Bi Polar and Anxiety

Anxiety is on the rise, we all suffer with it at some point, whether before an job interview, or long journey, we can understand some anxieties, they are considered the “normal” ones, but what happens when anxiety follows you around like an annoying shadow, which no matter how we try to weave, and prance our way around it, it sticks to us wherever we go, whatever we are doing.

It is almost as though there is a little part of the sufferer’s brain especially made called the anxiety pouch, it is there, always there, no matter how busy we are, our minds could be filled with a million other things, yet  the anxiety will still be there.

Carolyn M. Drazinic, MD, PhD, assistant professor in psychiatry, genetics and developmental biology at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington says, “It is very common to see an anxiety disorder coexisting with bipolar disorder”

Experts say that it is not always easy to separate an anxiety disorder diagnosis from a bipolar disorder diagnosis but below are some symptoms which are indicative of both disorders co-occurring.

  • Panic attacks, severe anxiety.
  • Avoiding activities that cause anxiety, while displaying mania, hypomania or depression.
  • Having difficulties sleeping because of anxiety.
  • Showing ongoing anxiety even when not in a manic or hyper manic state.
  • Taking a longer than normal time to find the correct medication dosing and combination for their bipolar.

A panic disorder is an anxiety disorder marked by repeated panic attacks.

Thankfully, my panic attacks have calmed a lot in the recent months, but my health anxieties are at an all time high.

Having long lasting stomach issues, being seen by a number of Dr’s ( who are not overly concerned) and awaiting tests have led me down a path of tremendous anxiety, my “go to” thought process that something is terribly wrong, and the Dr’s have missed it is at the forefront of my mind.

Those of us whom have anxieties will ask for constant, repeated reassurance. Those around us may believe we are being hypochondriac’s, will not understand whey we cant just ” think positive” and will wonder why we need to over dramatize everything.

Having bipolar, combined with anxiety is a daily struggle, from the minute one gets up till they fall in to a usually highly charged/ disturbing dreaming sleep, all that is on your mind is your current health anxiety.

The difference between a person who does not have bipolar and anxiety is huge.  2 people with the same symptoms ( in my case long lasting, 24/7 stomach pain ) will have completely different conversations with themselves.

Person 1:

” This pain is so annoying, it disturbs me every day, I just cant wait for the scan and other tests so I can deal with it, I am a little worried because its so often, but the Dr’s have checked me over and over, they have sent me for tests, if they were overly concerned they would have ordered urgent tests, I will just have to wait and see”

Person 2:

” OMG, I am so sure that the Dr’s have missed something, I am sure when I have the scan they are going to find this huge mass of cancer, so scared, its just not normal to have stomach pain all day every day. What about that story I read on line?? the Dr’s missed something that women had, and so many Dr’s checked her and they all missed her cancer and now she is dying. My friend had a pain in her stomach and its pancreatic cancer, maybe I have that”. I am just terrified, should I go to A&E tonight?? I need to tell people about this so that they can reassure me, ill just text hubby to tell him my stomach is hurting again, and does he think it is something serious? Shall I call an ambulance? No I cant, come-on you know its nothing serious right? No I don’t know that, I am sure they have missed something”.

Ill leave you to work out which conversation is one a person with low anxiety and which is the self conversation a person with high anxiety will have.

Anxiety together with bipolar can cause so much unhappiness and exhaustion, coupled with the obsessive thinking that most people with bipolar tend to have, its overwhelming.

So what to do with our anxiety? how to calm it? Trying to be rational and calm just does not work.  I do not know how to overcome this.

 

The roundabout

Yup 2 posts in one night , but as the picture above so aptly states sometimes you just have to write it down.

Ear worm , a word I recently heard describes those times when you have that song stuck in your head and it goes round and round and round … replacing it with another song is usually the only way to get it out of your head.

Now imagine that it was not a song but thoughts of that off hand remark someone said, or something you said , or your health, or whether or not your husband loves you.

There are many studies which give a direct connection with obsessive thinking and Bi Polar . It’s an accepted fact in the mental health world that People with Bi Polar will often obsess about anything and everything.

Some examples, my husband doesn’t answer his phone when I know he is on his lunch hour, the thoughts begin, is he with a female colleague, is he having an affair , by the time he calls me back 10 minutes later my mind is already throwing his clothes out the door, convinced he is having an affair.

Having obsessive thinking with Bi Polar is like being on a constant daily roundabout. It’s not a matter of  will I obsess about something, but more a matter of what today’s obsession will be.

Often it is harmless, getting the house in perfect order, being the best I can be at work, making the perfect meal .

Mainly though it is not healthy. For example today. A few weeks ago someone said a harmless comment to me, it was a comment meant to help me, it was during a conversation in which she was guiding and supporting me, but because of my Bi Polar and because of my obsessive thinking it was all I could think of today and for quite a few days.

The obsessive thinking will lead you in a direction that you have little or no control over, googling the person , bringing them up in conversation etc.

It can affect your daily life, it is exhausting.

I am used to being told I am ” over sensitive ” a word which I have come to hate … I do not think anyone can be over sensitive, everyone has their own fragility, everyone is insecure about something and we don’t know if the comment made can touch that person deeply , for the good or bad.

I know I am having a good Bi Polar day when thoughts flow seamlessly from one to the other, obsessions only last for a little while and they can be replaced.

Today is a bad Bi Polar day, where an obsession about someone has stayed with me for to long.

Whilst having these obsessions all other clear thinking goes out the window, you are unable to concentrate on anything.

So how do people who have bi Polar related obsessive thinking get off the roundabout ? How when it is turning faster and faster, when your brain is completely overrun with the one thought do you stop, do you shout ” I want to get off “!

For a lot of people quiet time works ,lying still , with relaxing music on, just listening to your breathing . This has been the go to for a lot of people.

For me lying still is not an option, if I were lying still the roundabout would go faster and faster.

With my form of this thinking I need to firstly if I am able to talk to the person or write … and I have now done both.

 

Deep breath… relax …

 

 

 

 

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