Friday, August 11, 2006

Cycles within cycles.

I'm on a roll here, so I may as well continue. Sorry if your feet are getting tired on the pedals.

Way back when I was involved in the stock market for a living I read a piece written by a very wise old investor. He compared the stock market to the sea, always moving, always shifting. And he identified 3 levels of movement:

  1. The ripples on the surface of the water. This represented the daily moves of the stock market, the stuff day traders are obssessed with.
  2. On a deeper level are the waves of the sea. This equates the little rallys and dips in the stock market, usually occurring over weeks or months. Most performance-driven fund managers are stuck in this paradigm.
  3. Underneath the ripples and the waves are the tides. These are the real big movements, the Bull and Bear markets, and usually take years.
The reason I'm telling you this, is that the stockmarket does not only have similarities with the sea. It has huge similarities with BiPolar. Way back just after the birth of this blog I wrote a post titled The Stock Market is Manic And it most definitley is BiPolar. Hey, they even call the downs "depressions" and the ups "Irrational exuberance".

"So what's your point BPG???" My point is that our BiPolar moods can also be comapred to the 3 levels of the sea. This whole conversation about Rapid Cycling has made me see this. It dawned upon me, that trying to identify my mood on a daily basis, is maybe like being a day trader in the stock market. In this frame of mind you lose perspective on the Big Picture. At best you are gambling and you never call the market accurately by identifying the really big movements - the incoming tide and the outgoing tide. It's like you're standing so damn close to the big picture that your nose is touching it and, yes, all you can see are the ripples of the paint on the canvas.

Maybe it's counterproductive to "chart" your moods on a daily basis. Maybe that way you're doomed to be a rapid rapid-cyclist forever. Perhaps it would be better to review every month and give that a mood rating "Overall". Or even every year. Try it - look back on the last 15 years of your life and mark off which ones were good happiness-wise and which not. If you're anything like me, you'll see these long-wave patterns appearing 2 or 3 years of good, 3 or 4 of bad. Rapid Cyclist? Not a fck! You were just so engrossed in the daily ripples that you didn't see the wood from the forest.

To add confusion to this whole debate, my old friend Mage threw in another BiPolar definition yesterday: cyclothymia. Yeah that really throws a spanner in the rapid cycle escalator. I'll have to ponder that one overnight and continue with this Tour de Flumoxed


  1. Is cyclothomania different than cyclothymia?

  2. Oooops,
    I've chnaged it to cyclothymia which is the correct sp.

  3. ok Im catching up here but my understanding of the definitions is this. Your depression has had to last the two weeks and the mania one week at least once for the initial diagnoses only. After that its more than the 4 or 5 cycles per year. Doesnt have to be 2week-one week everytime. Personally I cycle every 3-4 approximately over the last few years. A cycle can long as a couple months or as little as a week but for the most part its 3-4 weeks to complete. So I guess that makes me fairly rapid.


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