Not All Dark Clouds Are Storms

That’s become my new mantra over the past few months. It helps me to remember that not every threatening situation is going to blow up into a tornado that destroys my life all over again. Like most people with bipolar disorder, I tend to catastrophize—I imagine all the terrible things that could result if thus-and-such happens—and cause myself all sorts of distress when 99% of the time, the thing I worry about never comes to pass.

The saying also reminds me not to overreact when I get scared, as I’m apt to do in new and uncomfortable circumstances like my new job, which is overwhelming and yet incredibly exciting at the same time. There is SO much information to learn, so many new things to get used to. It’s hard to get re-accustomed to five-day weeks again, but the second week was easier than the first, and this week should be easier yet. (Although that could be because this one is only four days.) And I finally get to go out on a real survey next week.

But, I am nervous. Not a lot, but I’m definitely fighting the nagging sensation that my confidence problem is trying to raise its ugly little head again. Although I was perfectly sane when I accepted the position, I had NO idea what I was getting myself into, and now that I’ve scratched the tip of the proverbial iceberg, I wonder how anyone does it……especially the ones who are my age and older. Moreover, I wonder how I’m going to do it.

But you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to find out.

Besides, there are about sixty people working out of that office, and I can’t believe that I’m the only person with mental health issues (although I’ll probably never know because I don’t go around asking people those questions). It would be great to have a role model for doing this job successfully with a disability, because I want desperately to be successful. But even though I’m insecure as hell right now, I think I have what it takes…..I just have a lot to learn, and thanks to being in a good solid remission, I’m reasonably sure I can learn.

So what do I have to do to get rid of the anxiety? To keep in mind the fact that not all dark clouds are indeed storms?

Forgive me for going off topic for a moment, but in my front yard there is a hydrangea bush that I attacked last October in an attempt to prune it back while I was in the grip of mania. Its bare, chopped-up branches stand as a symbol of how destructive I can be in that state; indeed, thanks to my butchery there’ll be no flowers this summer, and only time will tell if I’ve ruined it for good.

That is what I don’t want to do with this opportunity. I can’t afford to blow it……there is no Plan B. No backup. This is the plan, and I don’t want to find out what might happen if I can’t make it work. It’s not as if there’s an abundance of jobs for the over-55 set, you know.

But at least this time around, I KNOW I’m over-thinking things, and that’s where my mantra comes in handy. There may be a few ominous-looking clouds on the horizon, but they don’t always mean that a storm is coming.

And sometimes, those clouds—like my negative thoughts—are just ethereal things that will blow away with a good, strong, confident gust of wind.

Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

3 thoughts on “Not All Dark Clouds Are Storms

  1. I’m sitting here chuckling at my train of thought. Thinking of something I’ve learned in recovery. One tool for dealing w/ the unfamiliar is asking yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” The thing is, we are pretty dang creative in answering that question, ie, “I will die,” lolm and can easily talk ourselves OUT of doing something, rather than into something, So, sometimes the tool is helpful, but sometimes, it’s not. 😉


    1. I know, right? Just tonight as I was driving home, I thought I smelled something coming from the engine compartment, and since one of the things that throws me into a panic is being alone on the highway with car trouble, I did this same exercise in my head. Unfortunately, the thing I came up with was “Somebody could stop, grab me and throw me into their trunk, take me out to some remote place and kill me!” Well, in theory this could happen, but a) it’s not very likely, and b) fat people are A LOT harder to kidnap. 😉


      1. lol… see? like I said – creative. It is good you were able to be creative to a better end! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: