Cyclothymia, or cyclothymic disorder, causes mood changes – from feeling low to emotional highs.
Cyclothymia has many similarities to bipolar disorder.
Most people’s symptoms are mild enough that they don’t seek mental health treatment, or the emotional highs feel nice, so they don’t realise there’s anything wrong or want to seek help.
This means cyclothymia often goes undiagnosed and untreated.
But the mood swings can affect daily life, and cause problems with personal and work relationships.
If you think you have cyclothymia, it’s important to seek help from your GP.
People with cyclothymia are at risk of developing bipolar disorder, so it’s important to get help before reaching this later stage.
Men and women of any age can get cyclothymia, but it’s more common in women.
Symptoms of cyclothymia
If you have cyclothymia, you’ll have periods of feeling low followed by periods of extreme happiness and excitement (called hypomania) when you don’t need much sleep and feel that you have a lot of energy.
The periods of low mood don’t last long enough and aren’t severe enough to be diagnosed as clinical depression.
You might feel sluggish and lose interest in things during these periods, but this shouldn’t stop you going about your day-to-day life.
Mood swings will be fairly frequent – you won’t go for longer than 2 months without experiencing low mood or an emotional high.
Symptoms of cyclothymia aren’t severe enough for you to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and your mood swings will be broken up by periods of normal mood.
Treatment for cyclothymia
Treatment usually involves medication and some kind of talking therapy (psychotherapy).
The aim is to:
stop the cyclothymia developing into bipolar disorder
reduce your symptoms
stop your symptoms coming back
You’ll probably need to continue this treatment for the rest of your life.
You may be prescribed:
medications to level out your mood (mood stabilisers)
Mood stabilisers include:
lithium – commonly used to treat bipolar disorder
anti-epileptic drugs – such as carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine or sodium valproate
Antidepressants may help improve your low moods, but they may cause you to switch to the other extreme of hypomania.
Recently, some antipsychotics such as quetiapine have also been used as mood stabilisers.
But not all people with cyclothymia respond to medication.
The charity Mind has more information on lithium and other mood stabilisers.
Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), can help with cyclothymia.
CBT involves talking to a trained therapist to find ways to help you manage your symptoms by changing the way you think and behave.
You’ll be given practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis.
Further support for cyclothymia
Find your nearest mental health support service.
You may also find it helpful to join a support group so you can talk to others who share your experiences and problems.
You can ask your mental health service or GP if there’s a local group you can join.
Read about depression support groups.
Other organisations that can help include:
Rethink Mental Illness
Living with cyclothymia
It’s not known how many people with cyclothymia will go on to develop bipolar disorder.
But some people with cyclothymia see their elevated or depressed moods become more severe.
Other people will find their cyclothymia continues and they need to manage this as a lifelong condition, or that it disappears with time.
Causes of cyclothymia
The causes of cyclothymia aren’t known, but there’s probably a genetic link because cyclothymia, depression and bipolar disorder all tend to run in families.
In some people, traumatic events or experiences may act as a trigger for the condition, such as severe illness or long periods of stress.
It might seem impossible right now, survivors, given where you are, but one day it’s entirely probable that you’ll be able to look back on the abuse you endured as just another chapter of your story, and not the entire book.
This is called closure. It doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten what happened—that’s not realistic—and it doesn’t mean you’ve forgiven your abuser (cue hilarious laughter from survivors). It also doesn’t mean you’ve healed completely and have no residual effects from the abuse.
What closure means to many survivors of intimate partner abuse is that they’re moving on. They’re starting anew. They’re walking themselves, scars and all, into a safer and healthier future.
This future may or may not include a new relationship. Many survivors like to take time after leaving an abusive partner to make sure they can make safe, healthy decisions about the next partner that comes their way.
To Find Closure
After surviving rape and abuse from a dating partner at 18 years old, Beth Baumann shared with us in her survivor story that she found closure through witnessing the strength of other survivors.
“My closure came from talking with other women who had been through similar things and seeing the kind of strength that can come out of it … and learning how abusers use all their different tactics. It made me go from victim to survivor.”
And Diane M. told us that she has yet to find closure, but hopes to someday by helping other survivor moms at the Battered Mothers Custody Conference.
