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    Old 10-22-2010, 08:11 PM   #1
    lussuria
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    Extreme mental discomfort/insanity, does this happen to you?

    So, in the past year I have experienced a lot of instability with my mental health and am wondering who else experiences this, and if anyone has any insight into it. I will give a little bit of background first to put things into context, but try to keep it brief.

    I think I'm bipolar because I have been depressed as far back as I can remember (at least 12-13), and while I'm not sure if I ever truly experienced hypomania in my late teens, this past spring I most definitely did -- total disinterest in sleeping, wanting to call people at 2am, delusional about life and mundane things appearing magical, felt I was receiving messages from the universe, almost got a job at a strip club, etc -- although it was brought on by intense drug use mixed with a complete upheaval of my life (moved to a new place I had never been before where I knew no one, had just left my boyfriend who I was still in love with). I knew I was spinning out of control but it felt good, and I was intent on being as self-destructive as possible.

    This period of somewhere between 1-2 months culminated in me staying awake for 5 days, which of course brought on intense sleep deprivation hallucinations which I very much enjoyed....basically the whole episode was quite fun and I was mostly delusional in a spiritual sense. Once I crashed, I awoke in the deepest, darkest depression I have ever experienced and was convinced it was time for me to die. I didn't hear any voices that I felt were not some part of my own self, but I definitely felt the universe had led me to this place to die -- it made perfect sense, nothing had ever been so clear, and I simply felt deep down that it was time.

    Needless to say I did not die, and the road to recovery from this spring has been slow and extremely emotionally messy -- anxiety attacks (never experienced this before), horrible overwhelming mood swings, going from hyperventilating and hitting myself in the head to curled up in a ball and unable to move... (I was also sexually abused as a child, something I have just started understanding the implications of in the past few weeks via my therapist, so it is no surprise that these attacks and severe emotional crises all revolved around my long-distance semi-boyfriend and fear of abandonment.)

    and then, this thing I cannot quite explain except what it feels like : insanity.

    This is what I need some feedback on.. this "insanity" feels like there are distinct different parts of myself that are all at war with one another, or like my mind is breaking or I am "losing my mind" for lack of a better description. I can't quite explain how it feels like I am losing my mind, but it just feels like that -- I feel extremely uncomfortable in my head. Everything feels wrong in some vague way, and it feels like this intense aggression against my own mind -- intense aggression to and from each different part of my self/mind.

    Once this was happening and I was driving in the car, in complete "freak-out" mode, and the only way I could keep myself from hyperventilating was to clench my jaw as hard as possible and grip the steering wheel as hard as possible -- maybe an hour of steady, deep breathing, trying to get a grip on my mind, trembling and spasming despite gripping the steering wheel and clenching my jaw... But every time I would look at the setting sun, which was a violently bright orange orb due to the overcast/foggy sky, I would lose whatever control I had managed and immediately start hyperventilating and sobbing. The way the sun looked just felt SO wrong, it made me extremely frightened, and somehow made my mind feel as if it was screaming -- screaming very very loud and violently. No thoughts were present this entire time, I couldn't ground myself because I couldn't think, it was just this overwhelming suffering inside myself

    Also it has at times felt like "I want to escape my head! I need OUT of this head! I can't stand being trapped in this mind for one second longer!"

    Recently I have observed this "insanity" is brought on by or intensified by hating what I am feeling. If I am uncompassionate towards a strong emotion and start "beating it up" and being resentful of its presence, it seems like this might be how it starts... at least, when it's not triggered by something within the context of my relationship with the man I love, and then it escalates so quickly that the window where I still have some control shuts pretty fast...

    I told my therapist about this and tried to explain it to her. She said she understood what I was talking about, and when I asked her if that happens to other people she said it does. She didn't explain what is happening to me in these times, and seemed to want to leave it at saying I was experiencing extreme emotional distress.

    But what is happening, actually?

    Can anyone explain what this feels like to them?

    Does anyone have some more accurate word for this, if there is one -- does it exist in the medical world as something specific?

     
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    Old 10-23-2010, 01:34 AM   #2
    Leo123
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    Re: Extreme mental discomfort/insanity, does this happen to you?

    Lussuria,

    First off hi and nice too meet you.

    I want to tell you that you are one of the first people I have ever heard that accurately portrays the severe anxiety attacks I used to have and sometimes still do.

    I can relate to everything you are saying, especially to just not feeling right in your own head, like all of sudden you have a major perception change and everything feel scary awkward. It has to do with your sense of self.

