Cyclothymia (or cyclothymic disorder) is a personality disorder.
It’s bipolar’s slightly younger, highly annoying little sister. She tries to emulate bipolar in every way she can, but gets it a bit wrong along the way. On the surface they look the same, they even sound the same, it just comes to how they both behave that differs.
I was misdiagnosed for years because of this. I was always asked by professionals if I ever felt moments of “happiness” and the answer was (is) always simple – no. I don’t. Hypomania is always misconstrued as elation, an invincible high, like a helium balloon caught in a breeze, and most commonly – happiness.
I don’t experience it like that, I’ve come to fear the highs just as I absolutely dread the periods of low mood, or minor depression as the official term is. With the highs, I find it easier to do things, I want to do things, I want to do everything all at once. My mind will pinball around hundreds of different ideas, it’ll settle on one thing, one idea, one plan for a nanosecond before zooming off to the next. I may look happy on the outside, I may sound more animated and alive, but invariably I’ll be getting frustrated with not being able to settle on anything, I’ll become irritable and inevitably, I’ll lose my temper as my mind feels like it’s vibrating with thoughts and I’ll want to curl up in a ball just to make it all stop.
It gives you the air of self confidence that you know what you’re doing when really you know anything but. It makes it impossible to trust your own judgement – is this actually a good idea or am I manic?
Hymomania also comes along with other, stranger symptoms; I get easily overwhelmed by too much noise, as it feels as if sounds are jumbling up with my zooming thoughts. I can’t listen and have a tendancy to interupt conversation with whatever pops into my head.
I don’t think I need to go too far into explaining this one.
I have a tough time with describing depression as minor, as far as I’m concerned, depression is depression. For me it’s the bone crushing inability to do anything. It’s world wide indifference. It’s staying in bed all day. It’s not bothering to look after myself or shower. It’s not bothering to speak because what’s the point? It’s simply not caring. It’s numbness and it’s pain.
Now we know the moods I experience, one of the biggest things with cyclothymia is how rapidly these moods can swing and change. I can go from one end of the spectrum to the other in hours, if not minutes when I’m triggered by something stressful or exciting. When I’m in a bad spell and my medication isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do, I frankly don’t know how I feel, I may have been fine in the morning but high by lunch and down again by the evening.
I was diagnosed with cyclothymia in February 2016, for the forseeable future I will need to take mood stabilisers (traditionally known as anti-psychotics) to balance the swinging scales of my moods and anti-depressants so my lows aren’t as bad as they could be. I’m not writing this for an ounce of sympathy or pity, just simply in the hope that one day maybe, it’ll help someone.