“I hate thinking ‘woe is me’ so much. I’m not getting closure and I just want to help other people.”
Be it altruism, time, space or just some tough love self-talk, closure is a personal journey that can look different for every survivor. That’s why we asked our survivor readers to share with us what worked for them after abuse.
“I escaped after 25-plus years of emotional abuse. … I am attending college and it’s the best thing I have ever done for myself. I graduate in June with a BA in psychology and a minor in criminal justice. … I want to be an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.” – Jennifer
“I hid. For 4 years. I built myself up. Paid for a killer shark attorney. I got closure the day I sat in that court room while the judge raked him over the coals.” – Leah
“Deleting all contact information and pulling away contact from ‘his’ friends that became your friends. Unfortunately, all ties to the abuser need to be cut or moving on is very difficult.” – Alissa
“My journal [became] a book … and as I went on a book tour for a year I heard so many stories [so] I wrote a second book!” – Patty
“I allowed myself the painful process of healing and learning the importance of boundaries in every part of my life, which is hard because I’m naturally a helper to others. Allowing myself to see I was just as important as anyone I would be happy to help was key to me stepping away from that part of life and moving forward.” – Renee
“Counseling, good friends and family reminding me I deserved better, and time has helped me.” – Heather
“Cutting the ties and connections to all those who I have learned to realize were toxic relationships and cutting off all communication with them.” – Holly
Five Tips for Moving Forward
Looking for closure for yourself? Start with these five tips from The National Domestic Violence Hotline:
- Cut off all contact with your abusive ex-partner. If you need to get something off your chest, write it in a letter, but don’t send it.
- Surround yourself with support. Consider joining a support group, talking to a counselor or reaching out to a domestic violence advocate who will listen.
- Take care of yourself. Here are 52 ways to make yourself a priority.
- Remember that you will get better with time. You don’t need to rush the healing process.
We’ll add one more: look forward, not back. Read, “Why Survivors Should Set Goals for the Future” for more on that.
Within the body, the feelings of panic are very distinct and visceral; there may be rapid breathing, a pounding heartbeat, and many other pronounced physical sensations. Equally panic affects the mind with a strong array of emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Panicky feelings can arise as quickly as a flash of lightning and send powerful waves of impending doom that render you feeling out of control and not knowing what to do. Sometimes those feelings are beyond reasoning, for it feels as though they come out of nowhere. Other times, there may be unacknowledged emotions, wounds, or traumas from your past that have yet to be worked through with meaning and healing. Whether the origin of your panic is known to you or not, panic affects your body and mind. Mindful inquiry meditation can help you deal with emotions and feelings of panic.
What to Do and Not Do
If you learn the police are investigating you or you are charged with stalking, you should retain an attorney as soon as possible. Be prepared to give your attorney any information you have about the case, the victim, and your relationship with the victim. There also are several things you should not do if you learn you are being investigated for or charged with stalking. For instance, you should not: try to talk to the victim about the case or have any contact with the victim talk to law enforcement or other investigators without an attorney present, or give any evidence to law enforcement without consulting with a lawyer first—even if you believe the evidence will show you are not guilty of the alleged crime.
You might wonder as you listen, is this person truly seeking wellness, self-protection or justice or is the goal to destroy someone else? If a person is lying to hurt someone else it is a very aggressive act and the accuser needs help. Such choices do not foster a healthy existence with generous, loving relationships. You might hear a tale of woe, and just have the feeling that the teller is not all that woeful. Maybe there is a need to blame or malign for secondary gain: attention, fame, money, importance or drama. Maybe the person is not in touch with reality and is retaliating against an imagined transgression. Some seemingly intact people can have paranoid fears at the core. In order to “defend” themselves they act against others. Maybe the goal is to take someone else down for competitive, regressed, or even unconscious reasons. They just want what the other one has. Making a false accusation in a public way is an aggressive act. In the movie The Bad Seed, a sociopathic child has an angelic demeanor and manages to destroy many lives. Sweet faces, soft voices and tears can hide sadistic impulses. If you know someone like this, the best thing you can do is steer clear and build up your own life in a positive, separate way. Time takes away the sting, people eventually figure out the truth and recovery is possible. You may be stronger, better, savvier after you get out from under this mess you did not create.
