Please note: This post may trigger people who escalate in thinking from a small manageable thought to large-scale or world-wide impacts and import or grandiosity. The post includes some discussion on the topic of grandiose thinking.
In my last post I talked a lot about anxiety and depression associated with bipolar illness. I concluded that safety is a number one issue for me. Safety that I did not experience as a child. Safety that I did not experience in college.
To be fully transparent about safe and unsafe, I have been exploring my thoughts around safety both physical and mental.
For me, I experience fear pretty readily for things impacting my body like fear of heights, fear of motorcycles, fear of downhill skiing. But my relationship with my own thoughts does not show such a clear division between safe and unsafe thoughts.
As a person with bipolar illness, I have very often “allowed” my thoughts to escalate from a very specific topic to world-wide impacts. I believe it is part of the bipolar disorder to escalate thinking at level 2 or 3 out of 10 up to 11 and beyond. What was an small observation about priorities or concepts at the local level quickly escalates to a topic of global import (in which I perceive I am involved). I believe that tendency is often present in a grandiose thought processes.
Today I want to talk about what those escalating thoughts do to me. While it is my nature to escalate because of the bipolar, I do not always feel safe in doing so and more often than not do not regularly want to escalate. In this post and later posts, I would like to explore my ability to “choose” the extent of escalation in my bipolar thoughts. Upcoming in other posts, I would like to talk about how it may be a choice to a certain extent to let thoughts escalate instead of practicing living in the here and now.
If I can see my pattern of escalation over the years, am I not armed with the ability to leave those initial thoughts alone at a “safe” level and not make everything about a crisis or drama on the worldwide stage?
This is all I have for now on the topic of safety. Will follow-up as this work-in-progress continues in the upcoming weeks.
Addendum: I was often rewarded particularly by one professor in my school work in college for making connections between things that were not necessarily apparent. Seeing these “connections” was at the time part of my academic prowess and landed me graduation with honors. That professor indicated among other things that I had “preternatural abilities” in my observations. As I look back on it now, I see these academic exercises as somewhat a breeding ground to years later experiencing grandiose thinking. If making these connections meant I would get an A or an A+ on a paper in college, that was evidence (to me) that my connections between seemingly disparate concepts were “correct.” I am not really faulting the professor here which I might, but I am saying I got really good positive feedback for making these “connections” while in college. Perhaps if I had gotten C’s on these types of papers or assignments I would not have felt that my escalations of thought were well-grounded in reality nor laudable nor applaudable. Perhaps I would have been less inclined “to go there” in my thoughts. At this day and age some 40 years later, I can usually see when I am escalating in my bipolar thoughts. This escalation does not bring me good grades nor a feeling of well-being or accomplishment or safety, but rather it creates difficulty in managing my bipolar thoughts and my bipolar disorder and might just be what has sent me to the hospital these several/many times over the years. Three cheers for being the B or C student?!?!