The Bipolar Brain – A Radio Station You Can’t Turn Off

November 23, 2012 Natasha Tracy

Earworms are songs you can't get out of your head and they seem to affect my bipolar brain in a big way. More at Breaking Bipolar blog.

Ah, the human brain. It’s a wondrous thing. It calculates, it categorizes, it makes connections and it remembers the square root of 144. I’m constantly awed by its power.

But one of the annoying things that can happen to a brain is that somehow, a song gets stuck in it. Somehow, even though its great power and ability, the catchy hook of the latest pop song gets stuck inside some errant neurons and plays over and over.

And this causes a lot more trouble in my bipolar brain than it does for others.

I Have Justin Bieber Stuck in My Head; I’m Thinking of Cutting it Off

I find myself with songs stuck in my head all the time. Like, every day, all the time. And they aren’t songs that I like or even songs I have heard that day they are just random songs that somehow fight their way into my consciousness long enough to create a groove there. And once they’re there? Good luck getting them out.

My Bipolar Brain and Earworms

According to Wikipedia, this phenomenon is known as an “earworm,” “musical imagery repetition” or “involuntary music imagery.” In Germany, they have a special word for it – Ohrwurn – “a type of song that typically has a high, upbeat melody and repetitive lyrics that verge between catchy and annoying.”

Earworms are completely natural, of course, and apparently, 98% of people experience them. Women seem to experience earworms for longer and are more irritated by them. Songs with lyrics account for about three-quarters of earworms.

My Earworm Moved In

Unlike the experience that most people have, I have earworms much of the time. Sometimes it’s one song that repeats for days and sometimes it’s many songs in a day, but predominantly they are there.

I have found no research suggesting people with bipolar disorder have more incidence of earworms than others but there is research that says people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) do and as I’ve remarked previously, OCD and bipolar disorder may be linked. And earworms on hypomania? That is your brain on extra-crispy-crazy.

Admittedly, it is a very obsessive thing my brain does. It feels like an obsession with the invisible. I can never see it so it never goes away. And I find this highly troubling.

Like, highly troubling. Like I could see someone wanting to ice pick his or herself just to make the blooming song in his or her head shut the heck up. It’s that much of an anxious obsession. It’s crazy-driving obsession. Sometimes I feel like I’m begging my brain to think of anything else but it laughs and carries on with the 30-second loop.

Holy macaroni is it ever frustrating.

So, my question to you is this: How often do you experience earworm? Is it troubling to you?

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2012, November 23). The Bipolar Brain – A Radio Station You Can’t Turn Off, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 23 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.

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

December, 23 2016 at 10:01 am

Hi, I'm 63 and suffered depression for 25 years plus. The music that plays in my right ear is instrumental, brass band type music, ranging from the Welsh national anthem to pop music. It is quite depressing to be standing in a store looking at something whilst this is happening.
I am moderately deaf in both ears and I am starting to feel very isolated and vulnerable for some reason. I do not mix very well but my psychiatrist thinks that I am getting better; but I must not give up hope, as that is all that is left in the box. Happy Christmas to everyone wherever you are.

December, 17 2016 at 6:25 pm

I don't even know how to ask Google this question. I don't think I'm bipolar or have OCD, but for about a year now I have been singing The Star Spangled Banner all day everyday. It just pops into my head, and sometimes I start singing it out loud without noticing. I never even hear that song. Why is it in my head? Why do I always sing it?!

December, 10 2016 at 9:13 pm

I'm 40 and have had instrumental earworms just about every day since I was a child. I always thought of it as a score to my life. For years, I found it comforting. But in the last few years, I've been increasingly bothered by shorter and shorter earworms. Instead of loops of 20-30 seconds, I'll get a mere bar of 4-5 seconds of some instrumental theme. At the moment, I've got the title score to the show The Crown in a loop. Hans Zimmer stuff easily embeds in my brain. (Dark Knight, Inception, dozens more)
So I've been on dozens of different anti-depressants for persistent clinical depression for half my life. I've tried just about everything. For a few months, I took pramipexole (brand name Mirapex), usually prescribed for restless leg syndrome but also off-label for depression. I found it dulled my mood too much to the point that I came off of it. But now I realize that it significantly reduced my earworms, as now they're back with a vengeance.
Anyway, I needed somewhere to share this. Thanks to Natasha's 4-year-old post for providing a place to do so...

