Anxiety blues.

a cure for what ails you, anxiety, medication, ptsd, rapid-cycle bipolar disorder, relationships

The last few days, I feel like I’ve fallen down a sort of anxiety-hole, and it’s really bugging me.

Yesterday was wonderful–we went to Canton and had delicious pie with a friend of Paul’s from college and her lovely fiancee, then took a walk in a nearby park. There was a hiccup where he snuck up on me and startled me a bit, which in addition to a ton of people being around (it was, after all, a beautiful day) kind of made my PTSD-radar go “ping!” I think that’s what set it off.

When we got home, I had a minor annoyance/setback when I learned that my venlafaxine, which I’m almost out of, was ready–but my new insurance, for some reason, was still pending and the Rx was pretty far out of my price range. After waiting in a crowded pharmacy for close to an hour, my brain didn’t take the news particularly well and my anxiety went up a few more notches.

I had taken a couple of lorazepam throughout the day, which I normally don’t have to do, and while I was nice and chilled out by that evening, I woke up this afternoon (after fourteen hours of sleep, which is highly unusual these days) feeling groggy and depressed.

Days like these, I feel the old blues and hopelessness creeping back in. I am in a gorgeous city and a new apartment with someone I love, yet I still get sad and anxious. I’ve come to realize that it’s part of the illnesses and that these things will be with me for the rest of my life. I suppose I’ve taken the good days for granted, so this one blindsided me a little.

I took another nap, woke up, finished my Theories paper, and am feeling quite a bit better. Still, it’s something I’m going to mention to my new psychiatrist (once I find one in the area, haha). The lorazepam does wonders for me in terms of calming my anxiety and the irritability that comes with it, but I often feel a little down the day after taking it and I’m wondering if there are other things I could try.

Needless to say, I also have to find a therapist to help me with quite a few things–after all, I just went through a huge move and am dealing with all sorts of new feelings and worries about being so far from home for the first time in my life.

What helps you unwind, readers? How do you shake off the blues?

Reflection: Grad school so far.

Authoress

I’m entering my third week of grad school (online-only this semester because of the move) and man, it’s been a wild ride. I’m only taking two courses–Lifespan Development and Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy, both of which I’ve had before in undergrad, so I’m familiar with the content. It’s a good thing I’m not struggling with that because the workload is something I was unprepared for, having been out of school for five years now.

Every day, I set aside two or three hours for work. Mondays are reading days, primarily. Both of my classes are heavy on Blackboard discussion posts, so I usually knock out a few of those on Mondays as well. My Theories class requires participation on four separate days, so I try to space out the rest of my posts throughout the week along with my papers.

Lifespan’s discussions are pretty research-heavy (as in, find an article based on these criteria and summarize it), which is something I’ve always hated. Thankfully, the summaries only have to be a paragraph or two, but I always overshoot in terms of length on all my written work because I have no idea how to thoroughly break down a twenty-page study into a paragraph.

All told, I probably spend about thirty hours or so per week on school stuff, so I’m thankful that Paul is willing and able to support my lack of a job right now–there’s no way I’d be able to maintain my mental health/overall sanity along with a full-time job plus the school stuff. My only concern is that I won’t be able to find another school in Baltimore that will take me sans the psychology undergrad (despite grad school credits in the field).

My plan once we move is to take a semester off to scout out schools and perhaps get back into the tutoring game to earn a little cash on the side. Aside from that, I’m just trying to chill out and get ready for the big move in a few weeks!

How are your summers going so far, readers? Are you taking time out for self-care? I hope this post finds you lovely and healthy as always.

Risk! follow-up

Authoress, housekeeping

Good afternoon, readers!

So, unfortunately, my Risk! demo wasn’t a great fit for the show–it spanned too many years, which I completely understand. It’s hard to condense twenty-odd years of living with/growing up with bipolar disorder into a neat 15-to-20-minute package that’s not overwhelming to listeners. However, Kevin was incredibly gracious and complimentary about the whole thing and encouraged me to keep telling my stories, which I appreciated.

