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Stress, symptoms, meds -- is this as good as it gets?


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Howdy.  Question.

 

I've been at my current dose of meds for 2-3 months now and I've finally started to feel some stability.  It's been awesome and I didn't know life could be like this.  But there are still days where I get stressed out by general life stuff or things at my job and I feel like I can't deal.  I get that overwhelmed, twitchy, can't concentrate, near tears, quick to anger feeling and all I want to do is run away from life and hide in my apartment.  The good thing is that these times only last around 3-5 days now instead of weeks or months like they did before, which I'm assuming is an effect of the meds -- and believe me, I'm grateful for that.

 

Is this as good as it gets?  Will I never be able to handle stress without falling back into instability?  I've talked to my therapist about handling stress, but one of the big things I'm supposed to do is reduce the sources of stress in my life and I feel like I've done that as much as I can.  I have to work, I have to grocery shop, I have to commute, I have to do everyday life things and it seems ridiculous that the stress from those simple things is "too much" for me.  Maybe I'm just not working hard enough on the other stress-relieving measures I'm supposed to do.

 

This morning I was in such a good mood, but then there were several issues at work and lots of interruptions and now I hate everything.  I should work from home tomorrow (I do have that option 2-3 times a month) but I worry that my boss and coworkers will think it's just because I want a long weekend and I don't want to come in because it's raining.  Making the choice to work from home is stressful in itself because of the guilt I feel for doing it.

 

I've only been working full-time for about a year, and it was only after I started this job that things got really bad.  I mean, things have never been great, but I was generally able to deal with life when I worked part-time at a job out of the house and part-time from home.  The other times, years ago, that I "went crazy" was also when I was working full-time or taking full loads of college classes while keeping a job.  I can't help but think that that's part of the problem, but I don't know how to get around it.  I have to work.  I have to learn to deal.

 

Sorry this got so long.

 

How do you all deal with stress?  If you work full-time, what helps you deal with that?  

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I work full time and commute 1 hr each way in big city traffic.  I deal with work by letting my pdoc know when things are over whelming and I usually get a med tweak.  If something unexpectedly stressful happens, sometimes I *don't* deal with it well but since meds I can come back from that emotional state very quickly and patch things up.  My long stressful commute can bring on some of the others or just me seeing things that I'm not supposed to.  My last med change seems to have gotten rid of that tho.  I know other people use mindfulness to deal wtih stress.  I haven't gotten that far yet.  

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I don't work, in part because the stress I have, makes me hear voices and become slightly delusional.  Usually when this gets bad enough I also need a med tweak.  I don't deal with stress very well.

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I've found that I can't deal with full-time work. The stress and lack of free time makes me very irritable and prone to depressive episodes.

Over time, I've tweaked my meds enough that I can work part time and function pretty well. Maybe someday I'll be able to work full-time, but not right now.

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Treacle, it's great that you're finally feeling stable. But it hasn't been very long for you, has it? Two or three months?

One of the important things that I think meds do for us is give us a chance to catch our breaths, know that we have a fighting chance at having tomorrow and the next day look a lot like today looked, and learning how to deal with our lives accordingly. And that takes time. And ingenuity. For example, I've learned that on days when I have a lot of errands that have to be run, I'm going to need down time before my husband gets home so I can decompress without him, because I'll be all peopled out. I figured this out by trial and error. A friend of mine knows that if she's going to work on a given day, she'll be too wiped out to grocery shop that evening, so she plans her schedule accordingly. She also plans downtime for after the grocery store. And wears noise cancelation headphones while she shops.

My point is that once you have some stability going, you can start to fine-tune your environment and your lifestyle, so that things run more smoothly for you. If I were you, I would take every chance to work from home that I could. If it's permitted, they probably have a pretty good idea of what their employees get done on days off anyway.

That's just one place you could start. You could also ask your pdoc, next time you have an appointment, if s/he thinks your meds need a little more tweaking.

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