very rapid BP cycling or just teen mood swings?

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/2/2007 4:57 AM (GMT -7)   
The last three months have been so confusing for me. I'd say 70% of the time I am overcome with sadness and despair, to the extent that I sometimes can't physically move and can't get anything done. At my lowest point I couldn't even get myself out the door to go to school for a couple of days.
And yet I had this one week in November I just switched to the other extreme and everything seemed brilliant and I was full of self confidence and energy. Reading back on my diary entries from that week, I actually can't help but laugh - I wrote about all these ridiculous plans for the future, about how I was going to become the head of the UN and single-handedly bring peace to the world. I did stupid things that week as well - like instead of climbing down a ladder from my bed (its pretty high up), I decided it would be better to jump (it hurt!).
But since that week I've been back on a low again...I've had the occasionally hour where I get like that again, but on the whole i've just felt awful.
I've done a lot of research on depression and bipolar, but all the symptons of BP seem to suggest you go through a long period of depression/mania, feel normal for a while then experience the other extreme, possibly even years later. I've read stuff about rapid cycling but even that only suggests about three episodes a year - I'm experiencing about three in a month!
Some days I just wonder whether I'm over-reacting and that these are just the typical mood swings you'd expect from a fifteen year old girl.
I was just wondering if anyone else experiences these really really rapid cycles?
Thankyou, happy new year everyone,
Claire xxx

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1123
   Posted 1/3/2007 5:14 AM (GMT -7)   


there are about as many variations on bp symptoms as there are people with bp.  the articles and books generalize these symptoms into a homogenious picture so that people will have something to look for.  i went through the same searching game that you are going through and wasn't convinced of anything!  all that i knew was that something was wrong with me.

your case is complicated by the fact that you are into puberty, where your body chemistry swings faster than an airplane propeller and your hormones are raging.  i'm a guy, so i can only have nightmares about what it must be like.  :-)

the only sure way of finding out if you ae bp or not is to see a psychiatrist, preferably one who has as much experience as possible with bp.  it usually takes several sessions before the pdoc can give a diagnosis because for most people  with bp the depressive cycle is the most dominent and the pdoc has to see both the manic and depressive cycle to make a clear diagnosis.

as far as curent sceince goes, it is beleived that bp is caused by an imballance of chemicals inthe brain, therefore it is technically a physical ailment rather than a mental; illness.  not that this nicety really matters when you're suffering the effects of the illness.

see if your parents will get you to a psychiatrist to get a diagnosis  treatment is fairly straightforward for most people.  you ae prescribed mood stableizers and other drugs as appropriate.  i have chronic depression as part of my bp, so i take an anti-depressent in addition to a mood stabelizer.  it may take a while for the pdoc to find the right "cocktail" for you.  each person is different and reacts to the drugs uniquely. 

it may also take a while for the drugs to start having an effect.  i ws lucky.  the mood stabelizer showed an effect in less than 24 hours and te anti-depressent showed an effect within 36 hours.  this responce to the drugs is uncommon.  i wrote it here to illustrate the differences in how each individual handles eh drugs.  oh, yes.  your "cocktail" will have to be "tweaked" periodically do to drug saturationin your sysem, changes in your body chemistry, changes in your environment, etc.

hope this helps.  the best of luck to you.  glad you found your way here.  i look forward to talking to you again.


That light at the end of he tunnel?  It's an on-coming train.
Some day you'll learn that a good bm is better than sex.
Insanity is defined as doing the same actions over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 657
   Posted 1/4/2007 9:20 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello Claire ,

Welcome to Healing Well :-)

Warren has sound advise there - you can't compare yourself to a generalisation , we are individuals , unique.

Smiler tongue

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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 215
   Posted 1/4/2007 5:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Warren gave you good advice. He is wonderful with the excellent advice.

I would say this...either you have had a lot of therapy in your time, or you are more self-aware than most 15 y/os. That this worries you means you are aware of it and you find it uncomfortable. I think this is probably "normal" teen behavior. I have teenagers, I have raised 3 out of being teenagers and these sorts of mood swings are what I have seen in them.

I can say from the perspective of a parent that the time from nearly 15 through age 16-1/2 is HARD. The mood swings one associates with adolescence seem to reach a peak, seem to switch more rapidly. I know I worried that something was seriously wrong with my oldest son when he was that age. One minute was a darling fellow, so considerate and kind and be throwing things the next, then fly into a crying rage at the world. He is as even tempered a man as I have ever known now. My oldest daughter was the same way and now she is very even tempered too.

I am studying counseling psychology and I have taken developmental psychology. According to Erikson, we all go through the 7 major stages of life. For adolescence, roughly age 15 to 19, the struggle to overcome is identity versus diffusion. This, put more simply, is learning about who you are and what makes you tick. It is a time of self-discovery and identity experimentation. That is all well and good, it needs to be done. However, people this age are also trying to grow to their mature height and build. They have serotonin cycling differences and because of school and work and other scheduling demands, they run around overly tired. They tend to eat more meals outside of the home and many eat too much junk food and not enough "grow food" to fuel their growing changing bodies, and their growing changing brains. If you live in the US, this is not an easy place to be 15 because of the mixed messages about sex, about education, about moral values, and these things add to the pain of figuring out who you are and who you want to be. Just how does someone with a less than optimal diet, lack of sleep, and self-confusion cope with it all?

My grandmother used to say: This too, shall pass. Ohhh that used to infuriate me!! What did she know anyway? Turns out, a lot. It may seem patronizing and trite, but this that you are going through is going to pass. I am less concerned about your having bipolar than I am about your skills for taking GOOD care of YOU. THIS is the time to put into place self-nurturing activities. Figure out what legal, safe things help you feel better. Is that a good night's sleep? Is it a bubble bath? Is it cooking for your family? Is it warm tea on a chilly winter night? Find ways to be gentle and good to yourself. You have to live with yourself all the rest of your life. You have only one body, and only one mind, only one psyche. Treat it with kindness and patience. Love yourself as much as you would a best friend, and be as loving and polite to yourself as you would to your best friend.

Most all, and what one lesson I'd love to teach every child and every teen in the world it this: Learn to forgive yourself. Don't endlessly judge the things you do and say. Don't be afraid to say your are sorry to others, but after you do, forgive yourself. When you don't live up to your expectations, forgive yourself. When you get angry and say or do something you wish you hadn't, learn from it, but forgive yourself.

The baggage of life is heavy for everyone. Why add to it with guilt, shame and loathing? BE GOOD TO YOU, because YOU COUNT and you ARE worth every good, positive and wonderful thing that comes your way, today and always.
The Lady Dragonfly
Yes, it was me...I know because I was there when I did it. Lupus sufferer, bipolar II sufferer. Currently on Indocin for chronic pericarditis related to lupus, and cherishing every deep breath without pain. Currently in graduate school for mental health counseling, class of Fall 2007. Vegan and loving it!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 1/6/2007 1:29 AM (GMT -7)   
I am 16 and recently diagnosed =) so Claire I def. know what you are going through!! I definately do not believe that what we are getting (very rapid mood cycles at such extremes) have anything to do with teen mood swings. Before meds, I used to get a cycle about every 3 weeks. Now, there are times I will get 3 in a day. Bipolar Disorder manifests itself in MANY different ways, and each person is different and responds differently. I have found that looking online and reading things on the internet only show 1/10 of my symptoms, and i know others can agree with me. This is why many people get misdiagnosed before getting properly diganosed with bipolar disorder--the symptoms are so widely spread that it is hard to differenciate between BP and OCD, ADHD, Depression/Anxiety, Over or Underactive thyroid, etc.

The best idea is to muster up the courage and go into a psychiatric doctor-- she/he will most likely give you the most realistic diagnosis. As I said, LIKELY. Many bipolar patients get misdiganosed many many times before finally recieving the correct diagnosis. So, if the results surprise you, keep on truckin'. =) Eventually, if they put you on meds and they don't work as well as anticipated, chances are there is something under the surface that the doctors aren't seeing, like bipolar disorder.

To get back with the topic, NO. If you don't feel 100 percent right with what is going on in your mind and body, you probably have something deeper down that may be causing these extreme cycles. Teenagers will go through mood swings and different things; being a girl I def. know how that is =) But if you feel like your body is going through 2 extremes very rapidly, you need to get checked out.

Hope my insight helps you, because we are approximately the same age =)

-"The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success. "
----->James Bond

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