Paranoid Bipolar

1 Aug

They hate me.

They snicker and sneer behind my back. They can’t stand me. I’m too loud. Too fat. Too lazy. They think I’m wasteful, slothful, devious and mean. They wonder what I do all day. I will be fired, any moment. They tolerate me.

I stumble away from work, walk to the bus. Those people driving by are disgusted, staring at my fat, my face. I wait for the honk, the yell, the throw. The bus driver snickers when I get on the bus, as it moves with me. No one sits with me because I revolt them.

I come home, fight with all this to trust and love my husband, my kids. I fight these voices in my home, repeating silently that I am worthy of love, that he won’t destroy me, that I’m not wrong to love, that nothing will go wrong.

In my head I list them. He could die. He could fall for someone else. One of the kids could get sick. They could get lost. Snatched. Raped. Murdered. The house could burn down, the roof collapse, one of us could get TB, the bloating and the breathing could be ovarian cancer and I don’t have a will. The water-too much fluoride, too much chlorine. The things that could happen-Russia could use it’s nuclear weapons, Iran could attack, we’re much too close to the US for me to not worry-how would I survive with two kids through a nuclear winter with roving gangs-let these things not happen til they are very very older and able to understand why we scavenge for roots and things.



When I was first diagnosed Bipolar, there were a few things I didn’t really “get”:

  • That I was anxious. I never connected the inability to go out in public, meet people inside clubs or meet new people period as a bad thing. This anxiety grew slowly through a few years, and really didn’t bother me much until the last few years before diagnosis. Then came the clarity of Lithium, and my horror at being so accustomed to being trapped within myself. Going out, even if just to a movie, without the resulting panic, is a sweet thing.
  • That I DID experience mania: I, like many other people, had this vision of mania/hypo-mania to be a crazy fun time-that if I was manic to any degree I would be happy. Since that never happened, I never truly considered bipolar. Until I read about Dysphoric Mania (or mixed states). Shortly before being hospitalized, I was blowing up into these terrific rages involving broken dishes and walls, where I’d hardly remember what had happened. I remember distinctly having to walk slowly away from my husband, my urge to HURTPAINBADNOW was so strong. That scared the hell out of me. But I didn’t believe any of this was mania. Mania was fun! Giggles and poops! I know better now, and realize that my brand of bipolar rarely errs on the side of fun. I might have 2-4 weeks of productive happy horny hypo-mania in a year.
  • That I’m paranoid. That I can be paranoid. I always assumed my paranoia was a natural outgrowth of events in my childhood. But as it gets worse for me, I realize it’s instead part of this disease. Doesn’t give me permission to let it win. But it lets me realize that I am indeed paranoid because of the kink in my brain.

Here’s the rub. When you’re paranoid, you don’t know what is legitimate, and what’s delusional. You actually feel NUTS instead of just ill. You don’t know if someone IS out to get you, or if you just think they are. It’s fucking annoying actually, and it’s messing with my bullshit meter.

I think. Or maybe the BS meter is right on target.

But I can’t tell.

Paranoia is like trying to walk on Jello. You know there’s a floor there somewhere, but everything under your feet has decided to be difficult, toddler like. You can’t truly explain any of it to someone because they’ll just give you “that” look, like the one I get about hating olives or wet wool. I can’t truly to talk to anyone about the delusions in my head. The constant weight of thought.

When I was pregnant with Vivian, I was completely convinced that someone was going to break into the house while I was home alone, so I refused to turn a fan on, and often stayed awake until Mogo got home. In hindsight, I should have thought a little harder about that. I have those thoughts a lot again now, with the saving grace that I’m never home alone. But I worry.

And I’m quiet.

Likely I should be louder about it. I tell my doctor, but she’s usually of a mind to leave things be until they are really intrusive. (and besides, after getting a long lecture about narrowly avoiding kidney failure when I put my lithium dose up by myself, I’m trying to be good) She doesn’t seem concerned about all this, and frankly, I’d like to avoid the anti-psychotics again, especially since I’m extremely sensitive to them. But this feels like it’s becoming a problem. I’m even turning away from the internet because I start thinking those same stupid bad thoughts that I do of people in real life. I thought you were all immune.

So yeah-Bipolar and Paranoia go hand in hand like me and slushies. Who knew.

