Anxiety commonly occurs along with bipolar, which makes things all the more difficult. Symptom-wise, I experience stomach issues, shaking, a tight chest, sweating, and excessive worry. For me, on a work day, I wake up with a feeling of dread because I just know I am going to be terrible at whatever I do that day. I have a stomach ache all morning, so much so that I cannot take my medication until lunch. I can hardly eat, and I’m hot and sweaty getting ready for work, thinking about what’s ahead. The whole ride to work I have racing thoughts about the day ahead and what I think is going to happen (I’m a fortune teller extraordinaire). I keep trying to practice mindfulness but fight with my thoughts. My heart starts beating when I get around the corner. I try to do deep breathing exercises I learned in therapy and calm myself down, but it is very difficult if not impossible. I try to ignore it until I get in front of my building and bring my things into my office. The anxiety dissipates for a bit but is brought back when I have to be involved in any social interactions that are new to me or that I’m uncomfortable with. Throughout the day, if a task or situation is hard or stressful, I experience intense symptoms of anxiety—lately I’ve been noticing the excessive body heat I feel when I am afraid I did something wrong or if I can’t figure out a project.
The anxiety doesn’t usually go away at lunch time, even though I often go out alone to get away from the environment for a while. I feel like I need to get back and do work so I can impress my boss, because if I don’t, I might get fired and the world will subsequently end. I just can’t relax, can’t enjoy life as much as I want to. I’m just so afraid of screwing something up in my life, especially because of the hell I’ve been through in the last year.
The rest of the day is like the first part—if I have a stressful or a new situation to deal with, I experience symptoms of anxiety. If not, I am rather pleased because I had at least a few minutes of peace.
After I leave work, I try not to think about the stressful parts of the job that can cause me to get into an obsessive cycle of worrying. I don’t have it under total control, but I am doing a lot better than I was in 2012.
If I had to estimate, I would say I’m currently worrying 70% of the day.
I’m so frustrated with the way things are going. I want to be free, to feel like I’m not in a constant state of fear. I have tried benzodiazepines, I have tried various anti-depressants; nothing has worked for my anxiety. I am currently in therapy and trying to work on CBT. I think I could benefit from DBT too. Right now, my other meds are working so well that I feel like I’d be on cloud nine if I weren’t so anxious. The funny thing is, I hardly ever mess up at work, and I have never been yelled at, nothing horrible has happened, so logically I don’t know what I’m worrying about. However, my anxiety at this point is often more powerful than rationale. I wish I could do so many things, have more self-esteem, calm down my physical and mental symptoms, and be able to knock out a work day like an all-star, like the person I thought I was when I was a kid. Anxiety often starts in one’s late teens or in early adulthood, and my feelings about myself and the world have really gone downhill since the onset of my extreme anxiety a few years ago.
Sometimes I wonder if who I am now is for better or for worse. I often wonder what life would be like if I didn’t have these issues that I am starting to think will never go away. I wonder what I could have accomplished right now without it.
I want to hear from you…Do you experience anxiety? What is your treatment plan, if any? What do you think about my situation, do you have any advice for me and the mental health community? Please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my Twitter @KatGalaxy
& Pinterest: pinterest.com/katgalaxy