Bipolar Disorder Thought Types
Recently a doctor stopped by my blog and asked about types of thoughts people with bipolar disorder have. Specifically, he was asking about "crowded" thoughts. Crowded thoughts are likened to "too many people jammed into this office." Crowded thoughts constitute the experience of having too many thoughts at one time.
So it got me to thinking, what are the types of thoughts and what types of thoughts are typical for bipolar disorder.
What is a Thought?
A thought is a "product of mental activity," or an idea. OK. So what's a "normal" thought"?
In my mind your average ideas are like someone whispering in your ear. You know, "I like carrots," or, "why does nail polish flake so easily?" or, "I really should do laundry."
They are just random ideas that pop out of nowhere in particular. They may lead to other thoughts about maple-glazed carrots, manicures and Tide, or perhaps not. Either way, no big deal.
Bipolar Disorder Thought
But your average thoughts can be controlled to some extent. You can have the thought, look at it and decide what to do with it. Most thoughts get thrown out as soon as we have them. For example, thinking about carrots on the way to work isn't very helpful so that errant thought gets thrown out with the traffic report on the fives.
Bipolar thoughts are not so much like that. Someone doesn't whisper bipolar thoughts nor are they typically easy to shed. No, bipolar thoughts are like being yelled at.
This brings me to the idea of loud thoughts. Rather than the thought being a whisper it is a yell. It is a thought being screamed at you so loudly that it bounces around on the inside of your cranium. These are thoughts that are impossible to ignore and just come right back if you try to put them away. They aren't necessarily crazy or disturbing thoughts, just ones that are yelled at you louder than you can bear. And loud thoughts tend to be repetitive.
(This is similar to the concept of intrusive thoughts, a technical term, but intrusive thoughts are involuntary and unpleasant.)
(Neither "loud" nor "crowded" thoughts are technical terms, just useful ones.)
Racing Thoughts in Mania or Hypomania
Racing thoughts, as they sound, are fast thoughts. So fast, in fact, you can't keep up with them. Before one thought is done another appears. And they often have no relation to each other except in a crazy world of rapid thoughts were logical leaps are flying ones from one pinpoint to another in vastly different spaces. Often the mouth is a slave to the speed of the thoughts and others tend to have no idea what you're talking about.
Racing thoughts are, of course, standard to bipolar mania or hypomania and a fairly common experience for people with bipolar. Racing thoughts are not, de facto, disturbing and might even be creative or useful.
(And none of this speaks to delusional thoughts which are a whole other beastie.)
Thought About Thought
All these thoughts made me realize, some of the thought types I have always had, like loud thoughts, are probably just the product of bipolar disorder. I've always wondered why sometimes one exchange of words can beat at the back of my brain with great insistence, noise and repetition. And it's probably just the crazy acting up. I find it causes extreme anxiety when there's a thought that refuses to quiet itself and it's somehow relieving to know it isn't just me; it's really just the bipolar.
And crowded thoughts themselves are an interesting notion and something I've experienced many times. "Get all of these people out of my office," is just about right.
Have you had interesting thought patterns that are perhaps related to a mental disorder?
Tracy, N. (2011, November 28). Bipolar Disorder Thought Types, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2011/11/bipolar-disorder-thought-types
Author: Natasha Tracy
I do not open myself easily, but I couldn't believe my eyes reading Steve's confession...it's 100% what I experience on a daily basis...so thanks for sharing. I do hope that meanwhile you're closer to finding that inner balance..
Some one help me:(
And I landed here.
I don't often comment anymore, but have felt lead to respond to your cry for help.
I realize it has been nearly a year since your post and I surely hope you have received some help, but if not, here is my go at it.
Get a bible, NASB, NIV or NKJV or another. Start reading! The book of John in the New Testament. Also Philippians 4:4-9 ish. Either your meds do not seem to be working, in need of counseling to take better control, and or need a Jesus washing. I will pray you find a good godly pastor counselor with excellent skills in working with folks with mental health issues. I prayed for you. This mental health/illness monster stinks like a family of skunks. And I am sorry you are walking this path. For me, there has been a bit of a silver lining if there ever could be. It has left me more compassionate and real. I hope this helps.
