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A Roller Coaster Week In My Life With Mental Illnesses

My mental state changes constantly due to my mental illnesses.  It’s like riding a roller coaster, in the dark, without a seat belt.  I am trying to hold on as things are constantly changing.  This is my past week of managing my mental illnesses.


I woke up nervous that I was going to have a panic attack at the church picnic.  I keep having panic attacks in crowds.  The thought of having a panic attack made me almost have a panic attack.  I did deep breathing exercises and tried to think positively, took a shower and tried to relax.  On the drive there I started to panic again, so we went out to brunch instead.  Brunch was nice.  But afterwards I had to rest at home all afternoon to recover from the morning’s panic.


I woke up extremely angry for no reason.  Part of my illness is that I have dramatic mood swings, for no apparent reason.  I pushed myself through work, continually trying strategies to calm and be pleasant.  My emotions and anxiety were so intense that I was having thoughts of self-harm.  I went to see my counselor, and told him about the anger and self-harm thoughts.  He gave me some advice which was a little helpful.  Then he told me how he has been trying to get me to change for 2 years and I haven’t really changed.  I became angry again and felt like I was hopeless, I would never get better.  I left his office intensely angry.  My anger kept building, so late at night my thoughts of self-harm were very strong.  Luckily a friend texted me late at night and was able to encourage me.


I woke up angry again.  After work I tried out a new support group.  I went to the group angry and the support group made me angry.  I left the support group.  But then I felt like I shouldn’t be alone with my anger, so I came back to the group, but the group made me angry again so I left again.  I was angry all evening, tired of being angry, and tired of trying to deal with the anger and understand the anger.


I woke up happy and was happy most of the day.  But in the evening I started thinking obsessively about why I was angry for two days, and why I was happy today, and how do I manage the anger better, and why won’t I change, and why won’t the self-harm thoughts go away….  All the obsessive thoughts kept circling and circling and I could feel the pressure in my brain building.  I drove to my regular support group and I felt like there was so much pressure in my head I was going to snap.  I had this strange feeling I get when I am about to dissociate, like I’m about to lose touch with reality and start hearing voices.  But I fought hard to stay grounded.  At my regular support group I listened to the other people talk about their weeks and I calmed down.  I was able to encourage them.  Then I talked about my week and they were encouraging to me.  I felt happy and calm.


My day off.  I felt lazy but happy and calm.  I went back to the support group from Tuesday.  I liked it ok.  I went to my exercise class.  That was awesome.  I felt refreshed and happy afterwards.


It was an annoying work day, but after work I was happy and calm.


I had to go to this all-day volunteer training, and part of the training was that they educated us on mental illness.  I kept being upset about things that were said that seemed to enforce stigma or stereotypes.  I kept speaking up with my opinions.  I was so angry and upset that it was painfully difficult for me to be there.  I kept breathing deeply since my anxiety was extremely high.  After the training I met up with a friend who has mental illness.  She understood exactly how I felt.  When she got there I was incredibly anxious and angry and couldn’t sit still, but by the time she left I was calm and happy again.

By Saturday I was so so tired of how hard I was working to manage my mental illness.  I went to a counseling appointment and 3 support groups that week… and I was still struggling.  I was working so incredibly hard and still having all these problems.  I was deeply discouraged.  But Sunday was a new week, a fresh start.  The roller coaster starts again… I grip on tightly.  I am determined I won’t let this new week throw me off.

A Roller Coaster Week In My Life With Mental Illnesses

Anna Lente

I am currently getting my master's in clinical mental health counseling. I have bipolar disorder, a dissociative disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. I am a writer, poet, and artist. I like to write online about my experience of mental illness in order to raise awareness and break stigma.

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APA Reference
Lente, A. (2018). A Roller Coaster Week In My Life With Mental Illnesses. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from


Last updated: 19 May 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 May 2018
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