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I just read something suggesting that obsessive thinking is frequently a part of bipolar disorder, and I'm wondering if anyone has experienced that. I mean obsessive thinking in the absence of an OCD diagnosis. I'm really struggling with obsessive thinking right now, ruminating on one big thing, but also a rotating collection of little things that come up in my day, perceived slights, personal failures, things that annoy me, past painful events, etc.  It takes over my head, and is making me completely miserable/not safe because it does not stop, it just moves from one thing to the next. I do not typically have OCD symptoms, beyond a couple of little quirks I won't get into. Anyone with bipolar who doesn't have OCD have any experience with this when you're symptomatic with bipolar? Is this a thing? Any tips on how to get it under control? It's putting me in a really bad headspace.

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this is another "well i'm not bipolar" but i've accepted that i'm almost there. I'm clearly on the spectrum.

No OCD dx.

elevated? nope and when one happens to break through, it's as quickly quashed. who cares? doesn't matter!!! i'm good!!!

euthymic? occasionally but i power through it, might stick but doesn't escalate.

low? crap they're swirling about

depressed? oh god make it stop i'm drowning in them and actually telling the thoughts to shut up, out loud. that makes for an interesting sight to see me mumbling shut up to myself.

Only way to get myself out of it is get back to euthymic.

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Why are you so insistant that your not ocd? I would discuss it with your pdoc and see what they say and most importantly get help with the ruminating thoughts. Most people think ocd is just clean freaks but it can manifest itself in so many different presentations.  

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6 hours ago, CeremonyNewOrder said:

Why are you so insistant that your not ocd? I would discuss it with your pdoc and see what they say and most importantly get help with the ruminating thoughts. Most people think ocd is just clean freaks but it can manifest itself in so many different presentations.  

No, I don't think OCD is just clean freaks. My husband has OCD. I don't have any problem with an OCD diagnosis, I just have never had one before, nor a compelling reason to get one. As I mentioned, I have a few quirks, mostly in relation to feeling compelled to touch certain specific kinds of objects sometimes, but that has never caused me any emotional distress. And I haven't gone through a period of obsessive thinking so bad that it makes me want to harm myself before. There was a precipitating emotional trauma, and a lot of the focus has been around that, but it has generalized to other things taking over my brain for various periods of time. My Pdoc is aware of it, and though we have discussed the possibility of treating the dominant thought as OCD, we haven't really discussed it as though it is OCD, which I think would suggest a different med approach for one thing.

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8 hours ago, argh said:

this is another "well i'm not bipolar" but i've accepted that i'm almost there. I'm clearly on the spectrum.

No OCD dx.

elevated? nope and when one happens to break through, it's as quickly quashed. who cares? doesn't matter!!! i'm good!!!

euthymic? occasionally but i power through it, might stick but doesn't escalate.

low? crap they're swirling about

depressed? oh god make it stop i'm drowning in them and actually telling the thoughts to shut up, out loud. that makes for an interesting sight to see me mumbling shut up to myself.

Only way to get myself out of it is get back to euthymic.

Interesting. In my case, it's a chicken and egg thing, because the excessive rumination, though it might not be the cause of the depression, is certainly exacerbating it greatly, because, as you say, I'm drowning in it, and mumbling to myself to shut up, how much I suck, etc. But new meds don't seem to be helping the depression, so the ruminations have gotten worse, and more generalized, to the point where every interaction I have can become the subject of a rumination for at least a little while. Because I have never had real cause to have an OCD diagnosis, it's especially confusing, so I perked up when I read that it can also be a feature of bipolar and wondered if anyone else had experienced this, so thank you.

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8 hours ago, argh said:

this is another "well i'm not bipolar" but i've accepted that i'm almost there. I'm clearly on the spectrum.

No OCD dx.

elevated? nope and when one happens to break through, it's as quickly quashed. who cares? doesn't matter!!! i'm good!!!

euthymic? occasionally but i power through it, might stick but doesn't escalate.

low? crap they're swirling about

depressed? oh god make it stop i'm drowning in them and actually telling the thoughts to shut up, out loud. that makes for an interesting sight to see me mumbling shut up to myself.

