Moving with a Mental Illness
It has been a couple of months since my last post. A frustrating travesty and I apologise to those who have been following my blog. Today is the first day in quite some time (well since my last blog post I guess), that I have had the time, space and energy to write. We are now (somewhat) cheerfully relocated back to the State where we lived for many years. It is familiar to us and my husband is ecstatic. Well except for when he isn’t. This is my fault. My mental health ‘challenges’ (Bipolar Type 2 for those not playing along at home) have been exacerbated by the stress of moving. This basically make me quite difficult to live with at times. A bitch, if you will. Otherwise, I am pretty easy going and things which bother me one day, absolutely do not bother me another. Poor husband. Add this to the stress of having a very young family…well, good times.
Under normal conditions, I can be a little neurotic and anxious. I am not sure how much of it is personality and how much is from living many years unwell/misdiagnosed. I don’t have a Jack-Nicholson in As-Good-As-It-Gets level of OCD. But I do feel a compulsive need to fix anything my brain decides is out of place. I often lay awake late at night worrying about what to do if there is a fire. I plan exit strategies in my head and get up to check the oven is off. When I am really unwell, I will have recurring thoughts of us trying to save the children and not being able to get out. It plays over and over – like the repeat button is stuck in the ON position. I am also preoccupied with germs and not getting sick. If there is any question of how long meat has been defrosted for before it is cooked, I will bin it. I don’t eat leftovers after the next day. My food has to be heated to piping hot. I wash my hands to the point of rawness at times. I get panicky if I go somewhere and don’t know where the toilet is – just in case I need to go. All of these issues have become manifested over time with my deteriorating mental health. I certainly wasn’t anxious to this degree my whole life. I might have done a nervy poo before an exam or had sweaty palms when public speaking. Pretty normal stuff really.
Yesterday, I was like a woman possessed looking for missing toys. The boxes left scattered through the house were not shedding any light. I ran from room to room, searching through box after box. Fuck. I am trying to organise the kids play area and don’t want to find lost toys after I have sorted it all out. Not unreasonable. Then I took it to a whole new level of irrationality. I asked poor husband if he had seen a particular plastic Cement Mixer, as I knew it had a tendency to hang with the other missing toys. When he said he had, but it was when we first moved in and he couldn’t remember where….the anger rose up in me, starting in my stomach, travelling up my oesophagus and eventually reaching my mouth. A meek voice instructed angry mouth to stop speaking. Stop! It was too late. The venom spewed forth. Poor husband became the victim of my frustration and irritability. After the anger dissipated, I cried. He hugged me. The man is a saint.
I have been on the depressed side of normal for several months now. Some days I can’t get out of bed. Others, I am too anxious to leave the house or be alone. Sometimes, it is this rotten irritability mixed with a feeling of general hopelessness. I can’t always think straight or concentrate for very long. The feeling of ‘normal’ has eluded me greatly, and only visits for the briefest of times. Fleeting glimpses of myself as I know her. My novel writing, reading and enjoyment of much anything at all has faltered.
Today, I nearly ripped a women’s head off because she decided to light a cigarette at the playground, just near the sign which says ‘No smoking within 10 metres of the playground’. If she hadn’t hocked a loogie (demonstrating her lack of class and potential for possessing street-fighting abilities), I would have kicked her to the kerb. ‘Normal’ me, would have politely asked her to stop, pointing out the sign with a friendly smile. She would have been apologetic for her oversight and grateful for my intervention. If not, then ‘Normal’ Michelle would have ignored her completely, with only mild annoyance….not with seething anger coursing through her veins.
My psychiatrist said even with medication, this condition will still cause issues for me and the idea is to reduce the frequency and severity of episodes. Stress will exacerbate it, he said. Moving is one of the most stressful life events, he said. No shit.
Posted on August 17, 2013, in Mental Health and tagged anger, anxiety, bipolar disorder, Blog, depression, interstate, medication, mental illness, mental-health, moving, neurotic, stress, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.