I recently discovered that I have to let go of my toxic family, and it hasn't been easy. Each day bounces around like a roller coaster for me. One day I'm fine and almost happy, and the next I'm depressed as hell. I'm having somewhat of a mock funeral in my mind daily because I know that the exhausting efforts on my part never return normal healthy behavior on my family's part.
Normally I would love family, but in this case there's not much left to love. Most strangers' families have treated me better. The hardest part is that my mind is non-stop reminding me, "You're alone now. Just you. The rest of them are too toxic. Conditional family love isn't worth fighting for." And, I can't seem to break free from the depression of it all.
I've tried and tried communicating with them, and my feelings are immediately converted into them being victimized. I don't feel that the only solution is accepting that "this is the way life is (with us)." It doesn't matter how bad my situation is or how much I need support, they will always be worse off needing more attention than I. I've realized the only solution is permanently exiting the toxic situation, family or not.
I'm guessing that the "new family" that I make will cure all of this.
It just seems that lately every single person I run into is an energy vampire. Everyone is depressed or angry. I am rarely around people that are smiling and truly happy. This probably explains why I'm always depressed, with minor mood changes to happy that are short-lived. There are several times throughout the weeks that I imagine living alone again for the sake of my sanity.
I am and always have been the sweetest, kindest and most generous guy on the planet. But most recently, people anger me hourly. I'm just curious if others that may or may not think they're bipolar have these varying tendencies of loving people and then later hating them. I'm seriously starting to think that instead of being bipolar, I might be an Empath.
I ordered breakfast today in the cafeteria and watched a troll looking kitchen aid wander around behind the cooks. He truly was hunched over and went about his duties refilling hot food items. The cooks treated him poorly. He appears to be late forties age, maybe just over fifty years old. But, I stood there waiting for my order completely dazed, staring at him and saddened as if I were watching Cinderella as she was being mocked by the mean stepsisters. I could easily sense that this guy has been treated extremely awful his entire life, and the emotions swept through me so much that my stomach started hurting. I felt like crying for this guy just from the look on his face.
This kind of thing happens to me almost daily. I might be in a great mood, and minutes later after observing mean people treat someone awful I begin to almost cry inside. My stomach turns, and I quickly become depressed that we live in such a cold, cruel world.
Does anyone else experience anything similar often?
And yes, I was surrounded by nothing but assholes. I had to reinvent myself and make ME my best friend again; the person I was before I met all the assholes surrounding me on a daily basis. This includes family. I recalled as a child that I was very happy just playing all alone with my toys or coloring books. I rarely needed friends. I'm not recommending anyone be a homebody loner. But, being my own best friend again has made significant reductions in the amount of negative thoughts running through my head. The world around me immediately got brighter.
In addition, if you have any burning things you'd like to say to anyone close to you, you should do it right now. Tell them everything that's on your mind immediately. It is the most freeing feeling in the world. It is as exhilarating as riding a roller coaster once you let it all off your chest. The fear of what others will say about you causes stress. In fact, all fear causes stress. Pull the Band-Aid and blurt out your feelings. Learn to live alone and enjoy yourself. The less you rely on others, the more freedom you'll have to free those shoulders of the heavy burden of concern for others. And yes, you with the alcoholic parent that has always always avoided confrontation your entire life can do it, if I can. Get rid of every toxic person close to you. That doesn't mean burn bridges. But, if your best friend is toxic then maybe they should be placed on the bottom of the friend list until you are happier. Living alone can be fun.
