Stupid Is As Stupid Does

I have long prided myself on the fact that no one, ever in the history of my life, has called me a dumbass.

A smartass, yes; a pain in the ass, definitely. But never a dumbass……until now. And the one who thinks I’m a dumbass is ME.

Why? Because of the mush my mind has turned into since I got into all this mental health trouble. I’ve bitched about bipolar brain-fade before, but now that my intellectual abilities are being seriously challenged by my current job, I feel like I’m doomed because I can’t remember the billion-and-one steps every task seems to require. I’m okay in the office, where it’s quiet and there are few distractions so I can think, but I’m getting thrown to the wolves this upcoming week, and I’ve been pretty much put on notice that this is make-or-break time.

Nah, no pressure there. I’m going to be out there on assignment and have to remember what the trainers taught me about interviewing people, about carrying the laptop everywhere and how to use the software, about what to document and where to document it.  I want to see if I CAN do it, but to be honest…..I’m terrified. And my brain tends to vapor-lock when I’m terrified.

I’ve spent most of the past two weeks trying to learn and practicing the computer stuff so I don’t feel so unprepared this next time, and I’m just not getting it. I have managed to accomplish some of the objectives—yesterday I succeeded in importing the “kit” for this week’s survey to my laptop, and I was so proud of myself for doing it unassisted that I almost called my instructor to brag about it. I thought better of it, though, because that’s one of the easier maneuvers, and I should’ve been able to do it weeks ago.

This is without a doubt THE most incompetent I’ve ever felt in all my born days. Not even nursing school was this hard. I feel slow and clumsy and stupid, and that’s a gnarly emotional stew for me as it brings back awful memories of late elementary school, when I was slow and clumsy (although even I knew I wasn’t stupid….at least not then). In fact, I’m sure these feelings had a lot to do with my late unlamented mixed episode, and I don’t know quite how I’m going to remain stable if this is the way I’m going to feel—as I’ve been warned I will—for the next year or two.

But the worst thing is not knowing if it’s the job, or if it’s just me with my short-term memory deficits and my damaged brain and my meds. And I wonder, would I be able to thrive in an atmosphere where the work didn’t challenge me? Sometimes I dream of working in a little shop or a restaurant where I know all the locals and the only thing I have to worry about is giving them the correct change…..but then, I need SOMETHING to keep what’s left of my grey matter from rotting.

I just don’t think this is what the Maker of brains—bipolar or otherwise—had in mind when He issued mine. Guess we’ll find out soon, won’t we?

Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

4 thoughts on “Stupid Is As Stupid Does

  1. There’s something to be said for feeling competent on the job but then again I feel that way being “only” a cashier 😦 I don’t know if it’s the meds or the bipolar but whatever it is has really sucked the brain out of my bucket 😦


  2. I just found your site and ive read a few posts and I’m so happy to have found this… I have been trying to become a nurse for years now, 3 different times I had to drop and all because of different reasons. Ive never made less than a 3.0 in school, I can recall things from the first week of school, whereas my classmates can barely remember enough to pass the current test. This last time having to drop really made my bipolar spin out of control, I felt like this is it. this is my sign that I will never be a nurse. I’m 24 and have a 2 year old son, we live wigth my mom who is also a nurse, I went on about how I was going to pack my son up and we were going to move to a women’s shelter, and spending every penny I get on stupid crap, then I get so depressed I have to send my son to my grandparents for a few days because I know im in no shape to take care of him.

    I really need a pen pal or something, someone who understands what im going through. I feel like I’m ahorrible mom and a horrible person because of this disease.


    1. First of all, remember this: Bipolar is NOT YOUR FAULT. You didn’t ask for this. Nobody does. You are not ‘horrible’, you are ill, and it’s no different from any other kind of illness. If you had diabetes or cancer, would you judge yourself?

      Also, you are 24. Your life is far from over. I didn’t become a nurse until I was 38! Now I’m 55 and worn down by the stresses of nursing, but that doesn’t mean *you* shouldn’t keep trying. I was a good nurse and patient advocate, in part BECAUSE of my mental illness….it made me more understanding and compassionate toward people who are marginalized in some way.

      If you can ever get stabilized on meds and work through some of your angst with therapy, you may very well be able to finish school and live your dream. Please don’t give up on yourself. ((((HUGS))))


Leave a Reply to kbailey374 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: