Undermined By the Bitch

Sometimes I am jealous of bipolar people.

I know. That sounds insane. It sounds like I don’t understand what a terrible and serious disease bipolar is. I do understand. Really. And I promise I don’t have munchausen syndrome.

I have a chronic and pretty severe anxiety disorder.

If I’m stuck with a chronic mental illness seems reasonable that I’d fantasize what life would be like with some of the other mental illnesses out there. For the most part I think that many of us who wrestle with unrelenting crazy learn person specific coping mechanisms that make getting through the day a little bit less painful. Over a year ago there was an interesting thread on a friend’s fb wall about dealing with mental illness. People seemed happier that they had their own specific illness rather than some other variety-me included.

Kind of stands to reason.

I have had once severe depressive episode in my life. It sucked me into the nothingness, I wanted to escape this world, I was robbed of emotion, of feeling anything except profound self hatred. The depression lasted for about a year. The thought of another depressive episode scares the shit out of me, I have no idea if I’m strong enough to make it through again. Anxiety on the other hand has been my constant companion for over 20 years. Naturally my coping mechanisms are much more sophisticated in that arena.

It was comical in a rather macabre way to read this thread-the depression people saying they would much rather deal with that than anxiety, those like me grateful they didn’t have to deal with depression.

But. All day Friday I was sick to my stomach with anxiety.

On Friday night 9 (would have been 10, but someone was traveling-we missed you J) of us met at a local restaurant for dinner. Without kids. Ok, there was one kid. But she was barely a month old and as every parent knows that doesn’t count.

Please do not get me wrong, I wanted to go. I couldn’t be more thrilled that we have found a group of friends that we enjoy so damn much. The majority of the time we all hang out at our place. Our friends are always thanking us for hosting. But the deal is doing it at our place means I get to enjoy myself like a normal human. The anxiety is still there, but it is muted. I feel unencumbered by my sickness.

Of course we had a fantastic time. Of course I am glad I went. Hell, I can’t wait to do it again.

But I really fucking resent the anxiety for causing me so much discomfort on Friday. I am really sick of being hog tied by fear.

We are at my folk’s house right now. We flew down yesterday. On Tuesday morning Z and I will drive to the airport and fly to Miami. We’ll fly back and pick up the boys on Sunday. It’s our first chunk of time away from them since we became parents.

I’m so excited I don’t know what to do with myself.

I’m sick to my stomach with anxiety.

Am I going to ruin this amazing trip for myself? Is that bitch anxiety going to win? Will I ever get out from underneath her?

The bipolar thought occurred to me this morning as I was jogging. During our trip down south for the holidays I made fantastic strides with the jogging. I was also better rested than I’ve been in ages. Z let me sleep in almost every day. There were a lot of naps. Z went to work the day after we got back home and worked through the weekend as well. For the last two weeks I’ve been sleep deprived, which is my usual state. The jogging improvement evaporated. Today’s 5 miles were an exercise in frustration. Every step was a fight. I’m tired, compounded not just from lack of sleep, but because of the anxiety. Anxiety steals energy and leaves emptiness in its wake.

I got angrier and angrier at the anxiety for slowing me down. Why can’t I harness that energy into something worthwhile? Why can’t I be fucking manic for a bit? Why am I stuck with a condition that takes and takes and takes?

Ok, I don’t really want to be bipolar. Manic episodes are unpredictable and can cause terrible upheaval and hurt in the lives of those who suffer from bipolar. But the energy that I spend on the anxiety…I need that energy. I fucking want it back. I don’t want to fight this fight anymore. I want to be better. So I can enjoy the anticipation of a great night out with friends or a vacation with my husband. So I don’t have to move through the world encumbered by what feels like a 100lb coat made of my fears. I am pissed off at that bitch anxiety and how much she controls me.

