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Stress Factor

April 9, 2014

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. 🙂


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