Debt and Agitation

handmade cards, collage artI lost my mind for a little while this morning.

I’ve been struggling to hold my compulsive behaviors at bay, which is like telling the ocean to be still.  When the bipolar tide comes in, there’s no arguing with it.  Silly wall of water!  You just go back out to sea where you belong!  Sure, I could scold all day long.  Trouble is, I’d still drown.

When I’m severely agitated, I bolt.  I can’t make myself stay in my apartment or even in town.  I have to get in my truck and drive.  Usually to a friendly coffee shop in Ames or Des Moines where I can sip and write in my journal.  This soothes me.  This allows the anxiety and hysteria to ooze out until I can once again function like a human being.

I used to be able to moderate my rabbitty behavior by going to a coffee shop here in town.  But, Haven closed, and all the other cafés or bakeries or restaurants have too many strikes against them—too expensive, too loud, too dark, bad food, bad coffee, bad service, and the worst—uncomfortable chairs.  I have no middle ground anymore, no place where I can get away from my apartment without driving at least 45 minutes.

This is not an ideal situation for someone with no money.  I have to charge gasoline to my credit card, but can’t pay the balance.  So it grows.  And if I try to pay more on the balance each month, I have no cash and dip into the tiny cushion of my checking account.  So that’s shrinking, too.  As I sink deeper in debt, the stress of trying to physically rein in my symptoms and the squeeze of lack triggers more agitation, depression and manic flights of escape.  This morning I could not see a way out of this loop.  And the undertow of hopelessness pulled me under.

I talked to my mental health clinic about payee services in my area.  Could I find someone to help me manage my money?  But the thought of turning over my credit card or trying to “budget” my flights out of town made me sob out loud.  I thought about what else I could eliminate from my expenses.  I thought about asking my mom for money.  Everything seemed penny-pinching and ineffective.  The only real solution is to be mentally stable.  Silly old mental illness!  Just go back to whatever genetic pool you came from and let me get on with my life!

I’m too poor to be bipolar, that’s all there is to it.

Hysteria is never helpful.  I recognized this as I sobbed into my napkin and the other patrons at Panera tried not to stare.  Yes, my compulsive behaviors are active and overwhelming at present.  Yes, I am in debt.  But, I have people who love me and won’t let me end up sleeping in my truck.  This season will pass.

I don’t have a solution.  My view is too narrow and constricted right now.  But, that actually seems okay.  There are just some things that can’t be fixed.  Like bipolar disorder itself, maybe this is another partner I have to write onto my dance card.  I don’t know.  Not knowing is terrifying, but I can relieve myself of the burden to fix this situation for now.  That helps.

It’s like floating.  When the ocean seizes a person, they can fight and exhaust themselves, or they can float and save their strength.  For now, I’ll float and dream of life rafts.

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Moss Piglet
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 14:05:16

    Sometimes the ‘Like’ button seems inappropriate, but today it is a little International Hug…wish I could come and have coffee with you…we Scotts too mean with the pennies to go in a coffee shop…I’m thinking of you every day and hope the filthy lucre does not drag you down…I get dizzy searching for coins as I walk in the street, and sway as I peer under supermarket checkout desks for the lost coins…
    Hope you settle soon.

    Reply

  2. ManicMuses
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 14:57:19

    I loved this post, Sandy. I’m sending a virtual life raft your way.

    Reply

  3. littlesundog
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 22:13:14

    Well crap, Sandy. I thought I was having a rough day of it, then read this post and decided I had nothing to blubber about. I did see a lot of Vultures flying about today… my totems, you know. Glide and Soar… glide and soar. I repeated that to myself a LOT today! Keep floating on your raft!!!

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Oct 23, 2012 @ 22:20:22

      I had to look up the vulture totem. Death and Rebirth. Endings and Beginnings.

      My totem has been Skunk for years now. She has great boundaries.

      Reply

  4. Fork in My Eye
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 07:28:14

    Sorry I can’t offer anything but commiseration but I can offer that. Our youngest son has pretty severe OCD, our middle boy is autistic, I have been diagnosed with everything from “agitated depression” to bipolar II or cyclothymia, and my partner has issues as well. And we currently have $32 in our checking account and it has to last the rest of the month. And we are so deeply in debt that my partner won’t be able to retire until she’s 102. We are also too poor to be disordered or different. Ah well. I’m currently in a good place emotionally, though, (unlike last week when I thought I would just vibrate into my constituent atoms and fly apart) and I’m thankful for that. I admire your attitude, friend! For what it’s worth, reading your blog has been a great help to me.

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Oct 24, 2012 @ 22:36:09

      It’s worth a lot, Tori.
      I think we’re similar here. Some days we can hold all this and some days we can’t. That flying apart and coming back together is an ever-present rhythm—sometimes it’s fast, sometimes slow. I’m so glad you have your dear partner and kids. The family that spins together…

      Reply

  5. rachelmiller1511
    Oct 27, 2012 @ 05:57:43

    You sound so similar to me with how your symptoms manifest. I like the way you describe the rabbity behaviour- that’s me all over. Coffee shops are also my friends and I tend to cry in public on extreme occasions. It’s so embarrassing but sometimes I can’t stop!

    I really hope you get some help with the money and also your symptoms- the Bipolar must be making things seem even worse. I’d swallow my pride and ask Mom if things are that bad!!

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Oct 31, 2012 @ 05:04:14

      My sister reminded me I have some money in savings, so we’re applying that to the credit card bill. I had hoped to eventually save for a new car, but that’s pretty ridiculous when saving any money is moot. This will help take some of the pressure off.

      Reply

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