And finally, I have Google'd every single emotion, insecurity, mental disorder and symptom anyone can imagine. I stumbled upon an article that explains how testosterone affects intelligence and vice versa. Basically, it was suggesting that most men that have extremely high levels of testosterone are less intelligent. How does this relate to what we experience? It doesn't directly. But, a side effect of exercising daily is increased testosterone. And, this can reduce the amount of "thinking" going on in our heads. Believe me, it worked. I immediately started working out again at the gym, and now I can relax once in a while.
I have a very heavy mind and honestly think of diagnoses terms as a guide for fixing bad habbits and eliminating genetic or childhood "demons" but not as a permanent disease like others embed into their identity. I suffer from extreme intrusive thoughts, OCD, mild personality disorder symptoms, racy mind(I call it the swarm ha),echoed thoughts for months, self sabotaging criticism, suicidal fantasies(really a yearn for escape and peaceful mind) constant identity analyse and depression. I am biased to my own human experiment and there are a lot of factors that I believe contribute to ones potential mental illness.
Through my experiments and study I feel like the biggest things to look at are your habits, when you take away all the habits that dont contribute to your ideal self, then you can determine whats you and whats just the side affects of a chronic habit.
I believe that in the end of things this method will give you an honest and clear idea of what you really need to do to get your head straight, as in dont need the drugs hopefully now that your work out/do yoga/hike or whatever helps give you focus and a consistent mental reset.
If I work out and take care of myself(aka building something for my mind to be proud of/make a consistent self esteem and confidence foundation), get 6-9 hours of sleep, eat low sugar/fried oil high brain food meals, get sunlight, have low amount of phone/Tv/video games/news/internet/ use, gain self control of procrastination/mind warping habbits like weed/online shopping/pornography, have some one to talk to (Therapist and an open minded friend).
Ive had times when Im doing all those little things and each one is a drop into the bucket of a mellow mind, you can aid the mind in so many ways, everyone is different. But be real with yourself, if you sit in a room for years, arnt active, eat poorly, and just stare at a screen in various forms like the majority of humans these days youre not going to be very prepared for the battle in the mind. We are all warriors fighting for peace. When youre strong and at your potential through willpower and patience the battle is a lot easier. But dont forget, even "normal" minded people fight the battle at some point. We just get a taste sooner and more often.
In the lowest lows self improvement advice can mean nothing and we lose focus, the biggest thing to remember is that when the swarm comes back even though youre working hard to rid yourself of it and its full force racing in your head and nothing can fix or calm it, to remember that it will pass no matter what, the heart beating will slow, and your can get right back to the agenda of re wiring you brain and being happy, just snap your fingers in your mind and say focus, back to it Ive got this.
Hope my rant helps. Ive always considered suicide to hush the mind, but I want to work hard and empower myself and others to thrive using their untapped strength.
and some times I hear voices , crashes and bangs. No visual intrusions.
"TIME TO GO TO THE BATHROOM, DON'T FORGET THE TOILET PAPER. WHAT AM I GONNA HAVE TO EAT TONIGHT?! HMM, MAYBE I'LL ORDER A PIZZA!!!"
It's kind of like having an adrenaline rush without the adrenaline or the speed. There's an intensity to them that's mildly disturbing.
If you feel that you might hurt someone you need to reach out immediately. Please call a helpline or contact a professional now: http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources/
- Natasha Tracy
Like, you may start with "money" and follow with;
Backed by nothing
Profit Off Interest
gap of classes
(These are very related to the starting word, but not all racing thoughts are totaly disconnected)
The thing is, all this happens in the brain in under 60 seconds for a bipolar; the thoughts just cannot be matched by the speed of the tongue, and the whirlwind rages on.
Sources: Im Bipolar
It is absolutely not just in your head (so to speak!) and noone will laugh at you, only try to help. Asking for help is one of the bravest and most difficult things you can do, it is for a lot of people. I found it hard myself, but what I've learned is that asking for the right kind of help can be life changing.
