An Irrational Thought

Janet Coburn
3 min readJun 16, 2024


I just bought a laptop because the air conditioner isn’t working. If that seems like an irrational thought I acted on, it is. It’s also a measure of my anxiety. And a consequence of my current mixed state.

Let me explain.

Our central air conditioner puts out a tiny bit of coolish air, but not enough to make the house comfortable. The weather has gotten up into the 80s, and the temp in the house is sometimes higher than that. And I know that July and August are coming, so temps over 100 degrees are likely. I’m afraid I’ll have heat stroke and die or at least have heat exhaustion and be incapacitated. I spend most of the day working at my desk, with fans on and cold beverages readily available, but still the heat gets to me. And I really need to do the work. We need the money, modest as my pay is.

So why (I hear you ask) don’t we call an AC repair service? My anxiety plus hoarding mean we don’t let people in the house. I suppose there’s a chance that they would only have to look at the outdoor unit, but I can’t count on that. There’s still a possible solution my husband can try. He’s going to get a tester and check the fuses. If that’s the problem, it’s easily fixable.

There’s the anxiety. What about the mixed state?

When I get hypomanic, one of my behaviors is online shopping. And there was just a sale at Best Buy on Apple computers that lasted three days. I ordered a laptop. I made sure it was a refurbished one to keep the price down, but I also bought the mouse, the subscription to Microsoft Office, and a carrying case. It was a tidy sum, money that we don’t have because of car repairs, but I put it on our Best Buy credit card. I also told myself that it was still cheaper than air conditioning repair. (A quick Google suggests that it’s likely a wash.)

How does this solve the air conditioning dilemma? If I have a laptop computer, I can take it to Panera, McDonald’s, or some other air-conditioned place and do my work while sipping on iced tea. (Panera has plugs and outlets conveniently located, I know.) Work accomplished. Body temperature regulated. Achievement unlocked.

Of course, I realize this is a slightly ridiculous plan. I know that my anxiety and hypomania are largely responsible. Ultimately, though, I’m responsible.

There’s still the chance that Dan can get the AC working again, if the fuses are the problem. If that happens, I can return the laptop (within 15 days after I receive it). So I have options, which I love.

I’m still left with confusing feelings. Maybe I’m too fearful of the heat or too dubious about being able to do my work in an overheated room. (I don’t think so, because I’m older and have had bad reactions to heat before. Computers also have bad reactions to heat.) Maybe I was too impulsive when I ordered a new laptop and all the fixings. Maybe even with the money I earn, the credit card expense will strain our finances further. I fortuitously just received a raise at work, so maybe that will help make up the difference.

I’m not asking for advice. I’ll work this out on my own somehow or at least with the help of my husband. He knows I’m in a mixed state, but the family finances are my responsibility and he usually goes with what I think we should do.

Things should be clearer by the time I post this.



Janet Coburn

Author of Bipolar Me and Bipolar Us, Janet Coburn is a writer, editor, and blogger at and