Sometimes you just need the sounds and sights of the beach. Mindfulness here I come..
…that is THE question! Being Bipolar is never easy. What’s more it gets hardest when I have to decide to tell someone or not.
When should you tell or should you at all. In the professional world they don’t seem to want to know that you have any problems. I don’t know why that is seeing as the work force is human and all humans have a variety of challenges. What if an employee has a difficulty that can be accommodated? Oh sure the politically correct will say that’s what the ADA is for. It has helped make great strides for the physically challenged individuals true. But my personal experience is that it hasn’t helped me much with my emotional impairments.
I worked for six years at a publicly traded corporation serving a contract to a bureaucracy on a government air base. Political correctness at its finest. But all I got when admitting I needed a bit of help was lip service, criticism, and ultimately laid off my job.
Any potential employer I’ve disclosed to has not hired me. Not even as a quota filler. I was told by a state contracted Dept. of Rehabilitation representative to NEVER disclose. She was an employee of a nationally recognized non-profit corporation that specializes in creating and finding jobs for handicapped persons. She everyday is on the crest of the wave in dealing with stigma and professed to support it by telling me to project a certain persona.
I get that we all have to put on our best face and our right foot forward when job hunting. And I’ve learned my lesson about pre-job disclosure. But that begs the question… So WHEN do I disclose??? I am on strong medication to control my disorder but I still get symptomatic at times. My disorder will inevitably flare up and rear its ugly head. That usually comes in the form of fatigue. And sometimes in the form of social faux pas. Basically I have come to terms with the fact that my performance can be less than stellar sometimes. That’s humbling at best and discouraging at worst. My personality is such that if I have to put a mask on for someone I feel totally insecure. I feel like I’m lying. It completely impairs my performance rather than if my symptoms just partly mar it.
So my question isn’t rhetorical at all. When does one disclose???
…and that’s just regarding business. What about relationships or dating? What about telling family? I’ve been surprised to discover the ones closest to us can wield the most stigma.
Don’t misunderstand I am not complaining I am inquiring with qualifiers. Ultimately my life is pretty good and my needs are met. I just would like the opportunity for growth and am lacking the knowledge to achieve it. It’ll get sorted out. Thanks for listening!
One of my dearest friends passed away a while ago. She took great care of me. I needed it. Pre-bipolar diagnosis things came to a head in my life and I pushed her away for good so as to spare her my drama. She deserved better.
For about 14 years I went without her support and charity. By the time I got my act together I decided to search for her on Facebook. That is how I found out. I just missed her by a very few weeks. I miss her.
However I managed to pick up an angel in the process. Not the obvious but her younger sister pops up when least expected and shines light in my life much like her older sis. I like to think I’ve got a friend though I haven’t been there for her as she grieves. Maybe the time will soon come where I can be more the friend she deserves.
So outta the blue she wishes me Happy Birthday. Such a pleasant surprise I call her an angel. She comments about her sister being the Angel. I say some lamely formed thought aimed at being comforting.
Not 48 hours later there it is. My messenger. An angel themed charm bracelet. I race to order the right size to no avail. SOLD OUT. The next size hurry and get the next size!! Got them.. One for her and one for me.
Finally today they arrived in the mail. Geez. Mine barely fits. I knew they’d probably need bracelet extenders. Call the jewelry store but they say come in they’ll have to take a look. Zoom over and talk to the guy. He takes it behind the glass to the jeweler. Anxious waiting.
The gentleman returns. There it is. I am blown away. About 7 links in a chain an inch or two long. I really can’t believe it. They are nearly identical to the original bracelet. The extension will be so much better than I imagined and virtually seamless. Then he says, “..unfortunately this is our only one AND we can’t order anymore..” I got the last one!!!
I am so excited I immediately arrange it and am able to pick it up just a few hours later. I have wrapped it and packaged it with a greeting card. I will send it out in the morning.
Okay so it’s simple at worst humble at best. But I feel like somebody opened the door to allow me to be of service. To gift someone with happy thoughts makes for better memories during hard times. I feel like my friend is allowing me to partner up and surprise her little sister.
What’s more the bracelet is whimsical, dignified, and warm just like my friend. Plus, so I hear, the last days of my friend’s life she spent making bracelets for the women she loved. Now tell me all the little pieces coming together is just in my head!!
