Bipolar Moods Forever Changing

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A week ago I was hypomanic.  This week I am not.  I am not depressed either so yay for me.  Last week’s hypomania ended with migraines three days in a row.  After coming down from the agony of those and the depression the medication causes, along with the anxiety of my daughter’s homecoming-week events and a family get-together on Sunday, I spent Monday and Tuesday recuperating, had a horrible day yesterday (Wednesday) because I was in super-duper pain from doing aerobics for the first time in years on Tuesday plus I had another damn migraine.  Then something strange happened last night…

My migraine went away with just ibuprofen, which never happens.  (I always have to take an Imitrex for it, but I tried the ibuprofen instead because I needed it for my sore muscles.)  That wasn’t the strange part, however.

The strange part was when I took my daughter to volleyball practice.  It only lasts an hour so I stay there rather than drop her off and go home and come back.  Last night, I didn’t feel like sitting in the cold building on a hard chair and risk having to talk to anyone, so I stayed in my car, but rather than read the book I brought or mess around on my phone I relaxed back in my seat with my sunglasses on and lazily watched and listened to everything going on around me: people going in and out of the building, cars driving up and down the parking lot aisle, country music coming out of a truck that had its window down, a horn honking in the distance, a lady freshening her make-up in the visor mirror before getting out of her car.

I was very careful not to attach a story to any of these people or judge them in any way.  I only observed the facts like I just described them to you.  I did this for thirty full minutes before I started to become bored and lose focus, but let me tell you, I felt more relaxed than I have in ages.  I was almost anxiety free!

It was the best mindfulness meditation I have ever experienced.  In observing what was happening around and in front of me (without subjective thoughts, opinions, stories, judgements, etc.) I was able to eliminate any thoughts of “me” – what was going on with me, my worries, my mood, my feelings, my past, my future, my my my.  What a relief it was to leave me behind for a while!

I never realized how much I needed a break from myself.  Sometimes I get so wrapped up in and obsessed over how I’m handing things and what my mood is like – am I depressed?  am I anxious?  why am I anxious?  am I manic?  – that I think I begin to go crazy over being crazy.

It just felt really good to be free from all of that for a little bit.  It felt like the shackles were released.  The feeling has carried over some into today, thankfully.

I’ve tried this type of meditation at home and it has not worked so well, maybe because there is no activity to observe here when I am home alone, and when I am not alone I cannot passively observe because my family engages me into the activity.

So, I am thinking I will have to go somewhere to experience this again; to a park or mall or somewhere where I can sit alone and people watch.  Or maybe animal watch – a dog park might be good.  There’s even one near my home.

Regarding my migraines, my doctor doubled the dose of the preventative medicine I am on five weeks ago, but it hasn’t had any affect on the frequency of my migraines.  I have been debating on whether or not to give the higher dosage another month to work before calling my doctor and telling him it’s not working, and then I thought, “What the heck do I know?”  So, I’m calling him today to ask if I should give it another month to work or what we should do.

Stress Triggers Depression

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For me extended periods of stress triggers depression.  I have some extra stress going on and it is, of course, causing me to fear the onset of a depressive episode.  Fear is such a nasty thing.  It is the insecurity of losing something we have or not getting something we don’t have.  In this case, I am afraid of losing my stable mood.  Sure I have anxiety, but my mood is stable.

The best way I know how to handle fear is to stay in the present moment; to not think about it; to think about, or more like observe, literally only what is in front of me.  The couch, the sky, the family, the food, the dog.  Observe, not judge.  Watch, not criticize.  Watch the thoughts and feelings go through me.  Don’t hold on to any of them.  Let them float by like clouds in the sky on a breezy day.  Accept, not fight.

Breathe, not die.

If You Can’t Say Something Nice

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“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Remember that old saying mom used to tell us?  I think it is a useless piece of advice at times when it is necessary to stick up for one’s self or set a healthy boundary with someone.  However, say for example, you are given an opinion for which you did not ask, then yes, maybe that person should just keep his mouth shut.

Case in point:  I got a new hair cut yesterday and my youngest daughter comes home from school, takes one look at me and says, “I don’t like it.  It’s too puffy on the sides.”  Normally I would have been secretly hurt a little, but laughed it off and responded with something like, “Oh yeah, it kind of is.  Oh well.”

However, I have noticed something inside of me as I have stopped allowing myself to have negative judgements about myself.  I am suddenly feeling the urge to challenge those who negatively judge me as well.  So, instead of my usual response, I gently said to my daughter after she criticized my new hairstyle, “Please only say positive things about me from now on unless I ask for your opinion.”  She said she was just giving her opinion and I reminded her that I didn’t ask for it.  Then I asked her if she would have said something like that to one of her friends and she said, no.

In general, my kids tend to say negative things to me about the way I look and act in a teasing way, and we all laugh about it, but after awhile it starts to wear on me and my self-esteem.  I feel like I am at the point where I don’t want to listen to it anymore.

Of course, my normal self is saying, “Oh, Jessica you are being silly.  They are just joking around.  Quit being so sensitive.  You are making a big deal out of nothing.”  After all, I tease my husband, and really, we all tease each other sometimes.

I think I may just be extra aware of it because I am being so conscious of my own negative judgements.  It is such a fine balance between being able to joke around and being offended.  I am truly confused right now about where I stand with everything.

