…Into the depression mess I have been so thankful to avoid. I feel like I got a lot done with this last boost of energy, like cleaned the house and tied up loose ends. I even made positive decisions this time, instead of following my impulses like overspending for Christmas or touch my small savings just to get what I want.
But the past few days I have been feeling so…mixed?
I have energy to complete tasks- I did some homework (full time student), cleaned the house, etc.
But at the same time, I’m feeling down. Ugly. Hopeless. Guilty. I couldn’t make myself shower or get out of the house. I had gotten tickets for my kid and I to see Spider-Man and at the last second, I canceled. I had plans to get my child a haircut and go shopping for some presents…and I could not get myself out the door.
This in between state is a blessing and a curse, I can get some goals completed, and some I can’t. I guess it’s all about the mental battle that comes with the task, and that’s hard for me to explain. I hear a lot of “if you set your mind to it, you can do it.” Or “why can’t you? It’s simple.” And they are right, so I cannot excuse my way out of the logic. I also find it hard to explain why I just don’t do the things I need to do, even though I know I need to do them.
I can only explain that some days I can, and some days I cannot. I won’t know until I wake up.
If you would like more information on mixed states in Bipolar patients, check this article out:
Anx+I+Ety A nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.
Today was a pretty anxious day since it was an extremely windy one. So windy, in fact, that it tore the siding from my work’s building. I am thankful that it was mainly my building, but being inside of it while hearing everything moving is a little nerve-racking. Management let us go early, and I raced home wondering excessively if a tree was in my home, or a window was broken, or worse yet- something happened to my two dogs.
My body was tense with racing thoughts. Fake scenarios ran rampant across the frontier of my consciousness, and I found it difficult to concentrate on my work while we remained there.
I just wanted to go home.
Once I made it though, the relief I felt washed over my body and I felt like I was free from the world spinning. I just sat in my car and breathed. No doubt there was something to worry about, but to the extent that I felt what I felt? It seemed like an excessive response to a small threat.
Anxiety and Bipolar are commonly together, showing up in several different ways such as PTSD, panic disorders, and social phobias to name a few. It is interesting to see that these two come together to create a tornado of dysfunction, and the end result is a mental, physical, confusing tornado. For me, the physical response is hard to notice until it is hitting me, but I have had a hard time pinpointing the exact moment. My heart rate increases, the thoughts swirl, and I feel a rising panic in my chest. The only thing to calm the storm is completing the end goal…
Like get home and make sure the wind did not push a tree into your home or glass broke or your dogs somehow escaped. Or the building collapses while you are at work or the babysitters house is damaged with your kid in it or this or that or whatever else I can come up with.
You get the idea.
Full Metal Panic.
If you would like to read more on the subject, please check out the article below and let me know what your anxiety does to you. Maybe if we understand it more and identify the beginning of an episode, we can lower the threat and teach our brains healthy responses to stress.
“Life is a comedy for those who think, but a tragedy for those who feel…”
Hindsight is 20/20, amiright?
A lot of our mind is focused on the here and now, but for some there is an emphasis on the past…A drive to understand how it molded ourselves into the person we are today, with our new wisdom and understanding of how the world works and how our brains react to certain events.
If I were to pinpoint when my mind chemistry shifted, I would choose puberty. For that reason I always suspected a hormonal imbalance going on with me, but never looked past the thought. To be honest, I was not sure how. High school was a tumultuous time and my foundation was always changing. Four different schools, four different families, hormones and confusion. I slept a lot during that time, and as I remember it – sleeping allowed me to escape my reality. I threw myself into school when it was a happy place, withdrew when a new school was not. I put my energy into what brought me joy in the moment and what I thought I wanted, but the depression during teenage years was crippling enough to cease those joys. I made impulsive decisions because life is short, ya know? But I did not understand the effects if those decisions until now. During my time in the military, there was this unspoken stigma attached to mental health that made it look negative to seek help. No one exactly said that, but hearing stories of how some fellow service members were affected (and not understanding the whole picture of it since I was a young, naive girl)…it was confusing. I went to one supervisor asking for advice: do I get on medication for my issues, or do I wait until after I deploy? I had not gone overseas at this point, and felt that it was important that I do, but I also wanted to seek help. I was starting to fantasize about turning my wheel just slightly on a quiet missouri street at that time. It scared me but I did not want to admit my thoughts to just anyone. This person said after I explained my thoughts, “I go through that, does that make mecrazy? Do I need to take medication?” very aggressively so I backed off. You’re right, mission first. Crazy. I remember cringing at the word. So I shut my mouth and deployed with my suicide ideation, my depression, my confusion and feelings of very little support. I was blessed to have an “easy” deployment, and when I came back I was able to go to mental health for my worries. That was when I was diagnosed with PMDD (Post Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder) due to my birth control at the time, Implanon. Whenever the birth control was removed, I felt a sigh of relief because I was no longer intensely angry three weeks out of the month. I thought wow maybe it is a hormone imbalance. Now that I am not being influenced by a hormone driven medication, my brain seems less clouded. The relief was short lived.
Time went by.
I went to training, went to a new base.
I became pregnant and separated from the military so that I could go back to Texas and raise my child with my family. Of course as it often does, life completely changed with having a baby. I began therapy pretty soon after my child was born and received the diagnosis of PPD (Post Partum Depression). So again, I was treated for my depression only. I was put on the antidepressants Sertraline and Lamotrigine. It seemed to work for a time with the depressive periods, but it did not last forever.
Life kept changing (as it usually does), and I have changed with it. I finally received a job where I could shift from survival mode to “okay” mode, as in I had reached a stable foundation to put my feet on. While this has been an incredible blessing, it has also gave me time to begin processing everything I have been putting to the side. My traumas, my choices, and most of all- my Self. Once I became consistent on my medication, in a place where I could breathe, I started to notice something…
There was a pattern to my behavior.
I go through these…phases.
Phases where I am depressed for weeks, sometimes months. I have a hard time keeping up with chores or the basic necessities. On really bad days, I have a long mental battle with just getting myself out of bed. I can do it, but it may take me awhile. Showers are too much mental turmoil to begin having one, and the only tasks I am completing are the ones that will get me by.
And then I have an opposite phase. I will have loads of energy and clean my depression mess from sun up to sun down. I’ll socialize and be the best mother I can be. I will spend money I should not because “treat yo self” repeats in my brain. I will organize my life, realign my goals with my actions, and run on little sleep. Life is great.
If you are noticing a pattern in your own behavior similar to mine, please feel free to reach out to professional help, your support system, or even me.
My name is Rhiannon. I am a mother of one kiddo, two doggos, and a few plants I haven’t killed off somehow. I am a veteran and college student. I love to read, write, hike, and play games. I suffer from mental health issues daily that I do not yet fully understand, so this blog is my outlet to understand my own Self. You are welcome to join me on this journey, and please feel free to send me a message if you can relate or have questions.
I **Believe** I may be Bipolar 2, but I am not diagnosed and do not claim to be. I just find that I relate to the characteristics of it the more I look into it. However, I have been diagnosed with Post Partum Depression (PPD) and Post Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). I am in no way a licensed medical person- this is just my experiences.