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

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The first frustration

When I took this job I was really hopeful that I would have some time for them to see me as a good therapist before they had to know I have bipolar. I was hoping to make it until my 3 month review and then let it out gradually. I probably won't even tell the whole department; there are so many of us and not everyone needs to know.

Of course differences are noticed. I am not making it in much before 10 and people see that and ask, especially since I have a 9 hour day (I work 4 9s and have a day off). I just use my typical "I take very strong medicine for sleep" explanation. But they even notice things like how much water I drink. I drink over 70 ounces minimum during work, and the only real breaks I take involve me walking down to the water cooler for 30 more ounces.

But today I found I may have to speak up sooner. And for a reason I didn't expect. I think I've been too unwell for someone to feel comfortable making this kind of joke around me for a long time, whether I was telling them or not.

We got a new patient who has a very severe anxiety disorder. I had a difficult time evaluating her because her anxiety is causing physical symptoms and it's hard to convince someone that their physical symptoms are under cognitive control. (This is probably God's idea of a joke, that I who have so frustrated my own therapist with similar issues now is dealing with it).

I was explaining the situation to another therapist who I really like, and she said "so she's psychotic?". I said "no......." since she is NOT psychotic and I am anti-using that as a category for all odd behaviors, because I know from personal experience how little fun psychosis is. And then further psychosis jokes were made.

If that kind of thing continues I'm going to be telling at least some people sooner just so that I don't have to hear jokes about something I dread, and with every right. Psychosis isn't funny, it is the nightmare that can take away all that I have. I know perfectly well that every day now is a gift and that in all likeliehood I'm going to get sick eventually. I also know I can be pretty content with this time, because I'm getting to experience so many things I've never felt well enough to do as an adult, and I can enjoy them more than the average bear would.

But this was a reminder that all will not be well forever. That and a family that made me angry. Which has nothing to do with anything but sheesh.

Must get to sleep. One more day in the big 3 days.


Emilija said...

I had to tell my immeadiate supervisor when I got written up for excessive absences. But otherwise, I am not "out" at work. There are times when people make comments about people with mental illness, or people on disability, and I don't know how to respond. I did some graduate work in psychology, so people think that is why I know so much about psych stuff and meds. I've been at work so long that I actually wouldn't mind people knowing- I don't think they are going to fire me, and there really aren't any more promotions for me except into management (which I DON'T want). But there just doesn't seem to be a reason to tell. Or I can't figure out how.

Cranky Amy said...

I'd just tell them that you really don't appreciate jokes like that and that you would prefer them not to say them around you. You know, you are a well educated person, and they are (supposed to be) well educated people, and those folks don't make crappy jokes like that. I've never had to deal with psychosis myself (although I have friends that have) and it's rude of them to make jokes.

I guess what I'm trying to say, and not doing a very good job at it, is that you can, graciously and nicely, tell them that you find stuff like that offensive and you would prefer if they didn't joke that way. To you, those jokes are just another prejudice. No reason to bring up your own situation, unless you want to. (and this way may make them feel crappy too. yeah, I'm snarky today)

Just Me said...

The thing is that first, I'll ultimately need a supervisor or two to know and because I do things like work later everyone knows something is different and it's generally easier to say what it is. But I really want it to be a small part of me. I'm doing well but I'm not well enough that I could pass for normal, which you do Emilija and I envy you for that.

As far as Amy, you're right, I could speak up. The thing is that it would set up sort of a weird thing. It's part of healthcare that some situations require laughter and dealing with mentally ill patients can be that. However there are multiple ways to laugh.

Generally that doesn't bother me too much. I've worked in psych, I've laughed plenty of times at the bizarre situations I found myself in.

I just have to quit letting words hurt me.