Category Archives: Worry

Bipolar – Fears

Ever since my 21-year-old son moved out several months ago I’ve been alone with my pets. Bailey, my heeler, follows me constantly. She sits across from me when I go to the bathroom and looks at me like she wants me to play ball. Actually, she usually gives me the ball when I’m on the toilet. Or she drops it too far away from me so I say, “I can’t reach it, bring it here.” And she does.

I lived in a rural area for the last 20 years and in the same house for the last 10. I know the families in the duplexes next door and am comfortable with them. One of them I know if something happened she’d be there for me. Like when I fell down the stairs and broke my ankle my kids went and got her and she handled it. I miss her. We didn’t generally spend much time together because she’s one of those people you’d like to know better, but the cost would be hours and hours of listening to her talk about everything that comes to her mind and being aware that she believes she’s an expert on everything she talks about. And she talks really loud and smokes so she has to be able to stand by a door when we’re in one of our houses so she can stick her hand out the door.

Now I’m in town and there are houses all around me. I have a giant apple tree in the back yard that screens me from the houses directly behind me and fencing and laurel trees around most of the small back yard. It’s just big enough for Bailey to really run around and have fun.

There are people living on both sides and across the road from me. There are people behind me. There are people up and down the streets in the neighborhood. In short, there are people everywhere. I’m crowded in a way, but I’m also very much still alone.

I’m in town and closer to my kids. They’ve been great helping me move in. I’m looking forward to seeing them more.

I’m in a strange house. I’m so overwhelmed by all the boxes that I’m having trouble unpacking and finding places to put things away. I’m unsure of myself. I’ve lived with AC for the last 10 years and now I don’t have it. I don’t feel comfortable having the windows open all night and we’ve been having really hot weather. Yesterday was the second hottest day of the year so far. It was 85 inside when I went to bed. It really frustrates me.

Since I moved I feel more alone. I think part of it is from the loss of my cat and the circumstances surrounding that.

It’s strange because I’ve had two family members whom have never visited my home drop by already. You would think I’d be happy to be around people and where I can see my family more often. But I’m not. Not yet.

The death of a pet and moving are major life stressors. In addition to that last fall I started back to college and before that my father died 6 months after being diagnosed with cancer. I feel like I’ve had enough.

I’m trying to accept the situation and keep busy. I’ll make sure to keep my appointment with my counselor next week. I’ll start walking around the neighborhood in the next few days, though the unknowns of that scare me. I don’t like the unknown. And there seem to be dogs everywhere.

Speaking of which I have another major event coming up. My daughter is leaving the Air Force and I’m flying to Tampa, FL to drive back her to Washington State with her two cats. I’ve never done anything like that. Besides the incredible challenge of the trip, I’ll have to trust my kids to take care of my animals while I’m gone. I’m not certain how that will work out. Both Kyle and Sydney basically work full-time and they work odd hours that are usually different every day. I worry about Bailey. Sydney and her fiancée Toni are planning on bring their young Pitbull over and sleeping here with both dogs since they both sleep with their people. She sleeps with them and Bailey sleeps with me. That would put two good size dogs and two people in my queen size bed. I can’t see it myself. Their dog is much more aggressive playing than Bailey is. She scares Bailey.

Unknowns…

I might change my major at school as well. If I do need to change my class schedule this fall quarter a little because I’m thinking of changing my major.

I feel alone. People do drop by, which I’ve never had happen before. The mail lady is friendly and says “hi” and gives Bailey a bone. I’m less alone than I was, but I don’t feel that way yet. My emotions are stirred up and a bit chaotic. I’m being careful to take care of myself. Although I have to admit I’m scared to go to the new grocery store I’ll be using. I’m a worrier and that fear comes from that.

Maks, my cat, has started protesting that I won’t let him sleep with us. He climbed up some mattresses leaning against the wall in the third bedroom. When he got to the top the bedroom light was turned on. Then, last night, he got on the peninsula in the kitchen and started knocking things over. So just as I was going to sleep there was a loud crash as he knocked things over. This morning I woke up to things I was putting away (unpacking) all over the floor. This has got to stop.

I got a free Comcast security system installed yesterday. I freaked out about setting it right and not setting off the alarm. Man! What an alarm! That sucker would scare Jesus.

