking & take ages to ‘come round’, (even if i have less sleep.)
    Do you have any knowledge of sleep and BP2 or any ideas of how to measure sleep rythms? I gather there are 5 main stages of sleep but have not been able to find any concise (& scientific/medical based, but ‘simple’) research on this so that I can understand it better.
    (Interestingly, the new iPhones have a sleep app i am told but i’m sure they can only measure how much your body moves in the night.)
    I would bet that knowing what my sleep cycles are would be a massive key in managing myself better when i’m awake!
    This week I’m going to get a SAD light box, cut out gluten again – i always feel less foggy in the head when i do, same with the sugar but it’s such a powerful addiction ;-) one step at a time i remind myself.
    Any other web sources you could point me to for BP2 with ultraradian cyling would be really appreciated. Thank you again.
    BTW, what do you do for a living? I’m guessing it involves research and creativity and determination?!
    Carol x


  59. Hi carol from the uk. Nice to see you back.

    I had to stroll through all of the comments here to see what everyone else had to say about their sleeping patterns. As I thought, there seems to be a bit of a theme. I can’t say if there is any direct correlation, but I did write that uber-scientific comment back to someone up there (the one about the “ancient bowl.”)

    I think there is some kind of correlation, because sleep is linked to your Circadian Rhythms. They run in 24hr cycles. This is an established fact. Also, Circadian Rhythms are affected by, and linked to, light and dark (here comes the problem of SAD?)

    So for some people, things can (or may) get really screwed up if their sleep gets bounced around regarding their body’s Circadian Rhythms. Because one’s Circadian Rhythm controls more than just sleep cycles and such. Hormones and this and…

    Now, an Ultradian Rhythm is actually more than one/recurrent Rhythms within the Circadian. Get a load of this that I will simply cut and past from Wiki:

    The descriptive term ultradian is used in sleep research in reference to the 90–120 minute cycling of the sleep stages during human sleep

    Interesting? That’s why I think there might be some correlation–even if neither I, nor anyone else can really prove it.

    I don’t have any specific knowledge of sleep and BP II or Bipolar period (or any other psych diagnoses.) I wish I did.

    Reason being, I think there are too many variables: No one can make a distinct correlation regarding sleep and brain function (except that deprivation will seriously affect us but not exactly how in every way.) We’re all individuals and our disorders manifest differently. Our body/brain chemistries are all different. Meds are all different and our bodies/brains react to those differently. I could probably go on?

    You are also correct that there are basically five stages of sleep, as well. This no doubt poses another problem in trying to solve any mysteries. How on earth do we all sleep? Plus, it can (well, will!) differ every time we do sleep.

    That’s kind of funny about the iPhone app. No, I don’t think it will be of much help to any of us. There are Sleep Disorder Clinics that people can try if their problems are quite serious. Even then, no guarantees. There is still so much we don’t know.

    Good luck with the attempts and changes that you are making. I don’t generally guide readers to links unless it’s something I feel relevant to my post material (as in what I’m writing about) or perhaps something relevant to a comment (as I have done here.) How can I explain this as it sounds rather contradictory.

    Perhaps it’s because I’m not a professional, and I don’t want to guide readers in a certain direction. I don’t want to lead them to something I really know nothing about. Further, even if I was a professional, I don’t think that would be very responsible.

    If anything, I try to post links that indicate things that are established facts (or as close as you can get) and peer reviewed studies–or opinions based upon the work of professionals. Or, I may post a link to a non-scientific article for any type of discussion’s sake. However, I may fail at times. In fact, I know I have!

    I also like to let readers think for themselves and decide what they find relevant to their own situations. I do caution them when poking around, though. Cyberchondria can make you a lot sicker than you already are. Not to mention, when dealing with your own professionals, they may not like seeing what you’ve just printed off the Internet, when you walk in for your next appt.!

    I haven’t done a lot of research on Ultradian Cycling in quite some time. Maybe more people are catching on a bit these days. That would be good.

    And speaking of research? Well, I’m unemployed at the moment. Sadly. What you describe would be absolute heaven, though! I’d love to get a job doing things like that!

    Take care,
    PA – And thanks for the kiss.


  60. justin

    hi PA i hope your day is an ok one.

    I have been reading your blog, its lovely to see all the advice you give, its truly inspiring.

    might be a long post.

    Here comes my story, i currently dont know what to do..

    i am 29 right now
    when i was a teenager i was verry all over the place,14-16 quite depressedand then at 16 full of life the world was a lovely place and i acomplished much but then at 17 i fell into the pit of depression again.

    i had an eavening on drink that i coudnt remember but desided to move away to sort my self.
    i mannaged to hold down two jobs for a year, not getting enough sleep and not eating well. it all came crashing down after one eavening of crazyness and i had to return to my home.
    i spent the next few months in depression and then started to take drugs (pils) after a month or two i ended up having a halutination and went to the doctor who refered me to a psychiatrist.

    they diagnosed me with depression and gave me seroxat (ssri) and olanzapine (anti psyc)

    this is were my life took a dive….
    i started to get anxiety, racing thoughts, halucinations and feelings, i would loose my memory and it was the pit of hell an undiscribable place.
    i gained 80% in body weight and it was just getting worse..
    everytime i went near a beer i would have this freeky thing that hapened to me and my head hurt, i couldnt look at flashing lights – it would make me phaze out and nearly pass out.
    i ended spending a year in this state, not leaving my room for months at a time just trying to meditate through it.
    one spring i thought enough is enough i cannot screem through this any more, so i desided to reduce my medication, thinking that i had tryed everything else. as i redused the medication i started to get a little bit more time as just normal, 1 hour at a time day per day i became human again. the one difence to who i was previously was that i couldnt stop.
    i was and had to be always on the go, riding my bike 18 miles a day – gave up fishing because i couldnt sit still.
    i mannaged to get a job at a local pub and everything was normal (for me).
    i always drank abit but at that time i was able to work, drink 11 pints while working and continue to go out after work. i was like a machine.

    fast forward a year or so and my stepdad died in a car accident, this sent me on a complete bender… for months i would go out take cocane – spending sprees – party party party spend spend spend…
    i ended up nearly loosing my hand because i punched a window in a rage because of my frustrations, this took me to hospital for surgery were i wnet under generall anesthetic. after this i went into a deep anxious depression that lasted 2 years…
    one spring i desided to loose all this weight and started running climbling (rocky balboa) – i met a girl and we became engaged. i was up and down at this point (mabe due to drugs).

    the relationship ended after 2 years and i ended up drinking from when i woke up till wen i went to bed for 6 months.
    then one day when i realised i needed a drink i gave up and started exersising again (spring).

    the next 2 years were diferent, i would be verry depressed in the winter and less so in the summer.
    not being able to hold down a job because my moods would shift bi-yearly.

    i started having to plan for the anxious depression that i got every winter without fail…

    i met anouther girl and we got engaged, still going through the summer / winter trasition, after 3 years (last summer) she broke it off because she thought that i wasnt willing to get a job. this nearly broke me.
    this is were i thought ill do this right, no drama.
    my moods would fluctuate on a weekly basis, always on a tuesday i would be having these outbursts like the winter agitated depression. and by friday i would be out in the pub dressed up feeling like “the man” and then the next tuesday came and so on.
    i went to my doc and he advised some councelling and prescribed zoloft (sertraline), now wtf… as i was in my depression the next day i went high as a kite, i felt like i could grab the moon at times, the sunny sunny day.
    i started to get a rash and couldnt sleep – it felt just like the time years ago.
    the doctor took me off them right away (after 4 tablets).
    i became fevourish, high temp, sweating till my eyes filled up with water as i slept, confusion. (this was not the flu)
    yet the emergency doc sead to take a paracetamol and that was it.
    for the next 4 months i was a screeming animal. my mind was not the same. and no doctors would help me.
    i was breaking things crying yelling confused so so ill.

    it calmed a little and over the next 4 months i mannaged to leve the house on a few ocasions ushaly with depression, but if i didnt sleep i would be verry agitated and focused.

    sudenly i was going to create a webdesighn buisness, nothing was going to stop me, i must put blind faith in this and have the confidence that it would succeed.
    by xmas all this crashed down with depression.
    my moods started to shift on a hourly basis.
    finaly after 9 months waiting a psychiatrist could see me…
    i told him of my life and what happened and he just looked at me twidling a rubber band and sead i dont know what is wrong with you.
    i sudgested bipolar and he sead “it could be”.

    he has prescribed me lamotragine(antileptic).

    i havent started them yet because, im scared.. because of the anti dipressent componant in them i hear that they cause mania in some people, and eaven a snt johns wart pill made me happy as a sand boy withing 2 days.

    i just dont know what to do, im 1 phone call from commiting my self, i cant take this how it is right now, my moods are deep depression in the morning, agitated depression in the afternoon, then i crash have an outburst and i feel like im happy drunk in the eavening.

    but also if it got worse, i would be in the river…

    this is bad right? any advice would be apretiated i just dont know what to do :( x


  61. Hi justin. Very nice to meet you and welcome. You know, I don’t think a new or first time commenter has ever asked me how my day’s been going. I could be wrong, but how sweet of you.

    I’m not sure, yet. Good enough answer?

    I’m trying really hard to take a SERIOUS break from blogging but in no way do I want it to feel that has ANYTHING to do with you. I’m still around, obviously, as I’m here responding. It’s just that when I read your comment, I felt I had to get back to you immediately. You’re in a place where I think you really need to talk to someone, even if it’s just me?

    What you have written here just pulled at my heartstrings. But I don’t want you to feel bad about that, either. Also, thank you for your compliments and feelings about my blog. That tugged at my heartstrings a bit, too! Still wrestling with taking compliments.

    Don’t worry about the length of your comment. My response may be pretty long as well. It may take me a fair bit to write it as it deserves thoughtful consideration on my part.

    I think it’s quite clear you’ve been through a lot! Dr. PA not really being a Dr. does have some thoughts, though.

    I can definitely relate to your self-medication history. I had a very significant one of my own.

