I often compare bipolar disorder’s rapid cycling to that of a bicycle. When you peddle as quickly as you can, the wheels move just as fast. Once the wheel is moving as fast as possible, that’s when I start to make the analogy.
The spokes are each and every emotion and feeling that we possess as humans. They are categorized as either as mania (hypo-mania for me personally) or depression. Some common feelings of mania are irritability, rash decision making, pressured speech, elated mood, etc. That consumes the right wheel of the bicycle. While the left wheel leaves depression; feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, restlessness.
Pointing North of the bicycle wheel is the bar that connects the wheel to the rest of the bike or in this case, body. The northern point is what brings us back to normalcy, even if it is just for a moment no matter how fast you’re going. The slower you move, the longer it takes to get to that point of normalcy, but when you’re there,you get to experience what normal is for longer.
While the two wheels act seperately as they both hold the manic or depressive mind, respectively, they are very much connected. Based on terrain or timing, one wheel will take the lead, while the other follows or vice versa. Where you turn the handlebars and how fast you pedal is up to the bipolar mind. Which ever wheel has taken the lead will slowly but surely guide your path.
Why I Compare Bipolar to a Bicycle
It’s hard for me to compare bipolar to anything, because there is nothing like it! But most understand the basic anatomy of a bicycle and it has given me the most comfort in trying to cope and understand bipolar for my own self.
With all that being said…
If you break down the meaning of the word ‘bicycle’, it says bi which means two and cycle which is a series of events that often repeat themselves. So we have two respective cycles which leads me to think of bipolar’s mania and depression.
What about Rapid Cycling?
In terms of the bicycle, I have yet to think of an analogy that depicts rapid cycling besides the fact the faster you pedal, the faster you experience your emotions with mania and depression.
It is still a mystery to me on why some cycle rapidly and others don’t. Those who go through 4 or more manic, hypo-manic, and depressive states in one year are seen as rapid cyclers. I personally am a rapid cycler because I go through about 10 major changes from hypo-manic to depressed and vice versa in one year. In other words, my moods generally change once a month.
But then there are the minute by minute, hour by hour mood changes. Just hearing someone’s voice inflection wrong can send me into a piss poor mood. Then when I am rude or come across as aggressive, then it’s all my fault and I have to apolgize or say it’s a joke. But then two minutes later, I am in a decent mood and forget the incident happened. But others don’t forget the way I treated them, so then I slowly lose friends for what I say or even don’t say.
There is still a lot that I have to learn in terms of bipolar disorder, whether it be to make more bicycle analogies or not, I’m not sure. But there is a lot of research out there, but it doesn’t take away or replace the feelings I hold within my head or heart.
I personally feel as though personal testimonies surpass the research done about bipolar disorder because the testimonies only confirm what we already knew from living our lives. The research only confirms what they know of bipolar patients in a controlled setting, not out in the real world.
It is why so many prescription drugs are found ineffective in certain situations because they are in such a controlled setting and are only proved to work in that controlled setting, not with the pressures of life, home, and the world on their shoulders, as they struggle with mental illness.
Getting off my soap box… I could be wrong, I could be down right wrong! But if you agree or even disagree with my thoughts or analogies, comment below and we can have a discussion. I am game for anything mental health related 🙂
Til next time,