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LindaMarie64

I'm Bi-polar. So how do i determine just what is realistic for me to achieve?

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I'm trying to figure out if i should finish school to get a full time job or just accept my limitations and pursue some form of financial disability aid.

Right now I work as a independent commercial/residential cleaner.  I have enough clients to work about 20 or so hours a week.  I'm in the Allied Health Program at my local community college to earn my phlebotomy/clinical lab assistant certificate taking 16 credits. (I know, 16 credits is insane.)  I had to drop the phlebotomy tech class because i was drowning under the massive amount of schoolwork.  I passed Clinical Lab 1 and now i'm trying to pass Clinical Lab 2. 

My alcoholic husband left me and my 2 kids (ages 18/20) last September to work in CA with a woman with whom he had an affair in 2007. So i am basically functioning as a single mom trying to stay positive and well to provide them with stability that they deserve.

So far, i haven't missed a mortgage payment; my husband is still helping out financially.   But the house is a huge responsibility to maintain.  It's large, it's old and the backyard is a jungle.  It's in need of so much work, i don't even know where to begin.  

The one plus side to my husband moving out is that i now rent out his office to a local student.  Her rent pays for half my mortgage.

I need to work full time at some point so that i can get insurance to cover meds, dr visits, etc.  But i am still struggling with basic life skills at this point.  How in the world am I going to get myself to a job 5 days a week, when i can barely pull myself out of bed because i'm so drugged out most mornings from my medications?  Some days just taking a shower is beyond my capability.  I don't eat healthy and getting regular exercise is a complete joke.  

Am i giving myself an excuse to  be a flake?   Or is this just the way it's always going to be? How does one set realistic goals while battling a serious mental disorder?

I really welcome anyone's input.

 

 

 

 

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sounds like the meds are more the problem than the illness?

if your meds are causing such severe side effects you may not be able to survive on them you may want to look into switching meds

but i don't know your exact situation or anything, just my impression

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Possibly.  Sleep is such a high priority with me.  I don't sleep deeply even with all the stuff i take.  I am planning to talk to my NPrac about going back on lithium.  It worked wonders but then i started loosing a lot of hair.  that kinda scared me.

It seems like its a never ending cycle of changing this...tweaking that...sigh.  This has gotten so old.

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4 hours ago, LindaMarie64 said:

 

It seems like its a never ending cycle of changing this...tweaking that...sigh.  This has gotten so old.

Unfortunately sometimes it can take years of tweaking meds, adding them, going off of them, etc.  Sounds like you need to make some changes (with your nurse/prac's ok) with meds.  If you have already tried lithium and it helped you out a lot, then I'd ask your nurse prac about it. 

The losing hair could be from the lithium, or it could be from something completely unrelated to the med.  IME, I know when I get stressed out (not a little thing that goes away in a day ... something more than that ... my hair falls out, and will continue for awhile after the stress is gone, or is lessening.

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Honestly, disability doesn't pay much, and if you can do school, I would try to pursue that route. Having a job and benefits is a life changer, or was for me, I should say. I have a job, still don't exercise, eating reasonably still a challenge, but I can work without those being in place. Of course, if you aren't functioning, that's another story. Maybe lithium would help you finish school and start a job. I'd surely ask your NP about it. I went to school when I was really in bad shape, I'm so glad I pushed through. Get your meds tweaked if you need to, and then do what you can. IME, making decent money makes things easier than when I was struggling to get by, had no options, and then had to deal with MI. Sad but true. If you can't do school now, maybe you can come back to it. 

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Wow that's a lot to be going through! I can't give you much advice on how to pull it all off, other than to just say well done; 20 hours a week cleaning and studying and tenagers as well as a house and garden, not to mention a relationship breakup. It seems to me that asides from dealing with bipolar, and the med treadmill, you have a lot going on. as an aside, As an aside, I'm a fan of lithium (Lamactil had me shedding like a cat!)

 

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10 hours ago, Lexie said:

sounds like the meds are more the problem than the illness?

if your meds are causing such severe side effects you may not be able to survive on them you may want to look into switching meds

but i don't know your exact situation or anything, just my impression

Lexie, which side effects are you talking about? Being sleepy in the morning is not a life-threatening side effect. Don't undermine people who actually want treatment.

LindaMarie, if you have given the meds a real try (usually 6 weeks), and you are still having trouble, you should contact your pdoc. If you just started taking the med that is making you sleepy, it's likely that side effect will go away in time. Many (but not all) side effects go away once you have been on a med long enough.

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You have a ton going on. Just the emotional issues that you are working through from your husband would be too much for most. Give yourself a high five! You deserve it.

Now...onto what is reasonable to expect out of yourself. Only you can determine that. You need to look at your life and really evaluate how you are doing. If you feel that it's too much. Slow it down. Cut out what isn't absolutely necessary. If it can be delayed for a while, delay it.

Being busy is a good thing as it helps us not focus on the symptoms or even the emotional turmoil you must be going through...but being overwhelmed helps no one. It only adds to your stress, increasing your symptoms.

