Independence Day

One day is pretty much like the others for me now but I thought I would wish everyone else (American at least) a Happy Independence Day! And since it’s Independence Day, I should declare myself independent of some guilt. My (new) therapist has asked me how long I intend to keep punishing myself for losing my job and she said I just need to declare that I am done. Put it in writing, she said. So here, I am publicly announcing it:

I, Manic Monday, hereby do declare that I shall not feel guilty over losing my job.
-Thursday, July 4, 2013

Things didn’t go exactly as I planned there, some of it was my fault, some of it wasn’t, but I can’t keep blaming myself for losing the job. It’s gone and done. I just have to try to find a new one. (Easier said than done, sadly.)  It was a really bad place for my mental health and my mind is better off not there.  I might have to work three jobs instead of one, but everyone goes through phases in their life.  Hopefully, this is just a phase.

Wow, my therapist was right.  It is liberating to write something like that.  She also told me to draw with my left hand using crayons.  That’s kind of liberating too.  I did it one day when my anxiety was really high and discovered what anxiety “looks” like to my inner self.  It was really interesting.  I’m going to take it with me to my next therapy session.

Anyway, that’s all I have to share for today.  🙂

 

 

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Me? A Good Sub?

OK, this has come up twice now, so I thought I should blog about it. Last week a student at the end of class said, “You’re a good sub.” He was a very nice kid as he helped with attendance and then put up most of the chairs in the room (last class of the day for that teacher). I said thank you and told him he was a good student. As for internalizing the compliment… well, it was all disbelief. Why would he say that I was a good sub? The class was average, my attitude was average (for me) and by average, I mean I had to raise my voice but I didn’t send anyone to the principal’s office. So why me? I discussed this in therapy today. My therapist asked why would he tell you that if he didn’t mean it? I’m sort of stumped on that one.

Then there was today. For my last class, a girl came up to me at the beginning and said, “Ms. Monday, you are my favorite sub. Can I have a hug?” I was shocked (again) and I gave her a hug. It wasn’t until later, when I was telling my husband about it, that he pointed out that maybe I wasn’t supposed to hug her. Maybe it is against school rules. Now I am going to worry about that all weekend. So I was having a great day until that little worry came up. Now I don’t know what to think. Hopefully it won’t be a problem, otherwise I’m out of another job.

Oh well. I’ve still been complimented on being a good sub twice now in the past few weeks. A few more times, and I might believe it. Maybe I was meant to teach secondary school after all.

Why am I not writing?

Even just now, I wrote the title and then left the computer. Why? Why am I so subconsciously opposed to writing? We talked about this in therapy. My therapist wanted me to start a journal. I wrote the first three days, missed a day, wrote, and now it’s been two or three days since I picked it up. Why?

After exploring it in therapy, I know why. I probably didn’t need therapy to tell me this, but I did need to think about it for myself. You see, any time I tried to keep a journal, my mother would read it. I remember one time, I was in junior high at the time, I wrote out on a couple of sheets of paper how I felt about my home life. I wrote that we (my mother, father and I) were three strangers living under the same roof. My mother found it, read it, and beat me for it. It was the last time she ever used the leather belt on me.

I kept a journal for a while when I was recovering from my car accident. I had to stay with my mom because I had no where else to go during my recovery. I kept my journal buried in the nightstand next to my bed. It didn’t matter because she found it and read it. I can’t remember how I found out, but I did.

Since then, I have intermittently kept a journal. I will buy all these cool journals but then never write in them because I feel that they are too good for whatever I have to say. Or I will start a journal and not finish it. I have one, it’s a pretty pink color, that I have intermittently written in since 2008. I’ve gone through about a third of the pages. I would write for a few days, then nothing for six months. When my cat Luna died, I wrote simply Luna died today. The way I wrote it, with such emphasis on the phrase with underlines, I can recall the pain I felt then.

When my therapist assigned journal writing as my “homework”, I went out and got a new journal. I found this composition notebook at the dollar store that has a funky colored cover. I also got some butterfly stickers at the dollar store and decorated it. I could have used my old journal but I wasn’t sure where it was and I wanted to start “fresh”. It sort of worked. I write in it some days. I’ve got no excuse for the most part except that I don’t make time for it. Or I don’t find anything to say. I mean, my life is boring and all I do is worry about being unemployed or money, so what else is there to write. I wrote at first about my therapist, maybe that’s why I wrote so much for a couple of days. Now that that well has run dry (I had no appointment last week) and I’m out of stuff to bitch about. 😉

I haven’t been writing here either. I did have a busy week last week, since I substituted four days. (One full day, two half days, and a 3/4 day.) It definitely kept me busy and I was tired by the end of Friday. I’ll post more on this separately.

