I feel fantastic today. As soon as I woke up I could tell the depression was gone. I’m back to feeling like me, but on a good day (as the Berocca advert is fond of saying).
I’ve had this experience of rapid-cycling depression quite a few times in recent years. And I’m not just talking about a normal everyday experience of going from feeling a bit sad, through to having a good day.
My mood can swing from severe depression (suicidal ideation, hopelessness) right through to having a very good day, within 24 hours. The change is really quite extreme.
I’m not a psychiatrist or psychologist, and it’s inadvisable to self-diagnose, but this rapid cycling sounds a bit like type II bipolar disorder.
[UPDATE: A friend reminded me: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is another possibility which I’ve considered before.]
I don’t usually experience mania (9-10 on the scale below)… other than perhaps for the 2-3 weeks after taking a huge amount of DXM in mid-August, when a psychiatric nurse felt I was experiencing drug-induced psychosis.
I did a quick bit of Googling this morning. At 10pm last night, I’d say my mood was between 1 and 2 on this scale. At 7am this morning, I’d say was between 6 and 7. Right now (10-11am) I’d say I’m somewhere between 7 and 8.
This seems to fit with type II bipolar… you get hypomania (7-8) but not full-blown mania (9-10).
Interestingly, at the peak of my recent psychosis, I’d say I was mostly an 8, though I was also experiencing religious/spiritual delusions/hallucinations (10) and I had severely disrupted sleep (9). My wife said at times I wasn’t making any sense (incoherent – 9)… although I felt I was making perfect sense. (With hindsight I wish I’d recorded my verbal conversations – I’m sure I was still making sense, it’s just that the ideas were flowing through me so rapidly that it would be hard for anyone else to keep up.)
It’s also worth pointing out that I didn’t experience all of the symptoms listed on the above chart, though I was experiencing quite a few of them. I don’t feel at any point I was paranoid and vindictive (9), though with hindsight, I did slightly misinterpret some things other people said.
Anyway, I’m due to see a psychiatrist for the first time in my life later this month. I’ll be sure to let them know about this rapid-cycling. It’ll be interesting to see what they say.
Looking back on the drug-induced psychosis from August, it seems premature to dismiss it all as “just down to drug misuse”. I’m now wondering if the drugs triggered and exacerbated an episode of mania… there does seem to be a fair amount of evidence that I may have underlying type II bipolar disorder, which the drugs simply made worse.
This makes it especially disappointing that my two friends, Jane and Brian, were so dismissive of my experiences (“oh it’s all just the drugs“), especially when Jane had initially been so supportive. BUT… I’m trying to stop obsessing over how upset I feel about the way these two ex-friends treated me… it just makes me feel depressed and hopeless… and I’m pretty sure they don’t care nearly as much about the loss of my friendship as I care about the loss of theirs.
Anyway! The point of this blog post was supposed to be about black holes! (Damn it, maybe I really am slightly manic – having trouble staying focussed!)
The above image is from an email sent out by New Scientist magazine a couple of days ago. Remember when I recently blogged about what happens when you pass through a black hole?! Seems like New Scientist are stealing my idea! (This is a joke, I don’t really think this. But it is an interesting coincidence).
As you get closer to a black hole, time slows down. This can be thought of as a form of time travel. But I’m betting that Emma Osborne didn’t reach the same conclusion as me about what happens when you cross the event horizon… that you actually travel into the interior of another human’s unconscious mind! Haha!
OK, now I seem to be doing quite a good job of convincing the world I am totally crazy. If you think that, please relax. I’m just a bit eccentric and unafraid of unusual ideas.
I’m perfectly sane… I think.