Tag Archives: anxiety

Anxiety Storm

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They always ask me if I’m depressed.

I’ve got Bipolar Type 1 and I cycle super rapidly, what do you think?

No, really, are you depressed?

Let me tell you the truth, I hope you hear me say it this one time because I’ve had enough.

Go ahead.

My anxiety, my stress – if that’s what you need to call it – is at 7 of 10. 10 is call the morgue. My adrenaline has been full on since I can first remember. Fight or flight…. or both.

Yes, that fight or flight reflex can be triggered.

Listen to me. All the time. It’s all the time. Stop asking me if I’m depressed because the answer will always be yes. What you should be concerned about is my anxiety. I’m more likely to have the top of my head exploded from that than I am from depression.

You know, you’d be surprised at how often that’s the case.

Shit.

Anxiety – Relax My Ass

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School starts in two days. Yesterday I had my first adrenaline mainlining anxiety day of the school year. 

I tried to be strong and relax, but I had to take half a chill pill early in the day. It didn’t help. I tried not to take the other half because I only get 10 a month. I got into bed and my anxiety ramped up higher. I had to take the other half. 

Eventually, I slept.

I’m once again forced to try all the methods to reduce anxiety that I have learned… but deep down I don’t believe any of them will help, they never have.

I’m tired of being a victim of my own brain. So tired.

Bipolar –  Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

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6357405020812055051488693726_anxiety-charlie-brown“A single electric bulb looped down from the uneven ceiling. It sparked hot white. A man with dark features stepped into the bright circle below it, which lit up a scar near his left eye.” Mrs. Sherlock Homes, by Brad Ricca

I was looking for something to read at Barnes & Noble today while I was waiting for my dog Bailey to be groomed today when I found the book I just mentioned. I read the first sentence and I was hooked. “A single electric bulb looped down from the uneven ceiling.” In some way, it struck a chord with me and I was hooked. I had to read the rest of the book. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m planning on it. I just have my daughter’s wedding rehearsal tonight at 6:00, counseling tomorrow at 1:00 and the wedding itself Saturday at 1:00. School doesn’t start till Monday. I should have time to at least get started on it.

Then I remember that I’m taking two literature classes this quarter and I realize buying more to read right now might not have been the best idea. But still, I love that sentence…

I’m going to school to learn how to be a writer. That sentence is the kind of sentence I’d like to be able to write. I don’t know, maybe I can already. But, I don’t know, maybe I can’t.

I’m afraid. I’m afraid to try. I’m afraid to try to do something I’ve been studying since high school. I feel inadequate. My anxiety turns my brain to dough and I don’t believe in myself… so I don’t try.

One of the benefits of having gone back to college (and one of the biggest challenges) is that I’m tasked with writing on a regular basis. Last quarter I had Creative Nonfiction in which I had to write creative nonfiction essays. I started out not knowing what one even was. Now, I’ve written three and I passed the class with an A. This quarter I’m taking Introduction to Fiction where I imagine I’ll get the chance to try my hand at writing fiction. I’m paranoid. I don’t know if I can tell a story. What if I can’t think up anything to write?

That first sentence really spoke to me and inspired me to read further and to try my hand at writing my own fiction. But, I’m so afraid…

Classes start Monday. I’m going to have buck up and face my fear. What if I can’t do it?

I got a great grade in Creative Nonfiction. I can do this. I just have to try.

What if I can’t do this? What if I quit? Then I won’t have to expose myself to possible failure. No. Stop.

I’m going to keep going. I’m going to do this.

I can carry on.

Bipolar – TV

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tvI want to believe that although I have Bipolar Disorder, depression, GAD, PTSD, ADHD and so on I can still be successful.

I want to live an active and full life. Much of the time I convince myself that I can’t do that. I look at my situation and I conclude that if I haven’t started living by this time in my life, that maybe I won’t ever have the life that I want. It’s tempting to fail myself and believe that.

One of the reasons that I sit static in my living room and don’t try to actively change my life is that I watch TV all the time. It is on all the time. I used to listen to music. Now it’s just the TV. As long as I have that continuous stream entering my brain I don’t use it for anything else. It’s so easy to be a spectator.

During school I finally admitted to myself that I was having a hard time doing my homework because it was on all the time. As much as I’d like to think that I can focus effectively on other things while the it is on, it isn’t true.

