I was asked by a friend to write this article so they had a better understanding of Cyclothymia and believes it may help people who could be suffering, etc. Yes, I am a sufferer, but I chose to write this for the majority of the people who have asked me “What is Cyclothemia?”
Let’s use a character to help explain. We’ll call her Mystii – Mystii is a teenager. She loves socialising, writing, etc. She seems confident to most people, but some people realise a change in Mystii’s mood a lot. They don’t understand and think she’s just an overly dramatic, stroppy teenager. But they are wrong.
About a year ago, Mystii was diagnosed with Cyclothymia- a form of bi-polar. There are different types of bi-polar, something that not everyone is aware about. Not even Mystii knew this until she was diagnosed.
Cyclothymia is not as bad as bi-polar. Imagine a scale of one to ten. A normal teenager’s mood swings may be at three, bi-polar would be ten, Cyclothymia is roughly between five to seven, depending on the person.
So, what is it that shows Mystii suffers with Cyclothymia? Let’s use an example.
One day, Mystii comes home from school. She’s exhausted and can’t wait for the weekend ahead. She goes downstairs to change out of her uniform when her mother asks
“Hey, hun, fancy going shopping?” Mystii gets so excited. She jumps up and down with excitement and can hardly wait! Now, we all love going out, but it’s a bit… unusual to get THAT excited, right? Well, that’s one part of Cyclothymia – Hypomanic Episode. Let’s use another example.
Mystii is lounging around at home watching re-runs of ‘Drake and Josh’, when suddenly her friend texts her “You were supposed to send me the revision notes! I can’t believe you! I’m going to fail!” Mystii’s heart sinks. Her eyes sting with tears and a lump is in her throat. She bites her lip before she starts to break down in tears. The way she cries, you would have thought she had just lost a loved one or something.
Basically, Cyclothymia is sort of like where your emotions are doubled more than an average person’s emotions. It’s hard for people to understand the situations but it is important Mystii’s friends, family, teachers, etc. are aware of her condition. Same for anyone who suffers.
I have only recently found out what the two types of Cyclothymia are, and I have more of an understanding about the condition myself.
Symptoms of the depressive phase include difficulty making decisions, problems concentrating, poor memory re-call, guilt, self-criticism, low self-esteem, pessimism, self-destructive thinking, constant sadness, apathy, hopelessness, helplessness and irritability. Also common are a quick-temper, poor judgment, lack of motivation, social withdrawal, appetite change, self-neglect, fatigue, and insomnia.
Symptoms of the hypomanic episode include unusually good mood or cheerfulness (euphoria), extreme optimism, inflated self-esteem, rapid speech, racing thoughts, aggressive or hostile behavior, lack of consideration for others, agitation, massively increased physical activity, risky behaviour, spending sprees, increased drive to perform or achieve goals, decreased need for sleep, tendency to be easily distracted, and inability to concentrate.
When I read into this, it was like someone was literally writing about me. I have a lot of these symptoms, if not all. The worst part is, the episodes (for the record, I don’t call them episodes. I just call them mood swings.) can happen one straight after another.
I wouldn’t say people who suffer needed to be treated differently because I personally would dislike that, but things need to be worded slightly different and said in a different tone of voice as if someone is sounding rather negative towards the person, they can easily take it the wrong way and it can really upset them.
Teachers, youth workers, key workers, anyone who may have some responsibility of a person with Cyclothymia should be made fully aware about the situation. Sometimes teachers can be strict and the impact it can have is so big, it can affect the person for days.
A lot of people I have been told about who suffer with Cyclothymia suffer with other issues, too. They can be anxiety, anger issues, depression, ADHD and I’m sure there are others, too. That’s another problem – sometimes it’s hard to tell what the problem is. You could be anxious and people think you’re just in a pessimistic mood, or something similar.
It can be a lot to take into consideration when you have a friend or family members who suffer with Cyclothymia and sometimes it causes a lot of friendships to be broken, but people just need to remember to be supportive, patient and understanding and things should be a whole lot easier.
If you have someone close to you with Cyclothymia, my advice would be:-
Listen to them. If someone with Cyclothymia needs to talk, they need to talk and keeping it quiet can sometimes trigger the mood swings.
Word things carefully. You need to take things you say and make them more optimistic. People who suffer are more than likely to be sensitive and take things to heart. So, for an example, if they have done something wrong (like a piece of work or something), do not yell at them. Simply say something like “How about trying it like this? Or if you do this instead, this might work” in a positive way.
Comfort them. If they are upset, they need to be comforted and cheered up. Sometimes, when they are upset, it’s much worse than when you’re upset as they take things to heart.
That’s all I can really say about the condition as it’s all I have been informed about myself. Please remember to NOT diagnose yourself, self diagnosis can be dangerous.
If you think you or any one you know may have any of these symptoms, please contact your GP and go from there.