Friday, May 20, 2011

Coping With Anxiety

Part of living with Bipolar Disorder and being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse is dealing with the anxiety that comes with it. Late at night, when I lay down at night I'm a kid all over again. The first thing I often think is, what if someone breaks in? Then I close my eyes and pray for sleep to come quickly. Yet because I'm so anxious sleep becomes difficult. And sometimes for me that leads to flshbacks and/or nightmares.

Last night I got a taste of both.

There first thing I had was a memory, or a piece of one. It seems to be one I've been trying to have for some time now. It was the same thing. I lay in bed, I can't see the perpetrator but I fight them, trying to get free from them. And I fight HARD. I push them. I kick them. I roll out of bed and try to flip them over my head.

I woke up. Bad memory gone. I closed my eyes and drifted off to to sleep and a full on odd nightmare came. And if I wasn't afraid of incurring the wrath of my sister I would call her just to put my mind at ease.

I just remember having large cuts up and down my chest and the door to my apartment impossible to guard and against the intruder breaking in. I don't pretend to be normal. I'm writer of course I'm not normal. But sometimes I wish I could sleep and rest normally. I wish I could be without the anxiety that I live with. However I know that comes with the package.

So how do I cope? I have friends. I try to cut back on the caffeine when it gets really bad. I try anyway lol ;) And I write even though sometimes the anxiety interferes with even that.

So a big shout out to everyone who has heard about my anxiety before now. And to those who haven't success is possible with this condition. Don't let anyone hold you back. A special thanks to my closest friends Missy, Pam, and Elise. You gals rock for being there to hear me when it seems like no one else does.


Clayton Bye said...

Hello Amy,

I can't imagine you're history. I can, however, share a bit of mine. Physical abuse saw me leave home at 15. Severe RA that left me crippled, barely able to stand, never mind walking. Being and outdoors man and a hard worker, it's easy to understand my depression as I learned to deal with my incurable condition. But the depression didn't go away, and I began to have immobilizing panic/anxiety attacks. Time for a shrink. It took years in psycho and drug therapies to get me once again turned toward the light (and by this I mean looking toward life, rather than death--I was way suicidal) Two things helped: After about 8 years, 5 of them not working, I was diagnosed as having Rheumatoid Arthritis and Bipolar Disorder. I'm now at the 10 year mark and for the first time since my ordeal began, I'm having normal mental days. I still go manic and I sometimes slip into depression. But I know I can deal with it--by looking toward life and whatever good or beauty or love you can find there. You keep doing the same, sister.

madcapmaggie said...

Amy, thanks for sharing. I find when I'm alone in the house, I'll have anxiety dreams about intruders breaking in. Pretty scary -- I'm sort of half awake, and I'm convinced the intruders are real. It's only because it's happened repeatedly that I'm able to convince myself it was just a dream. {phew}

festival8 said...

Thanks Clayton and Maggie. Clayton I too see a therapist and psychiatrist for past abuse and bipolar issues. My writing is my sanity. And Maggie I've had those dreams too. The flashbacks are the hardest. I woke up at 4:45 and started that blog. LOL. Can you imagine? I write romantic suspense.

Christine London said...

I can not claim to be able to relate to Bi Polar, though I do know a couple folks who struggle with it. I CAN relate to that early morning wake up as though someone has sent a bolt of electricity through you. I call what happens next "awfulizing" Seems everything is worse in the wee hours right before dawn.

Part of my anxiousness is triggered by something I can't change. Over the last couple years all three members of my family of origin have died. Mom, Dad and only sibling, a brother, are now gone. Even though I have friends it feels like no one truly relates. Funny--even though I was never what I call "close' to my family, their absence has left a hole that anxiety seems all too often to fill.

Love what you said about turning toward life, instead of death Clayton. Though I don't have suicidal thoughts, life has taken on a new dimension of loss and hollowness. More days behind than ahead and the eternal questions of meaning have suddenly taken on a nagging urgency.

Not even my writing seems to help. Guess I need to be what I have been all my life--very patient.

Thanks for sharing your struggles Amy. It is nice to know none of us are alone within our own skin because others deal with similar issues and are willing to share.


J Q Rose said...

Thank you for this eye-opening post. My very best friend since third grade discovered in her mid-50's her mother had munchhausen disease and hurt her very badly. Of course it affected her entire life, and now she knows why she feels the way she does in some aspects of her personal life. She has been diagnosed as manic and bi-polar. She is a fantastic writer. I think writing really helps her. I am sending this link to her so she will see she is not alone with the anxiety and bi-polar and as an encouragement to write. Be strong, Amy, and keep writing!

festival8 said...

Thanks for sharing Christine and JQ. Christine my best friend just recently lost her father and is struggling she found comfort in your words. JQ tell your best friend if I can do this anyone can.

Janice said...

My sister is bi-polar and manic depressive too, so many people I know are these days. Sis is seeing a psychiatrist and got a big dog so she feel safe at night when her hubby isn't home.


J Q Rose said...

My girlfriend asked me to post this for her--

My psychosis, my multiple personalities, my genetic bi-polar mind triggered by childhood abuses of Munchhausen by Proxy shadow my life's walk of feet forward yet head backwards. Quite a predicament these "shadows" of confusion, night terrors, depression, the self-loathing and, now, remorse of how my disordered mind has affected others whom I love so much. Oh, yes, these shadows cross my path daily. I stop walking forward and my head turns backwards to see them desire to join hands and cover me with a deep darkness. For those reading this who have experienced any trauma as adult or child, bear with me this analogy of "shadows". To cast a shadow there must be somewhere a source of light. Beyond mechanisms of therapy and/or meds, I urge all who suffer to practice listening to loving friends, family who are willing to keep step with your shadows. Even if you have to fake a smile, or a thank you as you say to yourself, "they just don't get it", do it. Jealous of their "normal" lives? You bet. But, letting in that source light of their love will gradually strengthen your determination to regain a posture that lifts your head to follow those forward feet towards coping. Not even on your feet yet? Or were you up and now stumbling? Be patient. These posts testify so many truly care to lighten your journey and mine too. They are a source of life's light for us and for others. And you know what? So are we, or we wouldn't be reading, nor posting......or we wouldn't be reading nor posting right past our shadows

Monica Stoner said...

Amy, I didn't see this blog earlier. Thank you for helping everyone to cast their own light. From my past, I learned to compartmentalize. I do what needs to be done, and plan to think about what worries me or scares the stuffing out of me later. It's been a great way to cope for most of my life and is helping me deal with current issues. Ranting and railing and wailing "Why me? Why now?" doesn't change anything