December, 9 2016 at 3:28 am

Wow it's so good to read that others share my musical dilemma. Have had this a few years and have been searching for answers. I still have a tune in my head from 4 days ago. Sometimes lasts longer. Sometimes can n replaced with another song. Very annoying.

December, 7 2016 at 11:31 pm

Help; I am now 62; retired in the USA. Things were going well...long term, more or less happy union. After years of evading this "repetitive song loop" problem [Note: when I was a kid a horrific song replay , over & over was The Supremes" song " Getting back Into My Heart Again."
I have: ADD, anxiety disorder,I may be one of 3 bipolar patients. (IPad editing sucks, by the way, Apple, you idiots).
What does this all mean? HELP. THANKS.

Alan Leak
December, 1 2016 at 10:54 pm

Hi Micag you've just saved me the trouble of writing a short essay because your words have almost perfectly described my own problems with this extremely unusual condition.
This started when I was about 20 and I'm now 67! I am resigned to living with this for the rest of my life; I have tried everything to 'cure' this problem over the years - even spiritual healing, and no, I'm afraid it didn't help at all!
Some days are better than others but it never really goes away. I used to think I was the only person in the world with this but now realise it's far more common than I could ever have imagined.
Got to keep going - that's all you can do :-)

November, 22 2016 at 10:31 am

I remember when the music started playing in my head. It was during an intense episode of depression which began as a result of a paranoid delusion. I had never had mental health problems until I turned 33yrs old. I began thinking that my upstairs neighbors were peeping into my windows. My roommate had to kick me out to go live with my parents. It didn't occur to me that I was hallucinating until it happened again at my parents house. That's when I began a 3 + yr episode of depression. The first time I noticed the music was during this time. It was the opening song to futurama. The music loops haven't stopped since. When I have a TV on or radio, or in a conversation, I don't hear it usually. It's actually tiring for me. On a bad day, the music is louder, and it's almost as if I'm being forced to make the music. Like I'm creating it, and it saps energy from me. I've heard of OCD sufferers say they have to complete their "tick" no matter what. This is the same. Trying to stop the song is like trying to stop a car. I have some impact at first, but the song pushes me over quite easily. I hear the music playing in my deams too. I'll roll over, and realize that the song I'm hearing was playing before I woke up to roll over. On very rare occasions I'll realize that no song is playing, and as I do, my brain picks a song to play. What this means is that I NEVER get a quite time. I can't concentrate on a conversation if the music plays during, and harder to read. If I end up say working and too busy or unable to turn on music, I spend that time tortured by the music loop in my head. I get tense, and headaches, and overwhelmed until I can turn on a radio or TV.
I know what "getting a song stuck in your head is", but this is different. I can hear every single nuance of the song. I hear the harmonizing back up voices, and cymbols. I can even manipulate the song a bit if I want. I'll cut out the instruments, and add more back up vocals, or make it into a house beat! This however doesn't make it worth it. Like spinning around in a chair can be fun at first, but eventually you puke... It's like joining in to the sound of nails on a chalkboard.
I truly think it's fascinating, but I absolutely would pay someone to take it away from me. I pray every day and include this in my prayers. how do I get rid of this?
Thanx for letting me vent,

November, 11 2016 at 3:48 pm

Iam also suffering with this from past 1 year. I am unable to concentrate on my studies. When I took my book the songs are repetedly playing in my head and got disturbed. Is it necessary to consult a doctor, please help me

October, 25 2016 at 10:58 am

I'm thirty three years old, and have had this as long as I can remember. I think, because "earworms" are fairly common, people don't understand when I say "I always have a song playing in my head" I really mean "always". The only way for me a song leaves my head is when it's replaced by a new one. It usually loops on a couple of lines, I read once to finish the song will help, but it doesn't.
Here's how it's negatively affected me:
*I have a hard time focusing when it's really bad (aka really loud an obnoxious). When that happens, I unintentionally tune out who I'm listening to.
*It seems worse when I'm tired, and it makes me feel tired, so that's a fun little cycle.
*It's really affected my job performance. I was in banking for 13 years, more than half as a manager, and I had so many days where I just couldn't really do anything productive.
*In the past two years or so, it's gotten to be more of an issue. I think, in part, because I'm more aware of it and therefore realize it's a)not normal, b) makes me mentally exhausted & c) negatively affects my job and relationships.
I am not bipolar that I'm aware of, and don't seem to have the characteristics of it. I was told this is OCD behaviour, but I've never looked into it really. I guess my plan for the time being is to just live with it. But there are days when it's just really bad.