    First of all Lussaria it can and does get better, when you are in those freaky states of mind, call upon God and ask him to come into your life, show you the way and take fear away.

    Please believe me, that I'm not trying to push my religion on you, I just want you to recover from this and God is who helped me.

    Its late over here, but I had to respond and tell you that you are not alone.

    And remember every time this feeling occurs remind yourself that you will not feel like this forever and you won't be stuck in this state.

    Again I would like to talk to you more about this tomorrow. But I have a question for you first and that is are you off the drugs?

    God Bless

     
    Old 10-23-2010, 02:34 AM   #3
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    Re: Extreme mental discomfort/insanity, does this happen to you?

    It feels like you are going to split into pieces. Like you are defragmenting. It happens when you begin to feel but you don't really know what is happening. It is so overwhelming it feels like dying but it is really just a feeling that has not been felt or a memory trying to come out. You no longer have the ability to stuff the uncomfortable feeling that is attached to the memory. The memory does not even come into play at this point. It is as if you will dissociate into other parts of yourself. This is hard. I do know what you mean and as I write it causes my heart to beat rapidly and my hands to shake. If I go to far I will go into the blackness. The death. It is terrifying. You won't die so don't be afraid of that. It just feels like it. Even to feel normal or like other people do is so uncomfortable. You can not get away. You can not hide. You are there in your own skin. You may want to look up Borderline Personality Disorder and research it or talk with your therapist in greater depth about what is happening to you. You can dissociate without having other personalities. Take care and I wish you well. Sincerely, searchin

     
    Old 10-23-2010, 01:22 PM   #4
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    Re: Extreme mental discomfort/insanity, does this happen to you?

    Thank you for the responses. I imagine that everyone has a slightly different perception or understanding of things that many people experience which is essentially the same thing, but I have always been very much alone in dealing with my mental health with no one to help me understand what happens to me. It can be so frustrating because I want to be grounded, level-headed, and strong but when I am weak and vulnerable, it just takes control. And then I am just hard on myself for being so weak and I think, "You're better than this!!" I am close to losing this person I love because of it. All he sees is that he makes it worse and triggers these reactions in me, and I think he can't handle the guilt of inflicting suffering on me, plus he suffers to see me in such a state and doesn't think there is any way he can help me. Right now we are apart and I am dealing with everything alone, plus missing him and wanting to reach out to him - makes it more difficult, but I really cannot burden people I love anymore with this stuff. And there is still this presence of something wrong in myself even without the intimate relationship stressors. So it is definitely reassuring to know that it is not just ME and helps to know that it is a shared experience.

    Searchin, thank you so much for sharing with me how that feels. It is interesting what you say about it being a memory or feeling that is surfacing. I have started to look into Borderline Personality Disorder and it definitely seems like this maybe fits more the impulsiveness, promiscuity, intent on self-destruction, can't stand to be alone, and being overly outgoing in social situations that I sometimes experienced all throughout my late teenage years and then earlier this year. I always thought this was bipolar but now not so sure. I'm curious if people with "mild" BPD can have these symptoms come and go, or if it's consistent?

    I have always said that I feel like there are different parts of myself that I can click into if I want to, and that often when I am around people I feel like I am functioning from the part of me that isn't my true self. Overly talkative, high energy, easily excitable, perhaps even egotistical and wanting attention... When I am in this mode and am suddenly alone, I can't stand it; I can't stand to be alone in my mind. But once I go back into "real" me, I love to be by myself and no problems, and can go back and forth between comfortable social interactions and solitude with ease. However, most of my life I am in the mode of depressed, anti-social, feeling like it is just too much effort to pretend I am normal. The "insanity" feeling is sometimes that of these different parts of myself no longer wanting to coexist in the same mind, and it definitely feels like my mind is trying to break apart.

    I'm not really sure if dissociation is this thing or not that I feel where I just sort of float through stretches of days, disconnected, feeling empty and aimless, feeling asleep? I have the tendency to summon this sort of "not really present" mindset to avoid dealing with extreme emotions. It kind of just makes the world feel numb and everything seems far-off and strange. Like a kid playing in the park will be something I will just stare at, just observing it as if it is something unfamiliar. I always thought this was something everyone did sometimes, though, just a relatively common coping mechanism? Hmm. Not sure if that is the same thing. I never have experienced any out-of-my-body feelings that I read was a symptom of dissociation, or actually feeling that my mind did not belong in my body.