I know with the hair comment, what my daughter said was rude.  But, with the other stuff, like them teasing me because I cry over sappy commercials or because I am forgetful or about getting old, it really is said in loving fun.

What do you guys think?

Tired of Anxiety

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I am tired.  Anxiety does that to me.  I was awake at 4am this morning thinking about a meeting I have to go to later today that I am anxious about.  It has me anxious because one, I have to leave the house; two, I don’t know where this place is, I’ve never been there before, and three, I have to meet new people.

I told myself I was being stupid, then I caught myself.  Since I now have a no tolerance policy for negative self-judgements, I immediately stopped the “I’m being stupid” thought and replaced it with, “I am not stupid.  The anxiety is simply a part of my disorder and I can’t help it.”  It is just a fact of my life.  No use making big drama over it.  Geez!  Get over myself, Jessica!  Acknowledge it and move on.

Move on to what though?  The anxiety is so damn uncomfortable and nagging!

Distractions.  That’s what I usually do is distract myself.  So, I’ve spent all morning on creative projects such as photography and baking.  I am trying not to stress eat all three dozen chocolate chip cookies I made.  It is really hard.  😉

How’s your day going?

Being Mindful of Your Emotions

buddha-452028__180So in dealing with my social anxiety and fears of what other people think of me, I decided to dig out my DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) binder and review some skills I might be forgetting to use.  The first thing that jumped out at me is “Wise Mind.”

Just when I didn’t think I was crazy enough, according to DBT, I have three minds:

  1. Emotional Mind
  2. Rational Mind
  3. Wise Mind

Emotional Mind is what I have been in all day as I have fretted over last night’s outing with friends.  What did they think of me?  Was I funny?  Whas I a dork?  Did they like me?  Did they think I was nice?  Or obnoxious?  Or weird?  Will they ever want me to go out with them again or will they invite me just to be nice?  Emotional mind feeds the fear big time!

Rational Mind recalls what everyone had to eat, what topics we discussed, and what everyone’s name was.  Rational mind doesn’t really help relieve the fear.  In fact, rational mind completely ignores the fear.

Wise Mind is like the old Chinese grandpa Buddha guy.  “Ommmmm.”  Wise Mind takes into account my feelings and the facts of the given situation.  Wise Mind says, I understand your fear as someone who has social anxiety disorder.  That must be really hard for you.  However, let us look at the facts.  Those who engaged in conversation with you did seem to genuine laugh and made complete eye contact with you.  Those who didn’t may have not been interested in the topic at hand or had something else on their mind.  There is no way to know that they were necessarily thinking something negative about you.  To try to figure out if they were or not is a complete waste of time, because short of asking them, which you will never do, this is something you will never know for sure.

Wise Mind says, Yeah, I hear what you’re saying dude, but let me lay it out for you in the nicest, most compassionate, loving, and validating way I can.  I love Wise Mind!

 

 

The Morning After

hangover-173669__180I surprised myself and ended up going out with the girls last night after all. I decided at the last-minute that it would be good for me to get out and socialize a bit. Plus, I wanted to be there to celebrate with my friend on her birthday. It made me feel good to do that.

Isn’t it interesting that all of our motives are selfish. Even when we think we are doing something nice for someone else, we get a good feeling for doing it, hence there is a little selfish motive to it, isn’t there?

Anyway, selfish or not, and for the most part, I am glad I went. Nothing is ever black or white, however. There were some fun moments, belly laughs; also, some awkward, wish I were at home in a cocoon type of moments. Most of them were the former, so I’m pretty happy with the whole experience….I think. And therein lies the problem: I start thinking –

Did I laugh too loud? Did I talk too much? Did I not talk enough to that one person? Did she think I was snobby? Did I sound stupid? Did I sound opinionated? Did I have bad breath? Was there something in my teeth? Was I over-dressed? Did they think I was weird? (I think I am weird, in a good, funny sort of way, but do they think I am weird in a bad, annoying way?)

I am assuming this is all part of my social anxiety again. So great that it not only plagues me before and during the said event, but I also have to listen to its ugly chants the morning after as well. I’m dealing with it as best as I can by telling myself that what is done is done. I can’t go back and change any of my behaviors; what they think they think – can’t change that either, so I need to just quit worrying about it.

The biggest problem, the root of the problem, the damn problem is that I care too much what people think of me. How to get over that I would love to know. Throw me some answers, people. I would love to hear them. I am sick of living this way.

Don’t get me wrong – many days are better than others. I sound like I have way worse self-esteem than I actually do. I just can’t stand it when people have a less than favorable opinion of me. Lol. Especially when it is people I love.

Guess it is that whole “fear of abandonment” thing that the professionals say those of us with borderline personality disorder have. Guess it is why I am such a perfectionist, why I am so hard on myself, why I beat myself up when I make a mistake, etc. etc.

I think I’ll get my DBT binder out and see what skills I could be using to deal with some of these feelings and fears. DBT is Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I went through a year of it about five years ago and it changed my life. My emotions are so much more manageable than they used to be, believe it or not.

But, like everything, experiences such as last night show me that they could use some fine tuning. And rather than sit here and just complain about it, I think I’ll go ahead and do something to change it.