But there isn’t a cure. She isn’t going anywhere. She is as much a part of me as my mousy brown hair and blue eyes. The only way I will ever get the best of her is to fight through her bullshit. To go out to dinner and have a fucking awesome time after a day of lightheadedness and diarrhea caused by the bitch. To enjoy Miami even though this morning I woke up with an anxiety attack so bad that I had to take a chill pill immediately. To continue my jog even though my body is screaming at me give up. To keep trying. For Z, for T, for C, for myself. I will live my life in spite of her, hell I will live my life to spite her.

sleepy travel companion

My adorable traveling companion.

plane nap time

Z quietly sang C right to sleep after we took off.

bad jog

Pissed off jogger. Sometimes we have bad days. Feels pretty honest to document them as well.


6 thoughts on “Undermined By the Bitch

  1. I always knew I had depression..I think it’s probably more Dysthymic Disorder than major depression, as it’s just an Eeyore type low-grade feeling with some major depressive episodes thrown in for good measure. And it’s when I got on antidepressants that I realized I REALLY have anxiety, and that the anxiety feels so much more debilitating to me. The ramped up crazy thoughts vs. just wanting to sleep all the time and feeling sad. I hate anxiety.

  2. I used to have a ritual I did every night. When I was in my twenties I had to spend at least an hour before I went to sleep worrying about whatever it was that was weighing on my mind at that moment or I could not relax and go to sleep. No, I didn’t expect the worry to do anything. I knew worrying didn’t produce results. But it felt like the “right” thing to do. Almost like I believed if I worried hard enough the chances of something bad happening would go down. I mean, what ARE the chances of your worst fear coming true? Want some misguided insurance against the bad stuff in life? With that rationale, make EVERYTHING in life your worst fear by worrying and then nothing will ever happen, right?

    Consider this. (This is how I lived to see thirty.) Anxiety is an emotion. Worry is a choice. And you have a mind that can control both of those things. If you don’t want to be afraid anymore, don’t be! I am not making light of your situation. I’m simply stating a fact. Worry and anxiety are bad habits. That’s all they are. You get into a habit of thinking negative thoughts and before you know it, that’s ALL you have. Negative, worrisome thoughts.

    Get up tomorrow and use your head. On day one of not being afraid, get up and make the conscious choice to use your mind. Decide NOT to worry. Make the choice to NOT be afraid. And every time you start to worry, remind yourself that you are not going to do that today. Just today. Don’t “worry” about tomorrow. It’ll get here when it’s time and your worrying about it won’t make it get here any faster.

    Do this in a way that YOUR anxiety-ridden personality can relate to. If you start to worry or be afraid consider, if this event or these circumstances that I’m so afraid of comes to pass, what is the very, very, very worst thing that will happen?

    Will you die? Will someone you love die? Seriously, how many times have you worried about a life or death situation because these are really the only times when it’s almost impossible to not worry. (And even then there is faith and all that, but that’s another topic for another day.)

    These are the words I had to repeat to myself for probably a year before I finally got rid of my anxiety: If it doesn’t kill me, I’ll live. So I’m not gonna worry about it.

    Stop worrying. Because it’s a pointless, draining thing to do and because anxiety sucks all the joy and potential out of life. Believe me. I’ve been there. And I don’t ever want to go back.

  3. My husband has bipolar disorder. He gets his highs and lows. But, the energy of manic episodes is mainly spent in anger…and when in depression, he tends to become a vegetable..lying whole day on sofa watching TV or sleeping for hours. He too finds difficult to fight off depression…but can’t say that he manages his manic very well.
    I read couple of your posts…I love your fighting spirit…keep it up..I am sure you would be inspiring a lot of people…all the best!

    • Thank you very much for your kind words. The spouses of those who suffer from mental illness blow my mind. It is so hard. And frustrating. And completely overwhelming. I feel guilty for what my husband has to go through every day. I’m sending you good thoughts. Because I really know how hard it is to love someone who is unwell. And I’m sending good thoughts to your husband as well.

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