Bi-polar and Anxiety: The Inside Edition

I have Bi-polar 2 (BPD-II) which in my case results mostly in depression and only occasionally with the slight manic episode. Even with my “mania”, it may only last a day or so where I’ll go on a cleaning or spending spurt before I quickly fall back into my depression. One of the bad things about my disorder is that I have been labeled “treatment resistant” by my provider. My psychiatrist and I have tried many medications and combinations as well as elctrocovulsive therapy to try and balance the inbalances of my brain. The chronic symptoms make it exhausting. I don’t get a “break” when my depression and/or anxiety alleviates itself for a period of time with medication.

I am in the SMI (Serious Mental Illness) category and without my management plan, I would be in the hospital regularly.  Maybe this makes me different from others with bipolar, which is why I feel so envious when I meet or hear of those whose symptoms are alleviated for periods of time in between illness episodes.

Along with my BPD comes severe anxiety. My anxiety is debilitating every single day. I’ve been seeing the same therapist for over 8 years, yet I still cry on my way to every appointment and get there early because I have to talk myself into actually going into the building for my appointments. I can count on less than one hand the number of friends I have because anxiety overwhelms me in relationships and the thought of leaving the house to socialize paralyzes me. I sing in the choir at church and yet I have to get there 45 minutes early and sit in the parking lot talking my way into the building because the idea of sitting in a room full of people terrifies me. (Even if it is doing the one thing that brings me the most inner peace- singing). The same is with church on Sunday mornings.

My anxiety is debilitating. I freeze up in my own home when I think about getting a job to try and get out of the house more. I’ve had 3 jobs in the last year… all of which I quit within the first 2-3 weeks becuase I simply couldn’t handle the panic of being out of my home. The panic attacks and anxiety both in the car and on the job were hindering.

Home is the only place I feel safe, yet even here I have daily panic attacks. I tend to lay in bed a lot becuase there is a sense of calm under my blankets. Lately it’s all been even worse. I tend to have high anxiety during flu season for fear of my chronically ill son with lung disease catching some illness, but unfortunately this has been much worse and much more cumbersome lately; plus it started long before this flu season began.

I’ve also had an unusual bout with a deeper depression than usual as well. Part of it was due to a short time being unmedicated, but even before that, I was struggling. My depression and anxiety makes me question my life. I feel like a burden and hindrance on my family. There are days when suicide feels like the only way my soul will ever find peace.

I can only hope that we can soon find a remedy that helps me feel like my life is fulfilled and worth living. I question whether or not that will happen but hope deep down that the right medication and therapy combination is out there somewhere for me to lead a more normal and less anxious life.

~Lindsay

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