    Leo, I am off the drugs. Don't even drink caffeine except on the rare occasion because I notice how much it escalates the speed of my thoughts/emotions, and caffeine paired with not enough sleep the night before is all it takes these days to make my emotions spin wildly out of control, and after the emotions spin the sanity is sure to start spinning too. Smoking pot seems to intensify this feeling that my mind is splitting apart, so I finally stopped once and for all. It's been 3 months so far. I have felt the same way in the past 3 months without having smoked pot, though.

    I know this isn't a marijuana forum, but this is something that is a part of the puzzle for me and I don't know what to make of it yet. I was still smoking off and on during the past year even though I knew it sometimes made my mind feel "wrong," but I guess I just thought it would go away or something. See, it confuses me because from 2007-2009 I was smoking several times a day and it honestly was the first time I ever lifted out of depression, and I was so much more easygoing and was able to make a lot of close friends. Finally was engaged in life and had a close-knit community, just generally felt very open and warm towards people and life, felt grounded. (That was during and shortly after graduating from college, and life soon changed, me and others moved away, etc. so I lost that community that was so beneficial for me.) Early summer 2009 I decided I was done with being high all the time and stopped smoking regularly. And THEN starting earlier this year, after that period culminating in the 5 days and then the rock bottom depression, smoking pot causes this reaction in me! It is like I switched something in my head, opened the Pandora's Box or something?! ? No clue, but something has changed

    So, no drugs, and even at the expense of potential friends. I don't really feel comfortable hanging out with anyone I know in town or the next town because they all smoke pot constantly, even my neighbors, and pretty much everyone my age (mid 20s) goes to bars to have fun. And drinking isn't always a bad experience, but there have been more times than not where I have found myself in a situation out at the bar where everyone around me is having a great time, laughing and just no worries, but I gradually become more and more uncomfortable until I just need to escape, overwhelmed with how separate I feel from the people around me; sometimes it manifests as disgust for humanity, how miserable it is to see people poisoning themselves for fun and how pathetic I feel for partaking in that charade, or something... I know that they wouldn't care at all whatsoever if I said I couldn't/didn't want to smoke or drink with them, but since I never hang out with anyone anymore I have low social confidence to begin with. Feels like I am constantly searching for cues on how to act, what to say in order to "mesh" with their behaviors.

    I really appreciate you telling me about how God helps you. I was raised Christian and had a very personal relationship with God until I was about 16 and I can remember what it felt like to feel I was truly connecting with God, being surrounded by the warmth and love and forgiveness that cradles you and washes through you to the deepest parts of yourself. I am Buddhist and meditate and find that to be very helpful, although I am just a beginner, especially in the sense of feeling compassion for ourselves and that we do not need to identify with or judge what is in our minds. I believe in God now in my own way in the universal and present-in-all-life sense, and as a deep inner truth that is unshakably strong and a steady, warm light.

    It is interesting because I hear a distinct voice often in these moments where I feel like my mind is shattering, and it has probably been the only thing that has saved me from suicide. It speaks to me in a very clear, compassionate voice -- always loud enough to be heard through even the most chaotic or violent suffering in my mind, but never mean or unloving. It reminds me that I have a choice. And that I can choose to stay like this or fight it, and that every second I exist amidst this unbearable mental anguish is a choice.

    This inner truth is what I am, in a way, ignoring when the mental anguish has been at its most extreme. When I have been hyperventilating and smashing myself in the head, there is some part of me that acknowledges I am giving in to weakness, that I am taking the easy way out. It is sort of like this stubborn and hurt little child who just doesn't care anymore, doesn't want to try, "Just leave me alone to be weak and in pain, it is too much." And maybe in a way the stubborn little child throws a temper tantrum and screams and cries until it can do nothing but sink into a pile of nothingness, but the whole time there is always the deep inner love, strength, and infinite wisdom looking onwards, waiting.

    No clue how others experience this, but it feels like my "true self", which also feels connected to all life, so in a way this true self is very much a God-like presence.

    It is so easy to shut out, ignore, or forget entirely that this God-like presence is there and is within me. Do you think this is an important step in regaining or even maintaining control, so to speak -- calling upon that warmth and strength, what I imagine is the same to you as praying?

