Failure?

I feel like this blog is a failure.  I originally intended it to be someplace where people could read the internal day-to-day struggles of being a professional dealing with bipolar disorder.  Instead, I’ve been on medical leave and dealt with so much medical stuff over the past 10 months that this blog has almost nothing at all to do with career oriented matters.  Now, if things don’t start moving very soon, it will be about being bipolar and unemployed.

Is this blog really a failure?  I’ve got all these awards that say otherwise.  Or does it just mean that its deviated from its intention?

Am I a failure?  This is a different question, one I ask myself frequently.  I have all this education – 10 years post high school – and I’ve forgotten 90% of it.  I’m good at what I do, but I’m not the best or even nearly the best.  I put myself above average: maybe B+ range.  My student evaluations were not great either.  There were reasons for that too.  One other teacher who taught the same classes as I was a very easy teacher: 27/30 students got an A in his classes.  So why would students want to take mine?  I had pretty much bell-curved grades and everyone got what they earned. But if they passed my class, they had learned something.  Not true in his class. I lost my teaching job through no fault of my own. I was good for that school, all the teachers knew it, but administration couldn’t see it.  It’s very difficult to get respect from anyone (administration, colleagues, students) as a female science professor.  This has been statistically proven, although I’ve long since lost the reference.  Maybe I’m just trying to justify my situation, but there are facts to back it.

My first job loss was directly related to euphoric bipolar mania, and this one was in part due to bipolar dysphoric mania/hypomania.  My therapists tell me not to look at it that way – each job has been a particular set of circumstances and I should not blame myself for job loss.  But aren’t they paid to tell me that?  Would I still be employed if I wasn’t bipolar? Not at the first company – they went out of business.  Maybe not at teaching either, because my bipolar cycles were not that bad throughout that time period.  (I had some mild depression and one manic period during the summer of ’06.) Thus, it didn’t impact my work like it has at other times.

But this job… it started with my OCD.  I didn’t help people enough because I didn’t feel comfortable with the safety situation in the lab.  By all the rules and regulations, it was “safe”.  But I wasn’t comfortable, so I would gradually try to avoid it – it escalated and I was washing my hands constantly.  I had this belief that I couldn’t leave a water bottle sitting on my desk because someone would put something in it so I would fail a drug test or outright poison me.  Seriously, my cupboards were full of partially empty bottled waters. I’ve had this irrational belief for a long time. Is this a psychotic break?

Anyway, I pissed off the narcissist by taking advice from someone else, but he never forgives or forgets. When I’m gone, he will probably brag about how he got me fired.  When my dysphoric mania hit I became a difficult person to work with.  The narcissist triggered all my PTSD buttons and I was afraid to go into work. I would go and cry in people’s offices.  I couldn’t concentrate.  I couldn’t do my work.  I had nightmares about work 2-4 times a week. I should have sought help then.  Every time I complained to management I was unknowingly committing self-sabotage. I was breaking, but I thought: I can control this.  I can keep it together.  No one needs to know I am bipolar.

I should have been taken off of work much sooner – not for my arms but for my mind.  Before the structure fractured and I tried to patch myself with willpower duct tape.  Before things got out of hand and I got hurt again – physically and emotionally.  I’m basically a nice person and I generally work well with others, but it got so that every conversation, every rumor, flung shards of insult in my direction, slicing and fraying nerves as they flew.

Now, look where I am 10 months later: fixed physically and mentally, up for the challenge of dealing with anything, even the narcissist. Up for the challenge of anything but unemployment.  And that’s the demon I must face now. The argument that twists in my mind is: am I a failure?

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Simmer

I feel as though I am walking on the edge of a knife. My temper is short, but I am containing it, keeping it under a false smile. Simmering, I can feel the rage building in my head, waiting for an outlet. The right trigger at the wrong time. Dsyphoric mania here I come. Clenching my fists, squeezing my eyes shut tight, biting my lip, counting to ten. Keep the lid on the pot, now is not the time. Never is the time, but right now is really not the time.

I’m supposed to go back to work this week. I have to be in control. I can’t get a straight answer from anyone – who is supposed to tell me when I can go back? If I can go back? Why can’t I work up the courage to call a lawyer? I can do a lot of things now. It’s time. I hate to admit it, but it’s time. I hate working; I hate not working. I hate having everything up in the air. The penny has to fall.

To make matters worse, my husband is sick. We don’t know why or how. It started two weeks ago – nausea & other digestive issues along with pain. Pain where your vital organs are. The gallbladder is already gone so what’s left? Not good. Scary. Doc gave Aciphex but it’s not fixing the problem. He’s in pain and he’s constantly exhausted and I don’t know how to help him. He won’t let me take him to the ER. I can’t lose my husband. I won’t survive. I can’t. He is the other half of me. The only one who can put up with my crazy moods, who supports me no matter what, who knows how to make me laugh and how to calm me down. I’m so dependent on him, sometimes I can’t even make simple decisions on my own.

All of this is building. Time is ticking. I am trapped within my own mind. Building, building, building. I can’t do what I need to do because I am constantly on edge. This razor-sharp knife edge. Keep the lid on. Hold on tight. This will not be a fun ride.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

More Depression

My depression is sinking fast. I am fighting – clawing, grasping, anything to keep my head above water but something is weighing me down, dragging me under. It’s so much effort to push through the surface for that next breath of air. It feels like there is a pit in the center of my chest and it sucks away any hint of joy, it drags the tears from my eyes so I can’t release my pain, it even grabs at my throat choking me. I don’t feel the sharp sting of severe agony like usual, this is a dull, quiet hell I’m in now, paved with boredom and listlessness. My life is passing me by and I can’t even be bothered to watch it go.

