Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 1

Challenged by Sahara at Creo Somnium

I’m sure many of y’all have heard the news that Carrie Fisher passed away earlier today. As someone who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about a year and a half ago, I was intrigued with her (beyond my Star Wars obsession) because of how honest and outspoken she is about having bipolar disorder herself — quite the inspiration. I’m not usually affected by celebrity deaths, but this one hurts. At the risk of seeming tacky for using a quote by Fisher today as part of this challenge, I’m going to use this anyway as a reminder to my fellow blog friends suffering from bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses, since her words apply to mental illnesses across the board IMO. carrie-fisher-bipolar-disorder

I’m not nominating anyone to participate — join in if you’d like. If you do, I’d like to challenge you to use a quote on mental illness for one of your days.


The Struggle Is Real

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is Struggle, so I’m going to vent a little about my mental health struggles.

I mentioned in another post that anxiety has been a bitch lately. That’s still the case. I can be doing something as simple as cooking (and normal cooking, not burn-the-house-down-with-a-grease-fire cooking) and the sirens start going off. While having anxiety is a normal thing for me, it’s still crazy how quickly I can go from being good or at least okay to wigging out in the blink of an eye. Over nothing.

Have you ever gone out on a float in the ocean and realized that you were too far from the shore before? You know that feeling of panic that completely washes over you and stilts your breathing and makes you feel like there’s a heavy weight on your chest, you’re done for and all? It goes something like that, but again, over nothing, which adds so much frustration to a sucky situation. (In case you’re wondering, no, I never got lost at sea, but before I was Anxious Mom, I was Anxious Little Girl.)

The psychiatrist I see prescribed two additional medications to take for anxiety regularly — one for during the day and one at night — but neither has helped. The nighttime one makes me not function the next day, and the kids require me to be functional, so that one’s off the table. The daytime one also makes me drowsy during the day (but not completely nonfunctional at least), but I haven’t noticed much of a difference with it, either.

The therapist and I have been trying to get to the bottom of this anxiety that seems to have no reason, but no luck there, either. After pushing me a lot last week on a topic I’ve been mostly avoiding for the past year, the only thing that did was trigger some depression to go on top of my anxiety sundae. Otherwise, I’d been doing pretty good mood-wise since restarting one of my meds. I considered asking for a session this week, but decided against it out of fear it’d just make things worse. Better to give it a chance to slack off before we pick up that conversation again than to get into it and make things go from bad to worse.

So, yeah, the struggle is real.


Well, maybe not quite that real.

On a brighter note, we go on vacation in less than two weeks, so hopefully getting to kick back by the ocean (even if the kicking back is just for a few minutes at a time, because kids) and seeing one of my good friends will do a lot to boost my mood and help me chill a little. And if not, I see the psychiatrist when I get back.

(We’re at the end now, so do I need to post a comment saying “Yo, reader who says ‘there are worse things happening, get over yourself, blah blah blah,’ don’t even bother because you’ll go straight to the trash bin again”? Oh wait, got it covered now. I hate that I have to include these little parenthetical chunks of text at the end of my posts sometimes to explain that I’m not tolerating certain shit, that I have a sarcastic and self-deprecating sense of humor, so don’t go all nuts over a joke, that….maybe I’ll just shut up now.)

From Anxious Mom To…Anxious A**hole?

While reading some stuff on anxiety last night, I came across a post (well, article since it was on what seemed to be a legit site, but it read more like a blog post) that talked about “indulging” your anxiety and how doing so can make you an asshole. And, if you do indulge in your symptoms, then you ultimately don’t deserve relationships at all. After all, one can’t expect their friends and family to be inconvenienced by episodes of anxiety. Or depression, as depression was mentioned, too.

No, I’m not going to post the link, as the website doesn’t deserve the traffic, but I am going to rant a bit. Typically I would just roll my eyes and move along. There’s always going to be a few idiots who think it’s appropriate to say really stupid things, but in this case, there was a shit ton of comments, and in many of the ones I read people agreed and voiced how tired they were of people playing the “anxiety card.” That was one was new to me — first we had the Race Card, then the Woman Card, now Anxiety Card. So, I’m going to do the rant thing a little and maybe someone with similar thinking will come across this and take heed. Probably not, though.

First of all, “indulging one’s anxiety symptoms”? Typically indulging refers to someone getting/doing something they want. Indulging in chocolate. Indulging by buying your grandkids a bunch of toys. Indulging by doing something you want, whether it’s a healthy something or not. But no one with anxiety or depression (or any other mental illness, since I’m sure that displaying symptoms of those would also warrant being accused of playing the (Whatever) Card and inconveniencing people) wants this. A lot of it is out of their scope of control.

Here is a list of general anxiety disorder symptoms from good ol’ WebMD, also known as the anxious person’s hell, in case you’re not clear on the frivolities people suffering from an anxiety disorder are indulging in:

  • Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Cold or sweaty hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Not being able to be still and calm
  • Dry mouth
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness

The last time I checked, feeling like I couldn’t breathe and was having a heart attack, feeling like I’d be en route to the ER if I didn’t know better, isn’t exactly indulging. Taking medication, avoiding triggers, and all the breathing skills in the world don’t do a damn thing sometimes, especially for the anxiety episodes that come out of the blue with no apparent cause.


Definitely not how “indulging” anxiety feels.

I wonder, when someone with a physical illness experiences symptoms that they have little to no control over, is it indulging then? “Oh, please, you’re just indulging your laryngitis by not being able to talk in a loud clear voice.” Or something equally as stupid.

Second, the notion that friends and family should “dump your ass” if you “give in” to multiple episodes of anxiety is just ridiculous. If that’s the way someone feels, then maybe they’re the one with the problem. If they can’t see past the inconvenience of dinner plans being canceled or having to postpone game night until next Tuesday, and have a little compassion upon hearing the reason the plans were canceled, then is that really a relationship someone should want to keep up? Yet the writer of the article made it out so that the people with anxiety were the assholes here, the ones who were the toxic people.

Oh, and when people with an anxiety disorder back out of things, it’s not because they want to risk further isolating themselves. It’s because they can’t do whatever the thing you want them to do without feeling absolutely miserable. And wouldn’t that be kind of a party killer anyway? Panic attacks between shots of tequila doesn’t sound fun for anyone.

sheldon cooper big bang theory

Yeah, the irritability and mood stuff can be difficult to deal with, but again, would you shame someone that was suffering from a physical illness for acting pissy every so often? Even when they feel terrible for it, take responsibility, make amends, and take steps to prevent it from coming out around others?

Third, stop the tough love bullcrap. It. Does. Not. Work. Why, why, why would someone think that it’s appropriate to tell people suffering from an anxiety disorder to stop doing the things that help keep them grounded and get through the day? Apparently telling the anxious person in your life to kick that shit to the curb or be kicked to the curb themselves is a form of tough love. No, that’s just bullshit for saying that you’re so selfish that you don’t want to be inconvenienced by other people’s problems, that if everything can’t be on your terms, then you’re not interested.

Now that I’m getting close to the end of this, let me go ahead and say — for the record, yes, people with an anxiety disorder can be assholes, because I’m sure someone will pipe up and say “Well, I know someone with an anxiety disorder and they’re definitely an asshole.” But guess what? They aren’t assholes because of their mental health problems anymore than the asshole three doors down is an asshole because he has diabetes — they’re just assholes who happen to have an anxiety disorder. Maybe they like to blame treating someone like shit on anxiety or another problem to try to get a free pass to do whatever the hell they want, but know that it isn’t so much the disorder as it is the pre-existing asshole condition. Certainly don’t suggest that all people with a mental illness are assholes because they’re experiencing a symptom.

Let’s stop with the “playing the (whatever) card.” Spewing that bullshit does nothing more than create shame and make it less likely that people struggling will forgo or continue to forgo seeking treatment.

You’re So Lucky

Whenever I talk to someone about my husband, I’m often told how lucky I am.

“He cooks? Wow, you’re lucky.”

“He helps out with the kids? You’re so lucky.”

“He changes diapers [in public restrooms]? My husband would never. You don’t know how good you’ve got it.”

Those are just a few drops in the bucket of my perceived luckiness (or otherwise good fortune), but they’re fairly representative of the type of comments I’ve gotten over the years. Many of these comments make me question the standards some women have for their husbands. I don’t think it should be considered luck that my husband changes the diapers of the child he helped create or cooks some meals, as he eats, too.

(I also wonder whether people ever think that my husband is lucky to be married to me. Probably not. If I’m letting my husband do so much to help out, then he probably got the short end of the stick in this marriage in their eyes, and they haven’t gotten past the tip of the iceberg as far as the things my husband does goes.)

But this post isn’t really about the roles husband and wife or mom and dad have in the home. Because at the end of the day (when I’m not griping about my husband’s slobbiness or attempts to give us frostbite by adjusting the thermostat), I really do feel lucky. Just not in the ways those other women think I am.

I feel lucky that I have a husband who copes with my mental illness as well as he does. Not only did he encourage me to get help when he noticed things were spiraling out of control, even though I was adamant that nothing was wrong with me, he didn’t bat an eye when the many, many labels started getting thrown at me. I was scared that he might leave me and want to find someone normal, but he told me that I was “perfectly imperfect” and that he loved me just the way I am.

I’m lucky that my husband can pick up on my mood shifts. I’m not talking so much about the big cycles (although he’s aware of those, too), but the ups and downs that I often experience throughout the day. I try not to let things show, but he can often tell by the slight edge to my voice or my sudden quietness that I need my space or need him to take over doing homework with Little Man or whatever it is that I need in order to try to get a handle on myself.

I’m lucky that I have a husband who picks up the slack when I’m depressed. While I’m not about praising my husband for doing chores around the house or running errands, I do appreciate it so much when he takes on some of my load (on top of his full-time job) when making myself get out of bed in the morning is like climbing a mountain. Does everything get done during those weeks and sometimes months? No, but he tries. (For the record I do try, too, but during those times getting one or two chores done feels more exhausting than deep cleaning the entire house.)

I’m also lucky that my husband tries to reel me in when he notices certain moods (I guess you’d call it) getting out of hand. For example, a few weeks ago, we had dinner with some friends. On the drive home, I told my husband I got a weird vibe and didn’t want to do anything with them again. He was shocked, as these are long-time friends of ours. Instead of arguing with me about it, he said it was something we could talk about later, that we didn’t have to make any decisions at the moment.

A week later, he asked if I still felt that way. I told him that I didn’t and couldn’t understand what came over me in the moment to feel so strongly, as no one did a thing the least bit offensive and were awesome as always. I guess it’s just part of the whole mood disorder thing, but the main thing was that he was looking out for me on that.

Staying with that same “reeling me in” theme, I’m lucky that he tries to divert my plots to go off my meds and quit seeing the psychiatrist and the therapist. Yes, I know I shouldn’t do this when I’m of a rational mind. Occasionally I’m not of a rational mind, though. I doubt everything, including the legitimacy of my disorders, and am convinced that all I need to do is quit everything and mentally toughen up. He makes sure that doesn’t happen, thankfully.

So, yes, I think I’m lucky to have a spouse that supports me through thick and thin. Is thinking this a bit hypocritical since I raise my eyebrows at other women when they tell me I’m lucky my husband does things? Especially since this is kinda what he promised when he said his “through sickness and in health” vows? Probably. But I still feel lucky to have someone who loves me in the way that he does.

Slipping And A-Sliding

After about a solid month of being in either a fantastic mood or really good mood, things are finally feeling familiar again.

And by familiar, I mean shitty.

I’ve shied away from blogging as much as I usually do (which means maybe I’m posting a normal amount) because trying to force the happy face online and in person is a bit much, but fuck it.

I wonder how much the fear of one’s mood crashing in the back of one’s mind could contribute to a mood slippage. Or make it happen sooner, anyway. Hmm.

“Things haven’t been right with you all week,” Sam told me on Saturday night after I snapped at him over something trivial, as I had been doing the past couple of days.

Well, no, they haven’t, as my lovely mood chart confirmed. Over the past week things have been nosediving. I guess I should be happy that I had a nice little run–and I am–but it’s also frustrating to know how good I could feel versus how I actually feel.

I hate that, though–the snapping at people. It’s one thing to be in my own personal sorta hell because of my moods, but taking it out on others? Not good. And even when I do refrain from being snappy or grouchy, I wonder if they sense how much I’m seething underneath, how much darkness is there.

I know this will pass eventually and then I’ll be back at…something. I’m not quite sure what normal is for me yet. But for now I’m trying not to let those thoughts consume me again, push those feelings away as much as I can. According to the shrink, this shouldn’t be as rough as in the past or last as long, so here’s hoping she’s right.

On a somewhat related note, the new mood chart app I switched over to several weeks ago, called T2 Mood Tracker, has yielded interesting info. You can track several moods or even input your own stuff. I did this to track hypomania (along with depression and anxiety), since the mood tracker I was using only let you say things were good or bad. Not enough information.

Anyway, this tracker shows that my anxiety and depression symptoms are almost always inline with each other. When the anxiety is low, the depression symptoms are low. When the anxiety is high, the depression symptoms are also high. What does this mean to me? I dunno just yet, but thought it was interesting.