I was having a fantastic time at Tang Soo Do class last night. I excelled in techniques that were far above my level. I was really doing well with jump kicks and then, POP! I landed on my knee wrong, and here I am.
Mental health disorders with limitations are difficult enough on their own. I find that I am unable to just go to the mall. I have to plan, and take a Xanax or two well in advance. The same is true for many other crowded public places. Forget concerts, bars, clubs, and occasionally anywhere within Pittsburgh City Limits. Even the idea of attending an event is overwhelming, fiercely bashing my panic button. It’s enough of a deterrent on its own.
Phobias often limit places I go and events I attend. Social anxiety often limits my capacity for meeting new people and maintaining friendships. And bipolar disorder comes with it’s own special set of challenges.
Bipolar disorder has proven to globally stunt me, from the disorder itself preventing me from having stable relationships and jobs to the medication causing aphasia, making it difficult to express my own thoughts. “My memory ain’t what it used to be,” although it was never stellar in the first place. I find it challenging to create new short term memories and even sometimes long term memory is kind of foggy.
Depression and mania, in their own respects, both cripple my ability to function. In depression, I have a tendency to isolate myself, causing my relationships to go sour quickly. I find that the state of depression and the behaviors associated with it are generally a mystery to others. Since it is so misunderstood, people may start attributing it to life events incorrectly. And when the depression doesn’t subside, others become short with me, occasionally to the point of ignoring me. No one likes a wet blanket, so to speak.
Depression also causes me to lose interest in activities I used to find enjoyable. Worse, I become disinterested in work and start to have issues with the processing speed of my cognition. I cannot focus on a particular task, and most situations become completely overwhelming. In short, I feel like I am unable to handle my life any longer.
Mania is a horse of a different color. In certain types of mania, I become overly social to the point of being overbearing, blunt, attention-seeking, and needy. It puts an extreme burden on friends and family. In euphoric mania, I will demand my impulses be satisfied without a thought to how it will affect anyone else. Contrastingly, in dysphoric mania, I will become enraged at the slightest thing, real or imagined. I have been known to become aggressive.
I have a tendency to become overly ambitious. That would entail me taking on too many tasks at once, with the intent to finish them all, but with zero follow through. This is especially detrimental to my work, seeing as how I find it next to impossible to sit still, or remain on one task for any significant duration of time. I will demand immediate satisfaction, and have an inclination to become aggressive with co-workers.
With psychosis involved, there is a whole new ball game. In psychosis, my grasp on reality starts to loosen. I will insist that conversations took place that never actually did. I will invent ulterior motives from suspicion generated by delusion. Or, contrastingly, I will assert myself incorrectly by insisting I am infallible and all-knowing. In the worst instances, I have had delusions of being a time traveler, not living in this reality but in an overlapping parallel reality. Psychosis makes typical functioning next to impossible.
Mixed states provide a variety of issues drawing from both mania and depression, respectively, but also brings other unique symptoms and behaviors to the surface. In mixed states, I often suffer from dissociation and splitting. It’s as if my mind cannot handle the overload of external stimuli that provokes and emotional response, therefore I dissociate. Occasionally, I have been prone to partial dissociative amnesia, where events that took place become only vague in my memory. I have been known to have multiple personas, and in the most distressful of moments, my dominant persona becomes pushed into a partially conscious state as a disgruntled, passive observer to the actions and behaviors of the alternate persona.
As if these conditions are not serious enough on their own, they can be aggravated by a physical illness or injury. I am experiencing a lot of emotional turbulence over this knee injury. First, I am panicked that I did not receive professional medical attention. I am wearing a brace from my last visit to the ER for a similar condition, but I obsessively worry that I may be using it incorrectly. I am putting a small amount of weight on it, and it occasionally hurts pretty badly. I worry that I am doing more harm than good.
Secondly, I am embarrassed over the injury that happened in the middle of class. In short, I landed wrong during the jump kick and felt my knee give out. I feel like a complete rookie, although I am only a white belt at this time. As I am very sure that many people have gotten injured before, I still feel like it is maybe too big of a deal.
Next, I feel guilty that my husband had to spend his entire night driving back to 511, our old home, to retrieve my knee brace. Why didn’t I have the presence of mind to bring that knee brace when I am well aware that I have life long knee problems? It seemed like an entire night wasted, all over a silly injury I probably could have prevented, had I been more careful.
And lastly, I feel helpless. I am responsible for supervising my child while my husband is off at work for nine or ten hours a day. I am terrified that I am not going to be adequate to care for him properly. I am unable to move around, therefore my function is limited. Mostly, I will likely be confined to a sitting position for most of the day. I am at the mercy of others.
All it takes it one spark.