OK, so yeah….so I’m back at the keyboard. So, I’m still not back to work yet. I still technically “work” for my current employer, which is great, but I don’t actually have a job with them (I’m on disability, for now). They’ve been very supportive of my process, up to a point. I have a feeling things might be coming to a head in the next 10 days or so, one way or another. If I can come back to work, that would be excellent. If I can’t, I still can’t fault my employer – I was given a pretty strict list of restrictions by my doctors, so my employer only has so many things they can do. I’m not mad about that.
You know what does frustrate me? I’ve had people ask me “Why aren’t you back to work? You seem fine.” Or “you need to take whatever job you can get – having ANY job is better than not having one!”
However, for me, that isn’t true. Sometimes, the answer is more complex than it looks. I am still trying to get the right dosages together on my medications, and am still working to get my emotions back together and under my control. I might look fine when you see me, and we can have a great conversation, but those are just surface things. There are still an alarming number of hours a day that I simply lose track of. Do you know what it’s like to fight with your own brain…and lose? I do. It’s not fun. It’s a struggle, day to day, to get my shit together, and actually accomplish things. So, I’m really not “doing fine”, I guess.
Oh, I’m getting better. I shower, wear clean clothing, eat (sometimes) and stuff like that. But without some help (in the form of medications and therapy) I sometimes REALLY struggle with motivation. I’ve become very dependent on routines. Routine’s are comfortable, and provide structure. They silence the noise in my head. That’s why I’m looking forward to mid May when my school starts back up. That really helps me define my time differently. I’ve got enough classes to take that I’m not going to have a lot of “free time” to allow my mind to wander.
People in my inner circle have asked me “Hey, what’s it like? Are you like, sad all the time? You seem in good spirits…..” I know these people love me, and want the world for me. They see I am in pain (of some kind) and want to help. And I love ALL of them for it. One of the big reasons I have decided to write (when I can) about this is because of those types of well intended, loving questions. Mostly because I want people to know that asking me questions is perfectly ok, and I will make every attempt to answer them. However, sometimes I do get frustrated by the questions asked. I think I’m allowed that.
Anyhow, here goes. I am not sad all the time, or depressed all the time. I don’t think any of the estimated 2 million American adults who have bi-polar disorder are always in ANY particular mood. The point is, or is for me, that depressive symptoms tend to manifest (as well as manic ones, too) in cycles. If I don’t know how to control that, things can get very, very bad. It can take months (as it did this most recent time around) or just days. I tend to be moody, and impulsive. I do things without thinking. I’ve always been like that, even when I’m totally healthy. It’s just a part of what makes me special, I guess.
On the flip side, I can also have days (or weeks – which is frightening) where I have to fight my brain to get myself up and be productive. Those days suck. They leave me in tears sometimes. I’m not afraid to admit it. I also tend to struggle with attention to detail. Basically, my mind wanders around, all the time. (This is why reading is my favorite hobby – it forces me to focus, but my imagination wanders around WITH the book).
In my case, what seems to set me off (or at least be exceptionally bad for me) is highly pressurized situations, where the pressure never relents day in, day out. This is why my previous career in sales was bad. There was too much “all or nothing” pressure every day. That’s not the ideal role for me – in fact, I’ve been forbidden by my doctors from doing that. And, if sales jobs are all an employer has in my entire state, then that’s not going to be a relationship that can succeed.
You see, sometimes, no job IS better than any available job……..
Thanks for reading. I’m not sure if this blog post is doing anything to advance my personal mission of making bi-polar better understood, or putting a “face” to it. I do know that it’s providing me some comfort, though. I’ll try to get better at writing more often.