    Considering your rapid mood changes when you were a teenager, you could have been possibly exhibiting signs of Bipolar then. They sound as if they were pretty extreme. Also, if I’m not mistaken, they were extreme enough to take you down the self-medication route. It wasn’t like “typical” teenage behaviour of partying, and having first experiences with drinking and such.

    I cannot speak to the hallucinations per se, but they may have been a part of the self-medication. Have you had any more since, while not self-medicating? Or did you have any when not self-medicating?

    The Seroxat and the Olanzapine. Well, the latter would probably account for the weight gain. That is a well known side effect. With the Seroxat, you may be in the camp of those like me, where Antidepressants just make your Bipolar worse. It sounds like they haven’t done you any favours?

    When you went off your medication, was this on your own or with any medical supervision? If the meds weren’t working, much less making things worse, I don’t see it as any surprise you’d be back to your old Bipolar self–at least the manic side of things.

    The death of your step-dad would have definitely been a trigger. Absolutely. In one form or another. So, I’m not surprised that things went into a tailspin all over after that.

    Now, as far as what you are describing regarding the seasonal changes seems completely Seasonal Affective Disorder. I don’t know how common this is for any/other people, but I had issues with SAD as a kid. I somehow “outgrew” them, though. I’m not sure as to why. It may be just how things “evolved” with my brain, and where Bipolar has ultimately taken me.

    Now, back to your next AD. The Zoloft sent you spinning faster and faster! You’re almost starting to sound like my long lost twin?

    I also don’t know about the rash, but it may have been a side effect of the Zoloft. The feverish business etc…? I don’t know about that, either. At least as far as the Zoloft goes. I do know that can happen with alcohol withdrawal. Considering how much you were drinking, those symptoms might have occurred, simply if you just stopped drinking for a brief time.

    Okay, on you keep moving through more hell! This is not surprising me one bit. Not really. I am also very sorry that the Psychiatrist you saw seemed a bit slow on the uptake (or worse.) However, he at least prescribed you Lamotrigine. If you don’t know, I am taking this.

    However, before we get to that, Dr. PA doing her non-Dr. diagnosis? You are an Ultradian Cycler. With moods shifting that fast? Within hours? You’re cycling like she does. Also, I mentioned up there in the comment section that being an Ultradian Cycler does not negate someone being a Rapid Cycler. Hell, Bipolar is insane! It bounces you all over the place! Maybe I’m a total freakazoid because I am only an Ultradian Cycler!

    Alright. First, I want to tell you that it’s okay to be scared. This IS scary stuff that we’re dealing with. Bipolar is and can be VERY scary. But I also want to let you know that things are now moving along on the right track. Why?

    I am so, so, so happy that you had the foresight and forethought to realize that you need help. You knew you could pick up the phone and go to hospital. So many people don’t, and I always encourage them to do so when they are in trouble–if they can. I can’t do it for them, but you knew.

    Another reason? You’re finally getting the right meds!!! Yes!!! Anticonvulsants (or Lithium) are what you use to treat Bipolar!!! Or at least they are front line treatment. You could use an Antipsychotic but really, the ACs are what to prescribe.

    A little bit about Lamotrigine and ACs, though. There really isn’t an “antidepressant component” in them. That is, unless you mean that there is a possible side effect of one having a manic episode when taking it? Well, there is that side effect for all ACs potentially. What you really need to remember, though, is that ACs are what is used to treat Bipolar!

    Bipolar comes with both the highs and the lows, right. These are the meds used to try and combat both. The tricky thing is, you may have to tinker with dosages. You may have to try to find the one that works best (and still tinker with dosages.) You may have to add something else to continue to help things along. Not only is this tricky but kind of sucky, too.

    I don’t know if I can reassure you more, but start taking the Lamotrigine. Also, don’t get freaked out about THE RASH! Yes, it can lead to SJS but if you get a bit rashy, you can reduce the current dose and then titrate a bit more slowly. If you’re still getting rashy, you may have a sensitivity to the drug. If so, try a new AC! Lamotrigine is the only AC that has the whole SJS ballyhoo, as well.

    So, all in, does any of this help? Please come back if you have any more questions, or just want to talk or anything else. And stay away from the river!



  62. justin

    thankyou for taking the time pa, it was a welcome visit this morning after a rough night.

    although i always mannage to get to sleep which is strange, mabe i just wear my self out but i get to 12:00 and its like i sobour up, become calm and the world is clear. so i can sleep.

    im worried that if i take this medication and it makes me worse i will crack, so im thinking that i should be hospitalized when i do start taking them just incase, but yes as you say its scary.

    im curious, there is somthing that i notice – sometimes i will have a span of hart palpatations over 2 mins and then my moods are stable for abit. do you ever find this?

    as for years ago, i stoped the medication on my own, and proberly toooo fast (within a 2 week period).

    it was nice to wake up only a little low this morning as aposed to the pit of depression, which proberly means that im going to be full of energy for the day..

    there is also a posibility that i am epileptic because of a few things that have surficed recently.

    could i ask, do you have any expirience with diazapam? i need somthing to controal the anxiety atm but worry that it might make me depressed or cycle worse :(


  63. justin

    also, does/can medication help? i have never been on any for this realy befor.


  64. Hi justin. Oh, you are more than welcome. I’m sorry that you had a rough night, too. It is good that you are getting some decent sleep? Sleep is very important for all mental health problems, not just Bipolar!

    If you are that worried about taking the medication and wanting to be in hospital when you start it, then I really think you should tell someone. Earlier, you wrote that you were already concerned about admitting yourself. If you can’t get help there, you may want to voluntary admit yourself and then explain your situation. These are my opinions, at least.

    I have never experienced anything as you mention; heart palpitations and then my moods evening out. Do you feel any sort of anxiety or feelings of intense fear at the time? If so, it may be a Panic Attack. I can’t say for sure, though.

    Dr. PA is trying very hard not to slap your wrist for going off your medication on your own! Seriously. I know I cannot control what anyone does, including you, but going off one’s meds on their own can have severe repercussions. In fact, almost always–and negative ones. I’ve seen it happen far too often.

    I was curious about epilepsy. You mentioned some things re: flashing lights etc… I didn’t want to really go there as we had more issues to discuss. Now that you have mentioned it, are you seeing a Neurologist? If there is any possibility of you having epilepsy, you probably should in order to get checked out.

    Also, ACs are used to treat epilepsy! This is quite convenient for me as my ACs work for both my epilepsy and Bipolar!

    I have no problems at all with my Diazepam. It works well to control my anxiety–unless my anxiety is really bad! Even still, no problems.

    Although, benzos are the same as any med. Everyone reacts differently and you may need to try a few to get it right. Or, you might get the right fit with the first.

    I have been on a few and they’ve all affected me differently. The only one I know of that does have a side effect resulting in people developing depression with ongoing use is Clonazepam. However, it won’t happen with everyone. It did with me after three weeks of regular use. I was taking it to sleep for insomnia and for anxiety. When that happened, I just switched. The nice thing about benzos is that there are a lot of them out there to choose from.

    As for your final question? Yes, medication helps! At least I feel that way. Some people feel they can get by without it, or use herbal remedies and what not. If so, that is fine! I know that I could not manage period without my meds. No way!

    Bipolar is a chronic illness. It’s never going to leave us. That said, we do have to manage it. By far, if you look at our population, the only way to do that is with medication. There is no panacea, though. Meds can only do so much. But taking meds to manage it is far better than the alternative. I think I’m a pretty good example of that.


  65. carol in the uk

    hi PA,
    i just wanted to send a belated thank you for your response.
    i’m carrying on with my research and am going to start a blog on the MDF e-community to see if us rapid cyclers can’t all help each other a bit more.
    thank you again and take good care.
    big hug.


  66. Hi carol in the uk. Good to see you and you’re most welcome. Please let me know when you’ve got you’re blog up. I’d definitely like to have a look.



  67. Cat

    Hi PA

    Just read your blog after googling ultradian cycling – something I’d never heard of before today.

    Reading your blog was like reading something I could have written about myself. I have a number of Bi-polar friends and am aware that my mood cycles are totally different to what they describe and far more rapid than they were just a few years ago. The only big change in those years is having 2 children, which I know can cause brain chemistry to alter.

    It’s quite reassuring to realise that there are other people with similar types of rapid mood cycling and hopefully will give me greater confidence to give a more accurate description of my mental health when I next see my Dr. Previously I’ve always been concerned that she wouldn’t take me seriously because my symptoms don’t fit with the more well known forms of Bi-polar.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.



  68. Hi Cat. I’m sorry for taking so long to reply, but if you’ve been hanging around lately, you’ll know the reason. I do hope that you are reading, so you will see that I did eventually respond!

    I’m very happy that you found this post (and definitely the comment thread) useful or valuable. It is a very popular post due to the number of commenters.

    I still love writing about Ultradian Cycling because as I’m sure you can understand, there is still a lot of confusion, disagreement and even denial about it. Well I’m (and you are?) here to say that’s not true!

    Take care Cat and come back anytime. I hope your appt. went well.



  69. Lisa

    Wow! That’s the first bipolar thing I’ve read that actually made sense. Not the replies…had no patience for that. I have read many bipolar things (for lack of a good word right now but I’m sure one will come eventually) and have never thought OMG that sounds like me! Ultradian…I even like the word (although spell check doesn’t recognize it) I’ve never heard it until tonight. I have always been disturbed that I don’t quite fit into any Bipolar Type I or II category and ultra rapid cycling of 2-3 times a year (??? who though of that being “ultra fast”) just is not rapid enough. The waking up in the morning feeling one way which progressed to dangerous manic behavior by nightfall got me, although I must confess that I go through that series of moods several times a day…or hour…or less…

    I know I had a point to all that…but surprise surprise…it’s gone. Well anyways one of the things I find the hardest to deal with is not letting those close to me (ie. my mother or boyfriend) know that I’m so happy then crash not so happy then whoops up we go again then…you get my point and only 5 minutes at most have gone by. If they know this is what’s happening with me then it’s off to the hospital. I hate being hospitalized…it’s the worst thing that can happen to me.

    Ah! I remember my point…not being understood and being told to get over it! How do you get over something you can’t control or even know that it’s happening until you realize that there are uncontrollable tears rolling down your face and you were just watching a commercial on TV of a baby laughing which should be making everyone laugh? That even makes me laugh on a good day!

    I think I forgot my point again except…thanks! It’s nice to know that there’s a terminology out there for me and that I’m not completely alone.


  70. Hi Lisa. Nice to meet you as I don’t think we have before. Also, welcome to my blog. Also, I’m so, so sorry it has taken me this long to get back to you. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve not been so well.

    Your second sentence gave me a laugh. Had no time for the replies! Well, I suppose I can’t really fault you for that. This is one of my most popular posts (if not the most popular.) How many comments are we up to now? 69 and mine will make it 70. Yep, pretty big for my wee blog!

    It certainly sounds like you’re in the Ultradian Club! Although Dr. PA cannot diagnose not being a real doctor. I do remember I went through a whole whack of things in about 15 minutes once. It even included “manic cleaning.” God, I loathe cleaning! I guess that’s a big tip off that I’ve gone over the edge, eh? *laughing*

    Do those close to you know you have Bipolar? If hospitalization enters the picture, it sounds like they might. Maybe you could tell them you think this is what is going on, and that’s why your moods seem to be changing at such a fast rate. Why things seem less comprehensible to them.

    You might want to consider talking to your doctor about it, as well. I always caution my readers about that, though. Some doctors don’t like it when patients bring things in from the Internet. Some are “resistant” to certain ideas. Some have never heard of such things, so they are completely dismissive. Trust me, I’ve been there. However, if you have a good relationship with your doctor, and you feel it would be alright, your choice?

    Ah, yes. The good ol’ “Get over it!” crap. If people really thought it was so easy, don’t you think we all would have done it by now? Stupid question. They have no clue what we are going through. I have long since learned to ignore these people and keep them out of my life (unless I can’t explain the matter–which I usually can’t.)

    At any rate, I’m glad you don’t feel so alone anymore. That’s good. We all need to stick together.


  71. Caitlin


    I really wanted to read all the comments but my focus is just not there.

    Basically I have recently been diagnosed with Ultradian bipolar by a psychiatrist, and this diagnosis is correct. My swings are 1-3hours and often shorter than that (like now – went from focused to vague and disconnected).

    I had to see 3 different psychiatrists, the third being a bipolar specialist and the guy I’m seeing now, to get to this point. The first was close – diagnosing me with bipolar 11. I have definitely experienced severe depressions but I look back now and wonder if I had tiny bursts of hypomania in the middle of them. I can’t remember. The last 3 years I have been in a mostly hypomanic state (with interspersed bursts of strong anxiety and depression – not enough to screw me over achievement-wise) and have excelled at uni and extracurricular. However, at the start this year I cracked it big time and sort of switched to the reverse – a mostly severe depressive state with sudden bursts of hypomania at least once a day. Obviously at this point – when I was forced to quit uni, my singing job, and move back in with my parents who became my full time carers, I knew something was severely wrong.

    This went on until I saw my first psyc who prescribed Escitalopram (an SSRI). After five days of this I experienced my first intense seizure. It was so bad my parents were trying to dress me to get me to hospital, but we also called the psych who stayed on the phone for an hour, and after 30minutes it had stopped as quickly as it started, however I went off the medication straight away.

    Second psyc, who I went to see as she was an Aspergers specialist (I also have that – and yes, it’s a correct diagnosis) and we believed my presentation could be also influenced by Aspergers symptoms, thought maybe the diagnosis of bipolar was incorrect and I actually had untreated ADHD. Total disaster – I was put on stimulants (ritalin, then concerta) as well as Lovan (SSRI – but slower acting; took longer to kick in) and the seizure symptoms started coming back plus I was paralyzed by anxiety.

    When I went off all this that’s when I descended into a true ultradian pattern – oscillating more evenly between depressive symptoms and hypomanic symptoms several times a day.

    I’m rambling. I’m still new to all this, and I still don’t have my medication right. Reading this post made me want to try and use my own experiences to help others – as I’m starting to realize that what we’re all dealing with here is mostly unexplored territory.


  72. Hi Caitlin. Nice to meet you and welcome to my blog. Wow! What a story! I need to get myself some more tea! My focus definitely requires buckets of caffeine despite my Concerta. Not to mention, you kind of sound a lot like me in a lot of ways!

    Alright, let’s see what we can do here. As always, Dr. PA is not a real doctor. Nonetheless, I think I see some problems here.

    I’m glad you got the Ultradian pinned down. That makes me happy both for you, and the medical community. Hopefully physicians are getting it more and more these days.

    Now, the SSRIs. I’m about to start pulling my hair out this very second!!! SSRIs or even SNRIs are NOT first line treatment for Bipolar!!! Fuck, me! Either Anticonvulsants or the mood stabilizer Lithium should be looked at and given a try.

    Antidepressants CAN be added as an adjunct, but there are some people who have Bipolar (me!) who react to them so badly, they go completely mental! It makes my Bipolar explode all over like a volcano!

    Further, the seizures??? Bloody, hell! The main ones for lowering your seizure threshold are Effexor and Wellbutrin. I know that for a fact! They sent me to some bad epilepsy places. However, if you seized right off the bat like that? Helllloooo…? Is anyone paying attention, here?

    Which brings me to your seizures. Do you have epilepsy? Have you seen a Neurologist? Have you had any more seizures apart from just the ones from the SSRIs? Either way, since you were so sensitive there, you might want to get your butt to a Neuro! More than “might?”

    Also, while being on Anticonvulsants for the Bipolar, hey! Guess what? Anticonvulsants treat epilepsy! Way back in the day, that’s why they were used first; to treat epilepsy and THEN eventually used for Bipolar.

    Asperger’s and ADHD. These are Developmental Disorders. That means you are born with them. They have no connection to Bipolar, unless as comorbid diagnoses–I have them as well.

    You don’t treat Asperger’s with medication, really. You could try some things if rage-y outbursts are a problem, but otherwise, there’s nothing you can do about being an Aspie. Just be an Aspie! Yay! I’m quite happy being an Aspie, obviously.

    The ADHD. Are you still on any stims for that? It is true that with SOME people who have Bipolar (not all!) that those meds can lower your seizure threshold, too. So, if you’re still on the meds and still seizing, that might be a problem. Might. I still don’t know if you’re on any Anticonvulsants.

    You do end with the point that you still don’t have your medication right. That said, I at least I know you are on something. If you can tell me what it is, I can at least give you a bit more background of what may or may not be helpful.

    So I really hope you come back to this comment. Again, I’m so sorry it took me so long to respond.

    Take care,


  73. WP922


    I’m 21 and I was diagnosed with Bipolar.. I think… two years ago? I’ve always been even as a child a happy person (Most I don’t recall from a traumatic event that apparently triggered my Multiple Personality Disorder..[another story..])

    Two years ago, I started having terrible panic attacks and hallucinations. I was put on some medications for the hallucination and anxiety / depression but that just turned me into a complete zombie. I believe the pills were.. Zanex and Klanopin? Or something that sounded like that.. I could be completely off, it was two years ago.

    Anyways, after about a month of taking it, and failing a test in my favorite subject, I knew I had to stop taking it before I started to hurt people around me. Impulsively I quit taking the pills [cold turkey] and was very sick for a few days, but at the end of the sickness, I felt very much alive.

    After that, I was mostly happy again, no more hallucinations, not as much freaking out.

    During all of this, I was in a very committed [or so I thought] very unhealthy 4-yr long LDR (Long Distance Relationship). After being cheated on the person that I relied on most to be there for me mentally, I spiraled bad.

    There were days I didn’t leave my bedroom, and when I finally came out, I had lots of bruises and cuts to smother me with memories of the disaster.

    I am now in a much healthier relationship but I find myself cycling constantly out of control.

    Just today, I’ve gone from extremely happy, to very impulsive [common for me..] to happy again, then pissed, then tired, average for a while, aggravated, extreme happiness, and now I’ve spiraled down so bad, I had open my laptop for the first time in days to keep myself away from sharp objects until my boyfriend gets off work.

    I hate having to rely on him to stop me, and I’ve gotten much better at not being impulsive, but it doesn’t seem to help.

    I’m very stubborn about medication and I refuse to take anything after what happened last time, but I also hate seeing myself being a burden to this man I love so much and with him getting deployed for a year starting August, I want to try to figure out how to be better, for my sake and the sake of my relationship.

    I refuse medication not because I don’t want to get better, but because I like myself when I’m hypomanic. and I’m afraid the medication will take that away from me..

    Typing this is the only thing stopping me from getting into my car right now and driving off to where ever the road takes me, and I’m not even quiet sure I’ll post this after typing it all up….

    I don’t know what purpose this rant was for.. I guess I just needed to share my story to someone I thought might relate..


  74. Hi WP922. I received your comment via my phone, when I turned it on after waking. I never turn off my phone. That is the prelude to my day, today. I certainly didn’t want to see it last night, and I fought tooth and nail not to wake up and greet it today. After this, I may slink back under my duvet and ignore the rest of the world.

    However, when I saw your comment, I felt I immediately had to get online and respond. It seemed it was a bit of a “crisis comment” if you will. I have to get to this person ASAP. At least that is how I feel as far as running my blog.

    This may take a while, though. I’m not in such good shape myself (as you can gather from the start.) PTSD, plus physical/mental sickness from epilepsy. Also, I need tea to get me slowly moving along. And apart from me, there is a lot I want to say to you, with all the things that you have written. Then I want to make sure all that I have said makes sense.

    I’m also extremely verbose. That means this will also be extremely long.

    The very first thing I want to say is I am SO glad you hit the Send button to make this comment. I’m not sure where your mindset was in the midst of feeling like just running off (and possibly ending up in worse mental shape.)

    Also, thank you for sharing your story for anyone who might be able to relate to your situation. As you can see, there are a lot of comments, here. It is one of my most popular posts. I think that shows many people can relate, and I commend all of them, including you, to have the bravery to discuss their issues.

    I cannot say it enough, but Dr. PA is not a real doctor. Still, she sees things that were not correct right from the beginning.

