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Ok, so I worked it out a year or five ago that I'm ultradian bipolar. I go from utterly despairingly suicidal, to wildly enthusiastic puppy, to bitterly dysphoric several times a day, every day for years and years. (I'm downhill of 40).

But I cope.

Sort of.

I've learnt to try hide the manic phase, try expend it on something creative and useful. I have a mental prop on the depressed phase (I'll not kill myself while the children still need me.) I rage and rant and troll on the 'net when dysphoric. I walk/run out of the house if I sense I'm going to do something that will hurt those I love.

I'm semi-functional in society.

Sort of.

I'm tired now. Very tired.

Tell me, are the at least once a week or worse, agonising sick in a bucket tension headaches a common factor with ultradian? I'm eating much more paracetamol / codeine than is good for me.

I have kept away from the trickcyclists up to now. I have watched people around me go to them, and they seem to be very mixed blessings. Looking on the 'net, it seems to me they really haven't got a clue what to do with ultradians anyway.

I collect what I call "Small rituals of happiness".

Make some Lapsang Souchong tea. Savor the smoky taste.

Eat one block of dark chocolate.

Engage my cat in meowing conversation until she presents herself for a stroke.

But I'm utterly alone with this. I have never met another Ultradian. I suspect not many of us survive so long.

I read somewhere that someone found cannabis helped.  Never tried it.

Tried medication once. Froze me. Stopped the cycling, but with me the only steady state is steadily down.

I dread steady state. I suspect Ultradian is a survival mechanism. On getting sucked into steady down, my survival instinct kicks me into cycling before the steady downwards kills me.

I'm on this board now because Google, blessed Google informs me that there are an unsually high number of Ultradians floating around it.

What non-medicated ways do you use to survive? To grab a moment of Joy? To lever yourself over the pit? To take away the pain? To stop the wild puppy ruining your career (again)?

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Ok, so I worked it out a year or five ago that I'm ultradian bipolar. I go from utterly despairingly suicidal, to wildly enthusiastic puppy, to bitterly dysphoric several times a day, every day for years and years. (I'm downhill of 40).

But I cope.

Sort of.

I've learnt to try hide the manic phase, try expend it on something creative and useful. I have a mental prop on the depressed phase (I'll not kill myself while the children still need me.) I rage and rant and troll on the 'net when dysphoric. I walk/run out of the house if I sense I'm going to do something that will hurt those I love.

I'm semi-functional in society.

Sort of.

I'm tired now. Very tired.

Tell me, are the at least once a week or worse, agonising sick in a bucket tension headaches a common factor with ultradian? I'm eating much more paracetamol / codeine than is good for me.

I have kept away from the trickcyclists up to now. I have watched people around me go to them, and they seem to be very mixed blessings. Looking on the 'net, it seems to me they really haven't got a clue what to do with ultradians anyway.

I collect what I call "Small rituals of happiness".

Make some Lapsang Souchong tea. Savor the smoky taste.

Eat one block of dark chocolate.

Engage my cat in meowing conversation until she presents herself for a stroke.

But I'm utterly alone with this. I have never met another Ultradian. I suspect not many of us survive so long.

I read somewhere that someone found cannabis helped.

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Are you on any medication now? I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but as an ultradian you may not last very long without it.  I'm an ultradian cycler and without my blessed Topamax I don't know where I'd be.  Well, quite probably dead.  I was getting far too good at the suicide attempts.  Meds have saved my life and I'm not afraid to admit it!

Karen

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I was ultradian cycling pre-meds, and I know how bad it can be. Hang in there!

Please don't give up meds forever. I know they seriously suck sometimes, been there, done that. But not all of them suck. I would probably not be alive today without meds and I'm so thankful for them. They've stopped my cycling, not completely but pretty much. I still get some short hypomanic episodes and longer periods of mild depression, but it's totally bearable. Have you tried Lamictal? It also has antidepressant effects so you don't get stuck in the depressive episodes.