October, 23 2016 at 5:35 am

What I can't understand is most of the songs in my head I have never heard before. Random country, jazz, news, show tunes, etc.

October, 21 2016 at 5:18 pm

I have been experiencing it for the last 4-5 months and it's playing day and night. Just a simple sentence, sometimes a music without lyrics, very unclear, don't know what it says. But sometimes it's as clear as someone's saying it sitting close to me. The more I try to stop or read or focus (as I am a student) the more it gets louder. Sometimes as if someone's screaming from a distance, but screaming continuously, loudly, sometimes as if someone's crying and repeating. Result : my memory, ability to think, imagine or even make simple decisions have degraded steeply. I was very good at recalling but now I cannot recall what happened just a moment ago, facing problems with learning new things. So severe, so painful! People say that I have lost weight, and look diseased.This voice only remains silent when I talk to someone, or i listen to them, or i sleep.Otherwise no matter what i am doing it will repeat itself on and on. As if someone's with me all the time, walking, sitting and everything. The worst part is it starts as I wake up, even if my eyes are closed!! What should I do?

October, 6 2016 at 12:31 am

Start meditating :-) download the free app (no strings attached, no hidden purchases) "Insight Timer" and get started, it truly helps! It did for me!

September, 21 2016 at 2:20 pm

I have two rap songs stuck for the past 5 years... Two horrible songs.... Why only songs I hate get stuck?????

September, 13 2016 at 9:06 am

I have this issue as well and I was almost relieved to see I wasn't alone.
I can't get sad music out of my head. Right now, its "Your Guardian Angel" By Red Jumpsuit.
I love the song. It's great for being an emo sad kid... and 12. (Me being 22 doesn't help)
I even learned how to play it on guitar about a year ago. I'm joining the air force soon and I feel like the more and more nervous/anxious I get the louder the music gets.
But it's not like this has just started for me. It's been happening for years and years and I think it's causing a oversleeping problem for me because sleep is the only time it isn't there..

September, 12 2016 at 4:17 am

I have decided id rather have my brain replaced with a little wind up monkey with cymbals, or maybe a hamster on a wheel.

September, 12 2016 at 4:12 am

I've had Woman on Fire by The Cult stuck on replay in my head for like a month now. Its not new, and at least its a good song... err was a good song. I HATE The Cult now! How the hell am I supposed to sleep at a hair metal concert? Its not even the whole song just one annoying verse.

September, 9 2016 at 2:26 pm

I think it's stress related. I have it too and its awful. Feels like you can't get a minute of silence. It creeps in to my dreams sometimes even. It's making me so miserable. I'm not sure when it all started but I think it started around a very stressful time in my life work related. I don't know how to resolve this. Right now I'm at a very unhappy place in my life. Work that I absolutely hate profession that I'm not sure of. We just moved in to another country and that has also taken its toll. I'm a very anxious person. So maybe these songs are like a wake-up call. For you to wake up and change your life and deal with the stuff that's been making you feel so bad. Or a wake up call to work on being less anxious. I'm gonna work on this I know I have to relax more and do things that I enjoy. I can not let this go on. I have to find peace of mind.

August, 31 2016 at 7:59 pm

The universe is in a shift and in turn so are we . i was born different could see spirits very young but dont remember as a child. Thought i may have been autistic as a child i have learning disabilities and diagnosed bipolar possible BPD Im way too sensitive i pick up on energy and find myself exhausted all the time. Im extremely creative and can teach myself instruments by ear i also sing . i constantly have repetitive music in my head some i make up like whole symphones even in my dreams . ive been feeling very alert about humanity and threatned by negative energy i feel knows im here tl help God. Ive just leaned toward music as a career since its obsessive and cluttwrs everything else .

