Overwhelm seems to be happening a lot at the moment.
I can cope with one thing in a day, eg. work, but not 2 or more. Try adding on choir, cooking, seeing friends etc and my anxiety levels shoot up. Being productive with any other activity other than work is just not happening- I can’t concentrate, get easily distracted and restless.
Overwhelm seems to happen when exciting things are happening too. I recently went away to Edinburgh to sing in a choir I’m part of. Most of the members I hadn’t seen for a few months and we were all really excited to see each other again- well, I was excited anyway!!! Couple this with singing awesome music and trips out to shows and tourist attractions and soon I wasn’t coping. Too much excitement!!! I had three panic attacks that week. I hadn’t had one previously for a good few months. I was overly emotional.
I didn’t take this limitation very graciously, and was very angry and frustrated with myself for not being able to join in everything I wanted to. I could try, but panic attacks had already resulted from doing too much.
Accepting limitations is something I’m still working on! Remembering it’s not my fault is important, but also to evaluate whether I’m putting too much pressure on myself or judging myself harshly.
Affirmations that I’m finding helpful from Louise Hay’s companion book to You Can Heal Your Life are:
I have the power, strength and knowledge to handle everything in my life.
I relax into the flow of life and let Life provide all that I need asily and comfortably.
I am enough just as I am.
This year I find myself questioning more and more the concept of gift-giving. Am I really giving a gift when what I am really doing is fulfilling somebody else’s expectation that they receive a gift from me- and vice versa I guess?
I love buying presents! I love the aha moment of- “oh this person would love this gift!” Then I feel I’m truly giving from the heart.
Maybe it isn’t the gift-giving itself, but rather the way I shop that makes it feel a bit mechanical- sounds a bit weird! Maybe it would feel more fun going to small businesses and craft stalls to buy presents. Maybe I’m just giving this too much thought LOL!
Anyway I think I’m getting a bit mind-spinny from all the shopping and could do with some general calming-down. So today I’m going to be meditating, playing the piano and drawing, amidst a bit of present-wrapping. Need some mind-cooling, right-brained, creative activity. If you haven’t read this fab article about the over-heated mind, I think it fits in very nicely with hypomania & obsessive, racey-thoughts in general:
I’m thinking peaceful thoughts from now on and remembering to keep grounded.
Bach Flower Remedies which really help to keep the hypomanic-type mind balanced and calm:
My Spiritual Experiences During Hypomania
During episodes of hypomania I have frequently felt more at one with nature and in harmony with life in general, as well as with spirit. These experiences have had a euphoric quality to them where I have felt “high”, believing that I have energetic powers including healing.
I always assumed this was part of mania and that I was having grandiose delusions. I would have so much energy that I would feel I was bursting out of my skin.
But what if I wasn’t delusional- what if there was some truth to these intense intuitive experiences? It may sound grandiose now- but what if we all have these dormant psychic skills ready to reawaken?
The symptoms of Bipolar Disorder (as well as depression and anxiety in general) are extremely similar to those that occur as we awaken spiritually.
Spiritual awakening is the process by which our spirits are reunited with our bodies and minds. Our higher self is integrated into our lives as we begin to see how we are all connected as one, and that we have higher purposes in our lives.
This process is occurring increasingly in many people, as earth and all its life forms evolve to a higher dimension, whereby we see each other as brothers and sisters and live from a place of love. Psychic abilities will also develop in many. This is known as Ascension.
As we ascend as individuals, we undergo spiritual awakening, which brings about many symptoms in our mind, body and emotions as we clear out old baggage, and mental and behavioural patterns which no longer serve us.
Many spiritual writers and teachers are sharing information regarding ascension. Diana Cooper is a favourite of mine and explains more about the phenomenon here.
Spiritual Awakening Symptoms
As we awaken, our bodies and minds need to shed old patterns and beliefs which no longer serve a purpose in our lives, and keep us at lower vibrational energy. This leads to many symptoms that include the following:
- depression & anxiety
- periods of high energy manifesting in our lives as hyperactivity, racing thoughts, creative bursts (sound familiar?!) etc.
