Coping With Distraction and Lack of Concentration


Bipolar and Concentration

Bipolar and ConcentrationConcentration is defined as “the ability to direct one’s thinking in whatever direction one would intend.”

We are all aware of mood related symptoms when coping with our mental health problems. Just a few include feeling helpless and a failure, having no motivation, feeling emotional, eating too much or too little, or having difficulties with sleep.

However, our cognitive symptoms tend to receive less attention. They are just as debilitating and in my opinion, less understood by those around us. These include difficulties with problem solving, concentrating, distractibility, memory and negative and distorted thinking. All impact work, relationships and every other aspect of our lives.

I was diagnosed with bipolar six years ago and have trialled many mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics and anti-depressants to reach my relatively stable state. My illness has had a colossal effect on my concentration and distractibility and I often question how I was ever able to easily complete tasks pre-diagnosis.

Do you know how long I took to write this article? In all honesty, days! I have short bursts of typing where my head is running fast with thoughts and ideas but I can’t hold concentration for long and often flit between other things. Somehow, over time the article emerges! I have to check it many times and it can be a long process, but I love it.

When I started writing this article I asked my Twitter followers how their concentration was affected by their mental health problems. Here are a few responses: 

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  • “Like on Monday taking five hours to watch a ninety minute film.”
  • “My antidepressants make me forget words quite often.”
  • “I’ve given up trying to read.”
  • “I dwell on the fact that I can’t focus then the vicious cycle starts up and the panic attack starts, then I end up leaving work early.”
  • “I cannot read, watch films, play games & I struggle to maintain long conversations. Ideations/urges also cause my mind to wonder off topic constantly.”

Next page: my experience. 

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