Sometimes adjusting to a stable life is weird. I miss my hypomania. Are you sure that's not what's happening to you? Cause when you're used to things being really, reaaalllyyy good every once in a while it's kind of hard to live without that, but it's worth it.

Good luck with everything and get back to us, promise?

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Hey there,

Just a regular BP, diagnosed as of two days ago with rapid cycling, but I just want to say that I'm glad you are here and found our home.  I tried everything before going on meds (holistic psychotherapist, anyone?) and as last resort I gave it a shot.  Sometimes they work, sometimes they bite.  But hey, BP does, too.  I'm not telling you to take anything, because I respect your choice to your body, but I'm saying options are options.

I will also say that you are an incredible person for lasting so long and developing such amazing coping skills that are taking you through your life.  *pat on back*  That is incredible to me.  When I wasn't on meds, the only coping strategy I had was screaming my bloody head off, sobbing uncontrollably, and doing drugs so I don't think that I can offer much aid in that department.  However, I do find that talking to animals is fun and fancy.  ;)

JBella

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god- i fucking hate the super fast up and down all day every day.

i was sure it would kill me purely because it was so damned exhausting.

i dont know how you survive without meds. i mean- if you feel that its right for you to be med free then thats great. i just dont know how you do it. i can barely function in this world with meds let alone without.

i wish i had excellent coping techniques. my only one is a weekly class in silversmithing. its incredibly detail oriented and creative and physical. i find sanding and cutting silver to be very meditative.

however i take lamictal. i thank the universe every day for the invention of it.

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Are you on any medication now? I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but as an ultradian you may not last very long without it.  I'm an ultradian cycler and without my blessed Topamax I don't know where I'd be.  Well, quite probably dead.  I was getting far too good at the suicide attempts.  Meds have saved my life and I'm not afraid to admit it!

Karen

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

When I read some of the stories on these boards, I realize I'm _very_ lucky. I've got some bad things in my life, but all in all things are going, comparatively speaking, fairly well.

I'm not saying I'm stronger or better for staying off the meds. I have had enough friends and family who I know in many ways are better and stronger than I, saved by the meds.

I'm keeping off them because I know until the docs find the right mix, they can turn a semi-functional existence into a totally dysfunctional one for awhile.

I guess the first thing that gone well for me is I have somehow put a mental wedge into my mind that I will not suicide until the kids are grown and independent.

The other stupidly simple thing that saves me, is my cycle time is shorter than the time it takes to organize a proper suicide! So long as I insist on doing it _properly_, I guess I'm always going to cycle out of it before I do it. Stupid, stupid, pernickity, dumb, stupid, but hey. I'm alive.

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I would probably not be alive today without meds and I'm so thankful for them. They've stopped my cycling, not completely but pretty much.

I'm really glad you have found something that works for you! I'll keep it in mind if do finally get an appointment.

Sort of crazy I know, but then I am... When I'm really curl up in a ball earnestly wondering how to suicide miserable, I'm too miserable to do anything as effective as make an appointment with a doc. If in some unstressed out even keel time I realize I'm in trouble and need a doc, I'm away from a phone / no phone book / etc. etc. Until eventually I make an appointment.... and cycle around to wildly bouncy and cheerful, hell there's nothing the matter with me, what in blazes would I want a doc for!  Cancel it!

The one time some external circumstance forced me below all coping mechanism so I did reach out for help.... I had cycled by the time help arrived. So I happily and wildly gabbled about something entirely other.

Must of confused the heck out of him.

Sometimes adjusting to a stable life is weird. I miss my hypomania. Are you sure that's not what's happening to you? Cause when you're used to things being really, reaaalllyyy good every once in a while it's kind of hard to live without that, but it's worth it.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Oi, you hit the nail there sister! I know the best things I do, the best ideas I have, the best work I do is done just fractionally before of the peak of mania. Sort of like saying to an athlete, your foot is hurting like hell, we will have to amputate it. Somehow you are always going to get a desperate cry back, "But can't you save it?"

