One of the indicative precursors to my (mixed) manic episodes is extremely subtle (bipolar type 2 rapid cycling). The movies and textbooks describe irate and irrational spending habits of great proportions, like thousands of dollars spent on nonsense in a whim. This is not always the case.

I’m here to point out that spending cycles can indicate problems without being at all drastic, or even problematic. It’s all about comparing your “normal” baseline behaviors to your own actions. In my case, the spending isn’t abnormally high or even noticeable to others, but its presence is still very much a symptomatic indicator I rely on for managing and preventing mania, which occurs multiple times a day tops, once a week or month minimum (exhausting).

For example, I may buy dog food and an extra dog toy I would normally not be so enthusiastic over. Or extra groceries. If I were to graph my spending, a direct relationship between my purchases and my mood exists. None of which exceeds social normalcy.

While no one loses their home or back with this spending, recognizing its presence helps prepare me for oncoming manic episodes. Particularly when combined with other markers.

It took decades to discover these patterns. Psychiatric treatment never includes data collection to monitor things like spending. So it was up to me to discover these patterns.

Another clear cut behavior I encounter days before mania onset includes random teary eyed responses (almost weeping over a movie or kind gesture) and less desire to sleep (not sleeplessness, but the desire to stay awake later). Again, subtly sneaking under radars. Food-mania connections exist too.

The nature of my rapid cycling madness is almost too discrete, which makes it dangerously problematic as it slips under treatment radar. This subtlety is exactly why I made it 35 years undiagnosed (and without resources). All while exactly these things reaped havoc on my life.

Catch yourself and others from falling. Make and then check the data.

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