- new sleep patterns whereby we often wake up between the hours of 2-4pm, fall back to sleep, then possibly wake up again.
- periods of intense emotion & mood swings- crying at the drop of a hat, switching to laughter.
- life altering events.
- growing interest in spirituality.
- a sense of higher purpose or wishing to know what this is.
- a feeling of being “different”.
These are just a few of the symptoms. For an extensive list please click here.
As you can see quite a few of the experiences listed overlap with Bipolar Disorder symptoms.
There are a few resources, discussion forums and videos on the internet which discuss this phenomenon. Here is a Google search of Spiritual Awakening and Bipolar Disorder.
The tie-in between Bipolar and Spiritual Awakening may have no meaning for you whatsoever! But for me, and hopefully more and more individuals, it is profoundly meaningful and has changed my life.
I no longer feel a victim of my emotions and, through guidance in spiritual and personal development from a wonderful teacher, I am learning to grow and take charge of my life.
Spiritual & Personal Development
For me, spiritual and personal development have meant taking the reins of my life. Where my emotions have frequently felt like an out-of-control horse running away with me, I am now learning to balance myself and that it is perfectly fine and right to live a life that is different from others. It keeps my emotions in balance. I am so much happier after only a year of this work! I have spent much more time in quiet and solitude, and have learnt to protect and value my innate sensitivity. This development work is something we can all do!
I have also come to learn that many of the emotions I experience are not actually my own, but that I am energetically picking up on the emotions of those around me. It is quite possible you do this too! Development work teaches you to discern which emotions are yours and which are other peoples’, as well as how to clear these emotions from yourself and protecting against further experiences.
Related Posts on this Website
Many of the posts on my blog chart my journey through spiritual and personal development with Bipolar Disorder. Here are a few:
Other Websites & Blogs
Read my guest post Bipolar and Highly Sensitive People on mentalhealthtalk.info.
Does anyone else have difficulty owning their anger? By this I mean do you find that you get angry with yourself when you feel anger towards another person, if that makes any sense?!
Basically I feel very uncomfortable with my own anger towards others and I’m trying to work through this issue.
Any anger I feel towards a friend or loved one I struggle to deal with. I think it might be due to a fear of abandonment: if I’m angry with those I love- I might push them away, which is always the last thing I want!
Black & White Thinking
My thinking around all this is probably very black & white, which is a well known cognitive distortion in those with psychological issues. If I feel angry I judge this as a “bad” feeling. I often transfer this to thinking that I am a “bad” person for feeling “bad” emotions.
Black & White Thinking & Bipolar Disorder
To me, black & white thinking & beliefs seem to merge very well with the idea of Bipolar Disorder. The word Bipolar means two polar opposites- such as hot and cold, or indeed, black & white.
As we develop through childhood, do we learn to see ourselves as all good or all bad?
Do we reject the bad side of ourselves & embrace only the good?- Hypomania/Mania.
Do we accept only the bad and none of the good?- Depression.
Depression is sometimes thought to be caused by suppressed anger– anger that we consciously push out of our awareness or ignore. In an attempt to process these emotions- which never really leave our whole being- we automatically turn them around to ourselves. We may have been brought up to believe that it is safer to be angry with ourselves than with others. Being angry with others may have caused very difficult circumstances in key relationships. A deep fear of abandonment by caregivers is obviously something a child is very likely to feel as their parents are absolutely essential to their existence as they see it.
If we deal with Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder, we may have had particularly traumatic rages with others, which we felt were so powerful they overtook us completely. This can be a very scary experience and one that we would do anything to stop from recurring.
If we are also Highly Sensitive (take the test here) we will likely process seemingly smaller behavioural clues as rejection or abandonment: thereby increasing the likelihood of Bipolar Disorder, Depression & Anxiety occurring in later life.