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  When I wasn't on meds, the only coping strategy I had was screaming my bloody head off, sobbing uncontrollably, and doing drugs so I don't think that I can offer much aid in that department.  However, I do find that talking to animals is fun and fancy.  ;)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I have seen enough family and friends who I _know_ are brighter, kinder, better, stronger than I am get hauled out of mental hell by meds. So I know enough to be humble. I'm not better than you, I'm luckier. For now. So don't knock yourself. I'm noting well what you guys are saying for the day when that luck runs out.

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Ok, so I worked it out a year or five ago that I'm ultradian bipolar. I go from utterly despairingly suicidal, to wildly enthusiastic puppy, to bitterly dysphoric several times a day, every day for years and years. (I'm downhill of 40).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Wow, just read your post and I can't believe how much we have in common.

Somehow that heartens me. I'm glad there is someone on this planet that can say that.

I have one question for you. Do you have a job in which you have to work with other people? I consider myself a great actress just because of the act I have to do five days a week.
Funny you should say that.

By nature I'm an introverted geeky loner. Except the bouncy wild puppy in me recently got me into a very people interactive role.

Dammit, I keep doing things like that to myself! I survived in it for over a year now, I bet I could almost out act you! :-)

I can portray a cheerful, sociable, gregarious, helpful individual when my guts are an empty aching black void of deep down wishing to die. NOW!

And I can do it with a smile on my face.

I don't know how you've survived this long without meds. You have some pretty creative survival techniques (talking to the cat, me too!)

Also I am not just rapid cycling, I am also ultradian.

Partly I survive because I cycle so fast. I can (sometimes) force myself to apply the Faffyrd Rule.

The Faffyrd Rule? Ah yes, there is a lovely wondrously imaginative sword and sorcery series by Fritz Leiber, Faffyrd and the Grey Mouser. The plotlines are often indefinitely delayed by intricate description of beautifully imagined scenery.

In one of the stories they live in a village where the village council takes no action unless the motion passes two separate votes.

One made in sober contemplation of all the facts.

And one made Roaring Drunk.

So I confuse people around me. In many things I am super decisive. I decide _very_ fast and then take immediate action.

However, if I have the faintest inkling I'm in depressed or manic mode, I procrastinate like mad until I have done a complete cycle and the decision passes the Faffyrd rule...ie. The decision is acceptable in all phases.

There is no way a poor sod with classic bipolar can do that if he/she has 6 months or longer cycle.

My personal opinion: you need to check out mood stabilizers, my friend. I know, I know, I have been on most of them out there, and had all the lovely side effects. I'm finally doing much better with Lamictal.
Hmm. That's the second reply that mentioned that one. I will take note.

Let us know how you are doing. Are you having mixed states at all?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hmm. "Mixed States" let me just check the definitions. Hmm. This point seems diagnostic..."Depressed mood accompanies manic activation."

Hmm, is that Dysphoric? I certainly have a dysphoric mode. In dysphoric mode I'm a very fair person...I hate me and hate the world in perfectly equal measure.

Looking at

mixed state definition I definitely have periods of dysphoric mania. (I have learnt to go for long walks rather than stay in the house under those conditions.)

That link describes another variety they call "depressive mixed state".

No. Definitely not. I'm talking to you. I survived this for years.

Depressed mood locks me up totally incapable of doing anything of my own volition, and I will only enter smiling puppet career saving actor mode if another human is directly in front of me demanding something.

If it _ever_ coupled with manic activation I would be dead within the hour.

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  • 2 years later...

