Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder

“Anxiety is the most common coexisting symptom in bipolar disorder, as it occurs in more than 90 percent of people with the illness.” ~Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder by Julie Fast

My 18 year old son and I ran errands yesterday, and he witnessed how bad my anxiety has become. He saw how I physically draw up into myself when faced with the smallest of uncomfortable circumstances. My shoulders rise up to my ears, my arms and hands draw in, my back hunches over and my legs clench together nearly folding me into a ball. Anxiety literally hurts my body. What set it off? Just regular everyday situations.

I had pulled up to the window of my pharmacy, told the lady my name, and was scrambling to find the digital coupon I had downloaded to my phone. I couldn’t figure out which folder I had saved it in, and as a result, my entire body twisted into one big knot. I began to panic. Luckily, the lady informed me my prescription had been refilled at the location down the road (where I had it transferred last time, because this pharmacy had been out of it), so it gave me time to reset.

I pulled into a parking spot before getting back out on the road, so I could find the coupon and be prepared before the next stop. After locating it on my phone, I drove to the next pharmacy and quickly made it through the drive thru with no problems. She didn’t even need the coupon, because it was saved in their system.

The errand before this, I had my son to get out at the recycling center to ask an employee a question, instead of asking it myself. I was a nervous wreck, because there were trucks all around, and I was unsure of where to drop off our load. All I had to do was ask the question, but I couldn’t even get out of the car.

What has happened to me? I used to be a social butterfly, but after my emotional/mental breakdown last fall, I’ve become nearly reclusive. I only go out to the store or to the gym, usually during times where the crowd will be minimal. I only socialize with family, but sometimes even that is too hard. So I stay home probably 85 to 90 percent of the time.

I’m trying though. I plan to talk with my doctor the next time we meet, so maybe we can add anti-anxiety medication to the mix. I’ve also amped up my meditation practice, which has helped me sleep better already, so that’s one improvement. I’m researching how others deal with their anxiety, because I know I’m not the only one who is struggling with this. Deep breathing can sometimes keep me from having a full-blown panic attack, but I just want to be able to live my life without everything being such an ordeal.

If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Drop it in the comments below. Thanks, lovelies.

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