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Stuck, overwhelmed, and fragile

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I feel like I am working too hard for my fragile mind.

Yesterday I work I had to do basically 3 different jobs at once, and my hands were trembling and I felt completely overwhelmed. I recently just got out of a 2 week manic episode that was brought down by the addition of abilify. I am also on lithium. I take anxiety medicine PRN but it seems to make me cry when I am anxious...so it relieves me of anxiety by me having a crying episode. I took it at work 2 days ago and started crying. I am concerned about my fragile state of mind and do not want to trigger another drastic episode. What things can I do for myself to make things easier ?How can I relieve this emotional and physical tension? Some coworkers are aware that I am clearly "disabled" (learning disability, bipolar, anxiety) and try to help, others don't lift a finger to help, and some are unaware. I feel stuck. I feel like I am trapped. I am unhappy, but am holding all emotions inside. Luckily I am getting employment help with finding a job, schooling, so soon I will be hoping to switch jobs, but what if the same problems follow me...then what?

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You can try self-soothing by doing things that are comforting to you.  If you have a favorite scent, carry it around with you.  Do you like to listen to music?  You could also get a massage to try to relax some of the tension you feel.  Find someplace at work that you can go and just be, if this is possible.


Write down some inspirational quotes that you like and keep them within sight at your desk.


Ask your pdoc about trying a different PRN med if this one makes you cry.


If you're not already seeing a therapist, I encourage you to do so.


Good sleep hygiene and self-care overall are really important.  Make sure you're eating three nutritious meals a day and getting a good night's sleep.

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I have learned that often people with MI have to hide it to blend in,we place high expectations on ourselves. We get good at hiding that some if not all of the distressing symptoms you experience at work don't look as obvious on the outside. It may be that a lot of what you consider to be weakness and are sensitive to because you want to perform well, doesn't even register with your colleagues.

If something is tough or not going well at work, it is okay to express that appropriately. Everyone has that bad day kinda experience, if you are able to prevent a panic meltdown, then you are doing well. Instead of telling yourself that you are visible or you look odd (which will increase the stress) give yourself the same room you give a colleague on their bad day.

Maybe also consider your job duties and the routines, could you change the order so you have more time or privacy to tackle the hard stuff? Is it within your workplace culture to step out for a break to walk off the tension? Would listening to some soothing music or taking an encouraging 'you can do it's note from a loved one help?

I used to have a desk panic kit, some soothing aromatherapy pulse point oil, a favourite coffee, a photo that made me smile, prn meds, anything to calm me.

If you feel anxiety rise at work, practice mental talking in a supportive way to cheer yourself on. Remember when you start to feel pressured to breathe, slow down, you have enough time, however panicky you get, you will find the way to get the task done and it is ok.

I'd also advise holding onto compliments you get at work, at the end of every day write five thongs that went well or positive things about your work performance. Finding one aspect of your job tough doesn't mean you are bad at your job. Try to remember you are a fallible human being like everyone else at work. Working with MI is a huge achievement, you are allowed to struggle just like everyone else does.

Thank you so much for this. I know I am super hard on myself. I think though that because people are aware of my problems because I had to tell them for ada accommodations, they see everything as a symptom, which makes me more anxious. So I try to hide it because I don't want them to think I am unstable...its so complicated. I have told a few coworkers because honestly, I feel like people should understand why I act manic/depressed. Because there was a 2 week period at work I was completely manic. I would rather people think bipolar rather than the contrary which is what some considered to be substance issues.

I work at an "on your feet" customer service job, it is very overwhelming, and little resources to help me cope. I like your idea about taking note of the things I am good at at work. I don't give myself much credit.

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