Cyclothymia – a little-talked-about condition

As I rapidly approach the end of my fifth decade on Planet Earth, it’s becoming ever rarer for me to find something in common with Radio 1.

So it was with some surprise, when I recently read about Radio 1 DJ Matt Edmondson’s diagnosis of a little-talked about mental health condition, cyclothymia.

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At one with nature

I hadn’t intended to write anything to coincide with this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week – in my view, we should be able and willing to talk about mental health any time we want and not need a special week for it.

But I changed my mind. This morning I went for my regular early dip in the sea, which most of the time I do on my own. But today was different, as I swam with a friend who went in for the first time: I ‘popped his cherry’ – his words, not mine!

And watching his experience made me reflect and remind myself how important the benefits are for me.

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The dark days of December

Every year – as the lights start to twinkle and music turns to bells and jingles, – my thoughts nearly always begin to head in a darker direction.

The rational side of my brain tells me that I have a lot to be thankful for; I have a job I enjoy, I have my health, a family I love and who loves me in return.

And yet, and yet. 

My body and brain begins to be seized by a malaise that defies rational thought. It tells me I am – contrarily – alone, unloved and destined for failure and ruin.

On the face of it, I appear unperturbed. In the office I continue as always – laughing and joking, happy to be the butt of jokes and giving as good as I get.

To friends I bump into around town, on my commute or social media, I exchange pleasantries and give the ‘same old, same old’ sort of replies.

I know most people would probably happily listen if I gave the time, but that’s yet another consequence of the illness – an assumption that you’re not worth bothering with or talking to. 

After all, who wants to listen to a torrent of ‘poor me, poor me’?

Given time, I know I’ll come out the other side. Not stronger. Not even necessarily weaker. Possibly a little dimmed.

And always resigned to the knowledge that the same thing will happen again.

Roll on spring with those daffodils and gambolling lambs ?