I am not sure if I prefer Down anxiety or Up anxiety. As the daylight hours lengthen, I am feeling increasingly able to do stuff... but it is fueled with that nervous energy. The on-the-edge-of-hypomania buzz. I plan to break out my yellow glasses tonight. To remind my brain that night is coming even if it doesn't really seem like it.
I spent a long weekend recently DECLUTTERING my room on one day; followed by DECLUTTERING daughter's room the following day. I like the results, don't get me wrong.
But I did manage to somehow injure my thumb. This is less ridiculous than it sounds because I have a pre-existing overuse injury that predisposes BOTH of my thumbs to re-injury.
I am doing better about not reading news night and morning in bed. I did reapply the NY Times app to my phone because I was cheating and using Apple News to get to the NY Times anyway and I figure I need to manage my behavior in general, and not just blame the failing, failing New York Times.
I did deactivate my Facebook Account. But I will need to go in there and grab some pictures I think unless i can find them somewhere else because Friends General Conference needs some of the ones I took this summer of the kids in the preschool program.
I'm still reading The Three Musketeers.
Those are the things that I identified as action steps after talking to the OFP at my last therapy appointment.
I'm feeling very speedy right now. I'm dealing with paperwork and money stuff that is stressing me out a bit. And dealing with phone calls related to paperwork and money and getting tax stuff in order (always fun for everyone, I know) has upped my level of adrenaline.
Which means that now I am typing about 230 words per minute. Let me see if that is actually true... Okay, nevermind. It is only 90 words per minute but mostly because I am making a lot of careless mistakes.
I am still trying to get back on track eating/exercise wise (I cannot spell that word. Five attempts to get the correct spelling.) Going back to a 30-day "Whole 30" elimination diet.
Not a cleanse. Not a New Diet Plan for Life. Just 30 days in which I don't have a bunch of stuff. And then I can add it back if I decide to. But here is what I know: I will feel better not having any dairy and not having any added sugar. And if I can get in that habit... if I can remember how it feels to feel better... that will be good.
I had fallen into the trap of eating well (foods that make me feel good) for breakfast and lunch, but then snacking and dining on things full of dairy and sugar. Because that is what I crave.
I am thinking of enrolling in an online class this summer.
That is neither here nor there.
I need to stop typing now. My frickin thumb is acting up.
The OFP, or Once and Future Psychologist, is the therapist that I saw when I was an adolescent back when she was specializing in treating teens with eating disorders.
Twenty-some years later I looked her up to ask for a referral (since at the time she only treated adolescents). Turns out, she now treats adults... particularly women with mood disorders. Go figure.
I went to see her last week. After about a year and a half. I got mad at her for using my children to try and shame me into taking care of my mental health. I can't remember exactly what she said, but something about if I wasn't concerned for myself, I should think about how my Ups and Downs affect my children.
This was fighting dirty.
I saw her about a week after I got mad. To let her know that I was mad and to question whether or not I needed to go to therapy at all.
She was sorry. And apologized. And agreed with me that for the most part I know what the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy party line will be. And that I would just know when I needed to come in for a tune-up.
Which was last week.
Actually it was two weeks ago that I should properly have gone in, but oh well.
I talked to her about my late state of High Anxiety.
What does that feel like, she wondered. What was different now that brought me in?
My heart racing every morning before I got out of bed. Excessive weepiness. Hair-trigger irritation. A fight-or-flight response as my state of rest.
She wondered what was causing this.
I told her the usual sob story about being a flaming bleeding-heart liberal scared out of her mind about the future of the world. And my powerlessness. Worry over big things that I cannot change. And also confessed my news obsession.
I had mostly figured all this out before talking to her. But mostly I figured it out because I knew that I was going to talk to her and didn't want to sit there without having a plan of what I was going to say. It is a common complaint of hers that when I show up I have already sorted things on my own.
Nevertheless, sometimes it is nice to have someone to be accountable to. And someone to give blessings to my already-formed plans.
Here is the plan (already in motion)
Ironically I was unable to log in to my blog here without REACTIVATING my Facebook account and then deactivating it again.
There is part of me that is tempted to keep my FB active just so that these posts appear in people's feeds. But I don't know how many people read the blog because of notifications through FB.
The trouble is, if I have my FB page active at all, I will be tempted to go and check in just to see if anyone has reacted to what I have read. I will be writing into a vacuum for a while. Shouting at the silence. It will feel strange. It does feel strange.
People at large cannot comment here because I don't want to open myself up to comments (negative or positive) from the Outside World, but I have allowed friends to comment through FB.
So far I am experiencing less of the Anxiety. I am, however, trying hard not to get sucked into the Downs. This is the world of rapid cycling bipolar.
I feel like I have a touch of anhedonia. You know, but I don't care. Ha! Because that is a symptom of anhedonia.
Spouse says I need to go for walks every day. And get outside. Because sunlight. I told Spouse that he is a no-good busybody and he can go sit on a pin.
