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i have yet another new job, this one as a help desk analyst. they're keeping my hours down because i just handle overflow, so this shouldn't be too stressful i wouldn't thnk (watch- in 2 weeks i'll be crying about it!).

i need to know how to "pass" at work. my meds keep me pretty stable. i don't cry at work (if i do it is on lunch in the car), and if i'm hypo it is generally viewed well.

my pdoc claims he's never seen me doing better, but inside i feel horrible.

how do you cope with "passing" for normal? how do you go about your life and not let your disorder rule you and what you do?

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I'm out of the closet and unashamed.

If you think you might have problems, you should go ahead and request accommodations and declare your disability with their human resources people so they can't fire you.

http://www.oreilly.com/medical/news/bipolar_work.html

This is actually aimed at employers:

http://www.counselconsulting.com/avoiding_11_2003.htm

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By default, I seem perfectly normal until:

1)I have a BP mixed episode, although that one was because...

2)The boss has a mixed episode, with psychosis

3) The boss acts a jerk and blows me off [n.B. - I could have phrased that better]

4) I tell someone above me at work what to do

5) Whatever infectious agent is in my brain decides to eat more of it, in which case my work hours become a little shifty* since I have issues getting out of bed and driving to work. Also applies to going to church, visiting family, etc. etc. *[n.B. - sorry for the pun; not intended]

6) I start talking too much (although many people find me abnormal for that, some of the same people seem to be fascinated).

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I wish I knew--I feel that the BP and the ADD have certainly played major roles in my not beig able to keep a job lately. I try hard to be verynornmal.but I thinkI jhave lost rouch with what :normal " is, and I worry about taling to much, ot enough, saying the wrong thngs at the wrong times, appearing stupid and/or silly or just plain dumb. I have to start to job hunt all over again,and I am terrified.

I obvously have NT doen the riht things before--my behavior has been off the scale one way or the other--but no longer know what normal is.

I need help in this as well, butdont feel as comfortabel as loon being so upfron with things--

I need sugestios,ehlp, support, something.

Now its time to go ry for a couple of hours--

china

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I wish I knew--I feel that the BP and the ADD have certainly played major roles in my not beig able to keep a job lately. I try hard to be verynornmal.but I thinkI jhave lost rouch with what :normal " is, and I worry about taling to much, ot enough, saying the wrong thngs at the wrong times, appearing stupid and/or silly or just plain dumb. I have to start to job hunt all over again,and I am terrified.

I obvously have NT doen the riht things before--my behavior has been off the scale one way or the other--but no longer know what normal is.

I need help in this as well, butdont feel as comfortabel as loon being so upfron with things--

I need sugestios,ehlp, support, something.

Now its time to go ry for a couple of hours--

china

um... you okay there....?

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i've "come clean" with HR before, only to have it slapped in my face with being fired for no apparent reason. i'm afraid to come clean for that reason.

i'm also a contractor/consultant- i work at a client site through another company. that makes it harder because i'd need to talk to HR in my company, and they'd have to talk to HR in my client company.

ah, the agony of decisions...

i'm thinking about disclosing, but i've had bad experiences with it. i've also had bad experiences with non-disclosure. in short, every work experience i've had has sucked. i need the money or i wouldn't put myself through this.

my pdoc doesn't understand me. well, he's not the one paying (or trying to pay) the bills!

i start tomorrow. i DO need the accomodation of getting a couple of hours off at the end of the workday every other week for therapy, and every month for the pdoc. i would LIKE the accomodation of having phones that light up but don't ring, but yeah right, like that's going to happen. i'd really like the accomodation that when i don't feel good, as long as i'm good with the customers, that they don't take out my bp behavior on me! ;)

as always, i'm optimistic. i try and try again. when it doesn't work, i try again. i have to pay my bills somehow, and i'd rather do it in a legal way :)

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I don't "pass". I deal. I have been full manic, like edge-of-sociopath manic. I have been depressed to the point of crying at my desk. I have been stable.

Whatever. Different moods, same mask. Smile and nod, smile and nod. Never let them see you cryshow no vulnerability, be better than the best.

Of course, aside from my bosses and HR, most of the folks there know I'm on something, and one knows I'm bp. It's funny--I know he's on some AD or other, the next gal is on lamictal and risperdal for sleep, the next one like the old skool--trazidone--and is epileptic as well, and the next...wellbutrin I think?

My office could very well keep a pdoc/tdoc practice running full time.

As much as I hate it, it's my kinda place.

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I work on a "need to know" basis most of the time. However, most people who know me have no clue that I'm not screwed too tight.

I think it has a lot to do with my upbringing. We weren't allowed to express ourselves, so we kept everything in. I'm used to keeping everything in until I get to a private place, then I can go as crazy as I like. Until then, I have a job to do, and people to appear "normal" in front of. It's a "normal" mask that I put on every day, and I've had it for a very, very, long time. I've had it for so long that it's sometimes difficult to take it off and let my true feelings out, but it serves the purpose of "passing" as a normal person. It doesn't matter if at the moment I want to jump off the nearest cliff, or stab the person in front of me through the eye with a pencil a hundred times, or burst into song and dance around the place throwing flowers in the air - I just do my job, or my shopping, or whatever it is I have to do with a smile on my face and go home. I'll do what I need to do when I get home...

