woman fallingWhen you have a mental illness, some days are better than others. When you are a living person, some days are better than others.

With bipolar disorder there are periods professionals refer to as “remission,” a time when you may be asymptomatic. You are neither depressed nor manic. You hum along at the right frequency. These are the good times, the good days. These are the days when you forget what it is like to live with bipolar disorder.

You may be aware that we have been trying for months now to get my anxiety under control. I am especially prone to social anxiety. I thought we’d finally figured it out – got the meds right. I hadn’t felt panicky in a couple of weeks, but then today I went out to lunch with my boyfriend and his 3 children and then off to Barnes & Noble. They are having a big CLEARANCE event right now, I guess that is why it was so crowded. There were boxes on the ground and carts in the aisle ways. And then for the first time, in what felt like (but really wasn’t) a long time, I started to have a panic attack. I kept putting my hands to my chest and then to my forehead, my physical symptoms of distress. I went to the bathroom and took my Klonopin. I tried to stay in the store but I couldn’t. I asked my boyfriend for the truck keys and went and practiced my deep breathing in the silence of the truck. I locked the doors, closed, my eyes, and breathed.

It helped but as the panic began to subside a feeling of shame replaced it. I thought I was “over it.” So naive, even after all these years. But I have to remember I am human and not only that, but I am a human with a brain condition. I can’t always control my mind. Sometimes it irrationally senses fear in large groups. I can’t help that. I can learn through therapy how to better deal with those types of situations, and have.

Know there will be setbacks. They come with the territory. This is an illness of extremes, for one must come another. So try and roll with the punches. So I nearly lost my shit at B&N. So what? Maybe next time I’ll be able to stay in there longer. Maybe next time I won’t feel anxious at all. Day by day, people, just keep taking it day by day.


Image courtesy of luigi diamanti at


Elaina J. Martin

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APA Reference
Martin, E. (2015). Setbacks. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 17 Jan 2015
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