One of my favorite memes on social media says something like, “It’s almost time for me to put away my normal anxiety and put on my fancy Christmas anxiety.” Christmas is a very anxious--even manic--time of year for many people. But I have a special reason why my anxiety skyrockets around the holidays.
Staying organized helps my anxiety because one of the things that can be challenging, is dealing with a lack of control. Even though I know that I can't control everything, it becomes difficult when I feel like I am in a chaotic environment. It also becomes overwhelming when situations occur that I don't have control over and so, along with it, comes uncertainty.
Anxiety can negate your appetite. Anxiety and eating disorders often co-occur—that's hardly a shock to those who live with the harsh realities and ramifications of both illnesses. As the National Institute of Mental Health reveals, 65.1 percent of those with binge eating disorder, 47.9 percent with anorexia, and 80.6 percent with bulimia meet the diagnostic criteria for anxiety.
Growing up, I left the room when my parents turned on the nightly news. I had no interest. Besides, it was all bad news, or so it seemed: wars, fires, shootings, murders, robberies, injustices, bickering politicians, and so on. No, thank you, I had anxiety around the news.
I sometimes wonder if I would face the same stigma for dating men a couple of decades younger than me if the genders were reversed. It isn't that unusual to hear about men in their 40s dating women in their 20s. However, when a woman in her 40s dates a man in his 20s, the main assumption I've encountered is that she must be a "sugar mommy." It's almost as if it's unimaginable that a young man would be sexually or romantically interested in an older woman for any other reason.
For citizens living in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting shorter. Shorter winter days can affect your mood, especially if you deal with mental health issues like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
In "Dating Like a 'Cougar' Is Leaving Me Lonely," I discussed my mixed feelings about continuing to identify as a cougar. I was worried that the term might be too small of a box to fit myself into. Having thought about it more, I now see the term more like a shoe that fits. It might be a tight fit, but it still fits.
I'm sad all the time. I'm miserable. I'm caught in a well of darkness and depression -- all the time. Now, not everyone who is depressed experiences this. Some people who are depressed experience persistent sadness bouts, yes, but they aren't necessarily constant. Depression can also be characterized by diminished interest or pleasure instead of a depressed mood. In other words, being sad all the time is not required for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder; but it sure seems to be required by my major depressive disorder (that occurs because of bipolar disorder). And the trouble with all of this is that being sad all the time is just too heavy a burden to bear.
I'm writing this just a few minutes removed from a morning run, which I hated almost every second. I'm not like the runners you see in the movies who gracefully jog with their camera-ready smiles; my face is usually fixed in a mask of focused despair, disguising not at all how distasteful I find the whole situation. This run was no different—my feet hurt, my heart pounded quicker than it wanted to, and my respiration struggled to keep pace. In short, the run absolutely, unmistakably, irrevocably sucked. It was exactly what I'd hoped for. I was hoping to increase my distress tolerance.
Being the victim of verbal abuse can create vulnerabilities in several areas of life. I know that I still experience negative feelings of vulnerability even though I am no longer in an abusive situation. Thankfully, I am learning how to properly be vulnerable without making myself a target for further abuse.
Where do we go from here? Most of the family thinks just to let her hit bottom and then if she reaches out to help any we can. Some want to just keep paying her bills and just let her sit in the house with no responsibilities. Never been on medication and impossible to get to her when she refuses to talk to ANYONE.
On the day we agreed to videochat to make things less awkward IRL she woke up with a migraine so we rescheduled to the day after, I made sure to assure her that it was okay and to take her time. Later that day, in the late evening we had a nice chat but suddenly she stopped replying, even though nothing had happened. The day after I texted her good morning and said I hope she was feeling a little better. she wouldn't open my texts.
A couple days after I sent her a longer text saying that even though I had only known her for a short time I care a lot for her and would like to know how she are doing, telling her I'm there for her, assuring her I'm not going anywhere even though things might not be very easy. She wouldn't open it.
A week later I sent a text saying not to feel bad about not answering and that I will be there when she is able to answer again. It's been two weeks since this and she still hasn't opened my texts. She hasn't been active at all.
I don't know what else I can do. I assumed she might have fallen into a depression. I have tried to just not think about it anymore, and I haven't that much but when I do it sort of kills me inside...