What Were My Symptoms?
I had been given a mental health helpline number and I used to call and sob to the soothing voice who reassured me I would be OK. I was so low I wanted to die and continually said, “My heart hurts.”
The highs became more euphoric. I would walk with purpose to a grassy area by our house with my favourite things, including a family photograph. Everything had incredibly strong meaning to me and I was flooded with creativity.
I used to write poetry in seconds and feel at one with the incredible world in which I lived. The color of the grass was more vivid than I had ever seen and it felt as though I could see the fine detail of every insect.
It was here I felt I understood the world with grandiosity. I believed life was a chessboard and people were simply moved around by God or a higher being.
I felt I had an invisible, yet deep, relationship with this higher being. Invincibility went hand-in-hand with these feelings. I was fearless and shoplifted without care. I also remember standing at the curb telling myself I could jump in front of any of the cars.
My creative flairs became more fast and furious and my concentration would be held for hours and hours doing the most intricate and exhausting activities.
I ran out of glue once and my mum bought the wrong replacement. I threw it against the wall, screaming vile names at her and sobbed. It felt as though my life had been ruined. The depression would set in once again and I would drag myself back to the sofa wishing I would just die.
Effects of Rapid Cycling
Rapid cycling can be extremely destructive and unfortunately, can cause irreparable damage. Thankfully my family and friends now understand it, but only through experience. They recognize that sobbing, suicidal, irritable and energetic are signs and symptoms of a girl who is rapid cycling and does not represent the Fliss they know and love. Without that knowledge I can be unrecognizable when unwell.
I lost the relationship with the man I loved who, although instigated part of my depression, wanted nothing more to do with me after my incessant texting when high and then when suicidal.
Embarrassment is hard to stomach. The wonderful floaty highs feel great, and in these states I have openly flirted with married men while dressed provocatively. I was carefree and in love with the world, what did I care?
My irritability was a nightmare, too. I once shouted abuse at a woman at the pharmacy for not having my medication and was told by my dad to go back and apologize. The realization of both these occasions slammed me back down to earth and I loathed myself, turning to self-harm for relief. Neither mood ever lasted and I was in a constant state of changeable confusion.
A long-term impact of my compulsive spending on anything and everything I liked, ranging from sunglasses to iPods, is debt. As long as I had a credit card, the money was available to spend. While in hospital I was still ordering packages of new clothes that arrived every day before my laptop was confiscated to protect me. I am still left with that debt I attempt to pay off slowly.
I am now trying to clear it with medical support supplied to the bank from my psychiatrist. It is upsetting because financial stress has contributed to my depressive periods, yet there is nothing I could have done to prevent it at the time.