Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Racing Thoughts



For well over 20 years, I have been battling this thing called bipolar disorder.  A big part of my struggle centers around racing thoughts and the anxiety that they create.  After having dealt with this issue for so long, I was beginning to think I had a handle on the situation.  I worked very hard to develop my own coping skills, using a great deal of self-talk.  If you’re unfamiliar with this term, I’ll break it down for you.  It is essentially what one would think.  Talking to yourself using encouragement and common sense.  At least, that’s my definition. 

I have been able to talk myself down on a pretty consistent basis by realizing that all of the obsessing over anything and everything wasn’t going to change the outcome.  If that didn’t help, I would write down whatever I was thinking.  This helped me achieve some peace.  If none of that was helpful, then I tried to picture one thing in my mind and focus on just that.  I put all of my efforts into noticing the colors and the landscape of whatever I chose to focus on. 

I was pretty successful in these endeavors for quite some time.  However, in the last 3-4 months, nothing seems to help.  The hardest time is at night when I am trying to sleep.  I could be tired around 10:00 or 11:00 pm, but the battle to actually fall asleep can last until 4:00 or 5:00 am.  It’s an exhausting and frustrating way to live.  Once I do fall asleep, I can’t wake up until far too late in the day because I am so tired, I feel as if I’ve been drugged.  One can imagine that I’m not getting a lot done under these circumstances. 

I don’t know about you, but I am flat-out a basket case if I don’t get enough sleep at night.  I get the shakes, my vision is blurry, I have headaches, and I’m often nauseated.  So, these last few months have been a struggle for me.  I’m trying so hard to keep a positive outlook on everything, but this lack of sleep is causing an extremely negative frame of mind.  I’ve spoken to my doctor, and he has increased one of my medications, but frankly it’s not helping.  Not even a little bit.  I’ve tried everything at this point. Turning off the TV, using thunderstorm sound effects, even combining my medication with Benadryl.  I’m extremely aggravated, and I just want to know when it’s going to come to an end. 

I’m at a point in my life where I should be feeling extremely optimistic about what lies ahead.  My first and possibly only book is set to release this week.  I am truly grateful to be able to say that I have made it this far.  However, it is difficult to jump for joy when you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck.  Next week, I have to see the specialist about my back.  We’ve had to reschedule a couple of times. This last time because our cat, Hayley was very sick.  Which, of course, added to my inability to sleep.  I’m sure that if I wasn’t in this much pain, and I could be more active during the day, I could probably sleep better at night.  I’m willing to test that theory if I can ever get some relief for my Sciatica. 

Depression, anxiety, fear, grief, nightmares, PTSD…all of these things can lead to racing thoughts.  It’s like a row of dominos.  Just tap on one, and the rest will fall.  I just wish a resolution could be achieved a bit quicker.  I know what happens to me emotionally when the lack of sleep finally gets to me.  It’s not pretty, and I really don’t want to revisit it.   I’ll keep trying, and I’ll keep fighting because that’s what I do.  Will I be successful? 

Not 100% of the time, but for every time I’ve stumbled I’ve gotten back up stronger and wiser. 

Here goes nothing. 


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