Mental Health Mat Wrestling

Here’s why some days are harder than others

Jackie Olsen
3 min readJul 29, 2022


Man’s face is half covered by a wooden mask
Photo by Iulia Mihailov on Unsplash

Sometimes I wake up a different person than the day before.

I might have gone to bed with swagger, confident in myself, happy that the world lines up with what it’s supposed to be.

In the morning I am unsure. I swing my legs over the bed and the cat joins me to say good morning, and I am uneasy. I can’t put my finger on what’s going on.

I hope that coffee will set me right, and maybe a good sit will put my thoughts in order. But today it only gets worse. My thoughts are a jumble of meaningless words, and my feelings are sunk somewhere deep inside me.

I decide, halfway through the cup of coffee, that I will avoid people today. I don’t know what would happen if I just let loose with my mood. I’m not up, or down, but mostly down, I decide. Mostly out of control of my emotions. I am filled with dread.

Anxiety haunts me this day, the worry that I will lose control of myself and find myself doing something I don’t plan to do, I’ll say something stupid, I will reveal my oddity to my friends, to my neighbors.

My bipolar disorder encounters my autistic tendencies, and anxiety holds the reins for the ride.

Bipolar disorder means never being in control, at least when the medication isn’t working. It means my mouth might go somewhere while I look on from the sidelines. It means I experience shafts of pain internally that run to my core and alter my thinking, so that I want to die. Isolating myself from others at least allows me to be free from the worry about how I appear to them, so that I can exercise internal discipline and distraction.

My autism means I can’t read what other people think of me, and that I have no idea whether they can detect my strange thoughts and wandering moods. Better to isolate and avoid having to wonder what they think.

Anxiety means the fear is overwhelming. It’s hard to imagine doing anything outside the house because out there anything could happen. People have taken advantage of me in the past, and I can’t tell sarcasm from menacing behavior because they are equivalent in their intent. Or so it seems, and I don’t know if I’m right about what I fear because my…



Jackie Olsen

Come for the insights on aging, leave with a doggie bag full of frogs and exoplanets. Now more poems about vacuuming! she/her/hers