An Anxious, Bipolar Day

January 25, 2010 Cristina Fender

My kids are taking a bath. The sound of gurgling water fills our little apartment. The dishwasher hums loudly. My youngest is crying. Today, everything feels like it's crowding in on my psyche. I applied my positive thinking approach until the moment that I screamed for my youngest child to get into bed for her nap and then I collapsed.

anxious-170x174I woke up this morning feeling tired and fat. I tried to shake it off. I finally went for the walk that I've been intending to take for the past two weeks. I felt energized for half an hour before the crash began to really set in. I began to shake with anxiety. I tried to brush it off, but it clung to me like a drug addict on crack.

Trying to Get Rid of the Anxiety

So, I tried to take a nap, hoping that I would wake up refreshed and more chipper. I lay down and listened to my rain music and tried to sleep. Sleep barely skimmed me and I alerted myself to the danger, apparently, because I tried unsuccessfully for two hours to sleep.

I finally got up and turned on the television. I thought I could divert my energies into entertainment. I watched White Collar re-runs. The TV kept my bad thoughts away until the commercials, at least. But then the thudding in my chest and the feeling of something bad to come overcame me again.

I woke up my youngest and we headed out to get my oldest from the bus stop. I felt self-conscious without my jacket. I was too fat to be seen in public. But I put on my bravest face and met my child's school bus.

The apartment was busy with getting after-school snacks and making a mess in the living room. My children are louder than I needed them to be, but they can't help it that Mommy is an emotional mess today.

By the time my husband came home, I was so sick and tired of the roller coaster day. I felt like crying. I felt like telling him that I felt miserable. I wanted to crawl under the bed and hide from the world.

Xanax. Sometimes It Takes an Anxiety Medication

But I couldn't do any of those things. I'm the Mommy and I'm needed. My family needs me to be functional. So, I did what I had been avoiding all day. I took a Xanax.

APA Reference
Fender, C. (2010, January 25). An Anxious, Bipolar Day, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Cristina Fender

Dawn Marchant
January, 31 2010 at 2:28 am

It was a revelation that others find Xanex their key tool to cope with their anxiety --- useful to understand that others have the exact same coping mechanisms to get through the day. I am not alone in my bipolar misery (but I feel very alone).
My children are now 11 & 13 and they've survived my bipolar struggle with their own positive, happy personalities intact. I have always been careful to explain what the bipolar is doing to my behaviour at the moment, and now they are pretty good at working around what's happening with my moods and get on with their lives. We manage quite well even though any given day might be pretty rough --- it balances out over time. Good parenting will ultimately reign over bipolar!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 1 2010 at 2:33 am

Hi, Dawn,
I utilize all the other coping skills that I have in my bag before I resort to Xanax. I just feel that it doesn't have to be the catch all way to cope, but is sometimes necessary.
I'm so glad that your children are positive and happy. That goes a long way in saying what a wonderful parent one can be despite the bipolar!

January, 30 2010 at 6:06 pm

I very much appreciate your postings. My 17 year old son was recently diagnosed BP1 and reading your comments and suggestions helps me understand what he's experiencing a little better. It also helps me know how I can support him in this. Thanks for sharing.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
January, 31 2010 at 12:23 am

Being seventeen and bipolar is not easy! Please feel free to send me your questions.
Thank you. I'm glad that I could help.

Bill Goodhew
January, 29 2010 at 6:25 am

After surviving the roller coaster of bipolarity for 30 years and aquiring the tools of cognitive therapy, meds, and vitiamins and supplements, I added a weekly meditation group several years ago. The idea of being 'present' in our lives is a consistantly revisited theme by various authors we have examined. Eckhart Tolle is one I easily attached to, allowing me to assimilate the down and anxious moments, days, weeks, etc. All things change, and there is comfort in that fact. Our moments are uncomfortable, but survivable if we give ourselves the liscense to experience. Fear of what might be happening can be much worse than being with the discomfort. I highly recommend a meditation/discussion group added to the tool kit.
I attend a group at The Foundation Of Light in Ithaca New York.
Bill Goodhew

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
January, 29 2010 at 7:35 am

I highly believe that meditation can be a useful tool that keeps you in the here and now. I'm glad the practice works for you.
Keep up the good work.

Jenny Thornton
January, 28 2010 at 11:53 pm

I hear what you are saying. Your piece spoke volumes to me. I struggle with bi polar every day of my life and every minute of my day. It never really goes away. The main symptom is anxiety, crippling anxiety. Leaving me mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the day. I worked for years in high profile jobs and I coped and then it got worse and I had to give up work. Now I do some consulting work and I get by. I have a very loving partner and that makes the world of difference.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
January, 29 2010 at 12:05 am

A loving partner does make a world of difference. I'm so glad I have my husband. He's so kind and understanding.
I'm glad that you have someone equally wonderful to help you through the hard times.

