I have been in a relationship with a forty-year old man for about eighteen months and I suspect he is suffering from cyclothymia. At intervals of anything between a week and 13 days he has days when he gets very depressed, experiencing excessive guilt and crying; followed by days when he talks and acts in exaggerated ways, talking about quitting his job or climbing Everest. He has had a reasonably successful life in business and remained in one relationship for several years in a row, and perhaps because of this, whenever he sees a professional (usually about his low mood episodes) he is told that his moods are caused by external circumstances rather than an actual condition. It's as if he is blind to the way in which they alternate. But when I used his emails to me as the basis for a mood chart over a five month period I found that his moods follow a regular pattern of alternating elation and depression. I can't convince him that there is something not right here and that he should seek medical help, even though he is troubled enough by his moods to try out all sorts of therapies from CBT to TM! I worry though that he will only get real help from medication, and that the professional therapists he has seen have not had the whole picture. I gather this is a common problem in diagnosing cyclothymia and I wonder if there is a way of generating a definitive diagnosis?
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replied May 16th, 2009
I was recently preliminaryily diagnosed with either cyclothymia or bipolar II (ie. by a GP - awaiting psychiatric assessment) because my Mam came with me to the doctors and told them the "whole story" as - like your husband - I only ever told my doctor about my low moods and cannot see the "highs" in myself that my Mam says she can see.

Would it be possible to go to a doctors with your husband? Would he allow it? Has he seen the emails you looked at in order and can he recognise the ups and downs you have mentioned now that he sees it? Perhaps use this email evidence to describe to the doctor what you mean.

Good luck.
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