“What’s the name of that thing you said you think I have again?”
“Cyclothymia,” he repeated.
I asked him to write it down on a piece of paper so I could look it up when I got home.
After 25 years of being diagnosed with a mixture of allsorts only Bassetts could be proud of, it would appear that the proverbial nail may have been hit on the head! One assessment interview and less than an hour’s discussion with a consultant psychiatrist may have finally resulted in an answer to the questions I have been asking for years:
- Why, despite being on the maximum dosage of Prozac for two years, do I still plunge into the abyss of depression, without any apparent trigger, on regular occasions?
- Why is it that when I get an idea for a new project, I have to go to the shops to buy the materials right now, even if it’s the middle of the night?
- Why do I have a house full of unopened knitting wool and ceramic tiles and glass baubles and camera equipment and studio lighting and portrait background sheets and “how to” books and picture frames and mosaic tesserae and reams of fabric and glitter glue?
- Why haven’t I had a decent night’s sleep in years?
- Why do I have 46 tester tins of coloured paint in my cellar and magnolia walls in my kitchen?
- Why do I have two new sewing machines when I don’t know how to sew?
- And why does the noise in my head gets so loud at times that I feel the only way to silence it is to sit on the floor?
When I arrived home, I looked for “Cyclothymia” on the internet , and I was greeted with very little information. Many sites that discuss the bipolar spectrum give little more than a token nod to its existence. And others summarily dismiss it as a “mild” form of bipolar disorder, or “Bipolar Lite,” as Stephen Fry calls it. However, a Wikipedia article offers a reasonable, comprehensive overview, and McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Web gives a refreshingly non-dismissive and rather sympathetic description of the illness.
For what it’s worth, Stephen Fry states that his own diagnosis is one of Cyclothymia, and if you ever watch his documentary, “The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive” you will see that this so-called “mild” cousin of bipolar has some rather devastating symptoms. If, as suggested, I do indeed suffer from this disorder, then my heart goes out to those who suffer the full-fat version! This blasted Cyclothymia thing disrupts my home-life, my sleep patterns, my concentration, my memory, my emotions, my bank balance, my ability to work, my relationships, and – most importantly – my ability to be a consistently stable mother to my son.
I am due to begin treatment next week, having spent the last few weeks weaning myself of the high doses of Prozac (fluoxetine) I’ve been taking for the last decade or so. But hopefully, this time the doc got it right, and I can look forward to a decent night’s sleep.
© Alice through the Macro Lens