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Struggling this week


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A little background....I've been diagnosed with BP-II for several years, been stable for about a year and a half (?).  I'm taking only Topamax 50 mg a day.  I had been taking 100 mg a day, but cut my dose in half on my own because I'm without insurance for three months and I can't afford it very well.  The Topamax is for migraines and bipolar.

I just started a new job this week, which took me from working approximately 16-20 hours a week, working whatever hours I wanted, to working a very strict 40 hour work week, 8:30 to 5:30, with a 45 minute commute each way.  Also, now I leave the house before my kids leave, and my husband and kids are all home long before I get home.

The combination of the stress of the new job, the stress from having my "happy face" on all day, plus absolutely no time to myself any more is adding up.  Added to that is the stress of having to clean my house and do my grocery shopping, etc., on the weekends.  I struggle, too, with the fact that I know other "normal" people do this all the time without any trouble.  Why can't I seem to pull it off and be fine?

My mood has deteriorated drastically this last week with depression, early morning awakening, and rages, which are all warning signs for me, and I'm incredibly afraid it's not going to be just a temporary thing until I get adjusted to the new schedule.  The pdoc I saw a few years ago who first diagnosed me isn't still in practice, and since I just started a new job I have no insurance yet and no time off to go see anyone else.  I could bump my Topamax back up to the full 100 mg that I'm supposed to be taking, but I'm afraid I'll have the "Dopamax" effect again, and I can't really afford that right now with my new job.  (I work at a mental institution.  How ironic is that?!)

Sorry so long.  Keep me in your thoughts this next little bit. 

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First and foremost, I'm sorry the new job is treating you roughly (or you're treating the new job roughly, whichever way it goes). Getting used to a new schedule is always difficult, especially when it involves more time away from the house.

I worked on a variable schedule for years. I was in school and had a couple jobs, but it was always random hours, more or less when I wanted to work. Then I switched to a typical job with typical hours. My gf is in school and not working, so she's home all the time. This induces some degree of jealousy, of course, because I'd rather be home, like her (and with her) and anger that I can't. But, eventually, you kind of get into the groove of it. Or I did, anyway.

Besides which...a stable and steady schedule is allegedly very good for all sorts of MI. You can't afford to drop into a funk or go sky high, and that seems to have SOME stabilizing effects. And the very fact that you have a stable schedule seems to help, too. But it takes awhile to get used to, and isn't 100% all the time; I still sometimes get funky about having to be there, regardless of mood, for so long every day and wish I could go back to when I only had to be at any given place a short time and when I wanted. But it wasn't good for my mood. Overall, I've never been so happy as I am now.

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Jenni,

You are not alone. I went through the same thing when I went back to work, and to some extent have some of those same thoughts today.

I feel like I can only focus on one thing at a time. If I concentrate on work, the house and the kids get neglected. If I concentrate on making sure the kids eat well and have clean clothes, the job slides, and other housework doesn't get done. If I concentrate on making the house presentable, I forget meanls, or laundry.

You know what? I don't think it's true that other folks manage these things easily. I beat myself with that too... "Why can't I handle the simple tasks which everyone else manages to do?"

But I think what we see, and how things are on the inside are often different.Having kids and working 40 hour weeks are not condusive to spotless houses and betty crocker meals.

Cut yourself some slack, know that some things are going to slide, and get help from your husband (and the kids, if they're old enough). You can't have a major shift like this and not expect for some changes to roles and routines to happen.

If at all possible, use your commute time as your "alone time". You've got a built in hour and a half all to your self. Burn some CDs of your favorite music, sing to the radio, get some books on tape... make that time work for you.

If you'd like an unsolicited opinion, bump your meds back up to where they should be. The side effects fade soon enough, and you've got a better chance of hanging onto your job if you're stable long term, than if you're sharp as a tack (but a basket case) for the next few weeks.

Hang tough

InfoNut

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Jenni,

I'm sorry you're going through this, and I so know how you feel and about your reactions to your new situation. 