All day
Staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall

All night
Hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something

-Unwell, Matchbox 20

I have a playlist titled Depression.  When my depression is acute this usually kicks me out along with a good cry. The depression I’m in now is not so cooperative. I can’t even cry.  It’s a chronic soul sucking monster of a black hole.  I don’t know which one is more dangerous: sharp and short (usually accompanied with a dysphoric mania) or this long slow sense of slowly falling into oblivion.

I’m making an effort to “fake it until you make it”.  I (eventually) get up in the morning. With great effort, I take a shower. I do my PT exercises. I keep all my appointments. Yesterday I went to lunch with a friend.  I dressed up in nice slacks and sweater.  I wore heels and foundation.  (No eye makeup, I had an eye exam later that day.)  I looked good but I felt like crap.  I enjoyed lunch – I’m starving for contact with the outside world but I can’t seem to get off my couch to go out there.  It’s just too much work.  I had a therapist appointment afterwards. I told her my psychiatrist is watching me carefully for switching while we rapidly ramp up the Paxil. I told her (my therapist) that I must look worse than I thought.  She said from the outside I look great. Until she looks at my face.  There’s a sadness and pain in my eyes. Eyes are the windows to the soul.

Why is Paxil not working???  Did they give me a fucking placebo by mistake? I feel like slamming my head against the wall.  Maybe I can jump start the chemicals. Shake something loose. Like when your candy bar gets stuck on its way out of the vending machine. A good shove will shake it loose. Paxil always works. Why is it not working this time???????????????????

Maybe a part of it is that I am feeling my age. I had to get my first pair of bifocals.  $244.  It sucks to get old. But I had to knuckle under and do it. Putting my glasses on top of my head is really getting to be a pain in the ass. One more body part(s) to fall apart.  I can’t lose my sight.  I don’t think I would have anything to live for then. I’ve already got Pars Planitis (an inflammatory eye disease), floaters, I’ve had a retinal tear, and I have a small epi-retinal membrane.  My eyes are about 40 years older than the rest of me.

I think having to admit that I need bifocals just added to the list of things making me feel like crap. I already procrastinated for two years, but there’s no avoiding it anymore.  I need bifocals.

I’m getting old.

I’m getting old before my time.

Will I live long enough to retire?

Will I ever find a job I can stand that long?

Every day is a struggle.  I’ve been in worse situations in my life and not felt this bad. This level of depression has only hit me a few times before: during an abusive relationship, after I left that relationship, when I was unemployed, and now.  Why now?  I’ve got medication coming out of my ears.  I take nine prescription medications. NINE. That does not include supplements. I hate answering the question: how is your general health? Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor.  How the hell do I answer that question? I have so many (weird) things wrong with me but do fairly well despite it all.

Imagine if I had had children and passed on all these weird genetics? Bipolar would be the least of their problems. At least, some of the time. Other times, it’s the worst of the beasts.

All of these thoughts are traipsing through my mind. They aren’t running, scattered to the far corners, sprinting and chasing like mania.  No, I feel the furthest thing from mania.  I feel hollow, my mind just rambling along and my fingers telling you about it.

I guess it’s time for my rambling to come to an end for today.  I hope you all are doing better than I am.

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Road Rage Patient

First of all, I need to send out a huge THANK YOU to Ruby & Lulu for your support on my last post Freak Out, which encouraged me to call my psychiatrist (pdoc) today.  I even got in to see her today!  Since she just saw me on Monday, she looked a bit confused when I walked in the door, but then I got to tell her my story. The appointment was really helpful and I ended up with a prescription for my favorite pill: Paxil.  But first, let me give you a rough idea of how the conversation went (paraphrased by my memory, of course).

Me:  This is embarrassing.

Pdoc:  I’m your psychiatrist.

Me:  Are you going to lock me up?

Pdoc:  No. I’m not on staff at the hospital.

Me: (This is where I broke into tears and told her about the three freakouts I had this week.)

Pdoc: How long do they last?

Me:  15 min to an hour.  No real warning, just BOOM.

Pdoc:  Boom.

Me:  It’s like a temper tantrum.

Pdoc:  That’s exactly what it is.

Me:  But I have no control!

Pdoc:  Welcome to bipolar.

So as it turns out, I am suffering from dysphoric mania (a mixed state) just as Ruby identified.  Pdoc wants to give the Geodon more time to work (it can take months to reach the full effect of the medication) but we added the Paxil to address the depression.  So all of these years when I thought that I was some kind of weird ultra-rapid cycler (like days or less), it turns out that I have been in these mixed manic states.  I’ll tell you now, for the record, dysphoric mania sucks BIG TIME.  Where is my happy mania?  Where are my beautiful, tumbling words, dancing through my head?  My charming laugh, my winning smile, collecting admirers by the mile?

I warned my pdoc that Paxil would make me manic (happy manic!) but she said that we would watch for it.  Hopefully Geodon will prevent me from going full-on manic and with the Paxil will bring my moods into a more even state.  Also, I will be on a very low dose.  Something to get me back into life.  I told her that I hadn’t been doing any of my favorite activities: no reading (books or blogs – sorry everyone), no writing or blogging, no photo stuff, I don’t even check my email very often, if at all.  I go to doctor’s appointments, some mindless shopping – buying clothes & shoes I don’t need, and I watch a lot of TV.  I’m resting, I’m getting well.  No, no part of me is getting well.  But that’s a different post.

Apparently I am one of my pdoc’s “road rage” patients.  The kind of individual who suddenly gets furious (due to a trigger) and is out of the car and banging on it before they even know what’s happening.  Yeah, this is why I don’t own a gun.  I went shooting once.  It was great fun.  But I can never, ever own a gun.

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.