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Re-evaluating Things a Bit…

March 29, 2014 3 comments

I think I’m going to need to manage my expectations about my illness differently.

From one perspective I’m very lucky. My lows and highs used to be very extreme and both of them made me pretty dysfunctional. That’s not remarkable, but it’s not pleasant.

Since I’ve been on decent meds the extremes have levelled out and I’ve been able to live a mostly normal life, however saying that things are completely normal is still wishful thinking. I noticed this fact this week when my brain tipped over from low to high (it is a gradual process).

I am a computer programmer and for months I have been having a lot of difficulty at work. I’ve been making all the usual excuses, telling myself I’m a procrastinator, that I’m just bored, that other people are making my work difficult, and so on. Even my psychiatrist told me what I needed was a good kick in the backside.

Then my brain switched into high mode and suddenly how to do all my jobs became so clear and I started working my way through them. I saw my excuses for what they were. It was my brain that was still impaired.

Don’t get me wrong: my meds deal with the worst of my symptoms. However they are not 100% effective, either.

I suppose I need to look at adjusting my meds, which is a scary thing because they do work very well. I certainly don’t want to become less functional again. Still the way things stand when I’m low things at work are pretty hard, so something has to change. No more wishful thinking.

I’m not Dead Yet…

April 27, 2012 4 comments

I’m feeling better.

I’ve been using up all my creativity at work and coming home, walking the dogs, and watching TV episodes on my computer, and going to bed at 8pm. I haven’t had much to say lately.

I am up to 50mg of Lamotrigine and I think the only side-effects are are runny nose. I’m extremely lucky.

I have had such bad tremors that I can barely operate a mouse, but my pdoc thinks that is the Modecate and is cutting me back to 12mg every three weeks. We’ll see how that goes.

I could really use some hypomania right now.

Status Report #12 (Lamotrigine, Caffeine, and Sleep)

April 14, 2012 1 comment

I finally started Lamotrigine this week. I had been holding off because I thought it was expensive. With my drug plan it turned out to be less than $6.00. Stupid me for waiting two weeks. Tonight will be my fourth 25mg dose and so far I can only report a runny nose. We’ll see what happens when I ramp up the dose. The last thing I need is to be more sleepy than I already am.

According to my doctor the dreaded fatal skin rash “only” affects children, and it only occurs when the med is stopped suddenly and then restarted at full dose. Hopefully these will not apply to me.

I’m not depressed (this is always my big concern) but I just haven’t had a lot of time to write in the past few days. My mixed mood seems to be better. The agitation and unfocusedness are mostly gone as long as I monitor my caffeine intake. Rather than drinking over a box of 12x355ml a day I’m stretching a box out over three days. In the mean time I’m drinking a lot more water. As a result I’m pretty sleepy during the day, but it’s better than the agitation.

Monday through Friday I’ve started to get up at 4:30am and go to bed at 9:00pm. That’s what has made it hard to do blog writing. Once I’m used to being up so early I’ll be more useful in the early morning. My husband is back at work and in order to carpool with him I need to get up that early (I also have to walk the three dogs). He has to be at work in Toronto for 6:45am and he drops me off in Mississauga at 6:15am. The upside is that I can leave work at 3:15pm when my husband comes to pick me up.

Today, I got up at 7:00am and I’ve had six hours of naps since noon, but that’s because I needed it. I’ll bet I sleep like normal tonight.

Status Report #11 (Things are Better)

April 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Today is much better than yesterday. Not perfect, but much better. The difference is caffeine. My daily routine when I am feeling down is to start the day with a monster coffee (two heaping tablespoons of instant coffee) or a double energy drink. Usually this liquid assault barely phases me. Then I sustain the feeling with about 4L of diet cola during the day. The result is that I can keep my eyes open and not drift off to sleep.

For the past few days, the caffeine has just made me hyper, unfocused, and agitated. I couldn’t even write on paper, and it did nothing for being sleepy, either. I guess it’s because I’m in a mixed-mood.

I switched to water yesterday and I noticed that I felt better, so today I cut the caffeine right back (no coffee and only a litre of pop–I don’t want to get withdrawals) and it has made a big difference. Funny that. Who’d imagine that I’d be a full-blown Java-junkie[1]?

[1] Ironically, I’m a Java programmer. I *am* a Java-junkie.

My ex-employer stiffed me for over $5000 last year

February 23, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m just doing my 2011 taxes and I now see the extent of what happened. In October and November I was depressed anyway, and the organization I worked for was failing. I wanted desperately to keep things as they were, so I kept working for no pay hoping things would turn up and money would miraculously appear. I worked for almost two months before I took another job in desperation.

I’ve always hated change, and I’ve always been willing to go to insane lengths to avoid it (absolutely no joke intended). When I’m depressed, I’m at my worst.

Now that it is all worked out I am writing off over $5000 in lost pay. There is no sense going after my ex-boss: he tried everything he could and he’s worse off than I am and there is simply no money. I knew when I took the job that if there was no business there would be no pay.

The only thing is that my ex-boss is still calling trying to get me to do free work for him. I did over 20 hours this past weekend, but I think enough is enough. I’ve got enough good karma. I should mention that he is a university professor, so he is used to having grad students who are only too willing to work for free (or for low pay). I don’t think he quite grasps the dividing line between grad student and employee. Sure I do the work because I love it (right now that’s the only reason) but I do have a mortgage, too.

I have to say that my new boss has been extremely great. I’ve done some dumb things, but he keeps cutting me slack. He even thinks he caught me in an outright lie, and he has cut me slack. About the lie: I misunderstood a superior co-worker and thought I was finished a project and told the boss. It turned out I wasn’t finished, so I could either be a liar or an idiot and I decided to be a liar. Since the boss forgave me anyway, it didn’t seem like a good idea to argue.

The Darkness is Sneaking Up

January 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Things aren’t going too badly, actually. I can tell I’m depressed in dozens of little ways (with fatigue being a big way) but I’m only a little bit down in the dumps and my concentration is still okay. One day I was a little despondent in the morning, but after a day of hard work I felt great. It’s still early in the cycle, but I can hope things won’t get much worse.

The last depression was pretty serious, but I was also going through a very tough time (I literally had no money). My situation is much better this time (I have a good job), so I’ll see what difference that makes.

I know I keep saying this, but without the meds I would be harming myself and doing all kinds of awful things. I would be so incapable of doing anything it would be like being in a trance, or having an out-of-body experience. These days things never get like that. Even if I think of suicide in the coming weeks, I know I am still so much better off than I used to be. The situation never gets totally hopeless.

I won’t comment on the depression again unless it gets remarkably better, or remarkably worse.

Categories: bipolar, depression, meds, self-harm, work Tags: ,

I am Depressed Again

January 22, 2012 1 comment

Please remember that a bipolar person’s mood shifts regardless of whether he is happy or sad, or what is going on in his life.

I am now officially depressed. I can tell because I slept for about twelve hours so far today. I slept a long time yesterday, too, but more on and off. I’ve been having an increasingly difficult time concentrating in the past few days, too. Mostly because of apathy. I am not sad, yet, but that will come.

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