It’s all just an excuse, isn’t it? Writing is supposed to be therapeutic, and it is when I have something on my mind, otherwise it’s just a chore. Most of my blog posts take me an hour to write. I spent about three hours yesterday on my next Canvas post on The Compassionate Brain webinar series. I wish I hadn’t committed myself to it. My summaries are two weeks past the air date and they take so much time to write. It all feels like so much effort for me right now. I don’t think I’m really depressed, although I am doing a bit of cycling, but still it feels like so much effort. I can’t imagine if I did this for a living. It takes me so long to write anything! (And it’s not my typing speed slowing me down.)

Well there. I wrote about not writing. Does anyone else have this problem? If so, how do you get around it? Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks.


© 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.

Therapy

I’m really feeling a little mixed right now.  I don’t mean a mixed manic-depressive episode, I mean that my feelings are a little uncertain.  I went to therapy today.  I remember having a lot to write about therapy last week, but I’ve since forgotten and because I didn’t get it down into words while it was fresh, I’ve forgotten.  Other than this: my therapist has read a few of my personal posts.  I sent her to A Canvas of the Minds because I think there is good stuff there that people are sharing, but she somehow got connected to this blog.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  She hasn’t mentioned anything this week, but I haven’t written anything much that’s personal lately.  (I’ve got all these posts rattling around in my head, the ideas slowly slipping away before they pass through my fingertips to the keyboard.)  I didn’t bring it up because I didn’t even think about it.  I’ll have to think some more about it before I bring it up next week.

My therapist is wicked sharp – she picks up on things both in what you say and how you act.  She is a master at reading body language. She points out when I’ve crossed my arms or a look on my face or if I start tapping a foot.  Things that even I don’t notice. One day she commented on how I was dressed in brighter colors and my nails weren’t painted in this black (actually, a really deep plum) color and how it was indicative of my mood.  Well, the next week I wore black just to mess with her and she got that.  I don’t like having ‘tells’.  We all have them, but I don’t like having them.  Usually my clothes aren’t much of a tell these days because it mostly depends on what’s clean and what fits.  (Most of my clothes are too small now 😦 )

Back to therapy… sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but I guess it’s supposed to be uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to have these things pointed out to you.  We talked about therapy being uncomfortable.  If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t get anywhere.  (So if PT stands for Physical Torture, does MT stand for Mental Torture?)  We are trying to work on mindfulness.  She’s been photocopying stuff from books for me.  The latest one is from Mind Over Mood.  I HATE self-help books.  I feel like I am being talked down to and that everything in there is so cheesy.  But I told her to present things to me as research results instead of just whatever – therapy talk, I guess.  So does this book qualify as research based because it’s got copyrights stamped all over the pictures and worksheets?

NOT MINE – See copyright

No, it’s still a self-help book.  I can buy it on Amazon for $16.47.  Maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt – perhaps she is photocopying the clinician’s guide version of it.  Oh wait, I just checked that out on Amazon and it looks to be identical.

The basic theory makes sense: everything impacts everything else.  I’ll go so far as to agree that thought affects moods, behaviors, and physical reactions, but I have a hard time with the vice versa.  When I am feeling down, not even a walk is going to rattle me out of the blues.  It just doesn’t work for me.  Just like the magic ‘fake it ’til you make it’ doesn’t work for me either.  If that were the case, then I’d have self-esteem by now.  But apparently (based on my therapy session), I am being too pessimistic and that’s why it’s not working for me.  Just because I’m in a semi-stable mood, does that mean that all the psych tricks are going to work?  And if they work so well, why doesn’t everyone do them?

So maybe I am simply a pessimist and doomed to be miserable.  I don’t see how this is going to help me deal with difficult people or lift my recurring depression.  DH recommended a couple of chapters in one of his old psych books.  Maybe that’s more my speed.  I’ll try it.  That’s all I’m going to commit to.

 
© 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.

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.

New Position

My new position is: job hunter.  That’s right, corporate politics win again.

I’ve procrastinated on writing this for a while.  I have only shared this news with a few select friends and no family.  Basically, I’ve been kicked out of R&D – I can still look other places within the company, but I only have until March 30 to do that.  Otherwise, I’m on my own.  I haven’t checked to see if I qualify for unemployment, but I think I do.  Right now, all I can think of is how I can keep my foot in the door.  I’m working my network as best I can.

