About Thoughtracer

me.jpgI’m 30, queer, a witch, a dancer, a sometimes writer, and a believer in the notion that people are inherently good. I’m fat and working on being OK with that. I carry mental health diagnoses, and work in the field, and I’m a raging advocate for myself and others because I think the mental health system is sick and wrong. I like flowers and warm places with sun, although I live in a place with snow and too many gray days for my liking. I am a sucker for textiles with intricate patterns and I *heart* retro designs. I’m a raging feminist who gives a nod to the second wave work that was done but identifies with the third wave ideologies. I love animals more than people sometimes, and music more than myself sometimes. Also, I like my technology maybe a little too much.

 The name of my blog is a reference to a feature of Manic Depression, aka, Bipolar Disorder, that strikes me often and hard. It is these flights that typically inspire my manifestas. My name, thoughtracer, comes from a related feature of Bipolar Disorder, racing thoughts.  Both of the excerpts below are taken from About.com. I am stable, healthy and functioning; the myth of modern-day treatment is that symptoms will be completely obliterated by modern psychopharmaceuticals. They will not. Anyone living with a mental health diagnosis can tell you that drugs are only the first defense in a long line of defenses that you may choose to keep symptoms at bay.

 I don’t view my mental health diagnosis as a burden — most days. I view the way the world treats people with mental health diagnoses a burden.  

Definition:
Flight of ideas is one of the symptoms of bipolar mania as well as schizophrenia and ADHD. Some web definitions include:

  • a nearly continuous flow of rapid speech that jumps from topic to topic, usually based on discernible associations, distractions, or plays on words, but in severe cases so rapid as to be disorganized and incoherent. It is most commonly seen in manic episodes but may also occur in other mental disorders such as in manic phases of schizophrenia.
  • A nearly continuous flow or accelerated speech with abrupt changes from topic to topic, usually based on understandable associations, distracting stimuli, or plays on words.
  • A continuous change of subject and thought content with little apparent connection among the topics and little external stimulation for the change. This may be one manifestation of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Question: What Are Racing Thoughts?

Answer: Racing thoughts are not just “thinking fast.” They are thoughts that just won’t be quiet; they can be in the background of other thoughts or take over a person’s consciousness; they can gallop around in the sufferer’s head like a carousel gone out of control.

Before knowing anything about bipolar disorder, I called this sensation “racy brain.” Thoughts and music would be zooming through my head so fast that sometimes I wanted to scream. If it was going on at bedtime, it could take me an hour or more of concentrating on word games to get myself to sleep.

Components of racing thoughts can include music, snatches of conversation from movies or television or books, one’s own voice or other voices repeating a phrase or sentences again and again, or even rhythms of pressure without any “sound” in the thought.

The phenomenon called racing thoughts is distinct from “hearing voices,” which is a symptom of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, severe mania or other psychotic disorders. Racing thoughts can be a symptom of mania, hypomania or a mixed episode, but unlike some other symptoms of these moods, they can also occur with depression or an anxiety disorder. Sometimes racing thoughts are accompanied by a pounding heart or pounding pulses, including drumming in the ears.

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10 Comments

  1. Harriet said,

    January 23, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Thoughtracer,
    Nice to meet another Wisconsin FA blogger. You in Madison? That’s where I am. . .

    –Harriet from Feed Me!

  2. dailypiglet said,

    February 8, 2008 at 8:19 am

    you sound like my kind of person 🙂

  3. alibananas said,

    February 8, 2008 at 9:28 am

    I am loving, loving, loving your blog….
    you’re pretty muchly amazing…

  4. February 12, 2008 at 10:58 am

    […] So first, let me direct you to my newly updated About Me page. Shameless self-promotion aside, this should tell you a little about how my mind operates. […]

  5. Karrigan said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    I get this with my OCD. Thanks for the blog 🙂

  6. Autonym said,

    April 4, 2008 at 6:15 am

    I am constantly changing the subject in the middle of a conversation, sometimes mid sentence. I’ve often wondered why everyone doesn’t do that (or why I , despite the obvious disadvantages of being so “flighty”, so). Not everyone is bipolar! It makes sense.

  7. lactose intolerant lisa said,

    April 5, 2008 at 3:30 am

    Hello Thoughtracer,

    I really liked when you said, “I don’t view my mental health diagnosis as a burden — most days. I view the way the world treats people with mental health diagnoses a burden.” I really identify with this as a disabled woman. I have a chronic disease, and yes, I’m in pain every day, but no, I’m not disabled. In my life, I have my own standard of ability, and I do what I like. Disability is a construct. Thanks for saying this.

    I’m looking forward to reading your blog. 🙂

  8. AM1 said,

    December 12, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Hey Thoughtracer… how you doing?

  9. Vickie Mobley said,

    December 13, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Hi Thoughtracer!

    We have many things in common. I love your analogy about racing thoughts: I too am bipolar. I refer to my mind as “My Chattering Brain” because most of the time it is going. I have reached a point where I tend to avoid people and crowds because I am terrified of what I might say. While the upside of being bipolar can reveal itself with great creativity, the majority of the time (at least for me) I struggle to find ways to settle my brain down. I take holistic drugs to counter the effects of the Chattering Mind but right now I am worn out from it. Thanks for your blog and your honesty about the things you deal with. I too love textiles and haute couture. My favorite designer was Yves Saint Laurent and I spend a considerable amount of time researching his designs and life. I look forward to more posts from you!

    Have a great day!

    Vickie

  10. JBailey said,

    April 13, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Thoughtracer, do you still blog and how can I follow your blogs?


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