Busy

Work is changing a great deal. There has been a change of management and a restructuring of the organization. Not only did my boss change, but my place in the structure was rearranged. The new big boss is proving to be good. She’s very vocal about praise for what we’re doing.

One of the things we’re doing is trying to pull off a training that I’m supposed to run in less than a month. This is a process that we would put six months into in the past because of needing various approvals. Doing it in a month is exciting and stressful. I’m excited to do the training, but all the planning is overwhelming. Thankfully, the new bosses understand this can’t be done alone. A team is working on it. That helps my peace of mind a great deal.

I’ve been in this job for almost four years. I basically worked alone for three and a half years. This new team environment is welcomed. I like the idea that there are people helping me to get projects moving.

All this is affecting my sleep, one of the pillars of my recovery. I’m taking some medicine to give me good nights, but it’s less than ideal. It’s not a sleep medicine. It’s simply one that has a side effect of causing sleepiness. I need good sleep, and it really upsets me when I don’t get it.

I have been doubling up on my meditation. I used to meditate only in the mornings, but I’ve added a time late in the afternoon or evening before bed. This helps me feel better. It keeps my mind clear.

I’ve also been seeing my therapist weekly. These sessions give me the opportunity to say a lot of stuff out loud that I keep within. All that keeps my mind clear, too.

My diet is unchanged. It’s mostly vegetarian with very little refined sugar. My birthday was last week, and the man I’m dating baked a cake, but he only put in half the sugar. It was still just as good.

The one area I’ve really slacked off on is exercise. I’ve basically quit. It’s not ideal, but there’s so much stuff going on in my life right now, and I’m not even going to think about it. Things will settle down in a few months, and I’ll restart my speed walking routine. I refuse to berate myself for this one point.

All in all, I suppose things are pretty good right now.

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Good News, Old News

My boss retired back in the early spring. As part of the change, there was a restructuring, and my position started reporting to a new level in the hierarchy. Lots and lots of change, and I went through some stress because of it. I took some sick time and was able to recuperate.

Yesterday, the replacement was announced, and it’s good news. My position will still report to the level determined in the restructuring. Having a new big boss is good for the organization. This will allow us to move with clarity. It will also allow me to focus on a few projects that need attention.

I wish my personal life was settled. I feel adrift. Very old feelings are surfacing. I know this is a good sign in reality. It means I’ve healed a lot of the other stuff that accumulated over the years, so now I’m dealing with the real fundamental issues from early childhood. This stuff is deep-seated.

I’ve been brutally honest in writing this blog over the years, so I’m just going to blurt it out. (I’m not looking for advice, nor fishing for compliments.) I feel unlovable.

I know where it’s from. I also know it’s not true, but that doesn’t help. There it sits. It sits right in my guts. Embedded there.

Today, I’m just going to let it sit there. I’m busy with work, so that helps. I have a check-up with my doctor for some routine stuff. I’ll go home after work and sit around the house.

I know these blues will pass. That’s the key for today. These feelings aren’t permanent.

Today, I’ll be blue. Tomorrow, I’ll be cheerful.

Struggling with Meditation

This morning was the first meditation session that felt good in many weeks. I’ve been struggling to concentrate. I mentioned in a recent post that I’ve had to revert to visiting My Happy Place. It’s a way of walking toward a place of peaceful concentration. I only had to do the initial stages of that process this morning before I was able to sit and breathe and just concentrate on my breath. It felt so good.

Also, my meditations have been very brief lately, but this morning was back to a good length. It’s not great, but it was better.

Regular readers know that there are a lot of changes happening at work, in April I broke up with the man I was dating, and I’m trying to establish a new relationship with another man. All this happened at the change of seasons which is a time when bipolar disorder can destabilize. It happened to me. I was able to take some time off work and then ease back into the routine, but it was not fun.

Taking time off work for illness including mental illness is not the same as a vacation. When you’re sick, all your energy goes into managing the illness and getting well. There’s no time to relax.

I’ve got lots to do at work, and I need some guidance with how to proceed. I’m hoping for the best.

There’s hope!

I haven’t been friend-zoned after all! Hooray for me! The man I thought who’d friend-zoned me has been over to my place twice since I wrote that, and we’ve had a good time both evenings. We have good conversations in person and on the phone. I’m very hopeful that this will develop into something romantic.

There’s more reason to hope on the recovery front. This past weekend, I received a message from an old friend thanking me for my candid posts on this blog and on Facebook about my recovery from both mental illness and alcoholism. He told me he has just passed two years alcohol-free, and he said my posts helped. It does me so much good to hear that.

I’ve had several notes from readers here also thanking me, and those kinds of words are so valuable to me. It really makes a difference to me to hear that my experience resonates with others.

I am full of so much gratitude for the people who take the time to read this blog. I am full of so much gratitude for my recovery. I have so much good support. I have a good psychiatrist, an excellent psychologist, a wonderful best friend, and amazing friends. I’ve had really good teachers along the way who have helped me develop the good tools (medication, meditation, therapy, exercise, sleep, and diet) I use to keep myself stable.

I started this blog nine years ago. I’ve come a long way, and I’m so grateful.

I don’t want to write this

Because I don’t want it to have happened and need to be written about.

I work at an agency that deals with many organizations and other agencies and people. One of the reasons I was picked for my position is because I am a person who lives with a mental illness. I have experience of mental health from inside the system.

