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Bipolar not being well controlled? & Work issues


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I was diagnosed several years back with Bipolar type 1 when I was a late teen. Since I have been inpatient 4 times, one time due to an intentional overdose. I am immensely proud of myself for being able to get a job, even if it is a lousy part time job making minimum wage...its a job. The problem is, I have been having significant manic symptoms the past week. Starting last Saturday I found myself having tons of energy, laughing uncontrollably for no reason, pacing and feeling my head was all of the place. I am in a job where I am on my feet. Then Sunday I was off and I was agitated and angry as well as anxious. To be honest I don't remember anything about Sunday- then Monday came and I was still extremely energetic, my mind was racing and I was making my co workers possibly annoyed. I have confided in one that I am bipolar and I get accommodations because of it..but only management knows besides this coworker. The coworker that knows told them I needed to go home, I kept laughing almost falling over. People asked if I was on drugs.

Today at work was even worse. I got NOTHING accomplished all day. All I did was pace back and forth, coworker told me I hadn't stopped talking for even 5 minutes. I wanted to help and do things but I was so distracted within my racing mind. It is still racing right now. I think everyone at work thinks I am a nut case. Also because of my learning disorder I don't process things fast and have weak fine motor skills...all of this combined I am scared I am going to get in trouble. In the midst of this today I randomly out of NOWHERE ran to the bathroom and threw up. I have not slept much in 2-3 days. I take 900 mg of lithium along with tranxene for anxiety when needed. Is this not working enough...are these symptoms bipolar related or is it something else??? PLEASE HELP

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I can totally relate. This sounds like me last fall (when I had a job). I got in a lot of trouble for being too distracted, talkative (instead of concentrating on work tasks), etc. Have you called your pdoc? That's what I do when things get like that. I had a few close friends at work that would point out to me when I was getting really bad. We had a code word to help me focus-"Squirrel". It would bring me back to the present moment and kept me from getting into too much trouble. But, ultimately, I had to get a med adjustment. Hope you feel better soon.

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I have bipolar and work part time. I work one day a week, so I can arrange my work around my moods, but when I started, I got manic and had to manage it at work. My plan in this situation would be:

 

1. Call pdoc right away, tell them you need an emergency meds appt. This is a legit emergency, you are losing your grip and could lose your job.

2. Talk to your boss/whoever you know to be trustworthy in management. Explain that this is a manic episode, you are managing it with your pdoc, and you want to weather this episode with minimal time off. Negotiate less hours/change in duties away from your colleagues or the public. Perhaps shift breaktimes etc so that you can get a walk in and get some downtime. Maybe your line manager can check in with you during the day and give you the heads up if you need to step out and get yourself together.

3. Self management. So get someone you trust in your personal life to check in on you to make sure you are taking your meds as prescribed, eating three times a day, sleeping etc. When I get manic, I stop noticing or remember this stuff, sometimes I stay with my SO or mum so I can be reminded. Stay off caffiene, alcohol, over the counter/illegal stimulants. Mild exercise can help work off some of the adrenaline. Look at your schedule and drop all the nonessential tasks and then use your time to rest and relax.

4. If you cannot work safely, apply for time off with your pdoc's explanation and use the time off to do 3. until this passes.

Edited by Titania
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Thank you all for your advice/support. I got barely any sleep last night and woke up to the same uncontrolled crazy. The problem is, I don't know how supportive management is. They are aware of the bipolar but I foolishly told them when I gave them doctors letter, etc. that it is more internal. Obviously its not..its just I have not been like this in a long time. Another problem is I am craving work. It feeds into my on the go energy. When I am off its hard to relax..actually impossible. I am off for 4 days, I don't know what to do with myself. I don't like the receptionist at my dr. office so I never get the nerve to make an appt. I have zero appetite either and since Saturday have lost 7 pounds...

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Call your pdoc's office to get an appointment. Now. Don't think about it. Just do it. Fuck the receptionist. She is just a tool. Tell her that you are manic, about to loose your job, and need an appointment with your pdoc asap. You need your meds adjusted.

 

If you can't suck it up to deal with the receptionist, go to the ER and ask for meds there. Personally, I'd rather deal with the receptionist. At any rate, you are going manic and need more meds.

 

A useful thing you can do right now is to write down the things that you are doing that make you know your mood is off. For example, talking too fast. Talking too much. Pacing. Write all of it even if you are not sure that the behavior is a symptom. Focus on the outward signs. Then try to remember what the first signs of those symptoms were. What were your first clues? A sign for me is impatience with and swearing at other drivers. You will remember these things much better now than when you are well again. They are hugely important to know in managing bipolar in the future. They will be your tips to get your meds adjusted before you have strong symptoms that create problems at work and in your life. A therapist had me do this once. It is the most useful therapy that I have ever received.

 

Call your pdoc now.

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Do you have a friend or family member who you can talk to about what is happening? If so, that would be a really good idea.

 

For the next few days, hang out here, there is chat, or elsewhere on the internet. Play video games. Run around the block 50 times. Freeze your credit and debit cards in a big bowl of water so that you don't go on any spending sprees. Talk to the people you trust. Force yourself to lie on your bed in the dark and rest for awhile. Your body needs it even if your mind doesn't.

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The other part of the problem is my health insurance sucks and all the pdocs are not accepting new patients. My area is scarce on good resources. My old and best pdoc ever stopped accepting my insurance (my mental health insurance is barely anything and SUCKS!) so I was forced to see my family doctor. She has my records and inpatient psych. evals and actually specializes in treating chronic mood disorders, she is super nice and helpful. Its just her receptionist always acts like they are so busy and cant get me in for like a week. When I know they are never that busy...So now I am stuck, I called the dr. office and the receptionist said I have an appt. Monday. I told her I work on Monday. She did not offer anything sooner. So I asked to be transferred to the nurse when I was on hold I hung up. I know my doctors office is not a mental health center so they typically get phone calls from people with infections, cold, flu, etc. But the doctor itself is very knowledgeable and helpful. SO what I plan to do is see if I can ride this out....???? There are not mental health community centers in the area. Until if I ever get good mental health insurance its going to be my GP doing it all. Which is okay with me..she treats the whole me. and its not like she diagnosed me I had already been diagnosed and treated right up to seeing her.

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I would call back and ask to talk to the nurse directly. That's probably your best option.

 

Some other options:

Do you have a walk in clinic? You could go there.

You could call your old pdoc, explain the emergency situation and ask if he could see you or call in a prescription.

You could go to your doctor's office in person and ask to see the doctor when she has a minute.

You could go to the ER and ask for meds.

 

I'd tell whoever you talk to that you might end up in the psych ward if you have to wait until Monday for help. It sounds like you are escalating. If so, it will likely get worse before it gets better. You've already been hospitalized. Do all you can now to avoid that happening again.

 

Do nothing isn't really a good plan.

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