Like many people I feel like the odds are stacked against me. My disability or lack of ability however it’s phrased has let my marriage topple, minimized the mothering I can do, makes school nearly impossible when matched with ADHD, has me at the end of a long rope dangling by the knot at work, and doesn’t leave me with any warm fuzzies for the near future.
Am I suicidal or having suicidal ideation? No. Thanks to a large, potent cocktail of drugs. Drugs that if I take a drug test for they are “over-looked”. –Well that’s not fair to me or my children; truth be told I have survived the hardest knocks I can think of so far before and since the prescriptions. I have come to accept that life is just going to buffet me around. It’s the nature of bipolar. I must have been one hard-hearted rock to have so many edges and corners knocked off. Hell at this rate I should wind up a small mossy pebble lining the bed of a lovely stream-scape. Luckily the moving water will keep off the additional humiliation of the bird droppings from overhead.
An individual today reminded me to look at the glass half full. Uncanny timing- A Facebook quip pointed out that not only should I see the glass half full but that I ought to finish filling it up. So am I positive to not be idealizing suicide or am I just delirious? Giddy with the adrenaline that is pumping through my veins and light headed at the rush of a near panic attack? Oh wait… I no longer have panic attacks. Geez for as much physical sensation as is getting through my fortress of meds I must be down right hysterical with fear?! My heart is beating, my eyelids are puffy, my stomach is knotted… hmmm. Stress?
You don’t think my meds causing me to relax could be sending the wrong message to my … everyone?? But I’ve tried life without the meds too. That seriously DID NOT work. I can promise I know that much.
I am not soliciting for help or opinions or sympathy even. I am just trying to voice what so many of us want to say… ” There has to be something better than this!! ” Ok maybe not yet but ..Soon? Maybe? Huh? pleaase?
So what can I do to make the glass half fuller? Take the dog for a walk, bandage a leper, donate my tax return to charity? These will bring momentary euphoric relief…well, maybe helping a leper would make for a longer lasting joyfulness. But what is going to help me 180° all these challenges and help me come out on top? Besides another 40 years? Well that may be exactly what it takes for all I know. By then the glass better not only be fuller but overflowing. Or else….
I’ll have to take somebody’s dog for a walk. I don’t think mine will last 40 years.
Just found out moments ago I lost a dear friend recently to cancer, a rare cancer. I learned at a young age not to be greedy with compliments. Withholding one just deprives the complimented from some much needed cheer-leading in this world, and while being withheld, the holder just becomes embittered with greediness.
So these are the two motives that drive at the moment: the loss of a sweet friend and the idea that taking a compliment to the grave is greedy at worst and unfruitful at best..
“Joe” if you’re there I hope you’re reading this..
Have you ever worked in tier one customer service? I have for 6 years. And for most of my jobs prior to this. I don’t know how many people I have talked to under how many circumstances in my life. But I guarantee it’s been a lot. I have also talked to many of these same people under a variety of stresses both on their end and on mine.
Then there is everyday life that ebbs and flows through stress and strain as well as joy and joking. Through all these variables- countless as a matter of fact- there has been for about six years 1 unchangeable variable … “Joe”
Now six years isn’t the end all and be all of every little thing in this life but it’s a fair sampling. Factoring all the variety in makes “Joe” more outstanding to me. Variable “Joe” warrants a second look. Maybe a third..
Having a universe of variables internally makes stability all the more fascinating and desirable when stumbled across externally. So in memory of a “Joe” who’s blessed my life tremendously this post is tribute to not only that “Joe” but a “Joe” that’s been more recent, less involved, but impressive none the less.
I hope you all have a “Joe” in your life.. “Joe” makes it better.
If you do factor in the “Joe” let the math show you how much better things are because you remembered to factor in that variable.
“Joe” doesn’t yell, bark, or have glass shards it’s voice; no sarcasm, no condescension, no pomposity. “Joe” doesn’t laugh at you only with you. “Joe” is the person you would like to go fishing with .. whether or not you fish. “Joe” appears to be non-judgmental, non-superficial, non-a-lot-of-junk. Patient, kind, sympathetic and maybe even empathetic tones come through “Joe’s” voice.
Never having met this “Joe” face-to-face, which is easily done these days” one can only hope that all these great features are shone through “Joe’s” eyes. Chances are “Joe” is human and doesn’t sustain all these characteristics perfectly at all times. I imagine “Joe” slips now and again. But “Joe” seems to have a deep enough grasp on how we all influence each other. I’m guessing “Joe” works at being a positive influence. “Joe” is in my life.