So what to do. Today it’s only supposed to be 76F. Tomorrow it should be about 80 again. I should go for a walk in the morning. I should, shouldn’t I?

It would be great if I could tell Rebecca, my counselor, that I’ve gone for a walk, but I’m not sure I can do that yet. Bailey has really been pulling on her leash a lot. I’ll have to use her prong collar.

Facing my fears… fears of the new, fears of the unknown, and fears of not being able to have the courage to do the things I need to do.

I should take a chill pill and in 20 minutes I should go for a walk. I’m not sure that I will. I’m feeling a little relaxed right now. The evil cat is sitting next to me on the sofa. Bailey is napping in the recliner. I’m snuggled in my favorite corner of the sofa.

I wonder what the difference between sofa and couch is?

I’m going to try my hardest today. At the very least I need to unpack and put away a few boxes.

Here’s to all of us who are afraid of anything. May we find the hidden strength to face some of those fears today. We can do it. I know we can. Let’s start today.

 

Bipolar and Clear Thinking

(I want to hide in the cupboard until this is all over.)

Success! We’ve found a house we like. The big issue is storage. I realize that all houses this small have very limited storage, but I’ll have to get rid of pretty much all that I own to make this happen even if I have a storage shed to help with the overflow. I’m preparing to have a panic attack. I’m going to schedule it.

I am a book hoarder. I’ve been successful in getting rid of probably 50 boxes of books. It was painful. Next weekend we’re having a big garage sale in the neighborhood that my mom lives in. It’s a huge multiple neighborhood gated community. I’ve sent over two car loads of things to sell including my Ryan Seacrest bobble head (I’m not attached to it, I just want to get more than $10 for it.)

I woke up this morning thinking about the lack of storage the little house has. I waited till about 10 a.m. to call my mom to talk about the storage problem and what we can do about it. I want to go look at it again and do some measuring. We’ve only been to view it one time. A commitment that huge we should look at again, don’t you think? The housing market here is so tight that if you find a house you like you need to put an offer on it the day you find it or someone else will. So, if I decide not to go with this house we go back to all the stress of looking for a house all over again.

I’m a worrier. I’m a bipolar worrier with anxiety issues. I keep having to calm myself down. I look around my 1800 sq. ft. house and realize I’m going to have to get rid of most all of my possessions to make this work. The new house is only 837 sq. ft. So yeah, downsizing. All my kids have moved out and I don’t need this large a house. I can’t afford anything bigger than the house we’ve put an offer in on.

My stress meter is reading high. Very high. It turns out that it really was good that I didn’t go to school this quarter because we found the house during what would be the week before finals and I wouldn’t have had the time to go look at it.

So how to deal with the stress and associated problems that come with it? I need to think clearly and NOT emotionally. I don’t know how much of my fear of no storage is being realistic or if I’m just falling in with my all too familiar states of paralyzing worrying and all the things that come with stress, like the possibility that I may not be able to handle it and have an episode.

I think I need to begin with focusing on tidying up my thinking processes and think accurately rather than emotionally. If I can do that it will help me have a positive attitude about this instead of having the attitude that we’re going to make a huge mistake. What does clear thinking tell me? Does it make sense to move into this house?

One of the problems I have to deal with constantly is making decisions based on commonsense and thoughtfulness rather than on emotion. I don’t want to pass this house up if I’m just having an anxiety attack because of all the worrying I’ve been doing. I need to settle down and think with clarity.

A really good way to start is to have people around me who I can consult with who know my situation and can make judgements based on commonsense and logic. If I’m blinded by panic they can help me see clearly. I’ve chosen to make my mom, and my three kids those people. Granted the kids think any house is good, once we start measuring and they’ve been inside the house they’ll be able to make good recommendations.

Another thing I can do is avoid, eliminate, thinking about the whole thing in such negative terms such as: never, only, nothing, every, no way, can’t and impossible. I must remember that these negative ways of thinking are going to impact my accurate thinking and that I need to hold on to the positive attitude I’ve been working on cultivating within myself.

To think clearly I have to bind it with a positive attitude. I need to remember that I’m in control of my decisions and that I can make good ones not driven by negative emotions.

