I am a stress junkie. I live in a perpetual state of messy stress. I am Stress.
I’ve developed a muscular tick, especially in my jaw muscles, that causes my muscles to hysterically violently spasm. I know this probably sounds strange, but I’ve got this amazing “tick” in my face that sometimes causes my jaw to clench so violently and my tongue to jerk around that I can’t speak. At first it seems I studer. But that’s only at the beginning.
We were hanging out at my mom’s house today and while I was speaking with my brother I continued the tick that was already forcing me to stop talking and clench my teeth together and giving me a headache I completely drowned in a sea of cascading ticks. I could hardly breathe. The “stammering” continued to get worse. I felt panic rising. My daughter told me to stop trying to talk. Let it go. Be silent.
I have been to my doctor, my med provider, my counselor, my neurologist to see what is causing this horrible thing. I won’t bore you with all the things we talked about or the exams I had, but I will tell you what seems to be the cause… Stress. It’s in my head. Seriously. I’m finally able to admit it really is in my head. That’s the place I have to deal with it… in my head, my brain.
As long as I can remember my muscles have been tight and hard as a rock. Stress is doing that to me. Always has. I have to stop it. I’m getting angry even thinking about it right now. The anger is so easy to feel when I’m unable to stop the ticking, even with my jaw firmly shut. I want it to stop and it isn’t stopping. It’s making me more angry and at the same time I’m becoming more depressed about it. Stress.
Imagine being Bipolar and having such a high level of stress that while the violence of depression and mania are being mostly controlled at this moment by medications I cannot control my stress. Yes, stress is making it easier to slip into depression, but I’m not able to control it and I can’t help myself.
After searching my life and things I could do now I was unable to find anything to help me. Maybe. A year or so ago I learned about this thing called “neuroplasticity”. Basically (the bit relevant to me I think… thought) neuroplasticity is remapping my brain, physically changing it, through something called “mindfulness”. I’m not going to explain what it is now. I encourage you to learn about it yourself. (Follow the links at the bottom of this message to learn more.)
Over the next 8 weeks I’m going to engage in a program developed by the University of Massachusetts called “Mindful Based, Stress, Relief” or MBSR. The workshop presents material that is real world science based. Lives have been, will be and are being changed by MBSR.
Why am I doing this? Because I can’t stand the tick anymore and there is no medical reason for me to have it. I do have Stress. I am Stress. What am I stressed about? I’ve no idea. I can be at home alone and my face will spasm and I’ll bite my tongue or my arm will jerk and my soup will fly with the greatest of ease across the counter. In fact, it did the other day. It’s making my face dance in an absurd parody of calm. My cheeks and tongue are twitching as well as my arms and legs even as I write this.
Stress. Being Bipolar and being Stress is a messy combination, physically and mentally. It seems to me that a science based program that reduces stress is worth giving a try. As the saying goes… It can’t hurt. Right now this spasming is hurting. Hurting a lot.
I’ll try to keep you posted on how I progress and hopefully experience relief from my stress. You probably know how Bipolar is… sometimes you can write and sometimes you just can’t. I’ll do my best. Consider me a lab rat that is exploring a serious way to deal with my stress, depression, anxiety, and a mass of physical and mental problems I have.
I need to heal. I need to be able to talk and eat, to write and relax. (Ouch! Sorry. Bit my tongue again.)
I need to reduce my stress. I think that’s the key.
Stress. I must master it and all the aliments that can come with it before it drives me crazier and hurts me physically. MBSR. Check out these videos. They’re short. They’ll explain what I couldn’t talk long enough to explain to my brother what is. Tick. Spasm. Tick. One after the other endlessly crushing me.
Seriously, watch one or two videos. At the very least they might give you insight into me. You read what I’ve typed, now watch something I’ve watched and learned from. Get to know me a bit more. It couldn’t hurt.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness – Liberation from Suffering
TEDxBoulder – Mindfulness and Healing
If you’re curious the program I’m doing is here: MBSR