August, 31 2016 at 5:09 pm

I've had an insidious earworm problem for a while. I have horrible anxiety and insomnia which are fed by work stress. I wake at around 3-4 am most nights, usually with a random song repeating and I can't get back to sleep. My mind races and the song replays throughout the day. Usually it's just the chorus or a piece of instrumental in the song that loops. Currently it's an early Madonna song. I don't listen to Madonna, nor do I enjoy her music. I don't even know when I heard the song last. It feels like my mind is torturing itself.

August, 24 2016 at 1:40 am

I have quit smoking 6 days ago, i guess i am a bit more anxious maybe? Anyhoo, all day every day at different intervals i have Almaz by randy crawford playing in my head.... "Almaaaaz, pure and simple... Born in a world where love surviiiives" aaaaargh i havent heard it in years it just popped into my head and now it wont go! Im off to get some chewing gum.... I will try anything!

A Sticky Situation
August, 20 2016 at 2:29 pm

The next time clips of a song or a part of a jingle from a TV commercial or other type of advertisement sticks in your head replaying itself over and over again in an endless loop that interfers with your concentration or makes you just wanna scream try chewing some gum. Yes you heard me right. I said gum. You know that sticky stuff you chew for enjoyment. There are numerous articles on the Internet from well respected sources studying this phenonenom that suggest chewing gum may help mitigate a problem with earworms

August, 19 2016 at 2:34 pm

Pretty much every morning when I wake up and sit on the side of the bed the same song's my song by Elton John!!! No clue why!!!? Reckon has been about a year now the same song every day. Not bothered too much by it, would be better maybe if was a different song....used to be a different song every day, but this one seems to have stuck! Only happens as soon as I sit up in morning, not constant!!!! How weird is that!?

August, 6 2016 at 12:10 pm

So i questioned why I constantly play the same small snippets of songs over and over and over......And i stumbled here. Who would have thunk? Been doing it as far as i know for the last 4-6 years. 49 years old and no ADHD or any other issues. Today has been Californication by the red hot chili peppers. I don't even like that song. Even when i tell my self to stop, it plays. But there has been times when it went away for months. Just started back up about 2 months ago. No idea why, no known trigger. I guess I'm just glad I'm not the only one that has this stupid issue.

July, 24 2016 at 11:50 am

I am 48 and remember these song or phrase loops since as early as 10. All my reading into this would make me think I am a prime candidate. I am a survivor of sexual abuse, have been diagnosed with: (here comes the alphabet soup that is me)
anxiety disorder
Possible bipolar 2
And just recently a near death survivor
I find that these loops get louder and more annoying the higher my stress or anxiety or the lower my focus. Strangely I am realizing that my recently achieved sobriety and freedom from a 21 year loveless marriage, that has meant great life full of content for once, has resulted in
- my ADHD going off the charts
- constantly talking out loud to myself
- those muted voices are heard more often and are becoming almost distinguishable
- incredible moments of total lucidity and superhuman clarity. I have on four occasions now, four just small seconds of window, knew/understood WHY and HOW IT IS ALL CONNECTED and the last time HOW SIMPLE IT WOULD BE TO BRING IT ALL BACK TO STATE OF TRUTH, FUNCTIONAL STASIS??? Really the answer is right in front of us. So my thought on this interesting group of song loopers and the like goes something like this.
Radio antennae is a key word but really what we all seem to have in common is sensory issues. Issues to the "norm". I know there are some that are still reading this and nodding. Please read on...
These windows of knowledge/enlightenment that I have experienced always close quickly but always leave a residual message. The last was that there are many of us evolving one way or another to a crucial, new level. Perhaps our dysfunctions and diminished mental capacities are actually enhancements and prerequisites for a kind of reception that will be necessary now or soon. I am starting to intuitively know that humankind is going through a colossal shift on all levels. Collapse and destruction of old systems will be necessary for true creation of a new design. This will require a download of knowledge that needs a particular human to receive and transmit?
Hmmm, I'm sounding less than sane, but I think there will be some this will resonate with. My message to you is see these no longer as " mental disorders " but as refinements. Use your extraordinary talents of sensation, reception, observation, and intuition. To do what I can't tell you. If your actions are motivated by love and truth, staying clear of hate, fear, untruth, the universe will show you where and how you are needed.
Open heart, open mind, open spirit!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Lori Marissa
February, 19 2022 at 6:00 am

I resonate with alot of this. Glad I stumbled on to it while trying to get an extremely old Coca Cola commercial that lijes to pop up on me and I have NO idea why.