I need to work hard to take control and direct my thoughts and control my emotions. Of course being bipolar I’m challenged to think clearly and not let my emotions drive my decisions all the time.

My thoughts must control my thinking, not my emotions. This is especially true right now while I’ve got an offer in on a house. I need to be sure and have a convinced positive attitude before signing the papers. I can’t move into a house that I don’t think I can live with the storage challenges forcing me to throw out all the things I’m attached to.

I need facts. I need clear thinking. I need the advice of others that I trust who know me how my emotions impact my thinking. I need to separate “facts” from imagined fictions, and important facts from unimportant ones.

Bipolar Disorder will definitely have a large role in determining whether or not we buy this house. All the small houses we’ve looked at have pretty much been dives and not had any storage. We’ve seen this house and one other that has been fixed up by a flipper (someone who buys a house, fixes it up, and sells it). Both are really great. Neither has storage. Realistically, no houses this size will have storage.

So we’ll see. Will I freak out and convince everyone that the lack of storage is a deal breaker for me? Or will I go do some measuring and creative thinking? The plan is to go next week to view it again and do a lot of measuring.

I’m going to stay on my meds, see my counselor, exercise, get enough sleep, play with my dog and eat better. These things will give me a chance to keep from falling into a bipolar tailspin.

I’m Learning to ACT Rather Than REACT

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{Please be patient. This is a little long. I hope you’ll stick with the whole thing.}

One of my favorite things to do is to respond to things from habit, rather than thoughtfulness, especially when talking with my mother. I REACT rather than ACT with thoughtfulness. The difference between the two is that:

REACTING is when she says something that I think is stupid (I start by judging her) I respond to her habitually with my emotions and treat her like she actually is stupid and I’m disrespectful as well. There is no consideration of her feelings or how what I say might impact her.

ACTING is when I have taking a moment to consider the situation and respond from thoughtfulness rather than just emotion. It is a response in a reasonable manner.

Ideally I should respond to her with my intellect managing my emotions. If I disagree with her I can say that I disagree with her instead of talking to her like she’s a moron.

For example we’re house hunting right now. We’re working together to choose a house for her to buy as an investment and me to live in. This would be a bad time for us to start fighting. Meaning, it would be a bad time for me to start acting primarily from my emotions and be a bitch.

One of the first houses we saw was well below her top price and so it was attractive to her for that reason. I walked into the kitchen and immediately announced it had to be completely gutted. It was an older obviously had never been updated and had no counter space. In her mind she probably saw that it was a kitchen that I could cook in. I saw that it needed good counter tops, new flooring and cabinets. She thought a coat of paint would work to fix it up. I struggled. If I became argumentative now it was going to be difficult to continue looking at houses without stress overtaking me.

Fortunately, our broker spoke up then and agreed with me about completely gutting the kitchen. I heard my mom take a small breath. I think reality was starting to catch up to her.

By the third house she seemed to start to understand that the less we spent, the more renovation would be needed. There was no way we were going to get a house in this area for the price she wanted to pay. I knew that. So far I’d managed to keep my mouth shut about it. I hadn’t informed her from my vastly superior intellect that there was no way we could find a habitable house in the area for her target price.

So far we haven’t done so well finding houses that might be suitable for me, my two cats, and my dog even though she raised the amount she was willing to pay. The housing market in this area is very tight. I have basically till September to find a house. After that I’m going back to school or getting a job and I won’t have time to just run off to look at houses. It will be more difficult to have time to view houses and move.

It’s hard for me to be patient with the whole process. My tendency is to ask mom everyday if she’s heard from Rhett (the broker). I know that’s not going to be helpful and might make her stress about it. I’m shooting for asking her every other day. I talk to her every day since my father passed last year so I’ll have to remember which days I bug her about it.

We just told Rhett that we wanted to narrow the search area to areas where crime wasn’t so high which meant areas that weren’t crammed together and really low income. She and I actually agree on the areas where we want him to look. If I hadn’t controlled my mouth, which can really be hard, I probably wouldn’t have been able to agree on looking in the more expensive areas. I don’t want to live in the Eastside and most of the places he was showing us were in the Eastside.

Since I started this adventure out on a good foot by controlling my tongue and my tone of voice I’ve given us a chance to actually enjoy each other’s company. I’m even tolerating her dog coming along with us better as we go on. I don’t care for her dog. Her dog is mean to my dog. I don’t like that at all. Oh well. It’s good for me to learn to be more tolerant. Isn’t it?

Every time I’m going to spend time with mom looking for houses or even just talking about them I try to prepare myself and get my emotions under control beforehand. I’m having a lot of anxiety. It would be so easy to take my negative feelings out on her, but they have nothing to do with her. It’s all about controlling my negative emotions and shutting my mouth unless I have something helpful to say. (How many of us have said that exact line?)

My therapist (the one that’s leaving) taught me that I can be the one to “drive the bus” as she put it. I could control my behavior or I could sit in the back of the bus and go where my emotions take me. And believe me, they take me a lot of bad places by habit even when I’m not totally depressed. It just feels natural.

Between working with my therapist and spending my own time reading and thinking about myself and my behavior, my emotions, and my thoughts I’ve gotten to the point that while I’m having trouble with anxiety (My son moved out a little over a week ago so I live alone now.) and even anger over not finding a house right away I’ve been able to treat my mom with some measure of respect and patience. So far. I give myself credit for that. It’s important to remember to give myself credit when I do well. It’s so easy to only recall the times when I explode in violent anger or crushing depressing.

Even though I’ve been doing well so far there is no telling when I might swing and become really depressed or manic. I’ve got to be careful to control my anxiety with my chill pills and take my handful of regular pills every morning and night. And, I have to watch out for my triggers. I take time for myself and think about the person I want to be. I really try to focus on that for longer than just a second or too. I really try to almost meditate on the specific person I want to be. It helps. And I take time to play with my dog. We walk and play. She’s my emotional support.

I can’t control when we find a house, but I can try to control my responses to that the search. That’s my goal. I’m going to control my behavior towards my mom, whom I love a lot, no matter what my feelings are about house hunting. I’ve committed myself to that. My mom deserves that. I deserve that too.

Whose Crazy Now?

I want to tell you a true story that is taking place in my life and the lives of those I love right now. I’m changing everyone’s name but my son’s and my own to be polite. If you think you see yourself, congratulations.

As you turn onto our road and begin to slowly pass the mailboxes on the left you may notice two duplexes on the right. We live in the first one on the right. Once upon a time, Misty and her son DJ lived in the first house of the second duplex. That’s how we knew them. We were just neighbors. Over time our sons got to be friends and over the years have remained so. I’ve never cared for Misty, DJ’s mom. She treats her kids poorly and is just mean. When she and her son would wrestle when he was young she would grab onto his balls and hang on. Okay she’s like half his size, but that’s not an okay thing to do to your own son.

Let me paint you a picture of the woman. She had some friend of hers staying with her for a while. They got drunk, as they often did, and Misty threw the other woman out of the house. The other woman came to my house. It was the middle of the night. Why my house? I don’t know. I didn’t know her. She was drunk and begged me to let her send the rest of the night. What was I supposed to do? We live in the middle of nowhere. There was literally no place for her to do. So I let her in to sleep on the sofa.

I had been saving some of those mini bottles of booze for several years. They were sort of decorations. She found them and drank them all. She cried hysterically and carried on about things you carry on about when you’re drunk and talking to someone you don’t know. In the morning she left.

That day I got a phone call from my landlord, who was also Misty’s landlord, asking if I had a new roommate living with me. I’m like excuse me? No I don’t. (The woman had been staying at Misty’s for several weeks.) Misty had called our landlord to get me in trouble for letting her friend in my house.

This is who Misty is.

DJ and his girlfriend Sienna live with his cousin and two other people in a house about 20 minutes from here. After knowing DJ’s cousin, Maryanne, for more than two years Kyle and she noticed each other and started dating.

-skip ahead three months-

DJ and his girlfriend Sienna and Maryanne and Kyle have decided to move out and get a place to rent together. Kyle agreed to stay with me until I move into town. I’m looking for a house now too.

While Kyle and Maryanne are there watching TV the other night Misty pops her head in the room and tells Maryanne that she has 30 days to get out. Then she popped back out. That’s all she said. She still hasn’t explained or spoken about it to anyone.

