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Bipolar II Disorder with Rapid Cycling

I’m flying by the seat of my pants in writing this post, so bear with me. I’ve been wanting to write for several mornings now because I’m feeling inspired, but I always get here to write and have a complete blank and don’t know where to start. So, this morning, I vowed to not do that and just start typing.

In May, I had psychiatric testing completed that resulted being diagnosed with the following:

  • Major depressive disorder, recurrent episode, moderate degree
  • Bipolar II disorder with rapid cycling
  • Cyclothymic disorder
  • ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), combined type
  • GAD (generalized anxiety disorder)
  • Narcolepsy

I know… I KNOW. TERRIFYING. I have had Depression, Anxiety and Narcolepsy for several years – it was the Bipolar II disorder with rapid cycling, Cyclothymic disorder, and ADHD that are new… and wow, what a slap in the face, huh?

Hear me out… it’s not all as bad as it sounds.

Prior to May 2021, I was on:

  • Effexor 150mg QD (1 time per day)
  • Adderall 20mg BID (2 times per day)
  • Propranolol 20mg PRN (as needed)
  • Abilify 5mg QD

I recently had an appointment with a psychiatrist who changed up my medications to:

  • Effexor 150mg QD (kept the same)
  • Abilify 10mg QD
  • Modafinil 200mg QD
  • Propranolol 20mg PRN (kept the same)

I’ve been continuing to take Adderall 20mg QD (instead of BID) in the morning to help kickstart my day due to my narcolepsy. She wanted me to discontinue it all together but I’ve been on Adderall for 12+ years and man, I can’t imagine not taking it for my narcolepsy. I don’t want to be a zombie. I have a follow up appointment with her in two days so I’m sure she’s going to demand I rely strictly on the Modafinil for my narcolepsy and stop the Adderall completely. Ugh!

Bipolar II disorder with rapid cycling… what the hell does this even mean?

Rapid cycling is a pattern of frequent, distinct episodes in bipolar disorder. In rapid cycling, a person with the disorder experiences four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year. It can occur at any point in the course of bipolar disorder, and can come and go over many years depending on how well the illness is treated; it is not necessarily a “permanent” or indefinite pattern of episodes.” – WebMD

Prior to my psych testing, I had suspected that this could be a possible diagnosis, but I’m not going to lie, it was hard to hear it/see it on paper.

Am I crazy? Am I part of the stereotypical feeling of “That person is bipolar!” or “You’re bipolar!”?

The answer is no. I’m not crazy, and why yes, yes I am part of that stereotypical feeling now… but I have a legit diagnosis. And you know what comes with a legit diagnosis of bipolar disorder?

TREATMENT! Medications to help you so you don’t feel so out of control and uneasy. And I’m SO incredibly thankful for having the diagnosis now, because that means I can get the help I so deserve, and need. I’m not ashamed, or afraid to admit my diagnosis. It is me, part of me, part of what makes, me, ME! I’m thankful I don’t have a severe form of bipolar, and I’m thankful that I’ve had a primary care physician that’s been very in tune with my feelings, and had started me on Effexor 150mg QD and Abilify 5mg QD just over a year ago, because those helped immensely. My psychiatrist only had to make minor tweaks which included increasing my Abilify to 10mg QD, discontinuing my Adderall 20mg BID and adding Modafinil 200mg QD. We’ll see if there are any more changes coming up at my appointment tomorrow.

Anyway, as part of my diagnosis, I was obviously told to check into therapy options and I’ve been meaning to do it, I just haven’t taken the leap. And in my search for a therapist online, I came across Noom Mood. If you’ve heard about Noom, it’s typically liked for their Noom Weight Loss program. Noom now has a Mood program where you download their app and it’s essentially, per their website:

The Noom Mood program empowers and equips participants to better manage their day-to-day experiences of stress and anxiety. Noom Mood offers a fun, friendly, and engaging way to develop emotional awareness, effective stress response mechanisms, and overall stress resilience.

Key program elements include:

  • A 16-week curriculum offering education and motivation
  • Weekly activities to put stress management concepts into practice
  • One-on-one coaching to help users personalize their journey, work through challenges, and deepen reflection
  • Daily logging to help users better understand their moods
  • Reminders and notifications to encourage engagement and commitment

I started this a few days ago and so far, I really really like it. I plan to have a whole separate post on it, once I get a few weeks into the program. It’s been a great addition to my day to day thoughts/mind practices. Their approach is right up my alley and I’m so thankful they have a program like this.

I’m going to end this here because I’ve got some writers block, but I’m not done with this topic yet and talking about bipolar disorder, so stay tuned!

More soon! <3

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