I need a label!

Labels …. what is that they say about them?

Labels can be dangerous, because they create a catalyst for the self-fulfilling prophesy. We should be so careful about the terms we say to children, because they will grow up internalising their label, believing it, and eventually becoming it. We should avoid labelling people, because it reduces their worldview and disencourages them from exploring outside the parameters of their label.

But I need a label right now.

When my initial psych (just one of those I’ve never seen since) suggested I had “Cyclothymia,” I was skeptical to embrace it as a diagnosis, because I have had several others in the past. But, to be honest, it seemed to fit what I knew of Me through the ages past and present – although not in the “mild-form-of-bipolar”/”just-a-little-more-severe-than-normal” sense, but in the “Stephen-Fry-occasionally-climb-rooftops-hate-self-with-a-passion-but-get-on-with-life-regardless” sense.  I admit I started to warm to the idea of this particular label, and I even wrote “The Cyclothymia Song” in its honour.  It was a label that seemed more right than wrong, and at last I had something that fit better than the previous labels, albeit still a couple of sizes too small.

But then I did something silly, and not only have the goalposts changed, but I’m apparently no longer cyclothymic. They’ve rescinded my label!

According to the psych, “It’s more serious than Cyclothymia.” However, he said, it doesn’t fit the criteria for Bipolar because of the rapidity of the cycles, which average weekly turnarounds, and there is no DSM (?) slot it fits into.

So, here I am ….. “Unknown Rapid-Cycling Something-or-other” …..


And it sucks!

What am I supposed to tell people?

Them: “Oooh, why have you been off work for five months?”

Me: “I don’t bloody know!”

I’m of the belief that I’m OK with being open about my condition, so how do I explain “Unknown Rapid-Cycling Something-or-other”?  I want to write another song about it !  I want to be in Glenn Close’s next PSA ! How I am I supposed to fit “Unknown Rapid-Cycling Something-or-other” onto a T-shirt?

At least when I had something, I could look it up, join support groups, or contact fellow bloggers with similar diagnoses ….

(sigh …)

Anybody out there fancy joining my “Unknown Rapid-Cycling Something-or-other” group?

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Cyclothymia | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “I need a label!

  1. A Lady who takes such wonderful pictures should have the most special macro label.

  2. DeeDee

    There are flavors of bipolar that are called rapid cycling and ultra-rapid cycling. It’s just not in the DSM because the DSM hasn’t been updated in forever. The only thing that “doesn’t count” in what you’re describing is that depressions aren’t lasting two weeks or longer. In which case, well, I’m not a psychiatrist but I know what I’d call it.

    The other option that IS actually in the DSM is Bipolar NOS, “not otherwise specified” which covers cases like yours where it doesn’t quite fit the existing criteria.

    So there ya go. Even if the psych doesn’t come up with those labels, they are out there and sound like they would match your experience. But I’m no medical professional. Though of course, many patients know a whole lot more about the disorders than the professionals do because we live with them.

    • I thought they come under the bipolar cloak. I read your post on rapid cycling a few weeks ago, and it fits. As for my “down” time – it tends to out-equate the high times by at least two or three to one. So the depressive episodes are often longer than a week. But, hey …. it is what it is. And as long as the meds work, I guess I shouldn’t care too much.

  3. 🙂 I’ll join! I have a 9 year old label, not recent tests, and not decent care as of yet…so I think I’d fit right in.

  4. You bring the dance routine, I’ll bring the pom-poms 🙂

  5. Pingback: “Labels are for jelly jars” « onbeingmindful

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