    So you were diagnosed with Bipolar and having hallucinations, then only being prescribed benzodiazepines (Xanax and Klonopin.) That is TOTALLY ridiculous! Benzos are used for anxiety, sleep, perhaps other things off label, but with Bipolar? Not first line treatment, and only as an adjunct if required due to the patient’s individual case.

    For Bipolar, initially one should be placed on Anticonvulsants or the mood stabilizer Lithium. As stated above (and what their purpose being) it seems fair that they may have made you feel like a zombie. Indeed! Especially on the dose if it was helping a little bit, if not helping at all, the wrong one etc. However, let’s leave it as is. Completely wrong to simply give only those drugs when someone has Bipolar!

    I can understand the trigger of failing the test, and I always say NEVER quit a drug cold turkey. But you did. I can’t tell or control what any reader does anyway! But please don’t quit a drug cold turkey, readers. Please? Nonetheless, this was in the past.

    Quitting any drug cold turkey will make you feel sick I am actually very ill from doing so, but not of my own volition.

    However, you will still feel a bit sick starting new ones, tapering off ones, transitioning to other ones, even within the same class. I know this from taking so many, but a lot were largely due to being misdiagnosed in the first place. At least you have a proper diagnosis!

    Also, with the Anticonvulsants as opposed to the Antidepressants (SSRIs etc.) you don’t (or shouldn’t) feel sick for long. If you do, wrong one, pick another. It’s a great thing. Starting on a med to help, and you don’t have to wait for weeks of suffering side effects to see if it will even work!

    So, dropping the benzos and then the end of the LDR. Wow. That would have been a HUGE trigger.

    I’ve always found my triggers odd. Sometimes seemingly devastating things would happen, and you would think I’d go completely over the edge. I’d be fine. Then, it could be virtually nothing, and I’d totally lose it (by the way, my Bipolar has been almost completely controlled by my current meds.)

    So, on we move to present day. Things are getting worse and worse. There is a “theory” that originally came from the world of epilepsy, that has now been adopted by the Bipolar community. The word for it is “Kindling.”

    What it means is that once things start, they have the potential to get moving a lot faster and/or can change to different degrees and in different ways. They get worse. Sometimes, to unmanageable degrees at the very worst. Also, really bad if not treated.

    There is a statistic that may prove this re: epilepsy. As an adult, if you have a Complex Partial Seizure, there is an extremely high rate you will continue to have them for the rest of your life. I can’t remember if there was a per centage, but maybe 80%. I am living proof of that.

    There are a lot of other signs I see that things are getting worse beyond your moods changing. You are moving into the realm of self-harm. That’s not so good, either. It makes me worry just what else may come along down this road. And things are coming pretty fast, don’t you think?

    I understand that you don’t want to be a burden on this person in your relationship. So many of us feel that we are burdens. Guilt, shame, feeling like crap for so long and other possible things. But we have to remember that this is NOT our fault. It is an illness and not a character flaw, not something WE DID to bring it on. Also, I can’t say for sure, but the pain may be lingering from the LDR. You may be afraid of this next go around.

    Meds. I’m sorry, but I’m going to take a stand here that you may not like.

    One point is what I mentioned before. You were given the wrong type if it were just those two. They didn’t help you. If you can get past that, perhaps you can be less resistant to taking medication.

    The second point is a lot harder. I’ve heard from many people who don’t want to take meds because they like it when they are hypomanic. There are various reasons for each person. As always, I can’t tell anyone what to do, but I always worry about what may lie ahead. How long can a person go without medication? At what point will they need it, and what will that picture look like? Just a severe mood crash, or total carnage?

    Because they don’t call it Bipolar for a reason. You’ve got both the highs and the lows. You’ve written a lot about the terrible, depressive episodes and the self-harm. Is that a fair exchange for hypomanic episodes? Also, the changes of your moods so quickly, and how that effects you. I could sense the pain of it through your writing. Is that a fair exchange for hanging on to those hypomanic episodes?

    I hope you don’t think I’m trying to beat you up for your feelings, what’s going on, and your own control of your life. I’ve just seen too many people get hurt in the process when they don’t seek treatment. Even I didn’t do it for a long time until I really paid the price. I even lost a job because of it all.

    So, what do you think? I hope I managed to cover everything. If you have any other questions, or want to keep the dialogue going, I’m all for that.

    Oh, I almost forgot. The “Multiple Personality Disorder” that is now referred to as DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder.) If you ever want to talk about that, I’d be more than welcome to do so.

    There is actually an “Umbrella” of “Dissociative Disorders.” Along with my PTSD, I actually have one of them: Dissociative Amnesia. So I’m familiar with that territory, as well.

    Take care,


  75. di

    Wow…kindling…that would explain a lot…thanks for this…my story is similar and it’s nice to know i’m not alone, although i wouldn’t wish this on anyone…


  76. Lorie

    Hi everyone,

    I have just diagnosed myself as an ultradian cycler, and my pdoc agrees. For me, it is like taking an elevator to hell and back over and over and over. My cycling takes place within minutes. Sometimes in a ten minute span. I range from depressed to hypomanic to extremely! irritable to angry. I take five medications and they seem to do absolutely nothing. I am on the following: Lithium, Lamictal, Loxapine, Temazepam, Zoloft. I am going off the Zoloft to hopefully cease the ultradian cycling. I hopefully will go on Saphris instead of Loxapine if my insurance will approve it. I’d like to try Topamax instead of Lamictal since I am on a high dose of Lamictal and it is doing nothing to help. My pdoc would like to put me on Clozaril if I do not get Saphris. Does anyone have experience with this? It will mean frequent blood tests, though–no fun!

    I’ve been on so many meds, it’s too hard to count at this point. I have a very treatment-resistant illness. Bipolar I, ultradian cycler. I’m glad I found this site because it is such a relief to know that there are others who struggle with this disease.


  77. Hi di. Nice to meet you and welcome. I guess to also my blog, and this post/comment section/discussion!

    This is one of my most popular posts and I’m…well, I’m kind of proud of it. Over time, it seems to have raised awareness, provided education, but MOST importantly, offered a space for people to feel safe, not so alone and hopefully, then less vulnerable.

    Ultradian Cycling can be very confusing. And very scary! So, if you can identify with others, there can hopefully be a community feel where people won’t so confused and scared.

    I’m glad you found the theory of kindling interesting. I always have since the very first time I heard of it.

    As per the above, I’m glad you don’t feel so alone anymore. You’re right, too. Being an Ultradian Cycler should not be wished upon anyone!

    Hi Lorie. Welcome to you, too. I’m happy you came here to share your story and you also find relief that you’re not alone.

    I think it’s great that your psychiatrist agrees with what you’ve said and how you feel. It took me forever to get my doctors to understand. YES!!! THIS DOES EXIST!!!

    Okay, Lorie, as always, bearing in mind that Dr. PA is not a real doctor, let’s look at all of those meds! I also have one thought immediately in my head. However, it would help to know if you have any other diagnoses of any kind. Not just mental, but physical too.

    The first thing I have to say is that you might be in the same camp as me. If you’re having no luck with your meds across the board, you may not be able to take Antidepressants. If I take them, I will immediately cycle like nuts.

    Now. You’re really putting me through the paces with some of the meds in your cocktail! I’m actually to the point of wondering why you’re on so many and some of them that are rather…”exotic?” However, you did say you were “treatment-resistant.” I am guessing that means a lot of meds just don’t work, so try some of the way out there ones? For example, I was like, ‘You’re on a succinate? And not even an Anticonvulsant one?”

    I hope you don’t take any offense to that. I’m not judging you. I’m not making fun of you or anything. But again, I go back to any other diagnoses. Also, I suppose all the meds you’ve tried, as well?

    Dr. PA needs to do more research on you Lorie! I honestly am rather confused by your current amalgam of drugs and I need more time to look into things. And more information for you, if you feel comfortable sharing it. You can always email me, too. You don’t have to post your personal information on my blog.

    I’m also out and racing against time. Battery! Not that I want to cut you off!

    My final note until I hopefully hear from you is about Topamax. I’m on it and I love it. However, it can be a bit hit or miss. It works heavy on your temporal lobe so if your problems aren’t so much there, it could be a bust. Yet, if there are issues in that area, wow!

    I’m also on Lamictal so there’s no reason why you can’t use it as an adjunct (or Topamax, vice versa.) Usually, Topamax needs an adjunct due to its specifity re: the temporal lobe. I was a total anomaly as I got away with Topamax as monotherapy for years! So maybe don’t get too ready to chuck the Lamictal?

    Oh, one more thing. The Lithium. It’s a mood stabilizer and not an Anticonvulsant. I’m wondering why you are on that and not sticking with the ACs. Or on that AND ACs? Due to what little I’ve read, a lot of monitoring needed?

    This is just PA speaking, not Dr. PA. I’ve never tried Lithium as I always wanted to stay away from the salts. Depakene is a “salt” but an AC. It just about killed me, so I knew I was right. Is the Lithium helping, or has it in the past if you’ve been on it longer?

    I hope you come back so we can keep talking Lorie. Well, that is if you want to. I’m here.

    Take care,


  78. lol that pic is really great it reminds me of the time I was buzzing on clonazepam and started visualizing patterns kind of like this, it was mad.


  79. Hi clonazepam. Nice to meet another new reader (I think?) and welcome to my blog.

    Your comment really confused me at first. I didn’t remember putting up any pictures within this post. Then I remembered Phelps and all of his stuff.

    Yep. That must have been it!

    Well, I’m glad it gave you some laughs? Fond memories? I’m not sure.

    Feel free to come back and browse around anytime.

