I’m exhausted. I’m overwhelmed. I keep feeling like I won’t be able to make it through the day, but I continue to push myself. I’m just trying to get through each day, one hour at a time. Every moment that I make it through is a huge accomplishment.
I suppose that since my husband is struggling with his mother’s cancer diagnosis and he’s worried about his brother, I feel like I need to be stronger. I know that if I were to say this to my husband, he would disagree. I know he only wants what’s best for me, but I can’t help but feel this way.
I pretend to be stronger than I really am, but pretending can only take me so far. However, with every passing day, I feel as if I’m getting worse. Every day for the past month, at least, I’ve thought about going to a psych unit; however, I don’t end up going. I know that I’m not going to do anything, but the thoughts keep running through my mind. I wish I could take a break from my mind. If only that were possible.
I have difficulty with a lot of things. I have an extremely hard time saying no to people. I struggle to stand up for myself. Even when someone asks me what I want to do, I have a hard time answering them. I would rather do something I don’t want to do and be unhappy (without saying I’m unhappy, of course) that tell someone what I really want. Life feels like a giant problem, as if it’s an obstacle I may never complete, but I’m not giving up.
My ex, from before I got sober, was very abusive. I suppose that it just became second nature to do whatever he wanted. I would never dare to say no to him; I knew what the punishment would be if I didn’t behave properly. Even though he’s gone, I still react that way. I want to stop putting others before myself, but I haven’t been able to. Reacting the way I do is a force of habit. It has nothing to do with the people I’m with today, such as my husband, family, or friends; it has everything to do with me.
I have been taking medication for a long time at this point in my life; it’s been more than 17 years. Every now and then, depending on what medication I’m taking, I will have to deal with some side effects. Some of those side effects cause side effects of their own. It’s a very difficult and complicated issue that appears to have no end.
Right now, a couple of my medications are causing myoclonic twitches, and the twitches have been getting worse over the last few months. I’m still wondering exactly which medications are causing the twitching and I’m curious as to whether or no the twitching will continue to get worse or if it will continue to go away. I wonder the same thing with my nausea and heart burn; will it improve or get worse. What other side effects will I experience since I’m on long-term mental health medications? Are there some precautions I should be taking?
I’ve been having a lot of anxiety attacks lately, somewhere between 3 and 6 attacks a day, and I’m not sure why. I feel overwhelmed from everything that’s going on in life. These things are handling life’s day-to-day tasks, but some of those things are not so easy. I worry that I don’t make the right choices, that I’m going to miss something, and then everything will be messed up and it’s all my fault. It’s not just my life, but it’s also my husband’s life that I’m handling.
When my anxiety attacks happen, I can feel my heart pumping in my chest. My chest then feels tight and I struggle to breathe. The dizziness then comes on and my body starts to tremble. Sometimes I have no clue why I’m having an anxiety attack. Sometimes the only reason I know I’m having an attack is because I know my symptoms. My triggers still cause anxiety attacks, but they’re also happening at times that aren’t normally stressful. Does anyone experience this?
Today, someone is coming to fix the dishwasher. It’s been broken for almost a week, so I’m happy about the idea of having a dishwasher again. However, I do not like the idea of a strange guy in my house. My dog can look scary when he’s barking, but that will only last about one minute before he wants to play and be pet by this stranger. The dog’s no good for protection. Thank goodness my husband will be here. That makes me feel safe. I’m sure the guy coming to fix the dishwasher is a nice guy, but my mind always thinks about ‘what if’ situations.
I’m still feeling like a screw up. I wish I knew how to get rid of this feeling. I keep doing things that I’m good at, hoping to counteract this emotion, but the feeling is still there. It’s an irrational emotion, but it’s what’s going on with me lately. At least I know that this feeling won’t last forever. With my bipolar disorder, I know that no emotion will ever last forever. I will go up and down quite often. So all I need to do is hang on until this horrible feeling goes away.
Pretending to be feeling okay, when you’re not, is exhausting. I do this mostly around my in-laws. I don’t know why. They know about my bipolar disorder and are very supportive. I guess it’s just my comfort level. I’ll open up over time. I’m getting more and more comfortable around them. I think it’s just because we normally spend our time in large groups. I do better one on one.
