Category Archives: Obsessions

Christmas- Cooling Off!

Xmas RachI LOVE Christmas- the lights, the carols, the Christmas story, the Christmas films, the food, the general merry-ment.

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:

“Your Brain Is Like A Nuclear Reactor. Avoid Meltdowns, Keep It Cool.”  By Word From The Well.

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:

Vervain; White Chestnut; Chestnut Bud; Cherry Plum; Impatiens.

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Related Posts

Crazy-Hypomanic Birthday Shopping

A Christmas Present To Ourselves

Hypomania & Grounding

Bach Flower Remedies

Arrrghhhhh!! Mental Torture! Intrusive Thoughts & OCD.

My brain won’t stop talking at me!

My thoughts are just going round and round and jibber-jabbering away. I feel like there’s some kind-of convention going on in my head that I have to involuntarily chair- except all the members are like kids and wont shut-up talking at once, then they start screaming at each other and having arguments!!! Before I know it the whole thing has runaway with me and I’m totally out of control! Arrrrghhhhh!!!!! It really is excruciating mental torture!

Last night I got 4 hours broken sleep. My head aches and all my muscles are so tense. Relaxing has been near-on impossible.

Getting back to sleep last night was greatly helped by Bach Flower Remedy-White Chestnut (great for repetitive thoughts- it works surprisingly quickly) and some Lavender oil on my pillow. If not I’d have been on the sofa all night watching endless episodes of Friends and The Big Bang Theory- the only TV shows my brain can cope with at the moment.

When these kind of thoughts prey on me I find it difficult to concentrate. I can’t decide what to do first: get dressed, brush my teeth, shower, have breakfast? Then if I decide to have breakfast I spend ages deciding what to have. Then it takes conscious effort to get out a saucepan or milk. Then I get distracted because there’s junk mail sitting on the kitchen counter and I start sorting that out. Arrrrghhhh!!

My usual method of coping with these predatory thoughts is to up on out of the house and get into the city where the shops and general bustle distract me. Either that or binge eating. I’m trying to quit on both right now as neither is healthy. The city idea may not sound too bad, but it really tires me out and bus fair there and back is £4.00. Not too bad for one random day, but it’s not a good long-term solution and I get dependent on these little coping mechanisms pretty quickly.

Thought Quality

At the moment the thoughts don’t seem too dark which is a blessing in itself. They’re more just mindless chatter. But they are getting louder.

Under more stress they can turn really nastily into the realms of self-harm and death, which I definitely don’t want to happen this time.

I’m in a fortunate position not to be working at the moment. If I were the extra stress would tip me over the edge, and I’ll end up sitting at my desk, staring at a spreadsheet and trying to suppress really disturbing images and impulses. By the time I’d get home I’d be a total wreck.

“How are you today Rachel?” they’ll ask.

“Fine” I’ll reply. You really, really don’t want to know what’s going on in my head!!

Intrusive Thoughts

What I believe I’ve been experiencing are intrusive thoughts, which according to Wikipedia are:

“…unwelcome involuntary thoughts, images, or unpleasant ideas that may become obsessions, are upsetting or distressing, and can be difficult to manage or eliminate. “

They appear to be associated mainly with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which I’m only just beginning to realise I think I may have.

(I know it’s not a good idea to self-diagnose, but I think this it is one of my compulsions and a way in which I get the constant mind chatter out of my head. I don’t recommend it though. I also think that I know myself way better than any doctor who spends about 10 minutes every few months with me. If I can get to the bottom of the issue I can look for CBT help online).

For more info please see:

Intrusive Thoughts Caused by Anxiety

Intrusive Thoughts

OCD

I always thought of OCD mainly in terms of the classic compulsions you hear about in the media, like excessive hand-washing or checking behaviours. But what I didn’t know about was Pure ‘O’, which I’ve recently discovered on the internet.

Pure ‘O’ is OCD with mainly obsessions and no visible compulsions. However it does appear that sufferers usually do have hidden compulsions like mental rituals that “cancel out” any obtrusive thoughts.

For more info here are a few links:

What is Pure O?

Various Subtypes of Pure O OCD

Bipolar and OCD 

Bipolar Disorder and OCD often seem to team up together too- estimates are between 10-35% of those with Bipolar Disorder also have OCD (About.com). For more info:

OCD and Bipolar Disorder

Blog: That Bipolar OCD Geek

Getting Through Today

Anyway, to get through today- without resorting to a city-trip or binge-eating- I’m gonna try the following:

– blogging to you lovely people (check).

– more lavender oil and White Chestnut Bach Flower Remedy.

– playing the piano and a bit of singing.

– maybe a bit of healthy cooking?

– I might look for some OCD CBT techniques online too.

– dog walk.

If anyone else has any tips I’d be only too glad to hear them!
I need to get out of my head!!!!

Related Posts on My Bipolar Life: Hypomanic Obsessions and OCD; Bipolar Disorder & Obsessive Research.

