the manic mom and work

i am a bit of an overachiever.  i’ve always performed at a high level in school and at work.  i went to high school and college on academic scholarships, juggling sports, theater, music and other activities.  this was no different when i started to work.  40 hours wasn’t a normal work week for me.  i put in long hours handling many projects.  even when i left the office i was still working, still deciphering what relationship i was making that could pay off for the organization i worked.

but i don’t say this to brag.  on the contrary.  i ran at full speed ahead for 20+ years.  that coupled with a bad marriage filled with abuse, overcommitting, mental illness and little rest my body failed me.  it gave up and gave into the stress of it all and started a fight with seizures that i manage today.  the road marked with seizures has been difficult and scary.  although i know some of my triggers, warning signs come early and i often fall victim to the seizure before i can ask for help. i feel paralyzed, motionless trapped in my body.  sometimes i remember what happened, sometimes i come out in a fog with no recollection of the experience.  the seizures effected me enough that i had to stop working.

work was my identity – it was who i was.  i defined myself by my work, my successes.  without work i was lost – i didn’t know who i was.  managing chronic seizures was ok in the workplace.  while it’s a scary diagnosis everyone knows and is willing to help.  there isn’t a stigma over my condition.  no one questions its’ validity or seriousness.  i can be open and honest with everyone about having seizures.  it’s something that i have but it doesn’t define me.

i never knew how different life would be when i found out i was bipolar.  i would NEVER tell anyone at work my diagnosis. like and work are complicated.  add a baby to that and i’m not sure how i manage everything.  i’s an effort to get out of the house showered, dressed (without stains), fed, dinner in the crockpot and baby clean and dressed.  i don’t even have to feed her!  daycare does that if i can get there by 8:30am.  i feel like I’ve successfully run a marathon if i can get those things done and baby dropped off with a starbucks in hard and at the office by 9am.  it is a success.

then i add bipolar.  how do i explain everything that i am feeling?  i feel like a liar. like a fake.  i feel like I’m hiding a big part of myself.  i take meds everyday to keep level, but they aren’t 100%.  there are days that i am more irritable than others.  i am short tempered with my colleagues and staff.  i don’t have the patience to explain all of my actions to everyone.  i am too quick to act.  i can sort of get away with these behaviors as well as the lethargy, depression and mania that plagues my days because i can explain what’s going on with my loved ones.  that’s not so easy to do at work.  i can’t get out of a lunch meeting because i am anxious and don’t want to leave my office.  i can’t call in sick for the 100th time because i just don’t have the energy to keep my eyes open.  i can’t explain to my boss why i am twitching is due to a manic episode.  i feel like an incomplete me now at work.

so how do i balance work, motherhood and being bipolar?  too soon to tell, but would love to hear from you on how you handle it.

until tomorrow…

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