July, 12 2016 at 9:51 am

I have this too, Bi-polar II, OCD, ADD, with a learning disability (I can't follow directions very well, and I need to be shown how to do 3 dimension tasks, and I have the music in my head dating back since 1993 when my mother died. I had a requiem in my head for two years, and then was later able to change the song, but never get rid of the music unless and am speaking to someone, meditation can provide temporary relief depending how present I am. At the moment I have a song for the last two weeks, and it has degraded so that it is a loop of just the first phrase.
One thing I've noticed is that when the song gets stuck for a long time, and gets degraded, it actually hurst my brain. I only know this because I can force a new one, I can listed to a new one, and then the hurt goes away. But the old one can come back, or a new one can take place.
I know that the reason it is so horrible now is because i am under tremendous stress, I hate my job, but am stuck as I need the money and not too many prospects. I am unhappy in my living situation and I am alone with all of this.
My ADD is also a trigger. I can't make a decision and I am overwhelmed by so many variables.
i would love to connect with people who experience this and and perhaps start a community because being alone with it is worse, and having others makes it so much more manageable.
Since I have lived with this for 4 decades, but only in the last tow years have been diagnosed so my self-esteem is pretty and my therapist because very frustrated with me because I had no attention span and couldn't focus on doing anything about it.
Having said all this, I have been pretty high functioning, bought a house held jobs, but it has taken a huge toll and I have been under constant stress hiding my limitations from employers.

Kim K.
July, 11 2016 at 3:23 pm

This can be a particular problem for me. It prevents me from falling asleep at night, and I'll wake up with the same tune stuck in my head in the morning. Or in the middle of the night when I get up to go to the bathroom, I can't shake the tune and fall back asleep.
I have anxiety disorder, and this problem is more manifest when I'm experiencing heightened anxiety or when I've been triggered by something. I also have OCD, but I notice it more when my anxiety is triggered. And it's not fun tunes or catchy tunes. Sometimes it's just two lines of really sad songs, which believe me is not what you want in your head when you're trying to manage anxiety. When I've been at my worst, it's just random music without lyrics, nothing I can even identify. Sometimes I wonder if my brain is making that music up.

July, 9 2016 at 9:41 am

You are not alone PA blade. Got a station here in Sacramento that does interviews and plays stuped songs. Starts around noon and quits around midnight. Driving me crazy.

PA blade
June, 30 2016 at 12:18 am

I have same problem and I'm pretty sure I know what has caused it and ...get this.... but radio frequencies we are picking up. I have silver fillings and I seen a news cast once about folks with metal fillings in their mouth can hear a frequency. For those who don't have fillings perhaps it's your earrings or another piece of jewelry or the little silver clasp on your hair elastic, or your eye glasses or the list goes on and on. I used to think I was nuts my I told my mom I heard voices as a child, she took me to the doc and he madefun of me, I used to play my radio at high volumes trying to drown it out it used to sound like folks talking on phone most of the time,,, I chalk that up to the popularity of cordless phones at the time, now it's a humming usually and of course music. I've heard up to 3 radio stations at once before, usually this is early on the morning I assume it's my neighbors alarms. Also different roomsmake it more intense i,e, rooms with water kitchen bath because the sound travels through the pipes. It's weird be I've found A lot data regarding the subject then all of sudden I can't find the same YouTube video or website again. Makes me believe there is more to this than we realize. Tooth fillinga and Bluetooth hmm mm and don't forget the old fm am radios how they would go static when u walked by,,,, obviously we affect the frequency . How to make it stop.?well u got me but at least I know it's not a mental disorder .

June, 28 2016 at 6:10 pm

Denise, what medication was it??? I'm going back to my psych on 6/30 and really want to know!