I am definitely not giving up! I’ve discovered a couple of other podcasts that I might pitch to, and as I mentioned in my last post, I’m going to check out some local storytelling groups after I survive the upcoming move to Baltimore. In the meantime, please continue to reach out to me. I recently recovered my email address for this blog and promise to be better about responding to your emails in a timely manner (I discovered two lovely messages from December and was absolutely mortified, not to mention concerned that I’d missed the boat on those).

I’m also working on a schedule of sorts for this blog, with the help of my wonderful fella. Big things coming, readers! Stay tuned. Stay lovely. Stay well.

The illusion of control.

a cure for what ails you, anxiety

Last night was, admittedly, a little rough for me. I’m getting over a nasty cold, which always plays hell with my moods, but the day as a whole went pretty well. But around bedtime, I sort of…crumbled. Those old feelings of guilt and worry and nonspecific “bad” began to surface and I lost it for a while.

It should come as no surprise, especially to long-time readers of this blog, that I tend to be a worrier. But here’s the kicker–I don’t worry about bad things happening to me; rather, I worry incessantly about bad things happening to the people I care about.

So, after allowing myself an hour or so to cry and attempt to calm down on my own (I’m finding that the Cross Stitch World app on Facebook is particularly calming) to no avail, I took some lorazepam and settled in for some good old-fashioned Googling. It took a while to find what I was looking for, mostly because I was too jittery and anxious to think clearly enough to come up with the proper search terms, but once I did (“anxiety about bad things happening to loved ones” was particularly fruitful), I stumbled upon a treasure trove of forum posts written by people just like me. And they all had one thing in common: early loss of a loved one, usually a parent, very early in life.

Without revealing too much out of respect for her privacy, my mother was absent from my life from the time I was six years old until I was nineteen. We had contact through letters and the occasional phone call, but the sense of loss I felt was intense. Instead, I was raised by one aunt, my grandmother, and my grandmother’s sister.

I was particularly close to my great-aunt, Muriel (whose name I took as my middle name during my recent name change), and she passed away in 2010 after a long struggle with dementia and congestive heart failure. She moved in with us when I was fourteen after she had a valve replacement and her mental state began to decline; therefore, I witnessed the brutality of dementia over the next six years, when she was moved into a nursing home following my grandmother’s stroke.

I had never lost anyone so close to me in such a final way before. And because of the PTSD, I have an extremely hard time getting close to others on a meaningful, truly intimate level. I’ve discovered that this is the root of my excessive worry.

After giving myself ample time to process what I had read on the forums, comforted by the knowledge that I’m not alone in my struggle, I checked out a few Buddhist-oriented websites that also came up during my search. Most of what I read dealt with giving up the “illusion of control,” something that didn’t particularly make me feel better but did provide some good food for thought. As someone living with C-PTSD, I don’t do well with the unknown because the main reason I’ve survived as long as I have is because I am constantly planning five, six, seven steps in advance. I need to have a plan. I need to know what is going to happen and if I don’t, extreme discomfort sets in. If this discomfort is ignored, it builds into outright anxiety and, well, I end up in situations like the one I was in last night.

The good news about all of this is that I’ve made a note to myself to be more mindful and to really try to stay “in the moment” and enjoy the present instead of worrying so much about the future. I have also identified one of the main things I need to address in therapy–I’m currently in-between therapists since I’m moving in about a month and a half, but plan on finding one as soon as we’re in the Baltimore area.

Readers, can any of you relate? What has worked for you, either in terms of distraction or realizations?

Dissociated Press is finally on Facebook!

major depression, rapid-cycle bipolar disorder

WordPress is a bastard, so here’s the full link: https://www.facebook.com/couldhavegonemad?fref=ts

I’ll be posting book recommendations/what I’m currently reading (research for the memoir), brain droppings that aren’t quite long or substantial enough to warrant their own blog post, and whatever else pops into my head (so in other words, anything goes). I’d love it if you guys would “like” the page and jump into the fray by asking questions or whatever it is people do on Facebook nowadays.