Coping with bipolar at work is difficult. Rage, memory loss, fatigue and tears are my downfall in others’ eyes. Because I have a problem with rage I try to not talk at all. I’ve had many complaints and sat in the manager’s office far too often. So, if my mouth is closed maybe nothing will slip out. I won’t have the chance to offend or confuse. If I want to stay out of trouble, if I want to keep my job, I need to keep my mouth shut.
Keep your mouth shut
Keep your mouth shut
Keep your mouth shut
… is my daily mantra to avoid exhibitions of rage.
Crying is seen as a ‘weakness’ so I cannot let the tears slip out. I cannot go to the bathroom and cry. The reaction to red eyes and nose would draw a collective eye-rolling and I’m ignored for the remainder of the day. So I lock the sorrow in my throat, where it seeps and brews until the drive home. I often wonder what other drivers must think of me, sobbing and snivelling in peak hour traffic.
Memory loss is humiliating and costly. I make big mistakes that result in financial loss. It could one day cost me my job. I have to keep a diary of my day to day, minute by minute work output, not only to cover my back, but to act as a reminder of what I have and haven’t done. I have a checklist taped to my desk, ticking off the tasks one by one. There is also a white board to one side. This white board is a graphic representation of my check list. I have to draw pictures, like a child, of the elements of my workload. And I have to tick off this check ‘list’ too. Despite all this, I still forget. Then I want to cry. But I can’t. Then I feel angry, but I can’t afford to.
I live in constant fear of losing my job, suppressing every emotion along the way. Constant restraint. It’s exhausting. Not a comfortable way to spend 8 hours daily. Its not healthy either. But I have bipolar and this is how I have to behave at work in order to keep my job to keep a roof over my head, a medical aid, medications, and a full tummy. I wish I could be myself. Just for a while. With no apologies. Just for a while.
-3 Doors Down (Let Me Be Myself)
I was watching a mundane reality show on TV. (ohmygod yes i’ve just confessed my nasty little secret…one of them). One of those competition type shows. There’s rarely anything remotely sad in those programs – except when I’m watching it would seem, because, I burst into tears.
Now I’m not depressed. Uh, let me rather rephrase that …….. I’m not depressed today. So there I was on the couch with a bog roll drizzing my baby blue’s wondering what the hell was going on.
My theory is, I’m purging my sadness. My psyche has been filled with years and years of trauma and illness. I’ve moved through those days and I’ve passed them and left them behind. Now I just have to get rid of them from my physical body. Because we all know when you hold on to negative emotions they manifest physically in the body.
So my theory is this: these are my healing tears. They want the best for me so I won’t hold them in. Every single salty tear wipes away and heals an old, brutal injustice.
WATCH OUT EVERYBODY……. it seems any part of any reality show, these days, will bring me to tears. But really, we’re talking reality shows here, do you honestly blame me?
False alarm! They’re alive! My feelings are aliveeeeeeeee!
I won’t bore you with details, but, needless to say I was a little (possibly alot) overcome by my newly court-declared ‘divorced’ status. I think I just went numb for a while, a bit depressed. Maybe my feelings were ‘amputated’ to preserve the state of my psyche. Dunno. But that’s the diagnosis I’m going with.
Rest assured, today has seen a fresh batch of drizzly tears, steaming anger, jokes and giggles. All within a 45min period………no, just joking. Not. Yes, I am. Not…..no, I’m kidding. Okay, I’ll stop the silliness…..seriously. The morning started with me in tears signing the house over to Mr X, the nice conveyancing lady gently patting me on the knee.
Lunchtime had me telling my friend my woes. She told me I was lucky, not many people get a second chance. That I need to grab hold of this new beginning and embrace it. Do all the things I’ve wanted to do. She encouraged me to let go of the fear, and really live. At first I wanted to give her a swift kick in the chops. But… she’s my best friend. And…..she’s my ONLY friend. She’s also the type of friend that tells me what I need to hear, even when she knows I don’t want to hear it. And I’m the type of friend that understands she’s doing it because she loves me, and wants the best for me. And anyway, she always right. So butt kicking bypassed, we moved on to jokes and giggles.
Just before hometime saw me seething with rage. Just work stuff, nothing important. But that rush of white-hot blood and adrenaline had me all shaking-hands, wobbly-head angry. And it was with that, that I knew my feelings were alive again. Long may they last!
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I was hypomanic and then depressed. I did the responsible thing and paid Dr S a visit. She increased the dosage of both the antidepressant and the mood stabiliser. It’s been about a week and a half. I don’t feel better. In fact, I feel worse.
It’s the grief that chokes me. I’m afraid to cry because I don’t know if I would be able to stop. But all I want to do is cry. To cry for a loss. I don’t know what the loss is, but I feel the grief of loss. And then I cry. All is forsaken. All is grey. Nothing has a heartbeat. And I cry. And cry some more. I despair that I am doomed to live my life this way. A life with no colour, no music, no laughter, no sparkle, no peace. I don’t see a way through this anguish. I hate myself. I hate others who do not suffer with me. I’m jealous. What an easy life they must have. And then I bow my head and cry again. A profound grief.
And the saddest thing is, this grief is not new to me. I relive it time and time again. No amount of medication ever seems to make it stay away. So again I cry.