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Well, I rarely get manic nowadays and during depression I don't go to school. I do have other freakouts though, or whatever I should call them.

This is what I've done before: I find a teacher I like (boss or other influent person in your case) and tell them, shortly, what the issue is and that there is a risk for blahblahblah and that I will deal with it in this and this way, and how I want them to react. They have all been fine with it.

If something does happen, I try to get out of there as soon as possible and/or take whatever I have to calm me down.

Of course, this really depends on the workplace/school. When I worked, I could never have told any co-worker about anything like that. Moroccan restaurant. Different attitudes. Very different attitudes.

Oh, and if you need to take a benzo, take the lowest dose you can get away with. Duh.

Good luck with the new job.

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Hi Loon:

congrats on the new job.

as for the phones - ive never worked in an office that DID NOT have the option of lights vs sound.

well...you'll find out soon enough about the phones. I wouldnt think this would be a major accomodation. IMO - there's enough noise in an office without ringing phones.

good luck!!

december

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Uh, thanks, Herrfous--NO I am obviously not OK--could anyone actually READ that post??? Spelling and typing are the first things to go when I get my infamous "drive-by mixed states". Gee, looked fine to me--

Maybe smashing the picture against the wall this am and then having to pick glass out of everything should have been a clue--

Great time to job hunt, I'd say--

Why, yes, I am an experienced, competent, liscensed professional--and for no extra charge, you get to observe some truly batshit behavior, at the most unexpected times. As a result, there are literally thousands of eager employers in line to sign me up to do really important, risky, detailed work.

Uh--where did they all go??

china

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I don't have a typical "office" kind of job, which helps me hide--that is, I'm not required to look or act professional/normal. I also suffer from sezuires, and from time to time I have mentioned seizure medication so that it might be construed as the reason for my lethargy, mental sluggishness, the dark rings around my eyes, periodic hand trembling, or anything else suspicious about me. I should be ashamed of this huh. *sigh*

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how do you cope with "passing" for normal? how do you go about your life and not let your disorder rule you and what you do?

I go and hide in the toilet if I can't control my emotions. I wait until I've composed myself before coming out. A few deep breaths. Etc. Check that my face doesn't look too bad before I come out.

Also, I try get out of there at lunch time and go and get some food and a magazine and sit in my car until it's time for me to go back to work.

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i too fear coming out. too much risk of job loss. but "allergies" help hide the crying/tears/sniffles, and "insomnia" covers some of the other stuff. i try and offer other medical conditons as explanation where explanation is warranted, but i too believe in a "need to know" policy. the one thing i am learning is most people are too crazy themselves, and/or are so deeply entrenched in their own lives and issues, that they really don't much notice or care about mine. good luck.

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how do you cope with "passing" for normal? how do you go about your life and not let your disorder rule you and what you do?

Heh. Discovered a new one today. Get a RSI (repetitative strain injury) program that tells you to take a break every now and again.

Set the bug you time to something way low like 15minutes.

I'm not too depressed to type.

I'm having an RSI break.

And with luck, if I get up, pick up some papers, walk nowhere (in a meaningful way) (looking important) I might just have cycled into something frantically useful by the time I get back.

Or not.

As the case may be.

Sometimes I'm so full of shit I hate myself.

More than usual that is.

I try to pick semi-stable times to actually get up and do the speak to people thing.

Get's a bit hard when one of those doesn't come by for awhile.

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Whatever. Different moods, same mask. Smile and nod, smile and nod. Never let them see you cryshow no vulnerability, be better than the best.
I agree with CNS. The "mask" can be very helpful. Fortunately, my mom is great at masking emotion so I've learned from the best.

But sometimes you just can't mask it. I've gone with the insomnia thing, that is helpful. Since it is a new job you should try really hard to put on a good face for awhile. Especially in a customer service job. You need to realize that a new employer probably doesn't give a shit about your problems, they just want the job done, so disclosing may not be a good idea until you have proved yourself valuable. Unfortunately, you are replacable. Do all that you can to accomodate their needs, and down the road you may earn some leeway. Harsh, but true.

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hmmm,

Well, when I was working, I would hide my crying and episodes most of the time by sitting in the bathroom, or kind of wondering off with out anyone noticing. I always ended up writing everything my bosses said by writing it down. That's the only way I could ever remember.

I would just put on a smile, have a better work ethic than the other employees, and take advantage of the times I had too much energy.

Only a few of my close friends know. The only person in my family that knows is my Mom. When I meet guys that I start seeing, I tell them as soon as I can. It's a take it or leave it situation. Because if people can't accept you for who you are then you shouldn't be around them anyways.

As for the work place, it sucks. Just carry plenty of tissues, eye drops, and concealer for the dark circles under your eyes. Good luck and I hope everything works out ;)

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