    Right now I keep my life as simple as possible and am focusing on trying to establish healthy routines, always trying to be observant of what I am thinking, the emotions present, or how my mind feels. I have been treading carefully like this for a while, maybe it is called healing... sometimes I feel like I am almost ready to throw in some challenges, though, to test the strength I feel I have gained in the solitude. I work from home which is good and bad; good because I don't have to worry I will be too unstable to go into work one day but bad because I am seriously alone ALL of the time, and it would probably be good for me to have some regular "forced" social interaction. I go walking around the city a lot and am fulfilled by these fleeting connections with people -- just to be around people without necessarily interacting is very soothing to me. Also I go to group meditations, and I have my therapist and acupuncturist of course, but am still very much struggling with how to make new "friends." Sometimes it feels like I am completely disconnected from the world, that I am alone at the center of a carousel, sitting very very still and watching all the movement around me. Or that I am on another planet entirely, sending out transmissions and trying to connect with life on the home planet.

    Lots of stuff above, just getting it out, no one has to read it all But thanks for sharing with me in return.

     
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    Old 10-23-2010, 04:48 PM   #5
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    Re: Extreme mental discomfort/insanity, does this happen to you?

    A person can be bipolar and have BPD. My husband is bipolar and self-medicates with pot. He does not take any meds. I can not smoke pot. It goes right to my head and I can not handle it. They say that the person who triggers you the most is the one you are meant to be with. My husband triggers me a lot. Also, you are not burdening your family. They are there for support and love. I know what you mean though. I do not talk to my family about my episodes. They already think I am a nut because I am bipolar! No, really, my kids are there I just choose not to clue them in on everything. Your man can help you by not bailing on you so that you have a constant. Someone stable to hold you when you fall. The more you can learn to trust someone and to know they are not going to abandon you the better. But there I go inserting my issues. Try not to worry because you are doing what you need to do to get better. You will learn more and more about yourself in the days to come. Hang in there and you will emerge stronger than ever. Sincerely, searchin

     
    Old 10-23-2010, 11:06 PM   #6
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    Re: Extreme mental discomfort/insanity, does this happen to you?

    Lussuria,

    I have so much I want to write and talk to you about, that I don't even know where to begin. Unfortunately my computer is not working and will have to wait till Monday to tell you most of what I want to say. (I'm on my blackberry now)

    First of all without question you sound like such an intelligent awesome human being. The way you describe your thoughts and emotions really tell me a lot about you.

    Again the more your type the more I feel connected to you, because you can so relate to what happens to me. I will be honest with you yesterday after typing my reply to you I woke up in of those horrifying states. And yes again I called upon the Lord and he rescued me and I woke feeling awesome today.

    I think you believe your battle is a spiritual battle and rightly so. I with all my heart and soul believe that God is trying to call you back to a personal relationship with Him. And I honestly believe deep down you know this. (Please forgive me if I'm way of base in my thoughts)

    I absolutely do believe without all my soul that reconnecting with God is key to your finding control, balance and purpose in your life. From the things you say I sense that you know the difference between good and evil. (I know I'm being simplistic in my words)

    When you talk about feeling like your a burden to others because of your internal struggle it breaks my heart for you, don't feel that way about yourself you sound like a truly special person and anyone that has you as a part of their life is fortunate.

    I do believe that solitude to a degree is good, its when we find ourselves but I also feel that you need more intimate social contact (don't avoid), but as you so obviously realize stay away from the ones that believe social intimacy is getting waisted at a bar or smoking marijuana, etc.. I like you, used to a major pot smoker (especially around 16 - 17) and that is when I first started to experience these weird feelings within myself. (Or really callings)

    I believe with all my heart that a good Bible based Christian church would do you a lot of good. Most especially from the close fellowship you will receive from its patrons and of course reconnecting with God. Not that I believe a Church is the only way to reconnect with God and not that I believe that all Church are going to be perfect. I think when choosing one, go in for a Sunday service and you will know if it is the right place for you based on what you see and the people there. You may have to try a couple different ones. Again you have to believe that I'm not trying to shove religion down your throat here, its just that I feel so connected and understanding of your anxieties and I'm just sharing with you what has saved me.

    But you are right to believe that you are in a spiritual battle (again I think that's what you may think, forgive me again if I miss perceive your thoughts)

    I have to say that I also can relate to your feeling of a such mental anguish when your are going though one of your attacks, that you feel you can't love like this forever. I urge you to remind yourself when you are in one of those moments of that warmth of God's love for that you used to experience and to remind yourself that you will not feel like that forever, that you will come back to yourself again and feel more comfortable with you.

    Again I have so much more I want to say and share, I wish you all the best Lussuria and I will pray for you and write more on Monday.

    In the meantime if there is anything else you want to share, I'm interested in hearing whatever it is you wish to express and of course if you have any comments or thoughts about what I just wrote.

    God Bless

    Leo

     
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