I am too ultradian, and I don't think I would be alive if it were not for medication. To go from one extreme to another in such a short time is torture. People who are not bipolar forget that we can swing not only from sad to happy, but to all emotions. Happy, sad, jealous, angry, content, anxious, mischievous, humble, lustful, cautious, gregarious, shy... there are SO many emotions. And I am sure you fell them all to an extreme that most people are not able to feel. When one feels all of those feelings to such a strong degree in the span of a day or a few days, it is torture. I have found, as have others that have posted, that Lamictal has been a life savor for me. I have never responded to a drug like I have Lamictal. I have a degree in psychology and with bipolar there is no other option but medication that will help. Therapy is good, but is will never be a cure. Bipolar is only second to schizophrenia in severity of mental disorders. You HAVE to be medicated. It is like high blood pressure or diabetes. You will have to medicated for the rest of your life. Yes, it sucks but at least you can be medicated. I take Lamictal and Adderall as well as Seroquel as a sleeping agent as needed. (And I have found that cannibus helps me in small amounts in the evenings to offset the negative side effects of Adderall.) Others may disagree and I appreciate that, that is what discussion boards are for. But this is what has worked for me.

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I am too ultradian, and I don't think I would be alive if it were not for medication. To go from one extreme to another in such a short time is torture. People who are not bipolar forget that we can swing not only from sad to happy, but to all emotions. Happy, sad, jealous, angry, content, anxious, mischievous, humble, lustful, cautious, gregarious, shy... there are SO many emotions. And I am sure you fell them all to an extreme that most people are not able to feel. When one feels all of those feelings to such a strong degree in the span of a day or a few days, it is torture. I have found, as have others that have posted, that Lamictal has been a life savor for me. I have never responded to a drug like I have Lamictal. I have a degree in psychology and with bipolar there is no other option but medication that will help. Therapy is good, but is will never be a cure. Bipolar is only second to schizophrenia in severity of mental disorders. You HAVE to be medicated. It is like high blood pressure or diabetes. You will have to medicated for the rest of your life. Yes, it sucks but at least you can be medicated. I take Lamictal and Adderall as well as Seroquel as a sleeping agent as needed. (And I have found that cannibus helps me in small amounts in the evenings to offset the negative side effects of Adderall.) Others may disagree and I appreciate that, that is what discussion boards are for. But this is what has worked for me.

Amen, brother. Well said. Hope you plan on keeping on with us here in the future.

I think one good thing about being ultradian is that you know your mood will be different in in 30 seconds. It's sort of like weather in the Midwestern and Central US. Don't like it 90 and sunny? Don't worry, it'll be 30 and snowing in 48 hours. (n.B. - often does happen, mainly in April.)

Well, that does sort of tinge my euphoric states with some anxiety (knowing that I'll come crashing down soon), but it does help, especially with my black hole depressed states.

I have a degree in psychology and with bipolar...

You've got no idea what a quick ticket to a diagnosis of hypochondriasis that combination is... (take it from the bipolar scientist)

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H -

I've seen a number of psychiatrists who all knew that I had a bachelor's in psychology and was working on a graduate degree, without being given a diagnosis of hypochondriasis, so it is possible, and I know of at least one other person who has done well also. Some things I suggest are: Try to avoid using technical language. Stick to low-level descriptions of symptoms ("feeling like I had too much energy", "wanting to sleep with everyone I see") rather than rolling them up into a higher-level descriptor ("hypomania with hypersexuality"), at least until you've worked with them for a while and they understand that you are using the terms to mean the same thing they're using the terms to mean. (There are a lot of other people like you, who they see but you do not, who misuse vocabulary , misdiagnose themselves, and/or misrepresent themselves. Your pdoc does not have a way to know that you are not one of them, particularly if you look and act like one.)

Let him know your degree/major when he asks, but bear in mind that bringing it up to justify your interpretations of your behavior may not be the wisest move. You are consulting him and his knowledge, and to be perfectly honest, an undergrad degree is a minimal preliminary degree for graduate work or an MD, and I don't know of any undergrad degree - psychology most definitely included - that gives you the skills to determine one's own diagnosis and medication. (Picture a highschooler - even a very smart one - informing you that he knows exactly what he's doing and, in fact, knows more than you do about something you've taken four years worth of classes in, because he took a class in it last year. People are generally not favorably disposed toward this kind of thing.) If you do know each other well enough to have established an understanding of your relevant skills and capabilities, that's something different.

Another good reason to do all this is that you could be wrong, and it's good to have someone else double-check that.