Different things work for different people. Therapy works well for some (I had great success with the right therapist - though I had to get through 3 to find him); medication works for some, whether long or short term (I tried an array and personally they made me worse, so be cautious but consider it as an option if need be); yoga and meditation works wonders for any crowded mind, it's difficult at first and persistent thoughts can still come in to crowd you even after a lot of practice, but it gets easier to quiet them and then you're more prepared to deal with them the rest of the day (yoga had worked wonders for me and it's tangibly noticeable when I skip it for a few days- give it a go, you never know).
In fact look up a woman called Jen Hillman on YouTube and find a simple video from her for back stretches or something easy, to get you started. If you're anything like me you'll be addicted in no time.
It may also sound silly to some, but I have found sanctuary in herb. I drink Earl Grey tea and really inhale the aroma (bergamot is a known mood enhancer and extremely relaxing), take baths with Epsom salts and lavender oils (or anything relaxing). Just take the time to love yourself, it won't cure you, but it sure as hell helps to let that brain unwind and process with no other input, as often as possible, in as many ways as possible.
The most important thing is to know than you're in control of what help you seek and what you accept. I thought asking for help meant doing everything the doctor told me, but that's wrong, your doctor can only give you one perspective.
Good luck and take care of yourself x
Also the going over conversations that haven't happened yet is a big struggle for me right now.
I need help and everytime I think about going to the doctors I panic. And chicken out. I'm scared it's all in my head and I'll be laughed at.
Confused, scared and alone.
I highly recommend you look up local mental health resources such as a NAMI group (National Alliance of Mental Illness). They may be able to point you to additional local resources.
- Natasha Tracy
I can relate to so much of what I have read and feel a little less alone and confused just reading that it's not just me. But still wonder if Imagining it all.
The racing thoughts are like having bouncy balls in my head and the hyper activity is very distracting as although I'm faster and full of energy I'm not actually able to stick to any one thing.
I've never spoken to anyone or looked into this to much but I think maybe it's time I did.
These aren't sinister thoughts or anything but I massively over-think things until I find I'm thinking about thinking about thinking... You name it, I'll think about it. Snippets of conversations can kick around my brain for days, years... and if something bothers me, I'll stew till I'm sick to death of stewing. My thoughts can be quite rapid and bounce quickly from topic to topic. This can help sometimes - I'm a good problem solver because I can see all the possibilities at once; I'll think about the things no one else will think about and i'll weight them up faster to get to the solution. But in terms of life in general it's becoming a problem. I don't know if this is bipolar or not. I really just liked the way you had written about it and expressed it so well.
"Gigi Marsten says:
...You definitely should be on medication. I’m exhausted just reading that. Take care."
Yeah I agree she needs medication and YOU Gigi need to get off your medication --you know the BITCH pills you must be popping daily? Because Gigi you sound like SUCH a bitch!
I have confusion/no thoughts/jumbled head without my adhd medication. It thankfully just slows everything down so I can make one decision step by step.
I have racing thoughts, but they're too fast to be discern-able with the exception of one, which is like a hammer in my brain. This is my mixed state, because it's constant.
I have negative, critical thoughts which are usually repetitive and basically a constant commentary on what I'm doing and how I should be doing it differently, or something else, or anything critical.
I have anxiety thoughts, that are often racing and/or repetitive. They're worrying thoughts. "What if? I can't. But." etc. It also involves me working out conversations before they happen as well. Or rehashing conversations in the back of my head, though that would probably fall better under the negative thoughts. Anxiety thoughts are among my hardest. They're also obsessive and come with a compulsive need to fix whatever the anxiety thought is.
I have intrusive, usually violent, thoughts. Trying to make these go away or overly correct them does not help; it only makes it worse.
I have spontaneous and random thoughts just like anybody else; I tend to get excited over mine.
It is necessary to "talk back" to the negative, critical thoughts to a certain extent. To counter it or to reframe what I'm seeing as a problem more positively.
The two worst types are the jumbled/confused and manic racing. The intrusive violent ranks right in there too. They're all no fun.
I do have positive thoughts too!!! By choice, I create those.