DJ, having had his mother already beaten him into submission, hasn’t even asked his mother why she’s kicked Maryanne out. What did she do? I’d like to know since my son is moving in with her. What’s up?

Yesterday Maryanne is talking to DJ about moving and planning because they’ve all decided to move out with her instead of waiting another couple of months and he tells her he’s decided he can’t move out because he needs to get his truck fixed so that it will pass emissions, which it apparently will not do now. This is the first Maryanne has heard that she’s on her own. She fell apart.

The next morning before work my son informed me of the situation. Last night he let me now he was going to be moving in with her so she wouldn’t be alone.

Pshit

The plan was for the three of them to move into a house in a few months with Kyle joining them as soon as I move into town. I live in a very large duplex in the woods. Often at night the coyotes scream and freak me out. I’m pretty sure the homeless squatters have moved on from the house behind us. At least, I think they have.

I have to admit that I’ve not lived alone since 1986. I don’t know how I feel about being alone. I have my wonderful dog Bailey (she’s a cattle dog) and our two aging cats to keep me company.

My bipolar is basically in pretty stable right now. In other words I’m doing pretty well. My last child is moving out and I’m looking for a house to move into. Add to that some other family drama and the fact that I’m not going to school this quarter and you have a mix for remission to be reactivated. I have no intention of letting that happen. I’ve fought too hard to get to the point where I am now.

I wrote about something that saved me back at the end of autumn quarter, I think it will continue to be my friend now.

Thank you doctor, for my little chill pill.

Whose crazy now?

Bipolar 1, ADHD, FM, PTSD, Anxiety, Chronic Pain, OA – Now What??

If I’d started my blog off listing all my bits of my alphabet you might have clicked off and dismissed me as a hypochondriac. Personally, I might have too. However, the fun facts pile continuously up and I wonder if I might be much older than my drivers license says I am.

I’m 51 degrees old. Wait. 51 years old. Yes, that’s it. I think it’s time I leveled with you and give you my “medical” life. I am much more than my medical stuff. I’ve had my right knee replaced twice – in just two years. I know, that’s very young to even have it done once, but twice on the same knee… Skip that. Here’s a “brief” list. Each item is a medically real thing for me.

Bipolar 1
ADHD
FM
PTSD
Anxiety
Chronic Pain
Degenerative Disk Disorder
OA
2 Total Knee Replacements
Cataracts
Allergies – environmental, biological and food
Depression
Manic
Stress – Excessive
Obsess
Asthma
Dentures – Full

I’ve also had a ruptured appendix, broken ankle, blood clots, carpal tunnel syndrome, rage… I think you get the idea.

Over the last couple of months I’ve thought I’ve been falling asleep while driving. It freaks the freak out of me. No matter what I do I don’t seem able to prevent it. I even pull over and try to nap just so I can complete a 40 minute drive home. I’m not able to nap when I pull off the road. I try. No go. I can sleep in a parking lot when I’m too tired to drive, but it’s not working now. I sing, I scream, I pound my feet on the floor, I hit my steering wheel… Nothing helps.

It’s very scary. No, it terrifies me. Suddenly I’m about to rear end another car or find myself drifting to one side or the other. I’ve been asking my health care people what it could be. I eventually got around to my pain management specialist. I described it to her and asked if she thought it might be any of my many medications. Like my med provider, she didn’t think so. She wanted to know if I was born prematurely. Nope. Seizures? Nada.

Michelle, the pain specialist, asked if I could describe what happens as a “loss of time”. Maybe I’m not really falling asleep. Maybe I’m just losing time and tune back in just seconds later. Do I remember actually falling asleep or feeling sleepy. No. I’ve even tried coming home and trying to sleep. Not sleepy. No naps.

She sent me home charging me with looking into Absence Seizures. She knows I love to research stuff. I appreciate that she lets me learn and talk with her about my health care. I have read a bit about Absence Seizures. I think she might be right. Before I left she agreed she would get me in to see a neurologist she likes to use in a city about an hour from here. I’m going to have an EEG to see what’s going on.

New bipolar med on Wednesday… Friday a possible new diagnosis to add to my alphabet soup. Know what I keep thinking?

… Well shit.