Do you ever have so many things in your head it feels ready to go “pop”?!
In therapy group on Friday, I felt I could identify really strongly with what a couple of other group members were saying. We talked about so many themes that are really pertinent to my life right now. My thoughts started spiraling and firing off faster and faster in my head and I felt I couldn’t keep hold of them all. I wanted to write them all down right after group as it seemed so important they didn’t get lost. There were so many things I wanted to ask the group members.
I often get spiralling thoughts. In my 1:1 therapy we identified this often happens when I’m starting to experience a strong out of control emotion. The spiralling thoughts are somehow safer or more possible to name than the emotion. Focusing on them can suppress some of the emotion. If I can’t – like in group last week where they were just too fast and I was trying to stay focused on what others were saying – the emotion intensifies and is really uncomfortable, though I can’t name it or understand it. I just know I feel panic. I’m working on trying to sit with the emotion and explore that rather than plunging straight into compulsively following the thoughts.
Interestingly, my thoughts used to do something similar when I was studying. I’d frantically try to get them all down. They seemed important. Sometimes they were and sometimes they were not. But it was often really hard for me to explain the links between them to other people or get them down coherently.
Writing this, it’s occurring to me – does this sound like I experience manic episodes? I have never felt as though I have manic periods in terms of hyperactivity or boundless energy but can manic episodes affect your thoughts alone? The spiralling thoughts can stop me sleeping and if i miss any medication doses at this time i can end up going all night without sleeping. Though the thoughts take the focus away from the uncomfortable emotion at first, eventually it returns, often more extreme than before and together with a lot of anxiety and physical exhaustion.
After the spiralling thoughts have squirmed and pushed their way round my head for a while, it’s as if part of my brain shuts off. I feel frozen inside my head. It’s a huge effort to fight to interact with people and speak and respond appropriately. I can’t bear the emotion and spiraling energy. It hurts. I can barely understand what’s happening round me. I want to get out. Go home, shut off and curl up somewhere safe, or have someone hold me (though there’s almost never anyone. ..) If anyone talks to me and I’m required to interact I am likely to somehow jump to irritation and frustration, though it isn’t really irritation I’m feeling inside.
I’ve never talked to my therapist about the idea of manic states but perhaps I should. Do others with Borderline experience this kind of thing, I wonder? Do you struggle with this?
It’s been worse in the past week or so because I’ve had more stress with my Tax Credits being stopped and consequent further financial panic. I’ve also been exhausted from low physical health with a lot of pain. Every day off has been taken up with hospital appointments and trying to sort out my finances. I’m worried I won’t be able to keep up my job as I’m struggling with the physical aspects of it and it is also very discouraging that pushing myself to the limit of what I can do to keep working, I’m left without enough to meet basic expenses. I’m so fortunate I have a very good friend and a family member who are helping me from time to time. Without them I think I’d have ended up on the street by now.