Posted by: bipolarmystic | June 20, 2013

Stress & Emotional Destabilizers

I try to keep this blog really positive and informative, which is probably why I’m not a big poster right now: I’m too busy with school to do a lot of research and I don’t always feel positive!  Right now I’m finishing one six week graduate course with another on it’s way.   As usual, all my stress and worry on that front were for nothing – I have yet to earn less than and “A” in a class, knock on wood!  But what has me really stressing right now is looking for a home to buy.  And this is where being bipolar really starts to get painful for me, because I have to deal with all the stress that accompanies buying a first home, without the “reward” of feeling much excitement.  That’s the rub of some bipolar medications: I no longer have the same emotional range I once did.  And I have recognized that too much excitement can be very destabilizing.  Excitement (or any strong feelings) can quickly become over stimulating and overwhelming.  Excitement can make me start to feel a little hypomanic and when the excitement eventually wears off, I’m left feeling depressed.  So in some ways I am very grateful to the medication because I am less of a basket case (but still somewhat a basket case).  On the other hand, on some days I feel like I don’t even have the “normal” range of emotions as a neurotypical person.

Some days it’s hard not to feel like you are barely human you feel so different from everyone else.  I know a lot of that is in my mind and that everyone experiences stress, and probably can only stand so much excitement, etc.  It’s just hard to see the reactions of people around you and feel like you don’t match up.  As if we needed anything else to make us feel more different.  It is a strange quandary we find ourselves in – who were we before the meds?  Were we “better” or felt “fuller” in some ways?  And yet when the stress started to roll in, often life was much harder before meds (at least for me).  I recognize that the range of emotions I possess off of medications could be described as “turbulent” or an “artistic temperament.”  And often people with that sort of temperament lead somewhat tortured lives.  So is my emotional range actually more towards the normal end with medication?  It is difficult to be objective: I only know my natural state and my medicated state.  And what I see in others, which is always going to be distorted to some extent.

All I know is that at this moment I am frustrated.  Buying a first home is overwhelming for most people, I’m sure.  I’m having thoughts that I never even had before starting this process: that we might lose sources of income that we might become victims of identity theft, etc.  Once I “buy into” a course of action it’s hard for me not to put 100% into accomplishing the goal.  And it’s difficult to say in my mind, at the end of the day its ok no matter how it all turns out.  When buying a home seems to dominate your mind, it’s hard not to worry.  And it’s so frustrating to me because finally after twelve years together my husband and I are finally in a position to buy a home – it almost feels surreal.  So I just want to kick my bipolar, my neuroses, my uptight emotions in the head.  And it becomes exhausting when you realize everything you already do (medication, lots of exercise, healthy diet, minimizing stimulation) is not enough to handle this new stressor.

So I’m thinking about what tools I need to pull out of my kit to handle this situation.  I’ve always found that meditating and visualizing on a positive counteraction to your fears to be very helpful.  For example, I might visualize and repeat the mantra that “the perfect house is coming our way as quickly and easy as possible.”  This helps me feel in control because I HATE not having anything concrete to do when accomplishing a goal.  It feels like spinning my wheels, and then I just start thinking and thinking.  And when I can catch myself doing that and use my mantra again – it definitely helps.  And I think I will start journaling again and writing down my fears.  I have to be aware of them to counteract them!  And I have to remind myself that lots of people would be a nervous wreck buying their first homes.  I am not so different, and I have the tools and knowledge to help alleviate some of the stress.

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