Know ahead of time what the chances are of a particular effort being successful. If the odds are long, that is not a reason for not trying; it is a reason not to be discouraged by failure. For instance, sending in a resume in response to an advertised job has been studied. Approximately two per cent receive a response. That is not an argument for giving up. It means that even if you have been ignored, there need not be anything wrong with your resume. It is a matter of the odds. Sending in a couple of hundred resumes shifts the odds in your favor.
Friendship can be a complex relationship. Some people make friends better than others. Some people find it difficult to be genuine without being judged. I think some people even fear rejection. ..So sometimes we may hide behind a mask or even refuse to trust and open up.
Friends are important, they help us feel appreciated and especially when we pluck ourselves up and move across the country, having a stable friendship circle can really help us move on with our family life and build on our dreams.
This is why, when couples newly marry, its so important to makesure both spouses are able to have their own healthy social circles, making good friends is a key reason in not moving away again.
sometimes in the busy times we live in, we tend to forget to keep in touch with friends and family and its always reassuring to reassess ones friend’s or family needs and responsibilities.
Some of us may be anxious at attending social functions and re-establishing friendships, so sometimes some people tend to go to quieter places like libraries and small cafes and tend to not socialise outside of ones work circle.
What sorts of qualities do you admire in a friend?
- The ability to stand up for yourself or to a bully?
- The ability to respect other people’s boundaries?
- Being there in times of need or distress?
- Empathy? and being sensitive
- Being able to tell you the truth without casting judgement
- Outgoing and adventurous
- Trustworthy and honest?
- Secure financially and cultivates success?
- A colourful personality?
Lets look at the following scenarios, Lets say a friend who in general you consider very intelligent, keeps forgetting small things, like a cell phone or a key, and then one day remembers to bring it, do you praise him? do you reinforce this positive behaviour, or are you more accustomed to reminding him how much he lets the team down when he causes unneccesary delays? Have you wondered what if he was suffering from autism and he didn’t want to disclose that he struggles with his organizational skills?
If you are unpleased with something, do you make vague statements like ” Why did you do that?” instead how could you deliver your unhappiness at pinpointing the concrete problem, like “I was unhappy when you slammed the door really loudly and woke the sleeping babies up.’
Can you work on more ways in which you can adapt the ways you vent displaced anger, or manage personal or work frustrations without making the friend feel like they are belittled or attacked or in your way
If you notice an increase in difficult behaviors in a friend, what would you do?
- What if you had known them for a long time?
- What if they were new to your friendship circle?
- Could it be that new behaviors that are unusual could indicate an increase in stress?
- How would you approach him in conversation?
- what self awareness skills could be important at this time?
Usually misbehavior is the result of efforts to survive experiences which may be confusing, disorienting, or frightening.
Are you afraid of how you would react if a friend were to insult you? or criticize you?
What positive feedback loops can help at this time?
Perhaps at first create an internal barrier, where you dont take such hurtful words at heart or too personally.
How do you really feel about your friends snide comments about you, to you or in your absence?
If you could go back to a moment where you cold rectify a situation, what happened and what could have changed?
Ideal traits contributing to healthy connections.
Looking beyond personal benefit.
Avoiding assumption during prior mental assessments while mingling.
Avoid relaying messages, stick to short concise texts and prefer phone calls if you can’t meet in person.
Try to avoid repetitive verbal arguments, sometimes wanting to be right may come across as egotistical
Prepare yourself or friend for possible different environmental changes when mingling. Most minglers experience some form of worry or concern, and how they are being perceived, sometimes mentally preparing yourself for new environments without the close friend you pair off with or group off with during the evening might be a possibility, so keep rewarding yourself and overcoming those mini milestones of confidence.
Some new mentoring programs are now available for students and adult learners.
Anxiety talk available now through Whatsapp
Two new FB counseling groups have been focused on Driving Anxiety and Family Support.
Young Adults that require support in divorcing families can now get 1 to 1 support and group support.
2019 has seen our work assist those living in Turkey and Vietnam. We welcome people from all faiths and backgrounds and embrace and support those going through difficult times from a multi cultural life experience.