There is an organization in town that used to have a lot of contracts with my agency, but all those contracts were canceled during the recession of 2008/09 and have not yet been reinstated. The leader of that organization has been nursing a deep grudge against my agency ever since. He picked an individual to focus his vitriol on who had to take steps to protect himself. Since I started this job almost four years ago, that organization’s leader has switched his focus to me. He even physically assaulted me in public once.

Yesterday, I opened my email to find an angry message from him and a message from his number two that attacked me as a human being.

The first thing that happened was that old behavior took over, and I shut down emotionally. I became numb. A colleague who was copied on the emails asked me if I was OK, and I truthfully stated that I was not. Becoming numb was a coping mechanism I learned as a child and adolescent in the face of relentless bullying from family, church, and others.

The second thing that happened was the return of old voices telling me I’m worthless. I’m happy to say those voices didn’t have a lot of weight behind them. It makes me angry that those old voices were triggered at all. They’ve been quiet for a long time, and I didn’t need the experience of them popping in ever again.

I took immediate action by forwarding the abusive emails to my supervisor and her boss. My supervisor was unavailable, but I met with her boss. I was able to tell her about the past assault and continued abuse. Her immediate answer was that she will contact the organization’s leader and have all his messages sent directly to her. This gave me great relief, and it was a good solution. I will not have to be on the brunt end of that man’s abuse any more.

The real danger of an event like this for me is it can trigger a mood episode. I’m just coming off a seasonal mood episode that was heightened by all the turmoil happening at work. I’m really frightened this will cause me to plummet into major depression. I’m taking steps to see that doesn’t happen, and I will know in a few days to a week if I’ve dodged the bullet.

Luckily, I had therapy last night, and that helped enormously. I was able to really talk about what I was feeling.

This morning, I feel OK. There’s one thing that puzzles me: I don’t really feel anything about the event yesterday. I’m blank. I’m not empty. I’m just blank in regards to that man and his number two. I really don’t understand it. I guess it’s a good thing. I could be furious. I could be really sad. I’m not. I’m blank. Maybe I worked it all out in therapy last night.

I’m not ready to say I’m in the clear, but for today, I’m OK.

Frustration

I broke up with the man I was dating last month, as regular readers know. I didn’t call him my boyfriend, because I hardly saw him. He had no time for me since he worked long hours every day of the week. It was an amicable break up.

There was another man that I met first who was very interesting. I wanted to date him when I met him, but he wasn’t interested in dating anyone, so we just became friends. Recently, he’s said he is thinking of starting to date. At the same time, he’s made it plain to me that he’s not interested in dating me. I’ve been friend-zoned.

All this hurts. Now I have to get back into the scene and start meeting men and experiencing all the rejection that goes with that experience. Sigh. There’s no other way around it, though. I dread it. I’ve been rejected for living with a mental illness in the past, and getting back into the scene means having to disclose that fact all over again to each man I meet. It sucks. There’s so much misinformation and stigma in the world. Bipolar disorder is so little understood by the average man.

All this has affected my mood. I’m sad. Really sad at times. This morning, I was despondent. Thankfully, I have a best friend who talked to me. My therapist was full, so no available time for a session, but he took time for a phone call, which I was very grateful for.

When I started this blog nine years ago, I was single and not really capable of having a relationship. Over the ensuing years, I’ve done tremendous work and got to a place in my recovery where I feel like I am worthy of a good relationship. Saying “I am worthy” and meaning it is light-years ahead of where I used to be. I don’t think it’s easy to say how important that realization is: I am worthy of a good relationship.

I’m also ready for one, so it’s back into the scene I go. Wish me luck.

Rocking and Rolling

I’m going through what can best be described as rocking and rolling. No, I’m not starting a band. I’m up and down.

Sometimes I feel really weirdly optimistic. I suppose “weird” is a loaded word. There’s a thought behind it that I somehow shouldn’t be optimistic. When I look at my life, however, I don’t see any reason that pessimism is called for. I’m doing OK.

I’m doing OK today. Yesterday I was struggling. That’s the down side of being up and down.

There is so much stress at work. There are multiple things all happening at once. On paper, it doesn’t look like a lot, but in my head, it occupies a large amount of space.

I had a session with my psychologist yesterday, and he reminded me that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. I have successfully managed to get to a very good place in my recovery from bipolar disorder by handling one difficulty after another with rest in between. That’s the key. I am a success. When I feel overwhelmed at work, I have to remind myself that I only have to do one thing at a time, and furthermore, I have a very good track record of accomplishments when I only do one thing at a time.

I also have to rest in between. Meditation helps a lot in these situations, because it gives me a little rest right in the middle of the day.

I realized two days ago that I was not resting. In fact, I’ve been struggling. I notice this most easily when I look at self-care. I am normally a tidy person. I was neglecting my house and myself. My kitchen got to be a mess, and I was struggling with basic hygiene like brushing my teeth.

What scared me when I realized I was struggling was that I had been denying the struggle. I was telling myself I was fine. I was telling everyone around me I was fine. I wasn’t.

Just giving voice to the realization helped enormously. It has proven true over and over that when I say a fear out loud, it loses its power. Every time. All I have to do is say it to another person, and the effect is immediate. I feel better.

Here’s what I’m remembering today: one thing at a time and the best predictor of the future is the past. In the past, when I concentrated on one thing at a time, I was successful. If I keep doing just one thing at a time, I can be successful now.