I’ve been going through so many internal changes over the past 10 months.  I’d like to have a job that I enjoy, but I realize that’s asking a lot these days.  I really don’t want to move – I like my house, I have friends, and I have great doctors.  I just wish I could have kept my mouth shut about a lot of things at work.  Work life goes so much smoother for you if you keep your head down.  As a friend of mine said, as soon as you stick it up, someone will chop it off.

I’ve been through a lot of emotional upheaval lately.  Anger, depression, anxiety, self-blame.  I’m still fighting these emotions.  I have no legal recourse; I’ve already investigated that route.  All I can do is try to keep going forward.

I met my pdoc the other day and she decided that we shouldn’t change my medicine with so much else going on in my life.  I see her again in 2 weeks, but what happens then?  How does COBRA work?  I can’t even get the paperwork until after the 30th.  What happens if I need to see a doctor during the month of April?  So many things to figure out.

She did have some very nice and supportive things to say.  Then she firmly stated, “I mean every word of it.  I don’t say things I don’t mean.”  She has the kind of demeanor that brooks no argument. My therapist tried to say the same thing today but either she’s not as believable or she just doesn’t express it as well.  I feel like she is someone paid to be my friend.  I miss my old therapist.

However, I’m pretty sure I won’t have mental health coverage after the 30th, unless I pull off this little miracle of finding a new job.  So my therapists met as a group: my original one (owner), my current one, and a new girl in the office.  What they are offering me is free counseling with the new girl if I lose my job.  (Otherwise, I’ll pay to see my old counselor once she returns from maternity leave.)  One thing about living in this area is that people are nice and supportive if they know you.  Like anywhere else, we range from really rude to really supportive, but honestly, how many are willing to give you free service because you are down on your luck?  Like my hairdresser who shampooed my hair for free when I was recovering from surgery?

Anyway, that’s why I’ve been so quiet lately.  I’ve been working on the job thing, and ashamed to tell people that I’ve lost my job.  Every day is a new battle: a battle to get up, to take a shower, to push myself to pursue leads, to keep my head above water and not let the current of depression and hopelessness drag me under.

It’s a really tough fight.

 

Turning Point

I’ve been reluctant to write this post in fear that I may jinx myself, but I think I’ve reached a turning point in my depression. I’m not out of the woods yet, but neither am I being rapidly consumed by a voracious black hole of despair.  The flood of Paxil seems to be helping my depression, now the worry is switching.  Sadly, Paxil may be responsible for some of my weight gain as well.  I saw my psychiatrist and she said we will give the Paxil another two weeks and see what happens.  It’s always been my go-to drug in desperate times… how dare it make me fat?!?! There has to be another way to deal with the weight.  I hope the walking will help soon.

Today was marginally easier to get out of bed.  It was definitely easier to take a shower.  I wouldn’t say I was excited or anything, but it didn’t take as much out of me as usual.  I did my PT exercises early in the day (before my shower) and my arm doesn’t hurt as much today.  It hurt a lot yesterday, so I missed my exercises. 😦  It’s really difficult to push past the pain so this is something I need to address with the doctor when I see him next week.  I seriously doubt he will keep me off work any longer, so I’ve got to get prepared.

This afternoon, I made some phone calls and started getting the ball rolling on my house.  Tentatively, the week after next.  (Just when I should be going back to work.  Oh joy.)  But it will be so nice when it is done.  I’ve got another exterminator coming on Friday for a second estimate, but he already told me it will cheaper ($600-800 instead of $1200).  I’m also going to have to get the front door worked on too to replace the destroyed wood and clean it all up. There’s not a single termite in our neighborhood except for my house.  Why me?

I went walking with my husband and the dog this afternoon.  It was another nice day out.  (We’ve been lucky to have a mild winter this year – knock on wood.  No excuse for the snowblower I bought though!)  I’m not sure today’s walk was as long as yesterday’s was but I was still aching when I got home.  I will be so glad to see my massage therapist tomorrow.

Tomorrow I get to meet my temporary councilor too.  My therapist is out on maternity leave for the next two months so I am seeing someone else in her office in the meantime.  I may have to cut back my sessions from every week to every other week.  For one thing, they don’t take my insurance anymore so it will cost more.  For another thing, I’ll be back at work and all these doctors and therapist appointments will be a lot harder to schedule.  I’m overwhelmed with the thought of it.

Well, I guess I have caught up on the boring world of the down and out, so maybe I will be able to tackle all the lovely awards that Lulu has given me.  🙂

 
© 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.