I was having a conversation with someone I know and get along with yesterday. He was saying that he tends to get overwhelmed with all sorts of situations in life and often explodes. He says it takes him a couple of hours to cool down. I told him that I have those same feelings, but I hold them all in, which is difficult to manage. I don’t allow myself to properly express my emotions. This guy asked me why I hold everything in; he said it’s not healthy to do that (neither is the way he manages his emotions, but there’s a middle ground somewhere). I knew right away why I hold in my emotions and why my anxiety and fears are so extreme. It’s because of my ex-boyfriend, Jared, but I didn’t want to get into it then, so I just shrugged off the question.
However, the inquiry has been with me all night. Jared was physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive. I was hooked in our relationship. He had me believing that everything that went wrong was my fault and I needed to be punished for the problems I caused. Over time, I stopped expressing myself. I don’t like standing up for myself anymore. It’s just a natural reaction for me now. I automatically stuff my emotions down; however, one day they will all come out, and it won’t be pretty. I already liked to drink by the time I met this guy, but being a black out drunk became normal for me because I didn’t want to remember anything. There are some situations that I remember, even though I wish I could forget them. I’m sad to say that Jared is one of the reasons I act the way I do. He has nothing to do with my bipolar disorder, but everything to do with my PTSD, which was diagnosed in 2009.
I’m getting better with time. There was a couple of year period where I couldn’t be touched by anybody, not even a handshake or hug. That is no longer an issue. I have come a long way. It’s still difficult being in crowds, having people around me that I can’t see (such as standing in a line or shopping), talking to or being around strangers, and not knowing what is happening. I like to have control over situations; it makes me feel a little safer. This may sound weird, but I tend to blame myself for what happened with Jared. If I’m to blame, then I can do something about it. If it’s entirely his fault, then I have no control over the situation. One thing that helps is that he’s dead. He was killed several years ago during a drug deal. At first, that made it even harder for me to deal with because I had no closure, but now I’m okay with it for the most part.
I doubt I’ll ever get past all of this, but I have grown from it. As long as I continue to grow, then that’s okay.
I have so many different struggles that it makes me wonder which difficulties have been there all along, and which ones are side effects of medication or ECT. Something has to change. Whatever it is, I really need to see some improvement. Hopefully I don’t have to wait too long. The three biggest struggles that come to my mind are memory loss, trouble finding the right words when talking (aphasia), and trouble making decisions. I mentioned these issues to my psychiatrist the other day. He told me that the aphasia is most likely caused by the Lithium. High levels of Lithium can cause aphasia in some individuals. Even though my Lithium level is low, it can still cause aphasia. I chose not to make any changes to my Lithium because we are already making a couple big changes such as increasing my Clozapine dose and stopping ECT treatments. It’s not a good idea to make too many changes at once. If something does happen (positive or negative), I wouldn’t know which medication change caused the new effect.
The memory loss is definitely from ECT. Since I have decided to stop doing ECT treatments, I’m wondering if my memory will get better and how long it will take for it to improve. Part of me is curious if my memory will get back to what it used to be; I’ve done 33 treatments and I’m not sure if there are any long-term side effects. Some of my medications, such as Lithium and Tegretol, can also cause memory loss. There is a possibility that some of my memory issues are from the medications, which means it’s possible that my memory won’t return to what it used to be. I guess I just have to wait and see about this issue. I hate waiting.
Problems making decisions is another issue I’m dealing with at this time. This is known to be a difficulty with depression. The only problem is that I still have the same issue when I’m manic or even hypomanic. The problem isn’t going away. I have difficulty making small and large decisions. Sometimes I can’t even figure out what to eat when I’m in my own house. My husband will ask if I want to go do something, like go bowling. I don’t know what I want to do, so I just tell him that I’ll do whatever he wants to do. I think that’s frustrating for him, at least I imagine it would be frustrating. Sometimes, he will ask me if I want something. For example, he will ask if I want ice cream. I respond to him by saying that I don’t need any. Then he tells me that he didn’t ask if I needed any, he asked if I want any. I don’t know how to answer that because I don’t know what I want. I wish this was less difficult to deal with, maybe one day it will get easier.