    Take care,


  80. Tina

    I keep saying “rapid cycling is for the birds!!!” OMG, so nice to see someone brave enough to post about this. I was first diagnosed and even came to terms with even ADMITTING and saying the word “bipolar” within the last 5 years. I was in a scary cycle of trying to self-medicate with alcohol that I had picked up as a teenager and now realizing how destructive that was and understanding my real issues has helped me ALOT.. I’ve always been the “over-emotional” one. But finally getting a large enough amount of sober time has made me able to analyze myself and want to learn as much as I can about my disorder. I am even trying a gluten free diet and have found that in itself can be a major contributor but we will see. But I know I will ALWAYS need to take my medication. It makes me THINK clearly which is a huge help in this disorder. I now catch myself and watch my moods and feelings more carefully. Which brings me to my opening phrase “rapid cycling is for the birds!!!” But I relate it to diabetes “especially our form” because it is very similar. You almost become a Zen master in living with this and trying to think yourself through your moods. But even that doesn’t help sometimes. I have definitely found that stress is a big trigger to extremely rapid cycling. I have undergone a seriously major change in my life and the most stress I have ever been through (so far) and I have felt like a literal yo-yo. The biggest things that have helped me are my mood stabilizer Trileptal, adderall, and ambien. I take Paxil and have taken that for years but adding those three have helped tremendously in keeping some kind of routine to my days in my waking/sleeping patterns and dealing with emotional setbacks. I tried adderall to lose weight and it was like a miracle drug to me personally in being able to focus as well as helping with depression as some days I can’t get out of bed. ADHD diagnosis was also thrown around quite a bit and so I think the two are very much related and very similar so I claim both and study both. I am labeled a “pill head” by family, but this is what has worked best for me in the past 3 years and like my psychiatrist says “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I mainly cherish the sobriety part of it, as being “awake and present” is so much nicer than waking up with a hangover and my life in ruins continually. Our condition is often self-medicated with alcohol as a way to cope with ourselves (especially as teens) since we don’t know what is wrong with ourselves. Fighting the stigma can be depressing in itself too. But yes this is a disorder that we did not ask for and it is very difficult to live with. Never make yourself or let anyone else make you feel inferior for having to take medicine because just like the diabetic, we need it to live!


  81. Hi Tina. Welcome to my blog and sorry for the tardiness.
    Being sick stinks! More than.

    This is one of my most popular posts and it was written years ago. I have another very popular post, pretty much around the same comment numbers as this? If I may say so, I am very proud of them. If that’s the right way to say it. Granted, you said “brave.” Well, I’m a straight shooter and just call things as I see them.

    You made me laugh a bit with the bird comment. Not to make fun of you, hardly! I just got these images of birds flying around and if their wings started flapping more rapidly, did that mean they were cycling? I’ve made the same joke as an Aspie. Hand flapping is major stim and I’ve done it!

    To begin, I was considered really emotional too–a lot of bullying. No one at home cared. Self-medication? Oh, wow! You are not alone there! Not only with me, but with loads of others! Bipolar folks don’t corner the market on that! Pick a diagnosis and someone will be doing something!

    I think it is fantastic you have done such work on yourself! People like you make me so happy! And despite doing other things that might help, you are also willing to admit that meds are needed. They always will be. I want to jump with joy!

    Stress is absolutely a Bipolar trigger. I’m sorry to hear you’re going through something terrible. I’m going through something pretty rough too, but I suppose my epilepsy has trumped my Bipolar? Or maybe not!

    Regardless, I still see you working hard to combat what you are going through. Definitely, for at least that, I want to thank you for sharing your story here. It displays a lot of courage and the fact that you’re still persevering. A lot of people need to hear that. Like a laundry list, people don’t hear SO many things. Moreover, they need to hear those things over and over to keep fighting.

    “Pill Head.” That’s funny, too. I’ve always said I don’t want to be a “Label Whore” but look at me! Bipolar, ADD, Asperger’s, Epilepsy, PTSD, Dissociative Amnesia, ED (yet to get a firm diagnosis or whatever, but my version is anorexia, not bulimia etc.) Ummm. Oh, Migraines, severe gastric problems that still remain unexplained.

    I think that’s it? O.o

    Take care,


  82. Hey There. I found your weblog using msn. This is a very smartly written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your helpful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.


  83. Hi Right here is a smart place to see about alcoholism treatment. Thank you very much for you compliments. They always mean a lot to me when given by readers. Ditto if the readers still want to come back and read more.


  84. ultraultras

    i´ve been diagnosed bp II over two years which was then changed to unipolar with a narc pd.

    To make a long story short i think i im being misdiagnosed.

    While there might be npd involved in dont believe narcissicist supply and such to be actual (major) drivers behind my mood swings. It is however hard to communicate this to doctors. My problem with this focus on a pd is that i fear that there is a certain confirmation bias attached to it. Each and every one of my moves/messages in therapy is being interpreted as a potential symptom/ criteria/confirmation for npd it seems – tbh i also feel the doc im talking to right now at the hospital isnt listening at all and just checks for DSM/ICD criteria and then tells me that whatever problem i tell her is a known symptom of the condition and thereby basically not further noteworthy.

    Anyway, i dont feel there is any sense with arguing about it and would rather do my own homework instead of hoping on external help (almost 3 years now and now with a NPD everyone is giving me the blame, since its seen as some form of voluntary character flaw or whatever). I dont deny having a PD, sure a comorbidity.. tbh i dont care. but i want the biochemical moodswings to lessen in amplitude and intervall..aka my life
    to be less of a living nightmare it has been. Im on valproic acid now (for two weeks), us brand name depakote
    and feel sedated but slightly better.. ive tried carbamazepine,lithium all kinds of other off label anticonvulsives
    and maybe 3-4 SSRI/SNRIs. My financial situation and income has been strong affected by productivity
    deficiencies (like… not being able to work for months sometimes) and my flat is practically un-inhabitable
    due to water damage.. I just got kicked out of a hospital (for one week as a “warning”) for being non-compliant after they gave me so much valproic acid i coudlnt go to the therapies and slept
    thru the whole day. tbh im basically very close to commiting suicide and not very confident in doctors
    hospitals, meds and .. myself. i do trust other patients however, thats y i thought it might a good idea to


  85. Hi ultraultras. Nice to meet you and welcome. I’m not sure if you’re still out there awaiting a reply, but I’m sorry it’s taken me so long. I have not been well.

    I’m sorry you’ve had (are having?) such difficulties with your doctors. And on that note, time for my massive, standard caveat: Dr. PA is not a real doctor!

    I have preached to a lesser degree how I dislike the content of the “Bibles” of our diagnoses, but more how they are used. Physicians need to listen to their patients to try and get a better understanding. This will hopefully yield a correct diagnosis, and then lead to proper treatment. It may end up being a long and frustrating journey, but at least you’re on the road.

    Now, if I understand you correctly, your current diagnosis is NPD and Unipolar Depression. However, they are currently giving you Depakote. Something’s not making sense to me here.

    ACs and Lithium are front line treatment for Bipolar. You don’t use them for Depression. I don’t think I’ve heard of someone with Depression taking ACs unless there was some very, special need, or mood shifting behaviour but…sorry, then you’re wandering into Bipolar territory!

    Just my thoughts. Thinking pharmacologically here. ADs (even shifting over to SNRIs) don’t work in the bean like ACs do at all!

    I’m very sorry for your hospital experience too! If they increase your medication while you are there, they should obviously know of the potential side effects. If you needed to sleep, that should have been understandable.

    I cannot speak for the world at large, either physician or patient, but there could be biases against people with Personality Disorders. I do not like to think in this manner at all.

    You may not like what I am going to say here though, but some of the issues may be because medication does not really work so well (if at all in) to treat them. Therapy is the way to go. Moreover, it can be somewhat challenging, as a therapist should be capable to handle their clients diagnosed as such. Moreover again, the individual must also commit to working with that therapist. If they don’t care, they will not stand a chance of feeling better in any regard.

    I really hope you haven’t attempted suicide before I’ve gotten back to you! Oh, dear, no!

    Now, I’m sure you won’t like hearing this? Well, I can’t be sure. I have had horrific experiences with doctors, nurses…sometimes indifference, whatever. But the only way I have managed to become the most stable in my life (right now) is to keep persevering. Keep trying to get the doctors to listen.

    These things might help?

    Make lists before you see them and emphasize certain points that are important to you. Things you find valid and things you feel need you need help with.

    Do mood charting. It’s amazing to look back and see where you’ve been because we forget!

    Do some journaling. It can help you get your thoughts and feelings out, write whatever, you can even use that as a reference for valid points. Even if those points are found while you’ve been screaming through your pen.

    So, I hope this has helped in some way. I wish you a better future for much better health.

    Take care,


  86. Sara

    Have you ever tried a low dose of Abilify…works wonders when your mind is spinning…stabilizes and boosts mood too. I took it with cogentin as I was having restlessness on high (15 mg) doses. 2-5 mg did the trick for me. Hope you get better soon :) take it one day at a time and get adequate rest.


  87. Hi Sara. Nice to meet you and welcome to my blog. And this HUGE post. But I do love it. It’s so great to talk about this issue.

    I have only taken APs twice (well three times with a variant.) Years ago, Dr. Asshole (my name for him which shouldn’t need explanation) was always pushing it on me. Hell, I was misdiagnosed anyway! MDD. Though, we finally got the Bipolar thing nailed down, but I refused his (not literally) pushing Zyprexa down my throat! My benzos were fine for my anxiety.

    Granted, this was a long time ago. Maybe six or seven years?

    Well, I finally blew a serious gasket so I agreed to the Zyprexa for temporary use. No kidding, temporary! Sorry, I don’t have enough money for a new wardrobe! I also felt fine at that point.

    Currently, I am on Seroquel and I use it for sleep. I need a serious wallop to my head as my insomnia has progressively gotten worse over the years. So, that as an AP doesn’t do much to keep me level. My ACs do. It’s been a long haul, but I’m on the BEST cocktail in my life. My Bipolar is fine.

    However, I shouldn’t dismiss the Seroquel so quickly, I suppose. I’d have to do some funky pharm. work and even then, with all of my other meds, it would be too sketchy.

    But if you want some brief pharm. information, I checked out Abilify. It might not work for me–well, it might make me go insane.

    A year or two ago, I was having a really hard time and I was prescribed Seroquel XR. AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! No, it made my head blow up! I figured the reason? It’s tiny, but a difference between the XR and the regular Seroquel.

    The XR hits the 5HT2A receptors and that’s also where the ADs zone in on. I can’t take ADs or I go completely mental. Thus, Abilify might do some “damage.” *grins*

    However, thank you so much for the suggestion. I really appreciate it. And yes, I’m trying to rest, as well.

    Take care,


  88. Kaneda


    This is a really interesting blog and a great resource. I feel lost and confused about my state and I wonder if you could maybe shed some light on it.

    I was misdiagnosed with depression many years ago and put on effexor 150mg, I took this for 8 years and when I finally found out I had OCD I stopped taking it. When I went off the medication I started having these rapid mood swings, roughly 3-4 times a day my mood would shift from normal > depressed > euphoria > normal I would always have this strange disconnected feeling as well just before the shift.

    I was then hospitalized with generalized anxiety disorder and put back on the medication, after about 6 months I started getting the mood swings again but this time the depression was much deeper and I had less euphoria moods. It would go normal > depressed > normal > depressed > happy > depressed> many times a day – I was diagnosed with depression and raised my effexor dose which just made me worse. Then my doc put me on zyprexa which helped a little but mostly kept the anxiety at bay, I was also put on cymbalta which did help the low moods.

    I have now stopped taking the zyprexa as the weight gain has gotten too much and the rapid mood cycling has started again, sad > normal > euphoria > sad > normal – I have told my doc but she just says it’s depression…

    What does it sound like to you and what should I do?



  89. Hi Kaneda. Nice to meet you and welcome. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. Even worse, since you asked me for some help and/or opinions. As I said to my last commenter, I hope you come back to read what I say here.

    Alright. As I always say and have said (how many times through this thread?) Dr. PA is not a real doctor! So please don’t take what I have to say from a true physician’s standpoint.

    First question: What were your moods like before you ever sought psychiatric help?

    Second question/s: What were your moods like when you were initially diagnosed with Depression? I’m assuming this is/was the first time you went for psychiatric help. What was going on then? Was there anything different from the above question?

    Third question/s: You said you stopped taking Effexor when you received the OCD diagnosis. Was this done under proper medical care and/or did you just stop cold turkey (either under medical care or on your own?)

    Fourth question/s: After you went off Effexor when you received the OCD diagnosis, you don’t mention taking any other meds. Were you not taking any other medication at this time? This is important as it ties into question/s #3.

    Fifth question/s: When you were hospitalized with GAD, how much Effexor did they give you? Did they titrate the dose or just give you whatever dose they chose?

    Sixth question/s: You mentioned a second diagnosis of Depression. Did the doctors do that when you were inpatient and diagnosed with GAD? Did they then increase the dose? What dose did you finally end up on when you were discharged?

    Seventh question: How do you feel about your OCD and how it affects you?

    NOTE: You do not have to answer any of these questions if you do not feel comfortable in doing so. That is completely fine.

    Well, fuck me all to hell!

    Initially a wrong diagnosis of Depression (whether known at the time or not.) Put on one med and you’re still floundering; still unwell. Why was nothing else tried if you were still sick? Although I know later meds were introduced–that will be addressed.

    Then you get an OCD diagnosis and were you left with NO medication? The last time I checked (about a nanosecond ago) you need to be on meds for OCD (or damn well should be) if it’s making you ill! There are lots of meds in the arsenal for it!

    Going on and off meds repeatedly can affect their efficacy. That is not carved in stone, however. It can depend upon the person, the diagnosis etc.

    I’m also a little confused why your doctor was having such a love affair with Effexor. Or maybe she was having a love affair with the Big Pharma Rep. who supplied it to her. Granted, I’ve been there with Dr. Asshole (former family physician.)

    Next on the menu. GAD? I fail to understand where we go from Depression, to OCD, and then to GAD. Then you’re put back on the same drug. On/off/on/off… I’m starting to get a bit frustrated here. Is anyone paying attention to you? Is anyone paying attention to anything?

    I hope you’re still with me. This is very long. It’s going to get longer as there are several scenarios here–and some are rather complex. All of this is rather complex. Nonetheless, the most paramount issue period, is that Effexor is not a good med for you. Not as I see it.

    The OCD. OCD can cause some pretty wild mood swings.
    My ruling? I don’t think OCD can cause mood swings of this nature. Not this fast.

    Taking Effexor as an AD and you actually having a Bipolar diagnosis. Two camps: those that can take ADs; those that can’t. I’m in the latter. Taking an AD will make me spin out of control and I don’t exist! Only my insane and reckless Bipolar exists.

    You could be in my camp, then. You can’t take ADs. And yet, I see you were on Cymbalta. That’s an AD.

    Were you taking Effexor at the same time as the Cymbalta?

    Having Bipolar, taking Cymbalta and “being in my camp?” That might chuck that whole notion out the window! Unless…you are Bipolar and can manage to tolerate some SSRIs. Effexor is a SNRI. Irrespective of pharmacology, the Cymbalta didn’t do much for you anyway.

    The APs. Yes, Zyprexa can be brutal for the weight gain. I was on it once too. Still, I don’t think it (or the other APs) can fuck up your brain in the way you describe things. The Cymbalta didn’t make you wig out. The Zyprexa didn’t make you wig out.

    Which I think now leaves me with my final verdict. I think you have some type of diagnosis on the Bipolar Scale.

    People who are diagnosed with Depression might feel good, great, and maybe what they or others think is euphoric. But then, not with such an immediate crash afterward. If you’re cycling as fast as you say, it’s Ultradian. We’re here! We’re out there! We’re everywhere!

    As I said in comments above, I was happy that the medical profession was getting up to speed. I’m sorry your doctor hasn’t yet. Maybe you could go in and state: “No, I think the problem is that I’m Bipolar.”

    Even with just that, any decent physician should start asking questions re: Bipolar and how you feel etc. in terms of the diagnosis. If your doctor is still insistent it’s Depression? Maybe it’s time to see someone else. It took me years to convince Dr. Asshole that I had Bipolar.

    First line treatment for Bipolar? ACs. Or the only drug that is a Mood Stabilizer: Lithium. You don’t treat Bipolar front line with ADs or APs. They would be considered as adjuncts if required. Also, you might even need to be on two ACs–one as an adjunct. Then, maybe toss in an AP!

    You never know but who cares? The whole point is to be well–or as well as we all can be.

    I hope this helped, and I really hope you can get proper help soon too. Thank you as well for your compliments about my blog. That means a lot.

    Take care,


  90. Tim

    Rapid cycling…don’t know what to do


  91. Hi Tim. I hope you’re still out there and reading. I’m so sorry for not getting back to you sooner. My computer is falling apart and I’m losing emails and… Well, more importantly you!

    When I saw this, ARGH! I couldn’t get on your comment fast enough! As soon as I saw it, instant worry! Thus, I hope you’ll still come back looking for me for my answer.

    First, if it’s really bad, go straight to hospital. Immediately! If you’re really scared of your thoughts or any types of things that may happen at all, I beg of you to do it!

    I don’t know you. I don’t know if you’ve been to hospital before. Some people have; some people not. But I always say, you will thank yourself so much later! You’ll be in a safe place where people can get a chance to straighten things out for you.

    If you’re still hanging on reasonably enough, see your doctor ASAP! I don’t know what meds you’re on, if you’re on any, but there may need to be some adjustments made.

    I really hope you do come back. I’m still here. I’d like to know how you’re doing since you left this comment.

    Take care,


  92. katie

    hello there. i stumbled upon the word ultradian today while doing my daily attempt of self diagnosis, and i feel it might be my answer, but i’m still skeptical. i have been trying to self diagnose myself much more recently because i honestly can’t take how i feel everyday. i know i am going to sound vague but i am not so open on the whole therapy/medication mumbo jumbo and don’t really like the world knowing whats going on inside my head. I have refused zoloft my family doctor attempted to give me in summer of 2010 and refused wellbutrin in late 2010 (i fear weight gain from losing 90lbs starting 2009 to present day [i was a little whale], and i’d rather die from suicide then be fat again to tell you the truth) i value my life as next to nothing and have thought about killing myself everyday pretty much for atleast 4 years ever since i lost practically everything back in december of 2007 (i would say shock covered a good portion of the first year). but dont worry about that im still here been here same pain for all this time and i havent pulled any triggers yet. i know trauma has ruined me and using drugs the past five and a half years has only made it worse, but i don’t plan on stopping the self medicating because id probably already be worm chow if it wasn’t for them as trashy as that makes me sound, it’s just survival. (sorry this is going to be all over the place i drank a lot of tequila last night to shut down my brain and spent a good portion of my time puking instead) i have been cycling a lot more as it approaches december, and its becoming uncontrollable again. everything covering rage, despair, guilt, worthlessness sadness, bouncing off the walls with happiness, hopeful, optimistic then by this point i’m researching gun prices at cabelas lol. i went to a therapist at the college i went to for like two months and i scared her and my roommate to the point of its either go to the psych ward or we cant be responsible for finding you dangling from the ceiling. i don’t want to do therapy and i don’t want to take any anti-psychotics or anti-depressants nothing like that i just need to stop experiencing every emotion and never knowing if today ill get to be happy for most of the day or am i going to have to deal with a complete mental shutdown of self loathing. i read that fish oil has been helping even if i may also have thyroid problems (i have very thin hair and other symptoms) and was wondering if you’ve heard of natural ways to maybe stabilize the mood swings like fish oil. i know people look at me like well if you dont want to open up to a therapist and you don’t want to take drugs that alter chemicals in your brain yet you’ve been doing drugs for the past five years then you don’t really want help but that could not be further from the truth. i feel more hopeless and confused that i’d rather kill myself then be on ssri’s and feel very, very strongly about it. sorry my post is probably more of a splurge of emotion, but it felt good to type it out. it makes more sense to me obviously but any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. thank you very much for your story and help.



  93. Hi katie. Welcome and thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad that it helped to get things out and made you feel better. However, you might not like to hear what I have to say.

    In a state of twisted irony, I’m sitting here having a beer with only another left in my fridge. I was all over Twitter last night about how bloody awful it was to be an addict. I have to stop. There was a time I did but it was because it began to cause me migraines. I wish that would start to happen again as it made it simple.

    I swear I don’t want to hurt you with this, any of this entire reply, but katie, you’re an addict. Just like me. And it is not trashy, a character flaw, it is an illness. Just like Bipolar is an illness as well!