Only way to get myself out of it is get back to euthymic.

what do you mean "well im not bipolar but ive accepted that im almost there, clearly on the spectrum"

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3 hours ago, looking for answers said:

what do you mean "well im not bipolar but ive accepted that im almost there, clearly on the spectrum"

I'm on BP meds, at the therapeutic doses (to be fair only one of my meds is first line for bipolar). I do have sort of but not confirmed DSM 5 style hypomania.

There's a school of thought that bipolar is a spectrum. It's not a clear MDD where the only other mood issue/DX is bipolar 2 with nothing in between.

I believe that's why my pdoc has me at mood disorder, unspecified.

This site explains the concept

https://psycheducation.org/diagnosis/

If you look further down on that page, i believe i'm probably in the greenish section closer to blue than yellow/orange.

Given your anxiety and irritablity symptoms, per that site above, that might be why you got a BP dx or close to it.

 

 

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33 minutes ago, argh said:

I'm on BP meds, at the therapeutic doses (to be fair only one of my meds is first line for bipolar). I do have sort of but not confirmed DSM 5 style hypomania.

There's a school of thought that bipolar is a spectrum. It's not a clear MDD where the only other mood issue/DX is bipolar 2 with nothing in between.

I believe that's why my pdoc has me at mood disorder, unspecified.

This site explains the concept

https://psycheducation.org/diagnosis/

If you look further down on that page, i believe i'm probably in the greenish section closer to blue than yellow/orange.

Given your anxiety and irritablity symptoms, per that site above, that might be why you got a BP dx or close to it.

 

 

Got yah. Yeah perhaps , never know.

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17 hours ago, Unstrung Harp said:

I just read something suggesting that obsessive thinking is frequently a part of bipolar disorder, and I'm wondering if anyone has experienced that. I mean obsessive thinking in the absence of an OCD diagnosis. I'm really struggling with obsessive thinking right now, ruminating on one big thing, but also a rotating collection of little things that come up in my day, perceived slights, personal failures, things that annoy me, past painful events, etc.  It takes over my head, and is making me completely miserable/not safe because it does not stop, it just moves from one thing to the next. I do not typically have OCD symptoms, beyond a couple of little quirks I won't get into. Anyone with bipolar who doesn't have OCD have any experience with this when you're symptomatic with bipolar? Is this a thing? Any tips on how to get it under control? It's putting me in a really bad headspace.

Yeah I have similar issues. I am not a big CBT fan overall but it did help with the “getting stuck” as one tdoc called it. It manifests itself in different ways- ex when dysphoric I cannot dissipate my anger towards one thing no matter how the situation is progressing, when depressed I can have a bad thought, distract myself with something fun only to have the thought suck me back down again once I’m not distracted 

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4 hours ago, Iceberg said:

Yeah I have similar issues. I am not a big CBT fan overall but it did help with the “getting stuck” as one tdoc called it. It manifests itself in different ways- ex when dysphoric I cannot dissipate my anger towards one thing no matter how the situation is progressing, when depressed I can have a bad thought, distract myself with something fun only to have the thought suck me back down again once I’m not distracted 

I’m not finding CBT very helpful in that regard right now, and I’ve done years of CBT. 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/23/2019 at 4:36 AM, argh said:

this is another "well i'm not bipolar" but i've accepted that i'm almost there. I'm clearly on the spectrum.

No OCD dx.

elevated? nope and when one happens to break through, it's as quickly quashed. who cares? doesn't matter!!! i'm good!!!

euthymic? occasionally but i power through it, might stick but doesn't escalate.

low? crap they're swirling about

depressed? oh god make it stop i'm drowning in them and actually telling the thoughts to shut up, out loud. that makes for an interesting sight to see me mumbling shut up to myself.

Only way to get myself out of it is get back to euthymic.

Same experience here. Previous pdocs put me on the "spectrum of BP2", but my daily (most debilitating) symptoms (20+ years) are all depression (negative ruminations & some anxious distress). All my symptoms get worse and more convoluted the more depressed, avoidant and inactive I get.