It’s hard to turn off the TV. It’s my companion. Right now, remarkably, it’s off. I’m listening to classical music on my phone. I’m trying very hard not to watch one of the many shows I have DVR’d. I’m practicing having it off so when school starts next week I’ll be more likely to switch it off while I’m doing homework. I’m sure that I’ll have an easier time doing the work if the TV isn’t invading my brain.

It also keeps me from dealing with myself. I can ignore the fact that I’m not dealing with my ongoing anxiety because I’m occupied with the TV.

I need to have quiet time so I can think. I don’t think well while the TV is on. Heck, I don’t think much at all when it’s on.

I’m finding that I’m having a hard time with this post. It feels disjointed and awkward. Maybe that’s because my companion is silent and I can really hear what I’m thinking. Maybe. I’ve been thinking about having the TV off for some time now. I’m impressed with myself that it is off. There is so much more interesting and important stuff for me to feed my brain with than TV. I’m not saying TV is bad. I’m just saying that when it is the only thing going on in my head it’s a problem.

A man (I can’t recall who) wrote that he used to go into a room every day with a pen and paper and shut himself inside and just think. He didn’t see people; he didn’t read anything. He just thought. I remember when I first read that I thought it was an amazing idea. I practiced it for a while, then, I went back to filling my brain with static.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I know I wouldn’t be able to keep them so I don’t make them. However, right now seems like a good time to change my behavior. I’ve pinpointed a problem: I don’t think. I listen to the TV.

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) wrote: “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” I’ve always liked that quote. Thinking… that’s a problem. My medications help a lot. Counseling has helped too. My counselor has helped me identify problem thinking and correct it. (Napoleon Hill quotes)

What’s next? Well, my brain is full of what I put into it or what I allow to be put into it. I allow someone else to put their content in it the whole time the TV is on, which is most of the time I’m awake.

The solution seems easy doesn’t it? Turn the TV off. Easy.

Right now… the TV isn’t off.

I’ve learned a lot. Time to change. I should turn it off. I should–

Bipolar – I Just Wanna Sleep

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say-no-to-sleeplessness-in-old-age-with-yoga1I wanted to share with you what happens with me on a typical night when I can’t sleep… such as tonight.

This is the second night in a row that I’ve not been able to sleep. I’m so tired yet sleep flees from me. I have things on my mind that I’ve tried to get to go away. I’ve written them down. I’ve talked about them. I’ve walked on my elliptical for the second time today. I’ve taken my sleeping pill and my regular meds. I’m clearly not asleep. They just won’t stop. Maybe I’ll try reading some more when I go back to bed.

I’m struggling with three things. First, one of my kids is struggling and that’s hard. Second, something is wrong with my car and has been since I got snow tires put on. I got snow tires a couple of weeks ago. Ever since they loaded my old tires and wheels in the trunk and back seat the car has ridden low in the back end. Even now that they are out of the car it still rides low. The backend is noticeably lower than the frontend. I guess it’s the shocks or struts. She’s an old car. I hope it wasn’t just “their time” to fail because of its age. The timing would be awfully strange. And third, I have a credit card that has what to me is a high balance. The card has been active since April this year. According to me, when I look over the charges, there is nothing near the balance that has been charged. Let me put that a different way. It says my balance is one thing, but it doesn’t appear to me to total that much in the actual charges.

Now, I know I can’t do anything about these things right now, but I can do this. I can write about it. I know I might not be able to help my kid. I know I may have to pay to fix my car. I know I may have spent more than I think I have. These are all bad options. I can’t do anything about them at 11:38 at night.

Deep breath. Ah. Time to find that YouTube playlist I made for helping me sleep. It has a 30 minutes “talk down” guided meditation video then has about eight hours of soothing nature sounds like of rain in the woods or waves and maybe a little music. That’s what I’ll try next. Read then YouTube.

Wish me luck.

Bipolar – Hidden Emotions

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After months of not really feeling anything accept sever anxiety, my emotions are waking up again. I’m hoping that all the months of counseling have prepared me for my feelings, my moods.

I took a poetry class this last quarter. I had a difficult time writing the poetry because my emotions were packed away in a closet inside my brain. I wrote very clinically, very much cerebral and didn’t feel inspired or moved at all.

