A little peace

It’s awfully noisy in here.  No, it’s as quiet as normal at work.  The nature of this job is primarily emails and documentation, and except for the occasional phone call all I hear is the sound of typing.  The noise is inside.  It’s mentally loud and emotionally loud to the point of being overwhelming.

There is a storm of noise going on inside my brain.  There’s always a song playing inside my head, and today is no exception.  On top of that the morning alarm sound had made it into the mix, so I have both the song (The Beatles “Penny Lane”) and my phone alarm competing for space.  The volume of both is much higher than normal today too, trying to smother the conscious thoughts.  I have the repetitive thinking going on as well.  There’s just a line of a song “Mystery” by the Indigo Girls that keeps playing over and over in my brain.  The melody of the song doesn’t interfere with the music I’m hearing, just the lyrics.

“You set up your place in my thoughts, Moved in and made my thinking crowded”.  That pretty much sums up what’s going on inside my head.

It’s not actual music or voices I’m hearing; I’m not hallucinating.  It’s just the active and inactive thinking that I can’t seem to control.

Somehow in all that noise there’s the worry.  I am dreading my new job that starts on Thursday and keep thinking about how I’m going to survive on the lower pay.  I worry how I’m going to buy my medications.  What if the change I’m making in my medications isn’t going to work, or bring on new side effects that I won’t be able to tolerate.   I’m scared to death that I don’t have any health insurance.  What is going to happen if I get really sick?  I’ve already got a tremendous amount of debt from my emergency room / hospitalization following my overdose, how am I going to pay for all of that?  For the first time in years I have LP gas instead of Natural Gas, which means I have to be sure to check the levels in the tank before I run out.  And I have to pay for the gas in advance; what if I run out in between paydays and don’t have the money?

My thinking is crowded.

There’s a lot of emotional noise too.  The depression I’m struggling with is screaming at me; throwing lie after lie at me, trying to convince me of my worthlessness and despair.  The darkness is trying to smother me.  It is robbing me of my energy and my ability to overcome the out of control thinking.  It keeps telling me how isolated and alone I am.  A feature of my depression is anxiety and panic attacks.  It’s difficult to breathe, causes chest pains and at the worst makes me feel like I’m going to die.  And afraid I’m not going to.  Even the physical aspects of this illness are creating havoc.  I can almost hear my muscles’ creaking as the tension gets tighter and tighter.  My chair squeaks as my legs bounce with nervous energy.   I feel like I’m in the vortex of a storm, mental and emotional and physical chaos swirling around and around me.

I just want some peace.

I have to be very careful here as my overdose was started in a very similar situation.  My thinking was out of control, and I remember I just needed to stop for a little while.  I started taking tranquilizers to quiet the noise, and one thing led to another and almost killed me.  (See: Anatomy of a Suicide, Part II posted 9/6/12).  I want to control all that’s going on, but I know I can’t risk self-medication.  I am working with my Doctor to address this and I can already see a change with the reduction of my atypical anti-psychotic as my energy level is rising and my thinking is getting clearer.  And I have to believe that the new anti-depressant I just started is going to help overcome the depression I’ve been going through the last few months.  But in the meantime, I have to deal with all this noise.

But there are things I can do.  I stop and force myself to relax.  It only lasts a minute or so, and has to be consciously repeated as the tension levels start to rise again.  I try to clear my brain with deep breathing and meditation.  My mantra is “I will have Peace”.  I get up and walk around the office, burning up some of the excess energy.  And at lunch time I take a brisk walk around the campus.  I stop to eat.  I don’t eat a big lunch, but bring small things that I can ‘graze’ on during the day.  It helps to break up the day into more manageable chunks and keeps my blood sugar at a constant level.  I can email friends, giving me something to think about other than the negative thoughts.

I can write.

It’s very difficult to overcome all this noise.  But I have to fight it and use every technique and resource I have to keep it down to a manageable level.  I can’t let it completely overwhelm me.  And if I can be patient, and give time for the medicines to work, along with everything else I’m trying to do maybe, just maybe I can find that peace I so desperately need.