First of all, give yourself a break.  Some of the stuff you're feeling are completely normal reactions to new situations.  Anyone - even "normal" people - would feel this way; so try not to freak out too much and go easy on yourself.

Then, give yourself another break for a while on the housekeeping front.  This is an adjustment for not only you, but your family as well.  Your "old job" has changed and you are not the sole housekeeper anymore and your family needs to know that and learn to adjust as well.  Really, in the big scheme of things, unless you're having company, what does it really matter if you lower your cleaning standards?  Your kids need to learn to be self sufficient anyway.  Eventually, however, I did hire a cleaning lady who comes to our house every two weeks.  And when we do have company, I only clean the "essential" rooms and just shut the doors to the rest!

I went back to work full time about 4 years ago and went through much of the things you're going through now.  I still get overwhelmed at times and grouchy, but EVERYONE does.  I really do think that you need to start in therapy again though, and get into a pdoc.  When I didn't have coverage, I went to one of those sliding fee places and got very good treatment.  They only charge you what you can afford.  I'm sure that during this time, you do definitely need a med adjustment.

As for the alone time...I so crave that and Honestly, I don't get enough of it.  Even sitting here at the computer, people are asking me what I'm doing...I do still get irritable about that and my husband really doesn't get needing to be alone and not overstimulated.

Good luck...feel free to PM me if you'd like and go easy on yourself...This really IS difficult!

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Ask the rest of the household to help with cleaning/shopping, etc.  My wife typically works longer hours than me, so I do most of cookiing and all of cleaning.  I work a lot of weekends so she does shopping when I am at work.  If we are both off, we both go.  Days or mornings off during the week give me time for lawn mowing and such.  God I wish my schedule was the same every week.  Working both days this weekend, then off tomorrow when I'll be trying to catch a semi-feral kitty and take him to the vet because he seems sick.

Tommy

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Hi Jenni,

I was so sorry to read that you're going through a rough time right now. In my opinion, you really need to be at your proper Topamax dose. It kept you stable for such a long time, and if you could be on it now, could also serve as a "safety net" of sorts, preventing you from losing stability. But MI or not, you have a lot--A LOT--going on in your life. You're only one person, and there isn't enough "Jenni" to go around. Can you talk to your husband about what's going on? You're in my thoughts, Jenni.

Wishing you the best,

Jill

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Heya Jenni,

Sorry you're suffering right now.

I don't have much to add to the others.

Except to reiterate that routine is supposedly good for us BP wackos.

And, yah, saying "No." is okay.

Either of which I have *not* yet achieved.

We're here for you, hang in there, eh, hon.

--ncc--

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This week was a little bit better.  I think I'm getting into the groove of things at work, and my husband and kids have been champs at helping out around the house.  I went ahead and bumped my Topamax back up to where it should be and so far (fingers crossed) I haven't had any side effects from the change.  Thanks everybody, for listening and being here.  We have a great community!

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Jenni-

I started reading your post late, but I'm glad you are doing better this week. It sounds as though your family is really great at supporting you when you need it, and it's good that you can ask them for a hand when you need to also.

I wanted to say that if you are worried about the cost of medication, here is a link to the topamax site that you should look at. I think you can use it, but double check. It isn't a lot, but sometimes every little bit helps.

click me!

~navy~

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Hi Jenni, I'm a bit late to the thread too and I see that you have already increased your Topamax.  One thing I noticed is that with each increase (of only 25mg) I became hypomanic.  Now of course, YMMV and all of that, but I see that your bump is 50mg.  A 50mg increase can be done but when I did it...VA-VA-VA-VOOM! I went through the stratosphere!

So just be vigilant and look out for side effects.  If you have to take it back to 75mg for a bit and then bring it back up to 100mg that would be totally acceptable.

Good luck with the new job and everything else.  You are totally capable and can do it.  This is just a learning curve and it will take some time to adapt to the new situation but you will be fine.  I'm sure of it.

Karen

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