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Ways to deal with anxiety?
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Ways to deal with anxiety?

I have bipolar type I and anxiety. Generally speaking, the extent of my anxiety is a rare panic attack. They’re so rare that when I went to look at my Risperdal bottle to take one, I realized it had been expired since March 2009.

This semester has been busy (anatomy, chemistry, and nutrition), so I've been stressed due to the science classes. It's almost the end of the semester, so stress has been racking up more than before.

My anxiety began yesterday during anatomy lab. I could barely stand the sound of voices the rest of the day.  That night, I couldn't stand my boyfriend cuddling with me or giving me a kiss. His arm around me and his face being close made me feel trapped.  This morning, I could stand those again, but as soon as I got to chem, anxiety took over again. I could barely focus and couldn't stand not being able to see everyone around me. I'm hoping this evening doesn’t lead to the same problems as last night. My boyfriend doesn’t deserve the 180 act. He’s been very supportive and understanding, but still.  

So, onto the question: Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with this anxiety? Since anxiety has never been a huge issue, my therapist and I chose to focus on coping mechanisms and how to look out for symptoms of my bipolar episodes to prevent things from getting worse there. I am unable to see my therapist until around the twelfth.

I’m at a loss. My head feels so odd to me. I feel on edge yet just want to crawl in a corner rather than lash out. I want to cuddle because that always makes me feel better, only it made things worse last night, so the thought alone makes my heart beat faster—not in a good way. And I have to get through creative writing and band today and Thanksgiving with my family and my boyfriend's tomorrow. Not a good time for anxiety issues.

Anyway, any suggestions on how to cope with this until I can see my therapist would be great.
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A big thing for me is recognzing what is happening. That I am feeling these things because I am getting anxious, and to just try to calm down, even meditation can really really help. Do you work out or burn off adrenaline?  That can help so much as well.

I often times carry xanax with me and it helps for emergency situations and often just the "pill in the pocket" idea helps

How does your boyfriend help you through these times?
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Right, recognition is definitely a good part of controlling symptoms with bipolar disorder, so I figured that would hopefully be enough, but it was like, "Ahh!  Still not working!" especially on the day I wrote this.  I think part of the extent it struck me was because I didn't know what to look for as early warning signs for developing anxiety.

I do work out, though I haven't had much time to do so the past few weeks (4 tests in one week, then I had to be at the college 10 days in a row); I've been so tired from the stress that working out just didn't happen unfortunately.  I'm sure that's had a part in developing these symptoms.

I guess I could ask my psychiatrist to prescribe me something for a just in case situation.  I've been med free for almost 3 years fairly successfully until this bout of depression and now anxiety that occurred this year, so I'm a little apprehensive about going back to meds, but I know I need to be realistic and admit that I may need something I can use for situations like these.

My boyfriend usually just listens with great interest and makes sure I don't feel pressured to do anything.  He's very good at talking me down and helping me become calm.  For example, the night I couldn't cuddle with him, he was wanting sex (Heck, my body wanted it, but my mind wasn't there due to the spatial issues I was having.), but obviously I couldn't give it.  As soon as I told him what was going on, he immediately backed off on all advances and asked what he could do to make me comfortable.

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Another example: I had a mental breakdown during a party (more of a kick back, really) with friends back in end of April/beginning of May.  My friends were trying to surround me to help me, and they wouldn't let him in his room because they didn't want other people figuring out something was wrong as they respected my privacy, but I eventually got to that point I was not in control of what I was doing and was screaming.  He came in at that point and shooed them away from the room and tried to hold me.  My actions told him that wasn't something I could handle so he kind of just followed my cues, and as soon as I was calmed down enough, he held me and would crack little jokes to help me laugh and calm down further.  He asked me what was wrong, and I explained I wanted to be normal, to not have the mental illness I have, and he told me I was perfect just the way I was.  We eventually went on a walk after I was calm enough, and I kept apologizing, but he told me that he didn't mind at all because he loves me and he wants to be there for me.

He's just very capable of tuning into my needs and reading my body language when I'm unable to talk as soon as he's cued into the fact something is wrong.  It's one of the things I've loved about him from the beginning.  I was so scared to tell him I had a mental illness when we met (probably 5 mos. or so before I decided to get off meds since my psychiatrist wasn't trying new meds with me and just lithium wasn't working to do anything but kill my creativity), but he has been the most understanding person in my life when it comes to it.  Even my own family doesn't accept it as well as he does.
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