Only way for me to pull out is to get Euthymic. Lamictal seems to maintain this stability, but in an acute episode it won't pull me out - therefore I sort of depend on the Ritalin to keep me moving, get out of bed and maintain my healthy prevention habits. If another symptom gets worse (say anxious distress) then we increase A/D and medicate with a PRN until I feel I can pull out again.

Obsessive ruminations (for me) get worse when my depression gets worse...I don't see this symptom as a separate OCD diagnosis in my case...but I've never really discussed this possibility with a pdoc.

Edited by Blahblah
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On 8/23/2019 at 5:19 AM, Unstrung Harp said:

Interesting. In my case, it's a chicken and egg thing, because the excessive rumination, though it might not be the cause of the depression, is certainly exacerbating it greatly, because, as you say, I'm drowning in it, and mumbling to myself to shut up, how much I suck, etc. But new meds don't seem to be helping the depression, so the ruminations have gotten worse, and more generalized, to the point where every interaction I have can become the subject of a rumination for at least a little while. Because I have never had real cause to have an OCD diagnosis, it's especially confusing, so I perked up when I read that it can also be a feature of bipolar and wondered if anyone else had experienced this, so thank you.

Exactly the same. Once ruminations get a hold, its a trip downwards until i hit the bottom or i am able to somehow catch myself/stop them. Usually it is the former not the later.

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Part of my old treatment team (a therapist I saw through my university) actually considered an OCD diagnosis for me and I don’t know whether it was just never communicated to my psychiatrist or what but I’m not currently diagnosed with it.

I also have issues with rumination and obsessive thoughts, though I believe some of them (though not all, by a long shot) are because of some emotional trauma I experienced a few years back. All of them are definitely exacerbated by being symptomatic (especially when I’m mixed or hypomanic, but also when depressed). I also have a lot of intrusive thoughts, and my current pdoc increased my risperdal when I told him about those.

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12 minutes ago, StriderEnglish said:

I also have issues with rumination and obsessive thoughts, though I believe some of them (though not all, by a long shot) are because of some emotional trauma I experienced a few years back. All of them are definitely exacerbated by being symptomatic (especially when I’m mixed or hypomanic, but also when depressed). I also have a lot of intrusive thoughts, and my current pdoc increased my risperdal when I told him about those.

yes, for me the rumination definitely showed up in response to an emotional trauma, but has since generalized to other things. I wake up thinking about the original thing, and think of it throughout the day, and can't seem to control that, but then other stuff jumps in too throughout the day until I'm totally miserable, and now I'm in a deep, dark depression, in large part because I can't get any peace. Pdoc doesn't seem sure whether talking about the trauma is useful, or treating it all as if it's OCD at this point, or something else. So I was interested in the idea that it could be related to the bipolar. Certainly, something is stuck in my brain and I haven't been able to get it unstuck.

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On 8/22/2019 at 7:53 PM, Unstrung Harp said:

I just read something suggesting that obsessive thinking is frequently a part of bipolar disorder, and I'm wondering if anyone has experienced that. I mean obsessive thinking in the absence of an OCD diagnosis. I'm really struggling with obsessive thinking right now, ruminating on one big thing, but also a rotating collection of little things that come up in my day, perceived slights, personal failures, things that annoy me, past painful events, etc.  It takes over my head, and is making me completely miserable/not safe because it does not stop, it just moves from one thing to the next. I do not typically have OCD symptoms, beyond a couple of little quirks I won't get into. Anyone with bipolar who doesn't have OCD have any experience with this when you're symptomatic with bipolar? Is this a thing? Any tips on how to get it under control? It's putting me in a really bad headspace.

Jesus Christ, this is a thing? Do you have an article I can read? This happens to me all. the. time. It makes me feel genuinely insane. 

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can you ascribe an affect to the ruminating/obsessive thoughts? - fear, anxiety, giddiness, jealousy, etc.?

I have this, with shame as the primary affect.

it's very uncomfortable.  I would call it an intrusive thought, in my case, though it is tinged with a kind of obsessiveness, mostly because it seems to go on for hours at a time.

delorean

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