“Joe” makes sure you have a warm sandwich, a warm bed, a seat belt in place, and coat in the storm. “Joe” tries to be upbeat, hopeful, and understanding all in one breath. “Joe” even listens on occasion. “Joe” tends to get busy due to a strong sense of duty. “Joe” has fears or concerns like the rest of us but tends not to share them easily for fear of spreading negativity.
In short “Joe” seems to have mastered walking on water. He he. That’s saying something considering no matter how hard others do or don’t try– all the other variables factored in can’t hold a candle next to the “Joe” variable.
I wish I had a picture or some media to express “Joe” but I don’t. So a dull post will have to pass for good. I have let my compliment out of the bag.. hopefully it will be well received. It certainly is well intended. With my internal variables and all the external ones “Joe’s” are vital, rare, and beautiful. I do hope you have such a variable in your life. And if you get more than one- how fortunate you are!!
So what is an emotional trigger anyway?
A scene in a story I read?
A passage in music I hear?
A look on a face?
Tone of voice?
Come on I may as well be like Spongebob after he hurts himself while playing outside. He decides that as a Sponge his only recourse is to act like one and sit indoors filtering water. His only friends are three friends of convenience: Chip, Penny, and Used Tissue.
OK so from the bits and pieces I’ve read a trigger is anything that sets off a negative reaction within you. For me there are some days all that takes is waking in the morning.
Some smart guy wrote some break through book called “Emotional Intelligence” but I was too inferior to understand the quote I read. Something about Princess Amygdala and a Walnut.
A couple of blogs break it down pretty well. I don’t think the author came up with anything most major practices haven’t already reached a few thousand years ago. Working Solution? The more self-aware you are the less blind-sided you’ll be when a trigger explodes ammo toward you.
Another medically oriented article raises the question as to whether triggers causing heart attacks were worth acknowledging. That is were the triggers relevant enough to be important. I’d think if a trigger set off a heart attack I’d sure want to know more about the gun. Then maybe I could better control the outcome.
So the mechanism holding the trigger and the casualty’s response to the ammo are BOTH important. Maybe. That would take some real discipline on the part of the party involved to meditate and be mindful enough to mitigate the damage.
Until I can get to that point medication softens the blows for me like kevlar…not nearly invincible but a lot better than nothing. The other crucial part of the puzzle is a tiny but strong support network: family, friends, neighbors, and definitely some therapy and/or psychiatric support. That’s just like the picture above. Coincidence?? Think not.
I wish others understood what its like being an exposed raw nerve ending. Its a lot like sensitive teeth. A little hot or cold on protected teeth no problem. But the same on sensitive teeth and OUCH!! Pain.
Funny it didn’t even occur to me till now that while the stimulus may be different the same result occurs.. discomfort. Hmm. Wonder why? Maybe Mister Intelligence knows. Lol- Sir I invite you to share… in low English if you please.
Well I don’t know that I learned enough in my surfing about triggers but I learned meditation or prayer seems to help folks and writing down a list or paragraph or brainstorm or flowchart can help lots to figure things out.
Write the thing that gave you the cause to pause+the actual feeling -ideas to distance the two=so next time you’ll be less likely to jump or freeze up.
Anyway figuring out how to live life rather than sit in bed “filtering water” to avoid pain or discomfort is a “far sight” better than being a genuine Sponge.
Don’t be trigger happy get trigger saavy!
Main Entry: stig·ma
Inflected Form(s): plural stig·ma·ta \stig-ˈmä-tə, ˈstig-mə-tə\ or stig·mas
Etymology: Latin stigmat-, stigma mark, brand, from Greek, from stizein to tattoo — more at stick
Date: circa 1593
1 a archaic : a scar left by a hot iron : brand b : a mark of shame or discredit : stain c : an identifying mark or characteristic ; specifically : a specific diagnostic sign of a disease 2 a stigmata plural : bodily marks or pains resembling the wounds of the crucified Jesus and sometimes accompanying religious ecstasy b : petechia 3 a : a small spot, scar, or opening on a plant or animal b : the usually apical part of the pistil of a flower which receives the pollen grains and on which they germinate — see flower illustration
— stig·mal \ˈstig-məl\ adjective