High Anxiety: Chapter 2

Today is a better day. I didn’t take any Ativan last night, but I went to bed at the normal time and slept well. I had a talk with my son yesterday, and it’s looking like Will and I won’t have to live out of the car after all.

Needless to say, this is an enormous relief. It’s not the ideal situation, but we are far short of the ideal situation and I have to accept that for now. It also serves as an important lesson in how to discern depression from anxiety. I’d feared I was going into another depressive phase— or worse, a mixed episode—but my baseline mood is just that, while the anxiety has mounted over the past few weeks as money gets tighter and our time in this beloved old house grows shorter.

What a concept. I’ve been SO afraid of losing my shit in the midst of watching my life collapse around me; but now that I understand what I’m experiencing, I can calm down a little. I’ve always been a nervous Nellie, but it wasn’t until my late 40s that my anxiety began to flare out of control; now it’s as much a part of me as my bipolar, and sometimes it’s even harder to fight it than BP.

I think it’s that way because this is such an insidious sort of thing—just about the time I think I’ve got it contained, it changes shape and slithers back into my consciousness, making me feel fearful and silly at the same time. I may be a grown woman, but anxiety is so unpleasant that like a child, I hide under the metaphorical bed and hope that because I can’t see the threat, it can’t get me. (Don’t laugh—sometimes at night when I’m really freaked out, I’ll even cover up my head with a blanket and pretend to be invisible.)

But this time, it’s a relief to know that it’s just plain old anxiety and not an impending mood episode that’s raised its ugly little head. I never thought I’d say that, but the last thing anybody needs right now is me falling into a depression or going ape shit. I’m not panicking, and for now, that has to suffice.

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.

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