Photo Credits: freedigitalphotos.net

Crazy, Hypomanic Birthday-Shopping!!!!

Oh no, I’ve got my crazy brain on today.

(Apologies in advance for over-use of exclamation marks and capitals, but I have so much energy I’m bouncing off the walls and want to scream everything out!!!)

My thoughts are spinning at a mile a minute and every ounce of my strength is being used to stop myself going shopping! If the bus stop were any closer to my house they’d be no chance! Whooooosh- out the door in three seconds flat! I’m an expert at getting ready super-fast!

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Money-Driven Hypomanic-ness

Yesterday was my birthday . I’m always very happy to receive money, it’s wonderful! But I get so overexcited it’s untrue! I’m like a little kid! I can’t wait to get to the shops. I have barely any thought of NOT spending money. It’s like as soon as I get it, I can’t wait to get rid of it!! Does anyone else get like this?

Receiving larger sums of money is definitely a trigger into hypomania for me, although I think I was hypomanic anyway, so now I’ve just gone super-sonic!!!!

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I LOVE SHOPPING!!!!! 

Shopping sprees are so much fun and the ultimate in self-indulgence. I just love going into shops and thinking “you can have anything you want Rachel!”. Honestly, the amount of useless crap I buy, if I get anywhere near a shop, would leave me unable to get around my house for all the junk on the floor!

Before I learned about hypomania- I had some very interesting manic shopping sprees. When I was about 18 I began collecting Beanie Babies. This was after I got my first paying job and I was still living at home. Suddenly I had all this “spare” money- WOO HOO!! At no point did the thought ever occur to me to save any of it for later. Oh no! Must shop, shop, shop, shop!!

So my Beanie Baby collection grew over about a few weeks to near-on 30. Needless to say, when I came down from the high I wondered what the hell I’d bought them all for! So I sold them!

When I was hypomanic they looked so cute and colourful and ALIVE! I just had to have them there and then!

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By the way, the totally ironic-thing is that I usually HATE shopping- due to overwhelm in crowds and noise. When I’m hypomanic, it just seems to spur me on!

University was a nightmare for shopping. For the first time ever I saw the money in my bank account reach over a thousand pounds- thanks to the Student Loans Company. My eyes would pop out of my head! I skipped so many lectures when I was hypomanic because all I could think about was shopping. I spent a ridiculous amount of money on tiny little things I didn’t need. I think the little things are worse, because it’s easier to think you can afford them. But they all build up fast!

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I’ve always struggled with money-management ever since.

I do hand over the cards to Chris if I’m ever at risk for going off on a shopping bender. I might almost be at that point today!

Slow and calm, Rachel, slow, calm, peaceful thoughts……oooh, is that a Waterstones??!

INTERESTING THOUGHT: “possibly it’s the misdirected creative ability of hypomania which is the driving force (of excessive spending in Bipolar).” From a nice little article: Bipolar and Money on Life, Love and Bipolar.

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Resources

Previous Posts on My Bipolar Life: Manic Spending & Obsessions; Bipolar Disorder: Christmas & Hypomania.

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Bipolar Excessive Spending

Bipolar Disorder and Money Management

4 Surprising Signs of Bipolar Disorder

Spending Sprees in Bipolar Disorder

Trying to calm down from hypomania? Take a look at this: Your Brain is Like a Nuclear Reactor. Avoid Meltdowns. Keep It Cool.

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Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net.

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Hypomanic Obsessions & OCD

Yesterday I had a bit of a psychological revelation- I realised how much I’ve been obsessing about my relationship- and probably life in general!

I’ve always thought I’ve been “helping” Chris by giving “advice” but now I realise I’ve been trying to control the poor boy all along! I can’t believe I never saw it before. I thought that the more we “work” on our relationship, the more we’ll grow. But my idea of “work” has really been about control. It’s been staring me in the face really!

I try to “fix” things all the time and look at our relationship under a microscope. It’s so much pressure and stress on both of us.

Hypomania Signs?

Reckon I might have some Hypomania Prodromal Symptoms going on here:

– Increase in obsessive thoughts about our relationship- thoughts that go round and round and aren’t really productive. Lots of Mind Buzz in general.

– I’ve also been sleeping only 6-7 hours a night on and off, whereas I usually need about 9-10.

– Feeling that intense pressure to do, do DO things and just can’t relax.

– I just don’t seem to be able to let go and relax!! I can feel all the tension in my muscles. I keep getting headaches too.

– And it’s getting harder and harder to drag myself away from the computer.

I seriously need to chill out!!

I don’t even have anything stressful going on in my life at the moment- yippee!- so no obvious trigger, Though looking back, my sleeping patterns changed when the clocks went back a couple of weeks ago (I’m in UK), so I guess that could be the trigger.

So to focus on the solution I would like to:

– surrender control to spirit/source/the universe/God.
– accept when I can’t change things.
– focus my energy on the present and how I would like to be.

Vervain Bach Flower Remedy has also been recommended by my practitioner. (See here for more info on Bach Flower Remedies for Bipolar).

Link between Bipolar and OCD

I’ve never really thought of myself as having OCD as I do not have the classic compulsion symptoms like hand-washing, checking, etc. But recently I have noticed more and more that I am very obsessive in my thinking. I’m always monitoring my thoughts for any “dangerous” thoughts, like thinking someone might get run over and then worrying that because I thought it, it might happen.

Coincidently I was looking up information about the remedy Vervain which was recommended, which can be found here. It mentions the manic state and obsessive compulsive disorder together, which I thought was interesting.

I also found an interesting article on OCD and Bipolar. Apparently 15-20% of those with Bipolar also have OCD. They also talk about OCD as a separate condition to Bipolar, but that some people may not have OCD, but have OCD-type symptoms as part of their Bipolar moods.

All very interesting. Now I’m getting obsessive about research- ARGHHHHH!!

Resources

Is There Such a Thing as Bipolar OCD Disorder?– Psychology Today.

I Hate Daylight Saving Time– bphope.

Bach Flower Remedies– My Bipolar Life

Bach Calm- Vervain

Photo Credit: debspoons via freedigitalphotos.net.

Bipolar Disorder & Obsessive Research

Song of the Day: Turning Page by Sleeping At Last 

(Photo Credit: Emily Carlin available under a Creative Commons License.)

(Thanks again everybody for all your interest in my blog, I really hope that reading about similar experiences can help you feel a little less alone. I know I feel comforted to know there are others like me out there and I’m not making everything up!)

Ever since I was first diagnosed with Bipolar I have been an avid researcher into all the symptoms, treatments, experiences etc. My thirst for knowledge can become intense and sometimes obsessive! Recently I’ve begun to think that maybe this hasn’t always been a good thing. Despite it being sensible to be well-informed on the condition, I think my obsessive reading has actually been unwittingly destructive.

There are so so many books out there now about the disorder, which is absolutely brilliant in terms of social acceptance and awareness of the condition, but perhaps my search to find an answer as to why this has happened to me and how the hell I can get out of it is not so healthy? I never seem to find an answer! I used to truly believe there was nothing “wrong” with me in terms of a clinical diagnosis. I used to think I was just lazy, not working hard enough, too fat, too unhealthy, hadn’t got enough friends or wasn’t good enough at anything. Hell, I’d only have been happy if I’d discovered a cure for cancer! Reading these books and articles about Bipolar brought me a reassurance that I did indeed have the condition and comforted me in the knowledge that I was not to blame; that my laziness, lack of concentration, suicidal ideation and dark, dark thoughts were not my fault.

IT ISN’T OUR FAULT! WE ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR DEPRESSION OR BIPOLAR!!

I have to remember this now. I still feel bitter and angry for all I feel I have lost in the last 12 years- there is a lot of pain there. If I blame it all on me I will implode!! So when my ego starts to bully me into taking all the blame, the Bipolar books call. They tell me it’s not my fault, there is a strong biological link, the way I was raised could play a big part, any trauma I’ve been through, etc. However I think too much focus on researching Bipolar has led me to become too focused on the symptoms and watching out for any tiny little disturbance that has altered my mood. Was that a genuine “me” reaction or a Bipolar one? It’s so easy to withdraw from life, wrap yourself in a duvet and stay where’s it’s safe. That’s a whole other topic on its own!

In the last year or two I have become more familiar with The Law of Attraction – a universal law that theorizes that whatever we give our focus to, we attract. Therefore if we focus on illness and disease this is what we get. If we focus on health and wellness this is what we get. This is a very basic description and there are many avenues associated with it including the use of affirmations, compassion for ourselves, meditation, visualisation, and raising our energy levels so that we feel good- if we “feel good”, we attract more “feel good”!! I’ll totally admit that when I’m depressed it is the hardest thing in the world to be so positive, but I have found it easier to be kinder to myself and not talk to myself with such a bullying “voice”.

Reading about the Law of Attraction made me realise that the whole time I had been reading about Bipolar and it’s symptoms, that is what I was experiencing in my life- more Bipolar symptoms; I was soooo focused on them. I think I let it take over and stopped pushing myself to get out into the world again when I’d been off work. I focused so much on my symptoms and what was going on internally mood-wise that I paid little attention to more positive aspects of my life and goal-setting. I guess I am still in a similar place now. I do blame Bipolar for a lot, and use it as an excuse to explain away my lack of career and under-achievement. Taking responsibility for my decisions without self-blame is something I’m frequently trying to balance in my mind.

Learning to realise that Bipolar doesn’t hold me back from most things (well, not the majority of the time) and that I am the one who holds me back, is something I need to work on. I think I’ve made a start by working, having a much more active social-life, joining a choir and adopting our dog: these are great things to focus on, and I am slowly climbing up the mountain.

If you’re interested, more can be found on the Law of Attraction on the website of Esther and Jerry Hicks who have written some very interesting books about the topic:

http://www.abraham-hicks.com/lawofattractionsource/TheLawOfAttractionForeword.php