It's always an option to choose to disregard all this, if you're willing to take the hit to your healthcare that violating social norms and expectations will do for you. Some people are comfortable with that.

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H -

I've seen a number of psychiatrists who all knew that I had a bachelor's in psychology and was working on a graduate degree, without being given a diagnosis of hypochondriasis, so it is possible, and I know of at least one other person who has done well also. Some things I suggest are: Try to avoid using technical language. Stick to low-level descriptions of symptoms ("feeling like I had too much energy", "wanting to sleep with everyone I see") rather than rolling them up into a higher-level descriptor ("hypomania with hypersexuality"), at least until you've worked with them for a while and they understand that you are using the terms to mean the same thing they're using the terms to mean. (There are a lot of other people like you, who they see but you do not, who misuse vocabulary , misdiagnose themselves, and/or misrepresent themselves. Your pdoc does not have a way to know that you are not one of them, particularly if you look and act like one.)

It really does suck trying to figure out what kind of game to play with these people. Back when I was in Georgia working at a medical school, the clinicians at the affiliated hospital knew that I was a researcher (quick ticket to somatoform disorder there). The city I was in is fairly isolated and the nearest other neurology clinic was 70 miles away.

My neuro appointment this week got a bit interesting, since I came to the one last month as an utter dumbfuck, nodding my head constantly and giving just terse answers, my parkinsonian disorder and cognitive issues out of control at the time. My own mother had to elaborate on what was going on. That is one of the few times I was thankful for having her around. My mind was more intact this time around, and quite frankly, I scared the living shit out of the doc while talking to him. He's not into neuro infectious disease, so he was pretty clueless as to the etiology of this stuff. His end conclusion was that I was, in a highly objective and non-psychological manner, neurologically very fucked up for no determinable reason. He's now writing me referrals to some specialty research clinics, and I also made him write a referral to an infectious disease neurologist in town.

Also interesting is what my former GP in Georgia told me... I apologized to him for bringing out all my medical-speak (as I am wont to do), and he quickly told me that he appreciated it when a patient who actually knew the medical field helped out in his/her own care (as opposed to the neurotic patients who read one thing on the Internet and come screaming to the doc about it).

Another good reason to do all this is that you could be wrong, and it's good to have someone else double-check that.

Bingo. I once made an ass out of myself that way, which is why I always take the doc's opinion as the first line. It's only when the doc's opinion is "uhhh, I don't know" or "it's all in your head", is when I break out the knowledge factor.

It's always an option to choose to disregard all this, if you're willing to take the hit to your healthcare that violating social norms and expectations will do for you. Some people are comfortable with that.

I always have to gauge with my docs what constitutes violation of social norms and also, their professional and intellectual personal space. If they can't suggest anything, I do. Or rather, I normally don't, but will start doing so (with respect to my current condition, which isn't relevant in this post).

In any event, resonance, please PM me if you want to continue discussing what I like to call "Bipolar Scientist Syndrome". We've threadjacked this one to all holy hell...

So back to the original topic of ultradian cycling.

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Sort of crazy I know, but then I am... When I'm really curl up in a ball earnestly wondering how to suicide miserable, I'm too miserable to do anything as effective as make an appointment with a doc. If in some unstressed out even keel time I realize I'm in trouble and need a doc, I'm away from a phone / no phone book / etc. etc. Until eventually I make an appointment.... and cycle around to wildly bouncy and cheerful, hell there's nothing the matter with me, what in blazes would I want a doc for! Cancel it!

Me too!

I think one good thing about being ultradian is that you know your mood will be different in in 30 seconds. It's sort of like weather in the Midwestern and Central US. Don't like it 90 and sunny? Don't worry, it'll be 30 and snowing in 48 hours. (n.B. - often does happen, mainly in April.)

Well, that does sort of tinge my euphoric states with some anxiety (knowing that I'll come crashing down soon), but it does help, especially with my black hole depressed states.

Yup. Everything balances out. Keeps me optimistic.

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