Is it a bipolar mixed episode, ultra rapid cycling, or just “mood lability”?

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Putting a label on what’s happening to one’s mood can sometimes be difficult for people with bipolar disorder (BP). Having visited bipolar online forums for years, I encountered the questions in the title quite often. I know what is written in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and highly-regarded textbooks on the disorder, but that hasn’t always cleared up my occasional confusion, either. Some questions have been mostly answered, but others not fully. Truth is, answers can vary by mental health expert. Even the teams of doctors and consultants working on the DSM debated on some of its contents. Regardless, I hope some of what’s in this post is interesting food for thought. Continue reading

Pursuit of pleasure to lonely walk down a pictureless hallway

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A story about minor mood lability. Many of us have it on occasion. People with bipolar disorder even more often, usually.

I remember one day maybe five years ago sitting in my therapist’s office feeling like I was on the edge of my seat. I had been feeling a bit depressed for a while prior to that day, but my mood was improving very rapidly. I told her, “Renee, I’m going to set out on a pursuit of pleasure. I’m ready.” To that I believe she asked me what exactly I meant. In response, I told her I was going to trip the light fantastic and paint the town blue. She grimaced, but said nothing. Continue reading