    You won’t be able to even start getting into psych issues until the self-medication cycle stops that you say is keeping you alive. We want it, we need it, we crave it, we’ll get it anywhere we can. Although, that is also your body talking; not just your mind.

    I know I may be sounding contradictory here but I have realized I am an addict and I know when it’s out of control. Then I have to deal with it. It fucks up everything! Me, my health (both physical and mental) people I know, people I don’t know. God! Everything!

    You’ve got to get clean. Or, there is a possibility of working on both at the same time. Something called “Concurrent Disorders.” At least that’s what we call it in Canada.

    Next, the moods. This is rather a coin toss or two coins in your pocket. Are the drugs causing the mood changes, could it be Bipolar? Or is it both? Are you getting what I’m trying to say?

    Hell, a first go ’round of crack could be enough to end up giving drug induced psychosis in susceptible or certain individuals. Not that I am saying you are experiencing psychotic episodes.

    The fear of meds and weight gain. I am assuming some Eating Disorder business, but you didn’t mention. It seems clear to me if you don’t mind me saying so.

    Drugs are a pain in the ass. Especially the SSRIs that are used (primarily) for Depression. You have to take them for about a month to see if they work and/or to what degree. Not right, try another. Side effects intolerable? Try another. It works but the side effects are…? Risk benefit analysis. Keep your head together and handle the side effects or not.

    If you actually do have Bipolar, you shouldn’t be given SSRIs right off the hop. Front/First Line treatment are Anticonvulsants or Lithium. The Anticonvulsants are better than the SSRIs as you pretty much won’t have to wait too long. The only exception is Lamictal that requires a slow titration. No one in their right mind should be giving you SSRIs and/or Atypical Antipsychotics for Bipolar as a first med!

    Those two meds can be added as an adjunct to stabilize you later. Sometimes you may need two Anticonvulsants. Some people (me) can’t take any Antidepressants as they exacerbate my Bipolar. And yet some other people can! We’re all different.

    I’m so, so sorry you’ve had such awful experiences with people in the health care field. Not everyone is like that though.

    The fish oil? The amount you have to take to see if it even works at all for Bipolar is MASSIVE! It’s not like a salmon steak on your plate or some swigs out of a bottle. Moreover, there are certain health remedies that come with side effects and can also exacerbate your Bipolar. Yep. Totally contraindicated.

    Finally? Be careful with what you read on the Internet. HA! You’re reading me right now! What I mean to say is, don’t fall into the really big trap of “cyberchondria” as it is known. You can’t diagnose yourself, just like you can’t be your own therapist–no matter how hard you try! You need professionals who will work with you to get the job done.

    So, I hope this hasn’t offended you in any way. It was all I could say based upon what I know and what I feel.

    Take care,


  94. Mark

    Me.: 62 years old, 21 year history of rapid cycling. Before the diagnosis, history of depression and suicidal ideation. Several drugs tried, early on, and all caused severe side effects. Began working in 1992 as a courier, got on Nimitop(calcium channel blocker which had been used, successfully, at NIH but couldn’t afford it after being discharged. Didn’t get it unitl I got married in 1995 and on my wife’s insurance. It worked for a few months, then I developed pains in the chest. Knew it was the drug. End of story.)

    Essentially, unmedicated for 13 years while working, then, like a boomerang, my cycling came roaring back and slammed me in the head. Could no longer work full time, so worked part time in a less stressful field, but by degrees, I was getting worse. By 2011, couldn’t work. Applied for SSDI and got it in two months.

    Cycle nearly constantly, even in my sleep(charitably calling 5 to 6 hours a night ‘sleep’), extremely irritable, feeling hopeless and helpless, loss of libido and ED(marriage has been more like hand to hand combat, not literally, but my wife is alcoholic and has some kind of mood or psychologial problems which she refuses to acknowledge). My life has become a living hell. Have new insurance and going to see a new psychiatrist, who has quite impressive credentials, at the end of February. Not very hopeful but one must still remain hopeful even in the face of what appears to be a hopeless situation. If feel like a very old man who’s going to die, soon. I hope I’m wrong and I come roaring back like the Boss Mustang doing a quarter of a mile, balls to the wall.


  95. Hi Mark. I’m sorry it’s taken me SO long to get back to you. I hope you’re still around as you mentioned some things happening at the end of February. I’d really like to hear how that turned out!

    A Calcium Channel Blocker, huh? Alright, now I’m a bit curious about what happened before that!

    Were you initially diagnosed with Depression, or did they get it right the first time that you had Bipolar? The reason I ask is that I was initially diagnosed with Depression. It was hell. For a very long time. Until everybody got it right!

    I can not take Antidepressants. They make me cycle like crazy! Some people with Bipolar can take them without any problems. I also had some of the most insane and rare side effects on them.

    So, I’m curious if you ended up going down that route. What did they give you? What happened?

    If they pegged you with Bipolar right off the bat, I’m still wondering the same. What did they give you and what happened. You said you tried several drugs and the side effects were really bad.

    If it was all messed up, that may have been the problem! I cannot scream it enough, how angry I get, when I hear people who are Bipolar being treated with the wrong meds!!!

    First line treatment are Anticonvulsants or the Mood Stabilizer Lithium. I’ve heard people with Bipolar only on an Atypical Antipsychotic alone, only Antidepressants, it makes me want to tear my hair out!!!

    That said, you could be getting entirely inappropriate treatment.

    Which brings me to the Calcium Channel Blocker. This could be really nuts. No, seriously BAD nuts.

    That category of drug is used to treat people with heart disease. I fail to see the logic of it being used to treat Bipolar! There are TWO reasons for this. First the minor, then the major.

    1. IF this drug were to work in ANY way as an Anticonvulsant, it only targets specific neuronal activity in certain areas of the brain. That, my friend, is moving into Epilepsy Land. Not Bipolar Land.

    2. Calcium Channels are VERY important regarding the major neurotransmitters that are all involved with psych disorders and DEFINITELY Bipolar. They are actually charged. They are voltage controlled, and act like little gates with positive and negative energy.

    A Calcium Channel Blocker would affect the voltage of those little gates or channels. Thus, the neurotransmitters could (and damn well would I say!) have a really hard time trying to work through to your brain and achieve any chance of assuming a proper balance.

    Okay, I just saw you developed pains in your chest. I got a little excited(?) over the CCB and how nutty it was for treatment. You wrote you started to have pains in your chest.

    Need I say more with it being a med used to treat heart problems? It was no doubt trying to treat you for a heart problem you did not have. So, it started to try and give you one!

    Being unmedicated for 13 years and having your Bipolar come back like a sledgehammer does not surprise me in the least. I was only untreated for a little over half that time until I crashed like a kite in a tornado.

    I’m sorry things are really messy on the home front. Maybe with some adequate treatment it will be easier for you to deal with that and get things sorted. There’s nothing like two untreated people trying to live together, or communicate period, even if they don’t live together. I’ve been there!

    I admire your positive outlook and the strength that you are still carrying for your appointment (that you’ve already had!) I hope it went well.

    I also thank you for sharing your story here as well. It can be very daunting for people to do that. This is one of my most popular posts and it’s helped a lot of people. You have done that too by adding your comment.

    Ah, hell! I’m going to email you that I finally came by. I definitely, definitely would like to hear an update if you wish to let me know. It can be within this post or even via email.

    Take care,


  96. chrissy

    Hi I don’t have ultradian cycling manic depression but my boyfriend does he has been uncontrollable since he was a kid outbursts the whole nine yards he has been locked up…seen doctors physcs been told many things then finally a doctor told him he had this said he had never seen it before only read about it but unfortunately my boyfriend has been to so many that he had learned to out smart them at times he’s so good and normal other times he is unbearable I can tell he knos wats at times other I truely don’t think he does I’m worried about him it has affected his relationship with his family enormously some want nothing to do with him doctors have tried giving him everything even highest doses of stuff but wat didnt make him worse its like after a while his body gets immune to all of them he’s a really nice person wen he’s not going crazy I just wanting some advice from people who actually know wat he’s going through not people who think they know… I’m not giving up on him!! Not easily anyway! I just need advice on little things like how to approach outbursts or conversations weirdly enough I know its gonna be aa bad one cus he starts craving salt…. lol idk plz advice anyone…?


  97. Hi chrissy. Welcome to my blog and I am so sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I don’t know if you’re still out there, but here I am in response!

    Thank you for coming to this post and leaving a comment. It was very personal in its detail so I admire you for sharing it. Everyone here deserves it for trying to help each other. This is one of my most popular posts so it shows how important this issue is.

    Wow! What a comment! Well, one good thing is that you are both aware of the fact that your boyfriend is an Ultradian Cycler. A lot of people don’t get that far. Meaning, no recognition at all! Shame, shame, shame on the medical profession!!!

    I’m not quite sure if I can help you with some very specific things you mentioned but I’ll try my best. Your comment is very complicated. You’ve drilled down into some deep and specific inquiries. However, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!!!

    I wanted to scream that for you and every reader. Say whatever you want on my blog!!! This is a safe, free and open space. I want to hear and know anything and everything from everyone. I believe other readers do also.

    Alright, let’s begin with meds.

    You haven’t provided me with any specific ones, any order, combinations etc. Therefore, Dr. PA (who is not a real doctor!!!) can’t offer you too much there.

    All I can say is that first line treatment for Bipolar are Anticonvulsants or the true/only Mood Stabilizer: Lithium. If he is being treated with other things, there may be problems.

    Another thing is that there are some people with Bipolar (like me!) who go positively through the roof if I/they take Antidepressants. Some people with Bipolar can; some cannot. He may be like me?

    Family. Oh, boy. I don’t know you, your boyfriend or anyone in your family! Let’s see.

    Well, if some of them no longer want anything to do with him, they clearly (or clearly to me) are practising massive stigmatization. They are refusing to accept he has an illness. How do/would they feel about other people with Bipolar?

    This is just my opinion. I am a huge advocate for anyone who is…you get the idea.

    Perhaps if someone were to (gently) remind them of this fact? This is very difficult to control because it is a “medical condition?” Again, in my opinion, if they refuse to accept him for who he is, all of this, they are not worth knowing anyway.

