Bipolar and Physical Hypersensitivity: Washing My Hands Hurts

January 19, 2017 Natasha Tracy

When the pain is at its worst, it feels like bipolar and hypersensitivity go hand in hand. It’s like when you get the flu and every little touch hurts. That’s physical hypersensitivity. And I don’t know why I get it but I assume it’s part of the neuropathic pain or exaggerated pain that some with bipolar experience. Long story short, it hurts to even wash my hands because of my bipolar-caused hypersensitivity.

Hypersensitivity and Bipolar Pain is Awful

Physical hypersensitivity can occur with bipolar disorder. This hypersensitivity can make it even painful to wash your hands. Learn more.It’s clear to me when I get like this. It’s like the pain lives on every inch of my skin just waiting to inject its claws into me. It’s just waiting for the slightest breeze, or touch, or bump so it can activate. And I’m not kidding when I say it hurts to wash my hands. When I have to, I look at the faucet and dread what’s coming. The water feels like it’s attacking my hands. It feels like acid. It feels like it’s making my skin slough off and my flesh raw. I know it’s not doing any of this, of course, but the hypersensitivity just makes the stimulation seem all-powerful (Why Don’t We Want to Shower When We’re Sick?).

What Brings About Hypersensitivity in Bipolar?

Of course, as I don’t truly understand bipolar hypersensitivity I can’t definitively say why it occurs but, for me, it seems to come about with a severe mixed mood or a severe depression. It doesn’t happen all the time, so I don’t know what triggers it specifically, but I know when things are particularly nasty, I can look forward to hypersensitivity making everything feel even more painful.

Fighting Bipolar Hypersensitivity

And this is a state that there’s no fighting. There is no technique I know of to stop physical pain from presenting itself. The only escape I know of complete stillness or sleep. So if you want to call those coping skills, and I suppose they are, those are the only ones I know of.

That said, this type of experience, if you have it, is worth talking to your doctor about. It might be something that can be addressed with a medication change (because some medications do address neuropathic pain).

But for me, this hideous bipolar hypersensitivity just comes when it comes and leaves when it leaves – luckily, typically the next day.

Check out Natasha Tracy’s book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar and connect with her on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2017, January 19). Bipolar and Physical Hypersensitivity: Washing My Hands Hurts, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

February, 3 2017 at 7:47 am

A lot of what i feel everyday is pain.pain at the thoughts of the past and a guy that hurt me.pain because im out of work and struggling to det some.pain in just trying to do something to fill the day.the pain of existing.of taking tablets and feeling like their doing nothing for me.i feel a burden on my upset that a friend i know isnt bothering with me anymore.i know this is all depressing talk but its just weighing so much on me,that it makes the will to live get less and less.

January, 26 2017 at 6:23 am

I have had hypersensitivity to stimulation for as long as I can remember. I have learned to suppress it, cope with it and sometimes it lessens cyclically on its own. I have had feelings that are difficult to describe and other physical symptoms, such as a feeling of being overly heated, that have no diagnostic explanation. I have fibromyalgia, narcolepsy, and other such symptoms that have developed as an adult. I have had gastrointestinal disturbances as well. I have Bipolar in my family ancestry. I went to NIH in DC in 2011 and had experimental Ketamine which took away the symptoms instantly and completely for three days. Now, a metabolite of Ketamine in female rats called HNK has been found which is safe and has the same effectiveness as Ketamine itself. If this metabolite can be processed into a drug it will produce an entirely new effective class of antidepressants. Some Clinics use Ketamine now but it is not covered by Insurance and costs hundreds of dollars per dose. I am hopeful.

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