#105: Racing thoughts can disable you

empowerment recovery strategy Apr 01, 2021
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If you’ve ever spent hours and hours at the mercy of your mind, you might’ve touched on a symptom that’s very common in bipolar: racing thoughts. When racing thoughts materialize, it’s nearly impossible to focus. And depending on what those thoughts are, it might be absolutely terrifying.

These kinds of unbounded thoughts are one of the earliest symptoms of bipolar disorder. You get locked in a “channel” inside your mind and it just explodes from there, when your mouth can’t keep up with your head when you try to reach out. It’s something that ruins your work day, interrupts your studies for hours, and generally takes you far from what you’re supposed to be doing.

And that’s incredibly disabling, as Mike points out on today’s episode of The Bipolar Now Podcast. But there’s good news. You don’t have to spin your wheels if you have some simple tactics in place to help you release these racing thoughts. It just takes practicing them until you automatically respond.

Don’t miss this intense episode!


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  • Racing thoughts are serious enough to warrant a doctor’s appointment. Even though it’s so hard, you need to make a note in your phone or your medical journal about the kinds of thoughts you have. And when you experience them. Your doctor will be familiar with this symptom.


  • Typically, racing thoughts are associated with hypomanic episodes of bipolar disorder. But they can also appear in bipolar depression, as “ruminating thoughts”. They are just as persistent and relentless as manic racing thoughts, except they usually come on as negativity.


  • Fortunately there are relief tactics you can use in the moment. Having a prescription-strength sleep aid is a good fall-back for when your racing thoughts take place at night. Other natural approaches can often work well before resorting to medication, which will require forethought and planning. It’s extremely important in bipolar disorder to have a sleep defense plan.


Lifer Discussion Guide

There is no Lifer guide for this episode, but you can use the techniques and workarounds in this episode to open up a conversation this week about your racing thoughts. “Lifers” are special people who have the kind of faithfulness to you that assures you they’ll be there when called upon. If you haven’t nominated a Lifer as part of your non-medical support team, what are you waiting for? :-)


Join the Tribe!

Once you’ve had a chance to talk or journal about these things you might have a question from this episode. If so, make sure you head on over to The Bipolar Now Podcast Group on Facebook! There’s quite a few people over there who are also taking a new step in their mental health. And we’d love for you to share your story with us when you’re ready. So don’t miss out!