bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Posts tagged ‘anxiety’

Maybe 6 Flags Should Hire Me

Good golly this has been some kind of week! One heck of a roller coaster. If 6 Flags hired me, I would be able to design the world’s greatest roller coaster based just on my emotions in the last month. And this last week would make anyone’s stomach flip-flop.  Ugh.

On a scale of 0-10, with 10 being outstanding, my day today is an 11.  I know!  Great news! Earlier in the week, however, I was feeling really good. Almost too good. Doctor said it was hypo-mania. Great. Then, the depression hit on Tuesday night and carried on through Thursday morning.  Blech.

I have a treatment plan that I’m working on, so hopefully, that will help me through the next couple of days. I’m still waiting on the new medication to take effect. That could happen any day now. 

So, imagine you are on this roller coaster. Right now is that freaky curve that you can’t tell where you are going next. It could be an extreme drop (not my first choice) or just a fun hairpin curve.

I’ll let you know. But for now, put those arms up in the air and at least try to enjoy the ride. (and remain seated until the ride comes to a complete stop.)

Zuzu Lama is Here to Help

In my last two sessions with Kent, we discussed meditation.  I told him that I was having a little trouble with racing thoughts.  I couldn’t concentrate.  Especially while praying.  Other than reading a book, my mind is often 17 places at once.  Now, while I realize that this happens to even “normal” people, it can be extremely disruptive for someone with bipolar disorder.

I was expecting him to have me close my eyes and go to a “happy place.”  What I was not expecting was a lesson in yoga!  But, apparently, those yoga folks have the right idea.  Here’s why:

calm down

calm down

  • Sitting in the cross-legged position on the floor gives you a sturdy, triangular base, so that your back can be straight, and your body doesn’t sway.  When you stand and don’t move, your body does begin to sway.  Not so with this position.  Now, just keep in mind, you don’t have to put your feet on top.  Just sit like you did in Kindergarten to listen to the latest Dr. Seuss book.  Or “criss-cross applesauce” as my kids learned in preschool.
  • Now that arm thing.  Palms up on your knees.  What is that all about?  Well, that brings your shoulders down and back naturally and keeps them that way.  You don’t need to necessarily touch your middle finger and thumb together, but if it feels comfortable, do it.
  • By sitting this way, you can breathe properly with your diaphragm.  My choir teacher, Mrs. Goessman would be so proud!
  • No humming is necessary, but breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth allows your mouth to dry up so that you don’t swallow, which can be distracting.  (This one was a shocker to me!)
  • You also need an external sense to focus on.  For example, sight= a candle’s flickering flame, smell = incense or the candle’s scent, taste = (I teased Kent and said his must be coffee.  He grinned and said yes, but he also uses cherry cough drops.  Okaaaay.), sound = one of those tabletop waterfalls.
  • Then, you begin to count from 10 backwards.  He said to envision it like the old elevators that showed you what floor it is passing at the time, or stair steps.

Practice doing this when you are already calm.  Trying to do it for the first time while you are anxious, may make you more anxious.

I practiced a few time last week, and then was able to use it in real life on Sunday.  It was when it was pouring down rain and the wind was high.  I hate driving in either of those weather conditions, much less both of them together.  (I know.  I know.  I sound like an old lady.  These conditions just make me anxious and drive with white knuckles all the way)  I decided I needed to calm down.  So, I went upstairs to my room and started to meditate.  It only took me two trips down the elevator to completely calm myself!  It really did work!

I hope this helps the next time you are nervous or anxious about something.  A trip to visit the Dalai Lama is expensive, kids!  I only wish George Harrison had come to me instead of going all that way.

Kent the Great Spouts More Wisdom

I went into Kent’s office yesterday a complete mess.  All he had to do was ask, “So, what’s up?” and I was in tears.  The first words he could understand were “I’m trying to please everybody,” and then more sobbing.

He talked to me for a long time and I explained that I had be anxious all week.  Not agitated, but anxious.  I didn’t want my son to go to Boy Scout camp.  I didn’t want my husband to join him later in the week, I didn’t want to drive my friends down to Family Night at Scout camp.  I didn’t want my daughter to have a sleepover that night.  And by “didn’t want to” I meant I was freaking out about all those things.  Working myself up.  Even though I could tell myself there was no logical reason for doing so.

I told Kent that I think one of the problems is that even though I’m technically getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night, that I think my CPAP machine needed to have the pressure increased because I was always really drowsy in the afternoons.  I mean, dropping off to sleep while on the computer without realizing it, drowsy.  And, since sleep is my trigger, I was not able to fight things off like I usually do.

Kent was quick to tell me how far I had come.  He said, “In the past, you would have done anything to avoid doing those things that made you anxious.  But this time you pushed yourself and did them anyway.  That’s a big step.  You recognized that your fears were not really justified, so you tried to not listen to those voices telling you “You shouldn’t do that.”  “Yes, you should”  “No, you shouldn’t.”  Let me be quick to point out that I didn’t REALLY hear voices this time.  It is more like the cartoon with the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other.

I had also said I thought I might be doing too much, and that other people might tell me so.  And, since I’m trying to please people, I didn’t know what to say to make everyone happy.  He gave this great piece of advice.  This is the nugget of information that I want you all to think about when you are trying to decide whether or not to take something on.

SWOT

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunity

Threat

This is to help you with decisions about desires you may have.  For example, the driving the friends down to Family Night could be broken down like this:

Strengths – I like the women I am driving, I have a van and no one else had a car available, I usually don’t mind driving.  I wanted to go see Mark.

Weaknesses – I don’t like to drive at night.  I didn’t know where I was going, really. 

Opportunity  – This is a one-time deal.  I can’t go another evening.  This was it.

Threat – I could get in a car accident.

So, after considering all those factors, it made sense to go ahead and go. 

Here’s another example.  I desire to play major league baseball (hypothetically, of course!).

Strengths – I like to play baseball.  I have a good arm.

Weaknesses – I cannot throw a 90 mile an hour fastball.  I’m a woman.

Opportunity – Virtually none.

Threat – None, really.

After review my SWOT, this would not be a good desire to pursue.  It would be better to go play catch with my son in the backyard.

I left Kent’s office feeling better than I had all week.  I had told him that I didn’t want to back out on the sleepover for my daughter.  I didn’t want her to always think of her mom trying to sleep off the “bad moods” or moping around.  Or drugged up.  I mentioned that I had thought about inviting a friend over to scrapbook while the girls were here.  He thought that was a great idea.  He also mentioned having the girls go swimming to release that energy early in the night so they would more likely go to sleep quickly.

Last night worked out just great.  My neighbor across the street came over and she is SO low-maintance, that we just talked (and talked, and talked) and scrapbooked until the girls went to bed.  It was perfect, really.  Of course, I SWOTed the idea before inviting her.  It was obvious that I really should give it a go, and it worked out perfectly.

We are headed to Dallas next week, and I’m not anxious about that one iota.  Kent said that was because in my mind I knew that it was ABSOLUTELY the right thing to do.  Amen to that! 

It’s weird to me how quickly he can calm me down and help me analyze what is going on and why.  And, how to deal with it.

So, tune in for our next VISIT WITH KENT the second week of August!  Same Bat Time.  Same Bat Channel.

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