Leslie Telesca
January, 28 2010 at 7:40 am

I was the "unlucky" one in my generation to inheirate my bipolar disorder from my Dad who got his from his Mother. Being unmedicated was impossible, finding the right meds. challenging, and coping minimal at times. I work as a firefigher (male dominated field), as well as raising my 7 yr. old daughter and taking care of my Mom who has cancer. Coping is a day to day process. It does get better. And I do believe that God doesn't give us more than we can handle so with the right meds., counseling, and alot of faith we will survive. Hang in there!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
January, 28 2010 at 7:55 am

Thank you, Leslie. I do believe in the power of suggestion. Believing it makes it so. Being bipolar doesn't mean that you give up on yourself. It just means you have to work harder.
You're doing a great job raising your girl. You should be proud.

Ralph Markowicz
January, 28 2010 at 7:03 am

I guess I can cope. I'm still alive. I'm a rapid-cycler. My mood swings frustrate everyone around me. My family can't cope. I have a granddaughter that I never saw until she was 14. And my grandson was 10 the first time I saw him. Then I moved away. My family wants it that way. Living with me is hard on my wife but she copes. When I'm "up" I'm a very angry person. When I'm down I'm suicidal. I TRY to cope. I guess I do. I'm still alive.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
January, 28 2010 at 7:52 am

You are coping. It's hard to live with us sometimes, but I'm sure your wife has her own coping skills. Maybe you just need to acquire some new coping skills to go along with the old ones.
You are alive and that is a great thing.

January, 28 2010 at 3:03 am

Hi, I just recently found and the Bipolar Vida blog and without sounding "mental," I feel it mysteriously landed in my inbox sent from heaven at just the right time!
I have suffered with bipolar disorder for many years now and only just a little over a year ago was officially diagnosed with bipolar.
Today, I had a really bad anxious bipolar day. I was in my merry little routine of getting my two girls ready when I received a phone call asking me to attend an appointment at 9 a.m. tomorrow. My bubble popped! I couldn’t think straight. My attitude changed. I was screaming and shouting, flapping about. Then the anxiety kicked in and I felt heat coming out of my chest. I got dizzy/sick, as though my world was ending. It has taken me until 3 p.m. to sort myself out! I feel on days like this, such a simple thing can trigger such devastation and drama. Now, I’m thinking – is my medication still working?
It’s such a great relief to read other people’s comments and know I’m not alone. I hope my children can forgive me for all they’ve been through because of my illness.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
January, 29 2010 at 2:31 am

You are not alone. Living a life with bipolar is never easy. Your medication only manages your bipolar, it doesn't cure it.
Anxiety may have reared it's ugly head at you, but you came out okay! You coped and managed. You should be proud that you were able to have good self talk that helped you out of the ugliness.
Thanks for commenting. We're here.

Kay Alexander
January, 27 2010 at 1:21 pm

I am now 59 years old and diagnosed since I was 19. I cope. I cope well when under pressure from work or family life or during emergencies. These are times my brain forgets it has a problem, I don't know where this comes from.
I bought up 2 sons alone and I cope. Both turned out well and don't understand me but I'm the first one they call when there is an emegency. Again I cope.
I think it's all part of Bipolar, the good part, and that we have inner strength other people dont possess. A coping mechanism we can access when needed.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
January, 28 2010 at 12:45 am

I never thought of it that way. I'm good in an emergency situation, too. I think the inner parent takes over to smooth everything out.
Thanks for your comment and congratulations on your success with your children!

Angel Sandoval
January, 27 2010 at 10:59 am

I appreciate your journey so much. It is very difficult being a patient, loving and attentive parent under 'normal' circumstances. But your brave pursuit to do as much as you can despite your anxiety is inspiring to ALL parents. It shows us that no matter what, we can rise above, we can hope and we can do whatever we have to do for them and for us!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
January, 28 2010 at 12:43 am

Thank you for your comment! I try my best to be a loving parent, even on the not so good days. My children deserve it.

Betsy de Jong
January, 27 2010 at 8:52 am

How I know those feelings............I am in the next generations! I have been so many things since my sixteen birthday. Now i am sixty five and yes I am bipolar.
My husband of 75 has been diagnosed with cancer, it is not curable, do you know what I can cope.
My Mother is 98 and is living in a world of her own, my brothers do not visit her and I am the only one that is visiting my dear Mother. Again I am coping.
My granddaughter has been diagnosed with an iregular heartbeat, and now has epileptic fits again I am coping.
The reason...................we are special people, with more insight that the normal person out there. We can help people around us. We can cope.
Unlock the special gifts that was bestowed on you because of our bipolar condition and use it to you benefit and those of your family.
I am there for your you.
Lots of love and understanding.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
January, 27 2010 at 9:19 am

Hi, Betsy,
You give me hope! Thank you. It sounds like you're coping extremely well under the circumstances. Someday I wish to be more like you.
Would you share with us what coping mechanisms you use?

Leave a reply