    How to approach him when he’s having an episode? Really freaking out?

    I’ll start by giving you an example of me having one of my Complex Partial seizures. People who have them are very calm and are in no way violent. I am always unconscious for mine but they look completely at home in their environment. Nonetheless, a totally: “The lights are on but nobody’s home!”

    They (I) will not respond to any stimuli you give me, even if it’s a gentle touch. However, if you touch someone in any violent or provocative way, they can have the tendency to get rather aggressive. It happened to me once and later I was told I started throwing bar coasters around and damn near took the bartender’s eye out!!!

    So, no touch? It might make things worse?

    Gentle speech? Perhaps something repetitive that he might recognize as something calming that is very, very personal? Either from his life, the two of yours together? Repeating that it’s you talking to him? Repeating that it is you, you love him and you want to help?

    Actually, maybe leave that last part out? The resonance and repetition of the word “help” might be a trigger. Maybe even a BIG one if he’s heard it so much from doctors etc.

    What do you think of that? Again, I’m not sure what to say. I’m just trying to come up with ideas to try and not make things worse, but also to try and make things better at the same time.

    Salt, huh? That’s interesting. Well, the only thing I can say about is that it’s really good too. It means you’ve got a warning sign. A red flag. I sure don’t!

    Take care chrissy and I really hope you come back.

    I’d like to hear more from you and also let me know what you think of my response.


  98. Mark


    It’s Mark. Some interesting news and maybe hope for some of us rapid and ultradian cyclers. Research is indicating that perhaps up to almost half of people afflicted with treatment resistant rapid or ultra rapid cycling have sleep apnea. So, with abstracts in hand, saw my primary and he ordered an in lab sleep study(a polysomnagram). My insurance company agreed and I was diagnosed with mild sleep apnea. Don’t let the word ‘mild’ deceive you. My degree of apnea leaves me sleepy all day, moody, edgy and is probably screwing up my hormones, as well as causing me to gain weight.

    Seeing the neurologist in two weeks. He’s recommending a CPAP machine(it was in the interpretation of my study). Though I’m pleased at the diagnosis, I’m setting the bar low for the treatment so as not to be disappointed if it takes some time for it to work or the treatment needs to be fine tuned(inevitable it probably will).

    Hope you’re doing as well as any of us can, living in the bipolar universe.


  99. Hey Mark! Good to see you hon!

    Wow. That’s pretty interesting. Actually, more than! And as always, don’t hand your doctors stuff from that thar intarweb:

    a) Unless you know they are the type of doctor where you’re sure they are willing to accept it.

    b) It’s not crap! Nothing anecdotal, what “Professional” websites say, nope. Peer reviewed papers. If you find enough of that, then perhaps some of the above if it is extremely well supported.

    That’s what you did, so Aces High!!!

    In my 20s, I had some periods of Sleep Apnea. It feels pretty weird and almost scary, doesn’t it? There you are, off fading into…zzzzz… Huge gasps where it feels like you’re drowning!

    I remember always sitting bolt up and trying to breathe like crazy! It didn’t happen that often, so I didn’t bother talking to my doctor about it. It’s worse if you smoke too.

    Aces High again for getting that referral! I’m not sure on CPAPs. However, from what I’ve heard from people that use them, they say it does help.

    I also agree about setting the bar. It’s the best thing that Harvard is doing now. Part epilepsy; part moods. Do you know Harvard? That would be me.

    Extremely complex (in part to me being an Ultradian Cycler as well!!!) It’s also one of so few options (count on one hand!) to help me when I lost the fucking Clobazam! You know about that, right?

    So, overwhelming and meaningful. Non-Arsey Neuro has given me FULL control of my treatment and guidance over my entire health and brain. He respects my medical knowledge THAT much! Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. *tears*

    Already on Topamax and Lamictal, but the new doses were doubling my Lamictal and tripling my Topamax–with no titration! He gave me my Degree to practise from Harvard as it was the best school *laughing*

    He’s still there, of course. It’s like we’re two Neurologists passing by in hospital, asking one for an opinion or thoughts, on a “case.”

    I’ve noticed wild patterns with the meds as I’ve been working with though! Bloody Hell! What would another Neurologist do to me?!?!

    One is truly astounding! I have to take divided doses and I now know why he prescribed them so high. I (might) FUCKING NEED THEM THAT HIGH!!! Check it!

    Being off the Clobazam for SO long, it’s screwed up my Bipolar because I was undermedicated. I’m now BP I, BP II and Ultradian. Can you believe?

    So, I still have a lot to play with, but this is shocking. I start to cycle roughly 3-5 hours after I wake up. It doesn’t matter what time. It’s been about 5 hours since I started writing this. I am totally manic. Not hypomanic.

    Knock your socks off?

    And I know…email.

    And I know, should take my meds. This is SO bad. Never being BP I and manic is pretty fun! I’m totally awful. I’m just enjoying this so much right now!!!

    Okay. Med time.


    Oh, wait!!! NO seizures since the beginning of August!!! Moving in the right way? God, I hope so.


  100. Mark


    Sounds like you’re have the time of your life!!! Even though you’re a Neuro without portfolio, see a few a patients and send them a bill for the consult. Four patients@ $250 a pop…easy grand. Put on an accent and tell them you’re visiting from Takostan, which is near Salsastan and Coronastan.

    As Jimmy Buffett said to Alan Jackson in “It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere”, keep your boat between the buoys.

    This is a universal truth: Only someone else or others who have the same illness or condition can understand. I always compare inhabiting the world of severe pscyh illness to combat veterans. You had to have gone through it and live with the after effects to really understand it. To ‘normals'(whatever that is and whoever they are) think we’re just strange or difficult to live with or relate to. If my wife has been reading up on ultradian cycling, she hasn’t shared it with me, so I doubt that she has. And like a damn fool, I’m still trying to be ‘normal’. If I lived by myself, I could just be who I am and let my brain and body run at there own cycles. Have a good therapist, in addition to my pdoc, and it’s great to be able to unload my head every week. More and more, I feel like I’m going to explode or crash and burn. I feel like a nuclear reactor at critical mass. Not a great place to be.

    Yes, I do hope the CPAP straightens out my sleep, ’cause my sleep is getting weirder. What you’re going through sucks shit big time. It’s not ‘one step forward, two steps back’. More like ‘one step forward, TEN steps back’. We have to laugh about how fucked up things get even though they’re miserable to live through and live with. Laughter may be the ONLY best medicine.s(Well,some good weed, too, but not legal here, yet. Got that NSA? They’re just 15 miles up the road from me. Maybe I’d like Guantanamo, lol.)

    Take care, sweetie. Glad to know that you’re still hanging in and hanging on.


  101. Hi Mark. Just like the last comment I responded to, haven’t forgotten you but things are a bit to overwhelming now.

    So I’m hanging on to your comment (and anyone else who comments!) until my head clears.

    Thanks hon.


  102. Michele

    I’m a self diagnosed ultradian cycler. My mood changes on a dime in minutes. I love it and so does my friends, because I’m the entertainer


  103. Hi Michele. Nice to meet you and welcome to my Blog.

    I’ve heard a lot of people say the same thing. I just worry about a huge crash that might creep up out of nowhere, or worse, one that eventually won’t stop with the cycling.

    I hope that doesn’t happen to you!

    Take care,


  104. Michelle

    Your story is somewhat similar to my own. I’m 37 and have been battling with depression and mood swings since my early twenties. Going to the doctor for treatment only led to treatment with antidepressants that did not do good things for me. So I would go back for a different kind of would get discouraged and would go untreated for years. My mom had been telling me for years that she thought I was bipolar but I argued with her that wasn’t the case. I really started paying attention to my cycling after having children and getting married. Then I used a kind of birth control that really sent my cycling haywire. My husband endured so much dealing with the different moods every other week or so. It really took a toll on my marriage. We separated and divorced and that had it’s own effects. The longer I kept denying there was a “problem” the worse I became. From every few months, to every few weeks, to every other week, to every few days and more and more frequently. My own children weren’t sure what mood I was going to be in. When it was at its worst was almost three years ago when I attempted suicide. I was hospitalized for behavioral health and then referred to outpatient psychiatry. I just let it all out. Everything that had been going on for at least the last ten years more. I left with a diagnosis but no gain in understanding it. Now began the combination of recognizing my own behaviors and the rollercoaster ride of failed medications after another. Finding one that worked well for one aspect and keeping it. As well as failing the treatments for stabilizing my moods. I was still cycling every day. Multiple times. My depression was successfully being treated. My anxiety as well. My mood swings remained a storm of epic proportions. After failing at 4 different “mood stabilizers” and refusing lithium treatment (because I was scared of it) I had a breakthrough with a new resident at the clinic I went to. She suggested a drug that within the first week began showing a change. That was 9 months ago. This new medicine was finally the missing ingredient to the right “cocktail” specific to me. I have read articles trying to understand more about what I was going through. Always coming across those that deny the existence of ultra-rapid cycling and ultradian cycling but I can say that I have lived it! It has been one wild ride and some areas in my life have suffered but knowing now what was going on helps me stay on track with my daily dosing and treatment. I know what the alternative is and I don’t want to ever go back.


  105. Hi Michelle. Nice to meet you. Welcome to my Blog, if you haven’t been here before.

    I’m glad you could identify with my Post and relate to it. Not so much the messy
    parts, I suppose, but you can’t take the “messy parts” out of Bipolar.

    I am very impressed by your courage, strength and honesty, in sharing things so authentically here. I want to thank you for allowing everyone to hear your experiences.

    One of my primary goals here, is to create a positive, open space where we can all engage in whatever capacity we choose, about whatever topic we choose! It doesn’t even have to be restricted to my Blog. Also, this is not a “Fun Restricted Blog” either!

    I should also thank you for another thing as well, Michelle. I haven’t touched my Blog in a long time. Although, more recently due to “technical difficulties.”

    Let’s see about that now, shall we?


  1. 1 Searching for Serenity: My Bipolar Experience | The Cadie Chronicles

    […] like Patient Anonymous, my problems began primarily as unprovoked unipolar depression in small doses when I was eight and […]


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