I don't think being bipolar means you are limited to what you can accomplish. It just means you need to be more mindful of knowing when to say when at a given time. I hope that makes sense. :) You can always add back what you needed to put off for a while. There is very little in life that is now or never. Taking care of the children is a now or never situation. School is something you can add back in at a later date if you truly need to do less right now.

Good luck!

 

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Figuring out how much you can handle for me was unfortunately somewhat of a trial and error process.  I was in school when my second episode hit and I ideally wanted to push through it out of the hope that I would be out of the episode by the time my job post-school hit.  I was lucky enough that I could push my way through school and that the depression had lifted before I started the job.

if you're managing to handle what you are currently handling, it might make sense to hang in there and then decide post-school what seems right.  However if all of the combined stressors are making things infinitely worse, it's probably worth considering if something needs to change.  I'd say that there's a difference between something being really hard and it being unmanageable, but everyone's tolerance for either is different.

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The pdoc I saw for over 10 years, near the end of our relationship (I moved, it wasn't him), told me I should only work part-time. I tried a full-time job about 6 months after, and went down in flames.

The weird thing is, I don't have the worst Bipolar, I just can't seem to handle that much stress. I'm on disability for headaches, so I'm not working at all, now. But if my head ever gets better, I want to go back. 20 hours/week really works for me, it keeps me engaged, but not overwhelmed. Plus, I worked with dogs, so you can't beat that!

But a lot of people on CBs work full time. I don't really "get" why I can't, but I can't.

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On ‎5‎/‎23‎/‎2016 at 1:13 PM, LindaMarie64 said:

I'm trying to figure out if i should finish school to get a full time job or just accept my limitations and pursue some form of financial disability aid.

Right now I work as a independent commercial/residential cleaner.  I have enough clients to work about 20 or so hours a week.  I'm in the Allied Health Program at my local community college to earn my phlebotomy/clinical lab assistant certificate taking 16 credits. (I know, 16 credits is insane.)  I had to drop the phlebotomy tech class because i was drowning under the massive amount of schoolwork.  I passed Clinical Lab 1 and now i'm trying to pass Clinical Lab 2. 

My alcoholic husband left me and my 2 kids (ages 18/20) last September to work in CA with a woman with whom he had an affair in 2007. So i am basically functioning as a single mom trying to stay positive and well to provide them with stability that they deserve.

So far, i haven't missed a mortgage payment; my husband is still helping out financially.   But the house is a huge responsibility to maintain.  It's large, it's old and the backyard is a jungle.  It's in need of so much work, i don't even know where to begin.  

The one plus side to my husband moving out is that i now rent out his office to a local student.  Her rent pays for half my mortgage.

I need to work full time at some point so that i can get insurance to cover meds, dr visits, etc.  But i am still struggling with basic life skills at this point.  How in the world am I going to get myself to a job 5 days a week, when i can barely pull myself out of bed because i'm so drugged out most mornings from my medications?  Some days just taking a shower is beyond my capability.  I don't eat healthy and getting regular exercise is a complete joke.  

Am i giving myself an excuse to  be a flake?   Or is this just the way it's always going to be? How does one set realistic goals while battling a serious mental disorder?

I really welcome anyone's input.

 

 

 

 

I can tell you that you're not giving excuses to be a flake. I'm also trying to figure out the realistic goal-setting thing with bipolar. It's not easy at all for me either. I've had my medication tweaked countless times because of my poor functioning. In fact, I literally just had my meds tweaked yesterday! I don't know but, holding down jobs has always been a problem for me, because of this condition. I'm not on disability either, but I do not currently have a job. The last one went out the door, once again. As far as things being this way forever, I hear mixed reviews. Some overcome it quite well overtime. They're able to live successfully, (hold down jobs, have relationships, get married, have kids, etc...) while others still suffer from it for much longer. I'm only 27, but it feels like I've been in limbo for eternity. I also don't eat well and my meds drown me out as well. Sorry if that sounds sad.

In terms of setting goals, I try to set goals every chance that I feel functional. I start with really small goals though, (cleaning my room, running errands, taking a shower, applying for jobs, exercise, maybe even taking a class) but it at least allows me to feel a little bit better and to put things into perspective than not trying anything at all. Even if you're already doing a lot, just give yourself some time. Start small, then work your way up the hill. Is it easy? Not always, but it also depends on how realistic your goals are. Have someone help you set goals that promote productivity and fulfillment. Help is always needed and it sure as hell doesn't hurt!

Edited by Oniliscious

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On Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 8:34 AM, PippaLove said:

 

I don't think being bipolar means you are limited to what you can accomplish. It just means you need to be more mindful of knowing when to say when at a given time. 

 

THIS. OH HOW MUCH THIS. Whatever you could achieve before your diagnosis you can achieve now - only difference is that now you know you need to take care of yourself in a different way, and need to know your limitations. Your timeline mightneed adjusting multiple times, but your goals are still way achievable.

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