Indeed, my first installment did just that. When stripped to essentials, cycling illness is basically a pattern of down and up. And since we tend to be down way more than we are up, it’s fairly accurate to say that cycling illness is depression with speed bumps.
“Up” is anything that contrasts with down. You don’t have to be dancing on tables. “Normal” or “better than normal” will do, so long as it shows you have a depression that is not standing still.
Complex depression, simple illness. Simple, really.
Okay, “up” needs to be explained a lot better than what you find in the current and highly antiquated DSM mania/hypomania symptom list. You can have racing thoughts, grandiosity, pressured speech, and all the rest, but are you feeling great or feeling lousy?
The DSM doesn’t tell you. Can you believe it? Myth has it that we’re supposed to be feeling like Leonardo DiCaprio with Kate Winslet on the bow of the Titanic (or vice-versa), but too often we’re more like Kim Jong il on a bad hair day.
Depression with a power surge, in other words. “Dysphoric” mania/hypomania, as opposed to “euphoric,” which I laid out in full in Part I.
Another way of looking at it is our depressions and manias are mixed. Hence the need for this Part II exercise. Think of dysphoric mania/hypomania as the cycle gone crazy - out of phase, so to speak - with both up and down screaming for attention at once. One is crashing down the door while the other hasn’t yet left the building.
How much depression inside mania/hypomania do you need? Only enough to turn euphoric mania/hypomania dysphoric. No need to count symptoms. Simple. Do we even have to add the specifier, “mixed,” to dysphoric? No. It’s totally redundant. Then again, maybe we better, thus:
- MANIC PHASE, DYSPHORIC (MIXED)
- HYPOMANIC PHASE, DYSPHORIC (MIXED)
Finally, what about situations involving say just two symptoms of mania combined with just three symptoms of depression? Going by official DSM criteria, you are healthy. Except for the fact that you are feeling rotten. Fortunately, The People’s DSM is not anal about symptom counts. Problem solved.
Dare we get more complicated?
Coming soon: We get more complicated. In the meantime, your feedback is strongly encouraged. Comments below ...