Negative Emotions in Bipolar Disorder Thanks to COVID-19

April 7, 2020 Natasha Tracy

Negative emotions can be a real problem in bipolar disorder (and, really, in any mental illness). And right now, many people are finding the negative emotions associated with bipolar disorder are heightened due to this incredibly taxing pandemic we're all living through right now. Between the COVID-19 anxiety and the stress of losing your bipolar routine, it's no surprise that bipolar symptoms are worsening for so many people. And for me, the worsening bipolar is coming in the form of negative emotions today. Negative emotions and negative self-talk are plaguing me right now.

What Are Negative Emotions in Bipolar Disorder?

It would be simple to say that everything that comes with depression is a negative emotion associated with bipolar disorder. And this is true, of course. But when you live it, it's much more complicated than that. I find that all the negative emotions are associated with my bipolar disorder worsening because of the pandemic. My negative emotions include:

I feel myself having a short fuse and being extremely agitated. None of these things are a direct symptom of bipolar disorder per se, I suspect it's just the way my psyche is trying to deal with the bipolar disorder and anxiety symptoms given the extreme time in which we are living. And it's a product of having to continue to work while dealing with all of this crap.

What Do Negative Emotions in Bipolar Disorder Result In?

For me, these bipolar disorder-related negative emotions result in my wanting to take them out on everyone. However, I have excellent control over my own behavior and I try really, really hard not to do that. I do, however, take it out on myself. 

I feel these self-talk phrases being uttered by my brain constantly thanks to the mixture of these negative emotions:

  • "I hate you [meaning me]."
  • "I hate my life."
  • "I hate this."

This pretty much equates to "I hate everything." On repeat, these are things I hear my brain saying. My fists and jaw clench and I stop breathing for longer and longer moments in response. My whole body feels hot and spikey.

Nothing seems to get through the firewall of hate.

Dealing with Bipolar Disorder and Negative Emotions Due to COVID-19

As I said, nothing seems to make it through this state. That said, that doesn't mean there's nothing I can do.

First off, there's dealing with the most physical aspects. 

  • I pointedly breathe deeply, very slowly, in and out, over and over, sometimes with a sigh.
  • I unclench everything and trying to jump up and down and shake the tension out. 
  • I do stretches throughout the day to try to release tension.

And then there are the psychological aspects. These I can't control. I can't control what my brain spits out on a daily basis. I can't control what a body organ does. All I can do is decide how I react to it.

  • I don't take this crap out on others. It's not fair and it's not right.
  • I accept what's happening and don't beat myself up for what I can't control.
  • I talk back to myself. My brain says "I hate you," and I say, "I know. It's okay."

And then I remind myself that it's my sick brain doing this crap because of the massive stress of COVID-19 and bipolar disorder and it's not me. And I have survived my brain doing all kinds of horrible things and I can survive this too. 

And so can you. Reach out if you need to; and, know that it won't always be this way.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2020, April 7). Negative Emotions in Bipolar Disorder Thanks to COVID-19, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 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.

April, 7 2020 at 12:49 pm

Thank you. I have depression, not bipolar, but all of this applies.

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