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I’m going to try to explain my generalized anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder to you.  If you don’t suffer from one of these conditions, then I can only hope to make things a little clearer for you.  If you do suffer, then you will understand.

My brain runs full tilt 24/7. There are three problems with that. 1.) All of the thoughts I could ever have bombard me constantly and I am unable to hold on to any of them at all. 2.) All those thoughts are just muttering in the background and I can’t hear them. I can feel them back there, but I can’t hear well enough to grab one. 3.) I have so much energy that I absolutely cannot channel it into anything at all. My head is empty of all thoughts and instead I race around trying to figure out something to do. Maybe drive to Virginia to the closest Wawa to grab some coffee.

So I spend my days one of four ways ; trying to grab onto a thought out of a swirl of thoughts so loud, I’m sure I’ll go deaf (anxiety), having a totally blank mind even though I can sort of hear a din of thoughts behind my mind, but none of them are loud enough to quite hear (depression) fighting the impulse to just run around the backyard screaming to burn some energy and ending up sleeping from the medicine to bring me down (Bi-Polar) OR having a relatively “regular” day in which I can function more or less normally. These days are less common.

Exhaustion comes with three of these situations. Not exhaustion from running around all day and being physically tired, but from thinking all day and being mentally exhausted. (Think taking the SATs for 10 hours or a really hard day at work where you are just problem solving for the entire day) I tend to be on edge all day, but trying not to be, or to hide it, which makes me tired (and often doesn’t work). Or trying so hard to grab onto a thought that is positive that it makes me tired. Or, worse, not succeeding in hiding all of it and being on edge all day, thereby turning me into a bitch on wheels. Or, being so tired all day that it’s hard to stay awake, even though there doesn’t seem to be a good reason why I’m so tired.

Not everyone suffers the same way. For instance, there are two distinct types of Bi-Polar. Everyone’s anxiety comes from different stressers and everyone reacts to these problems differently. But, this is my situation

I believe I speak for most everyone who has these conditions, when I say that we KNOW that you can just get over it. But we can’t so please don’t tell us to just let it go, it’s not going to happen and we wish that we knew how you can do that, it’s like magic to us. It’s like expecting a smoker to put down their cigarettes forever just because you told them smoking is bad for their health.

We fill our lives with coping strategies. Things to do when life is hard. Things to do that can occupy our minds completely, or at least nearly completely, so that the swirl that is always there fades to the background. We spend our days doing one thing or another to just shut our brains up for a minute or two. We more then likely are not mad at you. More then likely you just got to us during a period when the coping strategies have failed us for a bit. We apologize and we are trying. Please don’t give up on us.

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