Emerging Patterns in Cyclic Analysis


I wrote With This Pill in extreme aggravation.  I have a theory based on observational findings about the pattern.

I cycle around every two months.  Pendulum began June 19, 2011, with the post To See If I Still Feel, describing an incident involving depression and self-injurious behavior.  Three days later, on June 22, 2011, in Shifting Gears, I described the sparks of a hypomanic episode.  Eight days later, on June 30, 2011, I detailed panic attacks and highly reactive emotions in Overdrive Mode.

There was a period where I went through a fluctuating depressive episodes varying throughout the spectrum of twos through fours.  It was a result of Somatopsychic trauma from a six-week long, progressively debilitating bout of Walking Pneumonia.  During a two-week long prednisone treatment, I had erratic emotions, which sent me reeling into a serious depressive state.  It was quickly fixed in two weeks by a medication adjustment.

That medication adjustment threw me into the first dysphoric hypomania I can ever remember having.  I had another incident of self-injurious behavior reported in Confessions of the Pain of Payment, on September 22, 2011, three months after the first noted episode.

That was followed by the longest, most intense hypomanic episode I have ever marked.  I marked it at 16 days, but I have a feeling that it was closer to 30.  I had a brief reprieve when I was down for the count during an illness.  I eventually attributed the extreme hypomanic episode with a chemical change in Big Money, No Whammy, STOP!.

Prior to my first post, my last hypomanic episode happened three months prior in late March into early April for 14 days.  That was my first record breaking hypomanic episode.  I attributed that to anxiety, that led to insomnia, which paved the way.  As for what happened between then and late May when I recall my depressive episode first beginning, I’m not sure.  I will have to check my personal logs to shed some light on that.

I’ve always looked to external factors to explain the occurrences.  But, the pattern is emerging.  I cannot deny that.

Now, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I have always had a depressive episode closely follow a hypomanic episode.  What Bender? detailed an alcoholic relapse at the start of a long depressive episode.  The depressive episode lasted for about two months and left three weeks until the onset of my next hypomanic episode.

However, it has been three weeks since my hypomanic symptoms subsided, and I am now only feeling small pangs of depression here and there.  I am not entirely convinced they are depressive.  I am irritable and reactive, but I have not yet had the urge to isolate myself.  I am not entirely disinterested in enjoyable activities – actually quite the opposite.  I am only interested in the most enjoyable activities and have had quite the hedonistic urge to indulge myself.

That is unusual for me.  I am not a creature of hedonism.  The Irish and Scottish had a philosophy that with every great pleasure in life came a great pain.  It was kind of their own yin and yang in their society – a way to describe the balance of the universe.  I am mostly of Scottish heritage and was raised in such an environment.  There was no escaping the pain that accompanied indulgence.  Therefore, I am not inclined to do so.  In fact, I am quite disciplined to do the opposite by taking on the role of the martyr.

What to do, what to do?  Do my brain and my body know something that my conscious mind does not?  Is this impulse a way of circumventing a depressive episode?

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4 thoughts on “Emerging Patterns in Cyclic Analysis

  1. I think noticing that there’s a pattern is a good first step. I’m not sure what to say about the hedonistic urges other than providing my own experience as an example. Shortly before my worst depressive moments, I will sometimes overly indulge myself, as if I’m avoiding something. Then once I get exhausted from all the indulgence, the depression is ten times worse than usual. If you are entering a depressive episode, I wish you luck, and I hope you hang in there.

    • I try to stick with the schedule. It’s not the plan; I threw that out years ago. My schedule is flexible enough to accomodate unexpected events, but not so much that it would allow me to completely shut down. As long as I keep my momentum above a certain point, then I can avoid the traps of depression. For awhile, anyway. Either that, or I’m just lessening the blow.

      I’m still perplexed. I’m nearing two months since my last hypomanic episode, and I still have yet to see what I would consider a depressive episode. Yes, I have some depressive symptoms, but not enough to qualify in my book. The one thing I specifically look for, the tell-tale sign is isolation. So far, I have not woken up in the morning and really not wanted to go to work. I have not tried to hide from anyone or anything. But, I will admit that I have felt the urge to just “rest”. By “rest”, I mean do low impact activities, stay in the house, and just curl up with my family. I crave “alone time” to recharge, rather than the need to push everything and everyone out.

      It’s hard to draw that line. The other tell-tale sign is listlessness. Nothing is funny. Food does not taste good. Nothing that happens provokes a significant emotional response. Then, it’s usually a steep decline into hyper-reactivity for stimuli that would produce a major negative response. Crying is a good indicator of that. I rarely cry, for any reason. That’s another Scottish heritage thing is stoicism. (I am not stoic creature at all, but I am programmed to not show very extreme emotion, like love, excitement, anger, pain, etc.)

  2. I find all of this mood pattern analysis extremely interesting. The closest I’ve ever come to doing anything like it – well I haven’t actually. I just came to the realization that depression inevitably follows mania for me, a not uncommon pattern in manic-depression.

    But the trick is to take these recognitions and observations of your mood patterns and put them to use. For example, if you know depression is likely the next progression, keep a sharp eye out for prodromal symptoms and work (with your doctor, within yourself) to stop it at its first manifestation. Then you will have succeeded in beginning to break up this cycle, which is an invaluable skill to hone. It’s much easier to reverse mood episodes before they become full-blown.

    • It was just something I stumbled upon. I was reviewing past entries and started to draw a line. My ups and downs became a lot clearer once I had a timeline. Depression inevitably follows mania. That’s why I have such a problem with this “stable” period. It doesn’t feel stable. I don’t feel grounded. But I don’t feel like I’m all over the place either. There are ups and downs within a day, but not to an extreme. I think that’s what people call “moods”. They are almost completely attached to the event at hand.

      I have been keeping an eye out, but my lens is often pretty blurry. If everything were cut and dry, I’d be able to see the oncoming hazard. But, i keep thinking, what if this just completely blindsides me? What if there is some incredibly stressful event that is the trigger? That could start the chain reaction. I can’t live in a bubble, and there is no way to pad myself efficiently against any of that. Things happen.

      I have been doing well at stopping hypomania before it actually starts. I have been on a weird sleep cycle for the last week or so, and I’ve seen some hypomanic symptoms begin to emerge. So, I go on about my day, not adding fuel to the fire, and make sure that I sleep the following evening. Problem solved. I wake up, and it’s a new day.

      Depression is a little more difficult for me to spot. I’m known to be a little meloncholic, especially under difficult circumstances. Where does one draw the line between positive thinking and delusion? And if there is a break in that delusion, any kind of faulter in the positive thinking, then disillusionment sets in. Disillusionment has the power to bring absolute disaster with that chain reaction. One thing isn’t as it seemed, so it generalizes. Maybe all of the great things in my life aren’t as they seem? Everything is flawed. It is, but that doesn’t mean that it’s tragically defective.

      As long as I can have that mitigator there, I can manage. But it’s always like navigating a minefield.

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