Stress Factor

I’m now two weeks into what seems to be a solid recovery. I feel like myself again, warts and all, and as silly as it must sound to anyone who doesn’t deal with a mental illness, that would ordinarily be cause for celebration. The weather is warm and lovely, but there’s no hint of mania; I’m having a tough week, but I don’t feel the least bit depressed.

Now, it’s the job that’s got me wound up. I am beyond stressed out, and if I had even a ghost of a chance of landing something else right away, I’d put in my two weeks tomorrow. I keep throwing myself against a wall and I am getting NOWHERE. I’m doing my level best and I just. can’t. keep. up. I am running around nursing facilities on a big toe that is still painful, lugging a heavy laptop with me everywhere I go, trying to think on my feet, but not too much because my thinking does not follow a linear pattern and this is supposed to be done in a linear fashion. I’m scattered, forgetful, and anxious as hell. In short: I cannot do this.

And it’s not like I have anything to compare my performance to—there’s no benchmark as to what I’m supposed to be able to do and where I’m supposed to be in this still-early phase of my training. I don’t know what the standard is. All I do know is that I’m not meeting it, because no matter how diplomatic my trainers are, I can tell they’re becoming exasperated with me.

I wonder if it really IS true that we take longer to learn things as we age. I’m older than both of these folks by over a dozen years, and I know I don’t pick up things as fast as I did when I was their age. But I can’t accept that as the reason why I’m having so much trouble learning what is admittedly a very tough and very complex job.

OK, the bipolar doesn’t help. What this damn disease, and the medications used to treat it, have done to my short-term memory and my mind in general has been discussed in this blog ad nauseam, even though I really, really hate to acknowledge it. However, I’m well aware that it can’t be discounted entirely, and here’s where I’m running into a dilemma: is it time to think about disclosing my diagnosis?

I can think of probably a hundred reasons why I shouldn’t, not the least of which is the flame-out I experienced LAST spring and the subsequent loss of my nursing director job when my illness took me out of work for three weeks at a crucial time. Nor was widespread knowledge of my condition particularly helpful in my last nursing job, where almost everyone knew and respected me. I haven’t forgotten that my hours were reduced to practically nothing after back-to-back mood episodes in October and November; and it doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to know  what inevitably follows such an occurrence. I just didn’t give ’em the chance to let me go first.

No, I really DON’T want to disclose. But I don’t want people to think I’m stupid, either. My brain simply takes longer to process and then use the information it’s fed, and I think a good deal of that can be attributed to my illness and med regimen. I recently ran across a copy of my med list and for an instant, I got an inkling of what that doctor at the urgent-care center must have been thinking when he looked at this:

Lamictal (mood stabilizer) 150 mg twice daily, Celexa (anti-depressant) 5 mg once daily, Geodon (anti-psychotic) 80 mg every night at bedtime, Zyprexa (anti-psychotic) 5 mg every night as directed, Klonopin (anti-anxiety) 0.5 mg at bedtime.



So for now, I’ll keep on hurling myself against brick walls until I can figure out what to do instead. The good news is, I think I’ve just talked myself out of telling my bosses I’m bipolar. Goody for me. 🙂


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.

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