14 Responses to “Paranoid Bipolar”

  1. flutter August 2, 2008 at 12:19 am #

    this must be so difficult for you.

  2. titaniumrose August 2, 2008 at 7:50 am #

    Wow, that has got to suck big time. I get the mixed states thing going on, but fortunately not the paranoia. I hope the doctor is able to find a way to make it get better for you, and soon. Nothing quite as disturbing as being nuts and having to feel nuts, too. 🙂

  3. cinnamon gurl August 2, 2008 at 8:06 am #

    I’ve often thought that of all possible mental states, paranoia must be just about the worst. It sucks that you’re suffering from it. But good for you for being so self-aware.

  4. thordora August 2, 2008 at 8:12 am #

    Its just annoying more than anything really, being on the cusp of not nuts. Like hearing whispers all the time.

    I would it to end however. It does make my huge fear of nuclear war as a child mean more than just that I was raised in the eighties.

    Cin, I’m usually too self-aware for my own good. 🙂

  5. bipolarlife August 2, 2008 at 8:50 am #

    “Here’s the rub. When you’re paranoid, you don’t know what is legitimate, and what’s delusional. You actually feel NUTS instead of just ill. You don’t know if someone IS out to get you, or if you just think they are. It’s fucking annoying actually…”

    You have summed up my experience with paranoia in these few sentences. I have good days, like yesterday I was able to go shopping by myself. Other times I can’t even reply on a blog because of the fear of being attacked. Half the time I feel like a lunatic.

    Nice blog.

  6. Jennifer August 2, 2008 at 9:00 am #

    Even those with depression get glimpses of this. The post resonated with me big time. I cannot imagine living with this all the time.

  7. Marcy August 2, 2008 at 9:14 am #

    Yeah, I understand paranoia, and how annoying it is when someone (like my therapist) just gives the look, or says “did you hear what you just said?” or some other thing that’s designed to make me realize how ridiculous I am, but doesn’t really help.

    I am more often surprised at how relatively infrequent horrible things are, than surprised when something horrible does happen.

  8. Gwen August 2, 2008 at 11:05 am #

    That sounds so tough, T. I know sometimes this blogging thing feels heavy, but I believe what you’re doing, talking so openly about your bipolar, is a really good thing. I admire you so much.

  9. MNkathy August 3, 2008 at 9:31 pm #

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m undiagnosed bipolar. I have chronic depression and panic/anxiety disorder. It’s so unthinkable for most people to think the way I do and it does feel so crazy and lonely. I can identify with a lot of what you say here and it does make me wonder about my own diagnoses. You give me a lot to think about.
    Thank you.

  10. niobe August 4, 2008 at 6:00 am #

    Like you say — I can’t tell if I’m paranoid or if the whole world (nay, the whole universe) if actually out to get me. Not a pleasant feeling.

  11. Helen August 4, 2008 at 1:34 pm #

    I can so relate to you. You only hinted at it slightly, but for me, the worst paranoia comes when my husband has to travel on business trips and I’m left alone with the kids. I worry that: I’ll get sick, my kids will get sick, the car will break down, someone will break into the house, we’ll run out of cash, or food, or gas… and it goes on and on.

    I feel so stupid every time I break down crying when my husband goes out the door. And I worry, like you do, that he’ll eventually decide I’m too crazy and he’ll just leave. Literally, I worry myself to sickness. And I just don’t know how to break out of this vicious cycle.

  12. Christian Nicosia September 21, 2008 at 10:05 pm #

    I’m concerned i may have the same issue. It really bothers me. Not knowing. Could you contact me please. If not, i certainly understand. Don’t feel obligated im going to see a shrink tomorrow, but it might help knowing a real person thats going thru it too. My AIM is MoonDoggie221 and my EMAIL is

  13. Erica August 1, 2012 at 1:51 am #

    The entire paragraph where you listed your paranoias…could have been written by me. Not only am I bipolar..I’m going through the postpartum phase and three deaths in my close family…which has made things so much worse. Just 30 mins. ago I found myselfpacking an emergency bag for my son…looking through cabinets to see what I could grab quickly just “in case”. I have dreams of the world ending frequently…ugh. I am so sick of this bullshit. I have considered committing myself again…but I am a SAHM and have no one to keep my son. Anyway, reading your blog reminds me I am not alone. Thank you.

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