One of the diagnostic criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder is described as “frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.”
Any anger we experience towards someone we love may then be construed as a threat to our safety and therefore a potential danger in provoking this abandonment.
Abandonment can also be seen to be a rejection by our peers. We are isolated as different and therefore a target for teasing and abuse. This creates an intense feeling of isolation and loneliness- effectively abandonment by peers.
Abandonment by God
I often think there is a real link between religion and psychological disorders. If we were brought up to believe that we were “bad” for feeling angry towards our “elders”, or that it was in some way unacceptable, we may have grasped hold of the idea that we could possibly go to “hell” for these feelings. We would therefore be rejected by God and cast out.
It all sounds very extreme and is initiated by such prehistoric religious ideas (in my opinion) that are still circulating today.
(My idea of God is now very different- a belief in a loving, forgiving God who would never abandon any one of us. It is only us who can abandon Him.)
Suppressing Anger As A Coping Mechanism
We suppress our anger as we view it to be so dangerous to our wellbeing. It is the way we have learned to cope with our deep-seated fear of rejection.
To move forward we need to address and question this belief. Is it still relevant in our adult lives? Are we capable of taking care of ourselves? Do we love ourselves enough to take on challenges ourselves? Why do we feel we NEED other people so desperately for our basic survival?
We could identify situations we have handled on our own and feel a sense of accomplishment in that. Or challenge ourselves to participating in something just a little scary, but fun, to increase our confidence in ourselves.
Inner Child Visualization.
It is also helpful to travel back through our memories of childhood and identify times where we felt desperately abandoned. What happened? How did it feel?
Imagine your little-self and how you would comfort yourself if you could travel back and be with her/him now to support them. As your little self, imagine that love and support coming to you. If spiritual, you may like to imagine a beautiful guardian angel enfolding you in her/his protective wings.
We are powerful beings, though it may not always feel this way. We have choices in life- choices in how we deal with emotions, situations, challenges, how we perceive things, etc.
By increasing the feelings of confidence in ourselves, we can rely on ourselves more and feel less fear of abandonment. Potentially we will then have no need to suppress our own feelings of anger as we step into our own powerful selves. We will learn to embrace our own anger as an emotion which can teach us about ourselves, and one that we can eventually become comfortable with. It will not cause our loved ones to abandon us. It is safe to feel angry. It may not feel this way yet, but imagine your own confidence growing as you experience and deal effectively with it. We are powerful enough to take charge of such a powerful emotion and use it to initiate healthy change in our relationships.
Resources & Links
Thank you everyone for your lovely supportive comments yesterday- I can’t believe how quickly my thinking patterns changed to old, habitual, negative ones.
Over the last year, I’ve been working really hard on changing my thoughts to more positive, nurturing ones. So far I think I’ve done really well and have been feeling better as a result.
But it didn’t take much for me to feel overwhelmed by anger and a situation I thought I couldn’t handle. It was easy to slip back into “I can’t cope, I don’t want to be here”. I don’t think it was just this though. Recently some old childhood pain has been stirred up and I think I was releasing a lot yesterday. I know I’m better off without it!!
I was very quick to judge this as failure and that I might as well give up: so all the old self-destructive thoughts quickly moved in on me again. But I guess it’s all part of the process of growing and moving past the old patterns. I may be able to keep the thoughts positive when things are going well for me, but I guess this is practice for helping me to stay positive in tougher situations. And I have come out of this quickly, much quicker than I would have done last year!!
I am learning to love the shadow side of me- not just the good stuff. It’s not easy, but I’m doing better :).
Chris was great and took me to the cinema in the evening to cheer me up. We saw Oz The Great and Powerful in 3D which I absolutely LOVED!! What with you guys all being so supportive and Chris being the lovely guy he is, I couldn’t stay in the quagmire for too long.
It did make me realise how easy it is to slip back though- but that I shouldn’t beat myself up over it either :). I’m very thankful to have come out the other side.