June, 19 2016 at 11:40 am

I used to hear music all the time. My silence came when I got on my meds for the first time. I imagine it must be similar to how a deaf person might react at hearing for the first time. I had silence. Never before had I heard silence. It was the most amazing thing. Still I marvel. Life is beautiful.

June, 15 2016 at 7:46 am

It was interesting to read the above comments on ear worms. We're not alone..
I'm 42 and my torment started in my early teen years when I discovered the likes of Led Zeppelin, Metallica, AC/DC, Beatles and so on. I always stayed away from pop music as best I possibly could for fear of getting one of those "flavor of the day" songs stuck in my head. When it does happen I usually go through the hundreds of snippets of songs I involuntarily torture myself with and tune into something less revolting. I discovered I could change tracks easily but I haven't found the Off switch yet.
I love music, especially the oldies which revolve around the above bands. The more obscure songs or live versions will add to my mental repertoire but I cannot play whole songs...only snippets. These snippets also come back in constant loops resulting in lack of concentration. I luckily don't hum or sing but I sometimes follow the beat with restless legs and teeth clicking!
I recently did an online bipolar test and scored pretty high and I'm somewhat diagnosed with light ADD... Does it mean anything? Maybe, but I don't care much about it. Classical music, physical activities tend to clear the air (...Arrgh, In the Air Tonight -Phil Collins tuning in!)
Hang in there people. There are far worst things in life!

Alan Leak
May, 31 2016 at 1:24 am

I can only sympathize with all these people who - to one degree or another - are 'afflicted' with this very strange condition. Personally I have suffered with this for almost 45 years - not continuously, but in bouts of several years here and there over that period of time. I have tried everything to help alleviate the symptoms including medication, various therapies and, believe it or not, spiritual healing. I have to report with a heavy heart that nothing has really helped; the degree of 'pain' I have suffered over many years is variable, but I can attribute this to nothing in particular.
I am 67 now and have finally come to terms with living with this for the rest of my life. I don't wish to sound melodramatic but sometimes you just have to accept a situation and make the best of it. My only consolation is that the intensity of the earworms (for want of a better description) varies from day to day and month to month; in other words I have good days and very bad days. I have devised many coping strategies over the years most of which you will all be familiar; for me the thing that most helps is listening to classical music..
Perhaps one day there will be a better understanding of conditions like this; maybe even a magic pill that takes away the pain; unfortunately I don't think it will be anytime soon. Anyway I wish you all well and passionately hope you will all have some form of relief in the future....

May, 9 2016 at 2:25 pm

don't pay attention to what i said. not saying i was wrong about classical music helping though.

May, 9 2016 at 2:23 pm

i don't know though

May, 9 2016 at 2:22 pm

never mind

May, 9 2016 at 2:21 pm

Classical music seems to help me. mozart maybe

April, 29 2016 at 9:17 am

I always have had trouble with earworms off and on, but they've become nearly 24-frickin'-7 since I started on anti-depressants (fluoxetine, then bupropion) over a year ago. I remember when I started the meds, and I remember the moment the inner DJ pushed the play button. I didn't expect the problem to last over a year. I'm thinking of weaning off just to get rid of the inner DJ.

April, 28 2016 at 2:17 pm

I have depression and anxiety and I am on medications for those, but I have never been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Earworms have always been a nuisance but the past year it's so bad I find myself humming one line of a certain song over and over, mostly silently, not out loud. I've read tips on how to get rid of earworms but nothing works. It's been so bothersome lately I Googled it and found your post here. I guess I might mention it to my psychiatrist and see what he says.

April, 25 2016 at 7:32 am

thank you so much everyone I've been having problems a long time and i think ive found my answer here

