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

mixed episode face

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

I’m not mentally ill. This will go away like the flu.

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The most significant denial I have ever experienced was denial that I had a diagnosable mental illness. It didn’t help when I was younger that people around me didn’t recognize I needed a thorough psychiatric evaluation. I lacked insight into what was really happening, and so did people around me. It is common that people with bipolar disorder are not diagnosed for between 10 and 15 years after the illness begins. Continue reading