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I just started a new job. Well, tomorrow is my first day actually working after training. And I'm fucking terrified. I'm still working in law enforcement, but transferred to like a really really intense job where there's a lot more daily stress, but better job security and advancement opportunities (because if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere). And when I get really fucking stressed, it triggers manic episodes for me. Also, it's no secret that all the co-workers are mean/unfriendly in the beginning, and it wasn't like that at ALL where I started out. I'm terrified that I'll start spinning again. Last year when I went to basic training, all of the stress from training, coming off of a horrible 6 months of midnight shifts, doing drill and having the constant feeling of not being good enough set off a major manic episode where I went off the rails, had an affair with a senior co-worker (nothing physical, but it got bad and almost ruined my marriage), and it fucked me over when I went back to work. People heard things through the grapevine. No one knew anything specific, but they knew enough that it was uncomfortable. One of my best friends is a psychologist who works at my old job's headquarters, and she said in hindsight it was so obvious that I was manic, but when you're manic it's hard to see it for yourself. I'm more prone to hypomania, which is easier to control. But when a full-blown manic episode hits I just turn into a fucking hurricane, destroying everything in my path.

Now I'm venturing into the unknown again. I know 2 people in my new job on my shift, one is the husband of a friend (nice guy, but tough as nails), and one is a guy I went to university with, with whom I'd had a one-night stand. Great start. And I found out I have to go to basic training again, or at least most of it, because it's different training working for a different jurisdiction. I don't know how to handle it all. I haven't been eating much for the past week and a half. On my first day of orientation, I called my husband during my lunch break, in tears because it's so fucking overwhelming. And I know that once I'm on the job tomorrow, all I'm going to want to do in the beginning is cry, because that's what stress does to me. And I get an uncontrollable nervous tremor, which I've always tried to pass off as "caffeine jitters."

I'm losing my mind with anxiety. I went to the gym to relax and it helped for awhile. I took a nap. I had dinner with my husband and cried. I did yoga. I did everything that I should do for anxiety, but what I'm most afraid of is what my brain will do to me once I start. I'm afraid that I'm going to start to crack, that the stress is going to kick-start my eating disorder (which is what happened when I started my last job), I'm afraid that in all of my insane efforts to prove myself to everyone, and try to be on good terms with everyone, I'll go way up and not know I'm fucking myself over again. I never recognize when I'm manic, it's the nature of the beast. And for all his amazing qualities, my husband doesn't see it either, and his response was "Well just make sure you don't have a manic episode then." Which makes me feel even more helpless because I can't fucking decide WHEN it's going to happen! I don't know how to create a safety plan for any of it because I've never done so in the past. So I'm terrified of what my brain is doing, because I feel like it and I are definitely not on the same page. How do you make a safety plan for something that hasn't happened, or prepare for what you know will be a rough start? And how do you keep the past from turning into a self-fulfilling prophecy? 

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is your klonipin prn? sounds like you might need something just until you get acclimated

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I take it twice a day, when I wake up and at bedtime. I can't take a benzo on the job because it's a prohibited substance (in policy; I'm sure there are people who take meds on duty anyway). But I'm worried about cognitive impairment. I'm sure 1 mg wouldn't make a huge difference but it's not worth risking my job over. Ugghhh. I love what I do but MI really gets in the way. I feel like it's this big weight I'm carrying that makes some things 100 times harder for me than for "normal" people. 

I might ask my pdoc to increase it to 2 mg at bed to help shut my mind down. Seroquel makes me really groggy unless I take it 12 hours before I have to wake up. 

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i know how you feel. i am bp2 but i start acting like a loon under sustained stress. i am making a big move soon and very worried of being thrusted back into that state of mind. to make it worse i basically got cut off the lamictal which was helping me very much.

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5 hours ago, crazy_cat_lady said:

I don't know how to create a safety plan for any of it because I've never done so in the past.

Are you seeing a therapist?  If so, can you both come up with a care plan together?  Or with you and your pdoc?

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I did not realize they allow people with MI into law enforcement jobs? To me it seems awfully risky, especially for those with bipolar. But maybe I don't know. Seeing a pdoc immediately might help. You may need a med tweak, to help handle stress. It is always stressful on a new job, but once you get the swing of things it clicks into place and you might feel less anxious about it. Good luck to you!

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17 hours ago, Alien Navel Cord said:

I did not realize they allow people with MI into law enforcement jobs? To me it seems awfully risky, especially for those with bipolar. 

Yes, because it's illegal to even ask an applicant if they have a mental illness; denying employment to a qualified individual based on mental health violates disability acts in both the US and Canada. If an applicant successfully passes all screening requirements and is declared fit for duty, they are absolutely allowed to work in law enforcement. I've worked with other people who are bipolar, and a lot of employees suffer from anxiety and depression, sometimes just from years of service and seeing one shit show after another. Having mental illness should not preclude a person from being a part of public safety. I've chosen to keep my stuff quiet, but a number of other people have disclosed on the job that they suffer from some type of MI.
When I'm actually working, no one has ever guessed that I have a mental illness, and I wouldn't have guessed it about others who told me about theirs either. It's not a matter of "you can't do this because of your mental illness," it's a matter of functioning at a standard where you're able to perform your required duties. 

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22 hours ago, melissaw72 said:

Are you seeing a therapist?  If so, can you both come up with a care plan together?  Or with you and your pdoc?

I'm currently between therapists, but I have the phone number for a tdoc who specializes in the field. I just need to call him, and that gives me a lot of anxiety on its own. My pdoc is basically just my prescription provider, but a friend of mine gave me the name and phone number for her psychiatrist who would probably be a better fit for me. I am planning on making an appointment to see my pdoc to discuss my medication situation, it's just hard to actually talk to him because he just lists off meds I could take and I never really feel like I accomplish anything. I might try to contact someone through my EAP, because supposedly they do offer services to people with mental illness, but they're tough to get in with. 

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13 minutes ago, crazy_cat_lady said:

I'm currently between therapists, but I have the phone number for a tdoc who specializes in the field. I just need to call him, and that gives me a lot of anxiety on its own. My pdoc is basically just my prescription provider, but a friend of mine gave me the name and phone number for her psychiatrist who would probably be a better fit for me. I am planning on making an appointment to see my pdoc to discuss my medication situation, it's just hard to actually talk to him because he just lists off meds I could take and I never really feel like I accomplish anything. I might try to contact someone through my EAP, because supposedly they do offer services to people with mental illness, but they're tough to get in with. 

That sounds very frustrating and stressful!  I hope things settle down for you and you are able to settle in with a new pdoc and new tdoc.

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