Rapid cycling is described as a pattern in an individual’s bipolar disorder. The individual must experience at least four or more episodes in one year. These episodes can be either manic or depression, I’m not sure if mixed episodes count. My specific diagnosis is Bipolar 1, rapid cycling, with psychosis. Maybe, my previous post where I was wondering if I was crashing is just another part of my rapid cycling. That could be why it feels like my episodes come in waves; they happen so often I have a hard time keeping track of them all.

People who are rapid cyclers can still crash; I guess the crash just doesn’t last as long. However, rapid cycling is a diagnosis that is not necessarily permanent. It can change as time goes on. A person’s bipolar symptoms tend to change with time, generally based on their experiences and treatment. This makes it possible for the rapid cycling diagnosis to be temporary for most individuals, although the diagnosis can come and go.

I find rapid cycling difficult to manage. Just when it seems as if I’m getting a handle on current emotional status and its symptoms, my episode changes to something else. Lately, it’s changing slowing, which is nice, but it’s hard to keep up with. One day, I can be cleaning, getting stuff done, and reaching out to others, and then the next day I can’t get off the couch. It usually takes me a couple of days to mentally realize and accept my current state, and that is extremely difficult when things are always changing.

I have a couple of questions. Is it even possible to cycle daily or weekly? What I find tells me that rapid cyclers usually cycle at least four times a year. Are there any other individuals diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar? Do mixed episodes count towards rapid cycling? It would be great if anyone wanted to tell me about their experiences; I would appreciate hearing from you and finding out how often you cycle and how you handle your cycles.

2 thoughts on “Rapid Cycling

  1. I have rapid cycling. Sometimes I have mood shifts within the same day or week, but I also have big cycles of mania and depression. I’m pretty sure I have more episodes of mania than depression, but I think my depressive episodes last a little longer. Or maybe they just feel longer. Depression tends to be that way. I don’t have very much time at all where I’m leveled out. I slip fairly quickly into the next episode. It sucks. I think that is part of the issue with meds. Rapid cycling is hard to control and it seems like it is always shifting.

    I’m not sure if mixed episodes count or not. I see my psych next week so I’ll ask. I definitely have more than 4 big cycles per year but I’m not sure how many…I keep having these periods of time where I stop tracking my mood. I’m trying to do better with that. I know it’s important.

    I’ve had severe chronic sleep issues my whole life, even as a young child. I wonder if that contributes to becoming a rapid cycler or not. I know sleep is very important with bipolar, but I doubt there’s been any specific study on that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for sharing. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I too have chronic sleep issues, but only since my early teenage years. Right now, the Clozapine puts me to sleep really quickly and I even sleep through the night. It’s a good thought about sleep problems contributing to rapid cycling.

      I truly hope you find a solution to your sleep problems.


Leave a Reply to My Side of the Pole Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s