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8 Responses to A little peace

  1. You know just a thought but you write well. Why don’t you start writing as part time? I mean there must be some work for writers, if not fiction, then articles, news, things like that, ghost writing may be. It might help you release some tension plus get some income. I am not sure about the technical side of these things but one thing is sure, you do know how to write well.

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  2. Erin H says:

    “The depression I’m struggling with is screaming at me; throwing lie after lie at me, trying to convince me of my worthlessness and despair. The darkness is trying to smother me. It is robbing me of my energy and my ability to overcome the out of control thinking. It keeps telling me how isolated and alone I am.”

    This is exactly how I feel right now. And I keep trying to explain it to my “normal” friends and they just don’t get it. Thanks for helping me remember that I’m not the only person who feels like this.

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  3. Seyi sandra says:

    This is a very potent and courageous posts, I don’t know how to describe it but you did mention in one of your post that if not for the grace of God, you wouldn’t have survived. His grace is sufficient enough to heal and protect you. Do you go to church? I know how hard that might be but my husband’s cousin who battled depression for years found solace in the arms of God. He is married now with a child on the way and is still on medication too. And you are a such great writer, like one of the comments I read in your post, you can indeed make money from writing. May God’s peace be upon you!!

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  4. Thank you for your honest sharing, it will help many. I pinned it on my Stories and Poems of Strength Board. http://pinterest.com/pin/147141112796951180/ So glad you got to Fresh Press.

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  5. Selling writing is extremely hard, but possible. You definitely could get published places and I suggest looking Smash Words, thinking about short stories and articles. If you are on Linkin let me know as some of their groups are helpful to wannibe published writiers. You are a writer. Don’t doubt.

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  6. Mom says:

    I have a hamster wheel in my mind, always running. Always squeaking. When the wheel breaks loose from it’s metal frame and the hamster starts running freely in my mind, I (out loud) say STOP! I just have to stop. Right now I am very worried about money. Our income just dropped by 1/4th. Our savings are dwindling. I am fat. I am never going to lose this weight and even if I do, I’ll just gain it back again. My husband is probably cheating on me. Again. I still hate sex.

    STOP. I just have to stop. I make a list of what I am worried about. I try to find solutions. How about a radiator style space heater (very safe) in case the propane ran out accidentally? Try to save up just a bit of money so that you can have a propane emergency fund? Sell something to get yourself an emergency fund? I sold a ton of junk on ebay and made over a thousand dollars, but at about three dollars at a time. Books sell well and I had a ton of them.

    As you cross problems OFF of your list, you get to see what you have accomplished. Keep that list with the cross offs. It will allow you to see that you have more control than you think you do.

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  7. Cassandra says:

    With regards to getting paid for writing, that’s a hard road, but doable. First, figure out what you want to write. Your documentation of your struggle with bipolar is inspirational and meticulous, so I’d start with that. Next, I’d highly recommend gathering a critique group, if you can, to double-check for grammar and structure. Look for writing groups in your area and pick out a few skilled members who may be available and interested in meeting with you on a regular basis. Use this website as a home base to advertise and hone your skills.

    The next step is submissions. Do you want to submit to magazines or online publications? Magazines generally take 500-1000 word essays. National publications, like the Wall St. Journal, take up to 5000 words, but either need a stellar entry or a lot of published clips or both. There are resources online or at the library available to tell you which magazines are out there and what types of essays they take.

    Books are an entirely different beast which involve agents or e-publishing. Make contact with other writers as often as you can–you never know when someone needs a favor or can provide one for you. You’re already a fabulous writer. I think you’d be a resounding success.

    Re: other stuff — I’m so sorry you’ve had so many intrusive thoughts lately. Your fears are unfortunately very real, and fixating on them–while unhelpful–is completely normal. I’ve often found that, in people with bipolar and/or chronic depression, our flight or fight response is ramped up to eleven and has been for a while. Partly because there’s so many things to panic about and partly because of the nature of the disease. As a result, we’re usually tapped out, so it’s harder to cope with the things life throws at us.

    That you’ve come so far is a testament to your strength and willpower. I just wish it didn’t have to be this way for you. Best of luck in finding your center.

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