I'm gonna try to go back to the basics of remembering to do at least one thing to do besides popping pills to see to my mental health.
Grateful Crap: Spouse (I suppose) and sunlight (or whatever)
meds 200 mg lamotrigine
walked around the block with Spouse quite grudgingly yesterday
dyed my hair a bit reddish (counts under the self-care column)
umm... other stuff I think
The kids and I took turns being sick this week. I was out two days from work between taking care of children and taking care of myself. And I am starting to feel better.
I am still struggling to figure out how to deal with my anxiety over the inexperienced person in the White House and the real damage he is able to do...
I am still obsessively reading the newspaper. I read it before going to bed and I read it before getting out of bed. This is a Bad Plan. It means that I associate disturbing news with bed. And when I know that sleep disregulation and anxiety are a big part of bipolar it makes no sense for me to engage in such irresponsible behavior.
I do still want to read the paper. I feel like it is a small thing that I can do. Supporting the free press. Staying informed. When for years and years I chose not to be informed because I would become sucked down by the Bad News and I did not have the emotional reserves to deal with the Downs that would ensue.
Now it is not so much the Downs that are getting me. It is the Anxiety. Which for me is usually part of the Ups.
But I don't feel confident enough in the state of things to stay away from the news.
I work with refugees and immigrants in a public school. I teach students who arrived the week before the travel ban. Tensions are high.
So one of the small things I can do is go to work. And support my students-- especially the newcomers. Or especially those who have been here long enough to take their citizenship exams. Or especially all of them. I am a rebel. I teach at a public school. I teach people born elsewhere.
Back to basics. Thinking globally and acting locally. I am energized by the actions of so many others. I can hold them in the light. I can take small actions. I can take care of myself.
But then I feel bad that I can take care of myself. I feel guilty that I have the option to step back. And then I feel like I have no right to step back even if being in a constant state of Anxious Outrage will burn through me and have a negative impact on my mental health-- when I have been working so diligently to improve my mental health.
Because I still run across the strident voices decrying my privilege. That I don't have a right to feel threatened because I am not a target of the administration. Or some few people expressing glee that now the white women are finally outraged and they can have a taste of what this has felt like for people who are part of more marginalized, more oppressed groups.
And they are right. Not about glee. Or about knowing how other people feel. Or about telling people how they have a right to feel. Or about lumping together "white women" as if that designation is enough for you to tell anything about a person other than their complexion.
But they are right that I have a privilege to be able to step back.
I don't know that it necessarily means that I should not step back. I think I need to think of Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs. That if living in a state of constant Anxiety knocks me down a couple of rungs on the pyramid (do pyramids have rungs) I really NEED to distance myself from Current Events Crap so that I will have the long term stamina to engage... whatever that means.
I have never been interested in politics. There are too many people involved. I have never been interested in protests. There are too many people involved. I have never been interested in organizations. There are too many people involved.
I don't even go to parties that my friends have. Because there are too many people involved.
And nobody is going to come down and give me an exemption from outrage. No one can tell me that it is okay for me not to engage. No one can tell me what I should or should not do in response to issues that are too near to my heart.
Remember: this is not a blog where I am trying to whine about current events. This is a blog in which I am speaking publicly about living with a mental illness. And current events have an affect on my mental illness. The stress saps my reserves. Makes my symptoms more excitable.
Since the election I have been getting less and less sleep. Less and less exercise. Eating more and more sugar.
I think that I will need to look at self care as an act of rebellion. One of the small things that I can do. I'm going to go eat some vegetables now. And take a nap to make sure that I kick whatever bug laid waste to me this week.
Grateful Crap: my whiny white woman privilege
stayed home when sick
took meds (200mg lamotrigine)
My overall level of stress (due in large part to my being a liberal "snowflake") is so high that I don't have the emotional reserves to deal with minor stressors very well. Yesterday I felt like quitting my job. Not in an actual "I think I'll quit my job" way, but more in a stressed out defeated and idle speculation sort of way.
Like it would be less stressful to just crawl into a hole and not deal with anything or anyone. Ever. Again. You know, a very mature and nuanced reaction to stress.
This was not a balanced reaction to anything horribly stressful. This was an imbalanced reaction to mild workplace stress. I proceeded to get very sad and had a crying jag at work. At least it was during my prep period.
Self-care steps taken:
Went in to talk to Big Boss to let her know how I was feeling. And even though I shared with her the background for my ongoing crying jag, I stressed that I was not having a Workplace Related Problem. I was having a Mood Related Problem and trying to figure out how to manage the stress in a better way.
Talked with coworkers.
There are no bad guys here (at least not in the building where I am working). Everyone is just more on edge, more overloaded, more stressed, more anxious than usual.
Other self-care steps:
Fixed the treadmill we have in the basement and went for a walk.
Volunteered to be the one to stay home with sick child today.
Called OFP and made an appointment for therapy because it is time for a tune-up
Quaker, teacher, parent,