I’m enrolled in the disability program at the college and one of the things I get is time and a half for exams. Of course there aren’t exams in poetry, but the first quarter that I had this professor with I’d gone in and went over my disability papers with her and explained about how this was my first year back to college and I that was having a hard time. I took a chance and told her about my having Bipolar. I haven’t really thought it was necessary to tell my other professors what my disability is, but I felt like I was connecting with this professor and I also felt like I would be able to come and her and talk if I needed to.

I talked to her about how my BP was affecting my writing and she suggested I read “Touched with Fire” by Kay Redfield Jamison to see how many artistic people have mental illness (especially Bipolar Disorder). Funny thing was, I have read it. I’ve spent so much time in it that the pages have come off the spine of the book and nearly every page has notes and things underlined in it. It is in such bad shape that I purchased another copy so I could read it again. This is one of those books I bought in paper back and not as an eBook. If I have a book I want to markup I always get it in print. It’s just easier for me to make notes and find things in.

The first thing I encountered in Jamison’s book was a through recounting of all the symptoms having to do with Bipolar Disorder. Having been only anxious and not having mood swings for a few months per se, I was shocked as I remembered all the emotions that are currently hiding behind my medications.

I’m glad that I read what the symptoms are again because of the fact that we’ve lowered my Latuda and I need to be on the watch for symptoms to return. I have to admit, I’m worried now. I forgot how bad it has been for me. I rate on the top of the Bipolar Disorder Type 1, but I’m also high functioning so I’ve been able to hide it from most people. At least I think I have. Who really knows what others think of us when we’re in the midst of an active outburst of violent emotions.

So here I go, with an intentionally lowered mood stabilizer, and me waiting to see if any of my old enemies come sauntering out of the closet. I must remember not to hold my breath.

Bipolar – Anxiety Rules Still

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It is a sad fact, to me, that my anxiety is still causing me difficulties with my schoolwork. I have a big exam I’ve been studying for since Friday on Wednesday and as of right now I’m about half ready. That worries me. My brain understands what I’m learning, I’m just not retaining most of the facts I need.

I’ve come a long way writing for school and writing papers of different types this quarter. It doesn’t seem to be as difficult as it was last year thankfully. Now I’m struggling with memorizing facts like what makes up a cell and what each part does or the difference between bones and cartilage and what their (especially bones) structure is made of. You know, all the bloody bits.

I’ve tried going on long walks, playing with my dog, having my one of daughters over for dinner (she cooked this time), and so on. This time I had Jessica (daughter just mentioned) go over my flash cards I meticulously made for the whole exam. I did good on about half of them. The hard half, not so much. She’s gone now and I’m trying to reset my brain. I have a few more hours before bedtime and I’m going to be studying.

Besides struggling with memory work, I’m struggling with writing poems for my poetry class. I tend to write poems based on thoughts and what I think are deep feelings and leave imagery mostly out of it. Of course, imagery is what my professor is looking for. Imagery is an important part of a poem. And yet, as so many others have said, as my Bipolar symptoms have come under control I feel I’ve lost the burning engine that stoked my creative fires so it almost feels like imagery is the least of my worries. And yet, maybe the concrete image is what I need right now.

What is an osteon? In the Haversian system it consists of concentric layers or lamellae.

Something to think about.

Bipolar – Election Panic

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depression  I tend to panic about things that aren’t really problems, or at least aren’t problems at the time I’m panicking about them. I have to admit that the election, which is today, has me feeling a bit on edge. Why? There are lots of reasons I can think of but two come to mine right away.

First, I need to have my disability income to continue to come in. I’m talking about SSI and the medical insurance that I receive because I’m officially disabled. I wouldn’t be able to get the care I need if I had to pay for it myself.

Second, I started my day with my youngest daughter texting me that if Trump wins she and her fiancé are going to go to the court house to get married right away before he takes away her right to marry the person that she’s in love with. They were going to wait until both women have graduated college (we all three go to UWT) to tie the knot. She believes if he wins her rights will be taken away, not ensured like they could be in a free nation. I told her that I understand and I think that if that’s what she feels she needs to do, I’ll support them.

This election directly impacts my family more directly than any other election has. I will be watching this evening’s results in my Social Media class tonight. I’ve never watched election coverage of any kind with other people. I don’t know who the others support so it will be interesting to see what happens when we discuss the returns together.

