So, I guess the beauty part will come after post 2…
Yesterday was a tough day for me. I had this intention of going home, finishing up the layout of the blog, making it look pretty and launching it. Well, that all went sideways quickly.
I should preface that I absolutely love my job. While there are times that I struggle, it is generally something that I know I am good at and can do well. It has always been my safe place. Everything gets left at the door and as my life gets stressful and I want to run away from my feelings and thoughts, I throw myself even harder into work and go even harder when maybe I need to take a breather and take a day. Vacation days and FULL days off are few and far between. Even on days off, I am checking email, taking calls and answering texts. My position has grown and day to day, I get to manage 3 teams. This is extremely important to me.
When I was diagnosed, it was after my episode. I thought that I would get medication; I knew that it would be some time before my dosage was steady and that there would be some trial and error in getting this right. I thought I would see my psychiatrist every 2 weeks at first, continue to adjust my medication. I would see a therapist every week to address not only this mood disorder, but past traumas of my life as well. No one outside of 5 people (my parents, brother, boyfriend and best friend) know about this and I intended on keeping it that for some time. Especially, I did not want to say anything to my job. While I believe wholeheartedly, my boss, whom I am extremely close with and thank God everyday for being the boss that she is, would be supportive and as understanding as anyone could be hearing this, it will still change things. My emotions, work, speech and everything will go under a microscope. Is she spiraling? Can she handle this? I do not want to be handled. I want to live a normal life. I want to be held to the same stringent standards I have always been held to. I do not want special treatment or leeway because I need to fight this separate battle within myself.
Yesterday was a two-week check-up with my psychiatrist. As my medication continues to be upped and my mood balances out to these new drugs, my mood fluctuates a bit. I get a little hypomanic (not as severe as mania, but an elevated mood) and then I will get a bit of depression. I battle internal rage for no reason, anxiety and exhaustion. My psychiatrist believes that I need an intensive outpatient program. This is very open-ended but in simplistic terms, I’d be able to meet a psychiatrist every few days and adjust my medication quicker, monitor my moods and get to a stable medication cocktail that works for me in a sped up time line. In essence, this sounds great. I can get to be stable and normal much quicker! But a lot of programs I am seeing have a set schedule I would need to go into, multiple days and multiple hours, during the day. I would need to take an undetermined time away from work and be chained to this treatment process.
So, I lost it. My initial method of receiving information is panic. I think of the worst possible case before the more likely case. I had it in my mind immediately that I wouldn’t be able to find somewhere that I could do evening or weekend hours or telehealth for an hour a day, or some logical solution that would allow me to work like I have been. I thought I’d have to out myself, go on short-term disability to get time away from work and I’d be in an everyday session to monitor my moods, get therapy and up my dosage quickly. I was hysterical. I got this news towards the end of my workday, which was chaotic already. I have been working very hard towards an office reopening next week and I could not get either of my computers to unfreeze, open my emails and do my job. I got this news, could not process, had to shut it off and go to a meeting, finish up my end of day tasks and address last minute details. By the time I got out of the building, I could not hold in the tears. I basically cried for an hour, to my boyfriend and then to my parents.
My point in writing all this is to say that this is a journey. This is not going to be fixed with 3 psychiatry appointments, 3 therapy visits and a few pills. I need to work at this. Yesterday, I thought I could not handle this. I am still not totally convinced I can. But I did realize something valuable. I cannot think I am going to do this alone. I cannot shut all these feelings, fears, concerns inside me and battle it myself. My family and closest people in my life are there for me. They are there to listen to me and help me breathe and come up with a solution that will fit my needs. There is a solution out there for my outpatient therapy needed. I need to do a bit of research, reach out to my insurance company, talk to my therapist tonight and choose something that works for my schedule. I am not giving up work. I will do these weekends, evenings, lunch hour every day; but I am not stopping work or telling anyone that I do not want to about my disorder. Maybe I’ll need to share that I have an ongoing medical issue that I’ll need a set lunch hour every Monday, Wednesday, Friday while I get a medication routine but that I can deal with. I will find something that works for me.
Please remember, you are in charge of your own life. While our doctors, therapists and families all want what’s best for us, and may be right in the end, there is choice that you have (while of course we are all within our right mind and not a danger to ourselves or others). Make choices that you can live with and that will lead towards a better you. Not choices you feel forced to make that and that will push you back in what you want to accomplish. Fight for what you believe in. Make your voice heard.
I’m here as a sounding board, someone to vent to and someone to help you navigate through things.
Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
What medication cocktail are you on? I’m currently on Lamictal, Lexapro and Seroquel. Drop some side effects and coping mechanisms you might have developed to counteract them!
Stay well everyone xx