Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A whole new language

On March 17 (note almost a MONTH ago) I told the powers that be in my company that I knew they were hoping to have a replacement in line before um, pushing my former assistant into new ventures far away from any of us, but that things had deteriorated to the point that I could not see that happening. We knew she had picked a date to leave but was not turning in her notice (a little detective work I did totally accidentally pretty much gave it away), and hiring for that position was going to be difficult. My company has been made extremely well aware of my need to not be over-tired, my history of having to turn down overtime no matter how much I wanted it, etc. And if my telling them didn't prove it I got to spend a nice 6 week disability leave sitting on my couch 2 years ago following a few weeks of intense stress and extremely long work hours. I did great right up until the minute I started crying and could not stop. Six weeks later I returned to work with a lot more precautions. And over the years there have been a few times I have had to threaten them with the word "doctor", as in "well, if you NEED my doctor to certify that I have problems in this area of functioning and meeting normal standards is not a realistic expectation, then I can do that". It always works.

Anyway, this extra work thing has been getting more and more difficult. I am seeing a lot fewer patients, but I am still constantly running to keep up (and this week have a lot more). The pressure of being behind on things is intense, and I am unable to do 2 things at once, so I can't do progress notes while treating. And I feel like nobody is getting as much as I want them to get because I'm so tired.

I say this, and yet the absolute miracle that is my current existence continues. I'm tired but still feeling good otherwise. Which has had me sort of tricked until I thought about it.

I'm used to "tired" being a symptom. Those who treat me or who help me know when I'm trying to pretend I'm not bipolar all know that if I say "tired" I mean bipolar tired. I forgot about how bipolar tired and everyone else tired are different. Bipolar tired means so tired that I forget where I'm going or what I am doing, even as I do it. Bipolar tired means I will cry at the hint of further stress. Bipolar tired means that my body reaches a certain point and simply falls asleep and stays that way until it can function again. It is not unusual for that kind of tired to result in 20-22 hours of sound sleep, without meds. Bipolar tired means I'm doing everything I can to stay afloat, and that includes cancelling social plans, Easter, etc. Bipolar tired means not sitting down in waiting rooms for fear I'll fall asleep (which is rather counterproductive when trying to prove to the psychologist that you're handling things ok).

It's been so long since I was "normal tired". I certainly get tired without it being a warning sign from my brain, and I operate at a certain level of tiredness because the amount of medication I need to sleep leaves a touch of sedation around at all times, but it has been so many years since I worked, felt tired, sat down at home for 30 minutes and felt ok again that I literally forgot that this is what people hear when I say I am tired.

So now I must conduct "bipolar 101" for my manager, who I also realized is new and has never experienced what happens when I'm truly sick.

Monday, April 10, 2006

My miracle

There's nothing quite so sad as watching the statistics for this thing I worked so hard to decide to produce drop. Rapidly. Unfortunately right now is not the time for me to do, well, anything. I just can't. I am working more hours than I thought possible.

However, it is an exciting time. I have never been this well for this long. This is doubly exciting because I'm on less medication than ever before, and I'm having a horrible time taking it and making it stay down. I have been episode free for 4 whole months. And that entire time I have been under ridiculous amounts of stress.

I spend a lot of time right now questioning this. It's wonderful, but very hard to trust. This is compounded by knowing that one day I will wake up and know that it has come to an end. I'm doing better than was thought possible for me at the moment. I am quite willing to recognize that as the gift it is.

At the same time it's interesting to have a "normal" life. In my field it is possible to make a great deal of money taking on-call work. I did a little of this several years ago before my doctor told me to stop. Normally I've had to be very aggressive that I could not and would not work any overtime. In January I did a bit of extra work and did ok, although I was pretty tired by the end. However that month was emotionally draining. The work I have been doing now is exhausting and I don't see myself able to do it much longer, but I've finally felt like I got to try something normal.

On the other hand, I just reach an absolute done point every day. And then I am very stressed by the things left hanging. Today was humiliating because the administrator wanted my desk neater. Well, I'm doing the best I can, but I'm just not able to organize. And there's a lot of stuff on my desk that is not mine and has nothing to do with me. I have been regularly announcing "there's only ONE of me" and "I can only do so much", but when things come up that aren't done that people are unhappy about I get very frustrated. I want to do one job and do it right.

But on the plus side, I'm doing more than I ever dreamed and I'm feeling good.

Back now to the regularly scheduled break from blogging...