I will go about my day as usual and try not to think about the election. There isn’t anything I can do about it other than vote myself and I did that. Washington State is a mail-in voting state and I mailed mine in as soon as I received it. I had to search for a stamp! I pay all my bills online now so I don’t use the USPS and so I don’t usually need any stamps.

I hope if you feel anxiety about the election that you’ve exercised your right and voted. If you’re still feeling anxiety about it, please take care of yourself and recognize that it’s okay if you feel that way. A lot of people who don’t suffer from mental illness feel the same way.

I’m going to do my homework and go to class as usual. I think I’ll try to get ahead on my homework and work on a paper that’s due next Monday.

The weather here is unusually nice today for a November day in Washington State so I think I’ll take my buddy Bailey for a walk. I’ll try to give myself time to write so I can meet my NaNoWriMo goal for today’s word count.

Yesterday on the way home from my classes I made a mistake and went grocery shopping while I was hungry and bought food that I don’t need to eat like powdered donuts. Yeah, I don’t need donuts. Well, I have three kids and I’m sure they will welcome some free food. I want to give them my leftover candy from Halloween too.

Well, I need to get busy on my homework now. My brother is stopping by in a few hours. My house is a mess. I usually try to straighten it out before I have company, but I have a lot to do today so I think I’ll let the house stay messy. I guess I’m concerned he’ll judge me. His house is always in order and spotless. I suppose I should ask myself if it matters whether or not he approves of the state of my house. It doesn’t, not really.

My mouse/cursor keeps shooting across the screen and making me type in random places. It’s getting annoying. Sometimes I can’t find it, which means I may not be able to find random letters appearing in random places. Oh well. Life goes on.

If you’re stressed about the election you have company, a lot of people are. Regardless of what happens, we still have our own brains to deal with. Try to do something kind for yourself today. I’m going to take my dog for a long walk and read a fiction book that has nothing to do with school.

As Ellen says, “Be kind to one another.”

Bipolar – A Letter to TB

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I wrote this in response to another blogger’s post one day several weeks ago. I wanted to share it with you. I could have easily have written it to myself… Maybe I did…

Dear TB,
Anxiety is like a beast that has pounced
and has its claws plunged clean through you.
Believe me when I say that the claws can be removed.
It is slow and painful, but it can be done.
The depression you feel is real
and can be a killer.
Do not give in to it. Fight back.
Talk to your people, take your meds,
eat well and try to do something you enjoy.
Can you sleep? Do it.
Try to be with people. Safe people.
Keep p0sting on your blog.
There are many who listen to you,
many who identify with your pain.
People care what happens to you
though they don’t know who you really are.
They care about what you do next.
You talk about not wanting to live.
As you fight and fight and fight it will get better.
It will take time, but you can survive.
I can tell you from my own experience
That the anxiety you feel can lessen.
you can settle down and know peace
it’s true. You can pull the claws out
and you can heal.
Be patient.
It will take time.
Robin

Bipolar: Stress Stupid

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I’m attending classes at the University of Washington at Tacoma and I’m a junior. I started working on getting a bachelor degree some 35 years ago. I have Bipolar Disorder type 1, ADHD, and Anxiety (those are the ones that seem to impact my schooling). When I study I become stressed and can’t think… can’t remember what I’m trying to learn. I understand the subjects. I just can’t recall specific facts.

There are a number of things I can do to remember things better and I can safely say I’m doing them. I feel like my illnesses are making me stupid. Not like “dumb”. I just feel stupid because I can read something and understand it and then I remember nothing.

It’s frustrating.

I have a biology class I’m struggling in. We have a test or a quiz every week. I miss one out of five on all of the quizzes every time. We’ve had one test and I can tell you I did not do well.

I am registered as a person with a disability with the school so I get to have some special accommodations. What that means for me is that I can request to take my tests and quizzes in a quiet room with no distractions and have time and a half to take them. However, I’m not being able to recall what I’m studying so more time is of no use.

I’m at a loss.

I have a quiz in the morning. Again. I’ve been stressing all weekend about it instead of taking advantage of the break from homework I somehow had.

I feel stressed now.

I need to do something to relax before bedtime.

Warm milk and a book. Yes, that’s what I need. Warm milk and a book.

Wish me luck tomorrow. Somehow I have to succeed. I know I can do it. In my mind, I have to do it.