April, 12 2016 at 9:07 am

Thanks so much for opening this dialogue, and thanks to all of you who have posted your experiences and ideas for helping the problem.
I'm female, 70 years old, and was diagnosed as bipolar about five years ago. When I did exhibit manic-depressive behavior, I really jumped in, psychotic and far removed from this world. After medicines and counseling, I thought most of my problem was over. Silly me.
I should add that I'm prone to be tense even when I don't have a reason to be, and I am profoundly deaf in speech frequencies. I have no disks at all left in my back, and take strong painkillers (I follow doctor's instructions religiously) for that and scoliosis, as well as curvature of the spine. All of my tension settles in my neck, shoulders, and jaw. I clench my teeth when I sleep and sometimes when I'm awake, until I notice it and consciously relax.
Well. Like everybody else, I've had songs stuck in my head for three or four days now and then. But last week I started something new. I hear something like a trumpet-setting for an organ in my right ear only. I hear a melody note and a harmony note, never anything else, and it goes on and on. At first it started only after dark, when I was tired. It has gradually gotten worse until I, like some of you, wake with it.
I'm only on a low-dosage mood stabilizer, so of course I was instantly paralyzed with fear that my mental illness was worsening (when I first experienced bipolar problems, I literally "heard" a radio station that played '40's tunes). This time the music is clearly in my head. I hear hymns (traditional Lutheran ones), Christmas songs, "Jesus Loves Me," and worst and most frequently, Brahms' "Lullaby." They are always in the key of C major. (My mind is rather limited musically, it seems.) I can change the songs at will, and they usually shuffle on their own, but they never STOP!
I don't want to go back to see my psychiatrist, because my family will be all a-flutter. I've never been the least violent, but some of my kin are scared of me at the very best. It ain't worth it, unless I really can't bear this any more.
Finally, conclusions: I agree that stress and tension contribute to the problem. Just before all this started, I was badly humiliated and hurt by an in-law, and my mind kept replaying the scene. In addition, I started using 4mg Nicorette instead of 2mg, and drinking gallons of coffee (decaf, but not caffeine free). I hadn't really put it all together until I read the comments here--in fact, when I searched "constant melody bipolar" I didn't expect to find a thing! Now I know what I need to try. I need to drastically cut down on coffee and nicotine and spend time just relaxing. I've already tried the deep breathing, and it does help! Thank you all so much.

March, 19 2016 at 6:32 am

I've been trying to find a name for this for a VERY long time. When I first realized that I have music stuck in my head 24/7 and that nobody else does, I got very annoyed. I eventually learned that it's never going to go away so if I have a good song stuck in my head, I make sure it stays there as long as possible before another one pops in my head. Do any of you know what it's called? I'd really love to know.

March, 13 2016 at 10:24 am

Hi ... I'm really sorry to hear everyone suffering, I have experienced this once in awhile but nothing like what some of you are describing. Please do not kill yourself, you are needed in someone's life. Here are some tips I have learned over the years, maybe it will help.
Once you notice your song, force yourself to take three slow deep breaths (4 counts in/out), really expandingflattening your abdomen all the way it can go. Try your very best to stop the song from interrupting.
Obviously your song will start up again, once it does, use your brain to guide the song into a slower pace by keeping your breath slow and allowing only one word per breath part ... so for JSH the example is
She'll (In-2-3-4) Be (Out-2-3-4) Coming (In-2-3-4) Round (Out-2-3-4) The (In-2-3-4) Mountain (Out-2-3-4) ...
For as long as possible, leverage the non-singing part of your brain to slow down the earworm to match the slow deep breaths. If the earworm takes over again, just smile and simply start again (don't judge yourself, it's going to happen). The brain is a muscle and over time you will be able to do this more easily.
You can learn more about this style of technique through this link At least listen all the way through parts 1 & 2. Another place to learn about these techniques is called MBSR

March, 3 2016 at 7:31 pm

I fail to see how this thread is unique to or more of a problem for bipolar.
But I can see how it could be more of a problem for someone with OCD
If you ask around you'll find ear worms is common among the general population. You don't need to have bipolar to have earworms

March, 3 2016 at 2:40 pm

I have earworms 24/7. Not really troubling, but makes it hard to concentrate sometimes.
Although, come to think of it... Whenever my brain wants to rest -- hello little movie theater (I also experience constant CEVs) that just never ever shuts down.

February, 29 2016 at 5:05 pm

I have had the song, "it's your thing, do what you wanna do, I can't tell you, who to sock it to" on my mind for the past 10 years..... It's driven me insane... It plays and I hum it while I'm watching television... Even when I'm being silent, it plays quietly inside my brain, and the beat of the music, makes me take step and hold my breath in other to sync myself to it. This song has controlled my whole life.... I'm nearly to the end. Please does anyone know anything, any medicine, ANYTHING that will quiet my mind.??????

February, 22 2016 at 8:08 pm

Ive only skimmed the previous comments fearing one of your worms will get stuck in my head (you'd think there would be a more reasonable term for it. Ear worm doesnt really make much sense to me). Anywho, I'll get a doozy stuck in there once or twice a month. ALL day and again the second I wake up. Ive always wondered if it ever really shuts off when I sleep. It starts again even when I get up for a bathroom run and, of course, the second my alarm goes off. The same with phrases or words that strike me as the original author mentioned. Am I the only one that reinacts them in my head over and over and over regarding what I 'should have said or acted in response'? Talking to myself about those aren't normal. Lol. Good thing I live alone; or is it?

Irene Munoz
February, 17 2016 at 9:12 pm

P.S. I do change the "tracks" also; I am really dating myself. I usually change to play Hallelujah, meaning Praise the Lord in Hebrew. This brings me comfort and peace. He does promise in His Word that He will give sweet sleep.

Irene Munoz
February, 17 2016 at 9:04 pm

Wow! is 1:46 and this is second time I am up with "Loving Arms, Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson". This song has been playing now for a week, non stop. Used to love this song. I just came out of the past. Woke up to it one morning and googled it; had not heard it in years. First, want to say, thank you out there; I live alone and I early retired myself because of my health and I am really lonely. I do believe it is due to lack of communication in my life and interaction that this problem has gotten worse. If you have read all writings above, I will take a little from some. I take antidepressants. My songs get worse when I have allergies; currently have sinus infection. Rita and Kris currently keeping me awake; usually if I am having some fever. I call it my brain short circuiting.Please, those suicidals out there, just don't. I have said a prayer for you. Be encouraged you are not alone, there is ultimately an answer out there. Actually, already there; has not come to light yet but keep the faith and the hope. I am "religious"; I have a personal relationship with the creator of this universe and He created me so I hang in there and wait. Hope delayed does not mean hope denied. There is an upside always. People with "disabilities" are some of the most brilliant writers, actors, musicians, artists, etc. Embrace it and try to work with it. I too have read a strange new language in my mind. I am good with languages. I am a good writer. I am articulate and a good speaker. My brain with the "glitch" does that. When unable to read because caught in "looping" I find a very easy almost elementary book that is not too tasking and push myself to move forward. I am 62 and it has not been an easy life. Not the best physical and/or mental health I think due to survival mode in a PTSD. Blessings, everyone! Maybe I can put "Rita and Kris" to bed and I can get some sleep now.

February, 14 2016 at 5:22 pm

I have found that focusing on the song or melody and panicking about when they will go away only increases the problem and raises the stress level. The stress level causes more problems in the sympathetic and parasympathetic neurotransmitter balance. In general, the parasympathetic system is responsible for promoting ‘rest & digest’ functions, and the sympathetic system is responsible for promoting ‘fight or flight’ functions. The balance be further thrown off by using Norepinephrine Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors. (NDRIs) are drugs that function by inhibiting the reuptake of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. This leads to increased neural concentrations of these activating neurotransmitters, resulting in increased stimulation of the central nervous system. Certain NDRIs inhibit reuptake of norepinephrine to a greater extent than dopamine (and vice versa). The use of chamomile tea and other teas that relax the nervous system along with meditatation and yoga help to aleviate the over stimulation and balance the two systems. I was unable to sleep because of the repeating song until I just excepted that my brain needed to workout the imbalance and this was the way it kept from total melt down. I reassured myself I would sleep again accepted what I could not change at the time and then did research on the the two systems and what would bring them to homeostasis. Diet and exercise help. Too many stimulants dumped into an already imbalanced nervous system heighten the problem. Too little vitamin B , too little magnesium a thyroid disorder and/or hormonal imbalances can all add to the over stemming of the nervous system. ://… I wish you all well ' please do not panic...empower yourself with knowledge of the human anatomy and feed your body what it needs to heal its problem. It is a cry for help you are hearing, your nervous system needs attention. It is no easy task to change ones patterns in life , but it is essential if you want relief. Try healing before killing.

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