Thursday, September 11, 2014

My BiPolar Life

Well...I am so frustrated!  I think this will read more like a poszZXt in my diary or journal but I have to shout it out.

Last spring (2014), for the first time in my 20+ years of nursing practice, I experienced extreme work-related stress.  I stopped sleeping, I had racing thoughts, visual hallucinations, and started cleaning obsessively.  Now - I am 44 years old,  Just a slight history of depression and some anxiety, but otherwise mentally healthy.  I saw my counselor who said I needed to see a psychiatrist.  Which I did, and still do....every week or two.  So...the verdict was that the major work-related stress, caused my brain to decompensate and let the bipolar me through.  Bipolar II to be exact.

Bipolar 1 is the more extreme form of the disease, with extreme behavior sometimes.  Bipolar II is the more mild form, but the symptoms are the same.  The psych said I am smart and that is why it has not been diagnosed before, but I probably had it from a young age.

The meds are really helping, and I feel so much better.  It was time for me to go back to work.  I am still having trouble making it through the day without a rest period after lunch.  Sometimes I have a lot of anxiety in the morning, so it is hard to leave my house.  I'm fine in my house, and i love being home. 

  When I was released to work, I wanted to ask for a reasonable accommodation.  I went through my employers process, my psych filled out more paperwork for them, and I attended a meeting as part of their "interactive process."  The meeting was me (alone), an HR Director, HR rep, my supervisor, and the manager of employee health.  A very intimidating environment.  I had also filled out extensive paperwork.  I requested (as part of the reasonable accommodation), a flexible schedule, permission to work from home, a private work space (for difficulty concentrating) and a flexible start time.  The position is exempt (salaried).  During the meeting they threatened to put me back full time because my psych did a release in addition to their paperwork for the ADA.  So, they threatened.  They picked apart my requests, put my on an unpaid leave but did say they would protect my job and extend my benefits during this time.

They requested more detail from my physician, so i took their request to him.  He was very frustrated saying he had already completed their paperwork (costing me $30 each time).  Jointly we decided to put me back to work part time so i could build up my stamina.  So, I had to wait for another meeting with the same group.  This occurred on Monday.  It didn't go well.  The HR director took me outside the room because I was so upset.  Such an intimidating environment.  They argued that they needed a full time person..blah  blah  blah....  

I have worked for this company for 10 years.  I have worked so hard, 75 -80 hours a week in this department at times.  Sacrificed family times.....and mostly, I believed in them.

Now....they won't let me work part time, during my time of need.  Then they go around talking about our "work family" and how we need to take care of each other, etc.  I am completely and utterly disappointed.  What do I do now?  Do I call the VP of nursing, who originally placed me in the position.  Do I call  the COO?  In the meantime, I am flat broke and so emotionally drained.

Here are some important links, in case they are ever needed:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Dept of Fair Employment and Housing - this is the governing body in California

Job Accommodation Network

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Are you prepared for an emergency?

We are not.  I hate to say that, but we just aren't.  We live in the central valley of California.  I try to reassure myself by noting that this is the one area of California that does not have active fault lines.  However, there are many other natural disasters besides earthquakes!  Storms alone can cause sustained power outages, which can easily be a disaster situation depending on the length and extent of the outage.  Other weather-related disasters are tornados, hurricanes, ice, snow, floods, lightning-related fires.....all of which have the potential to be devastating.

According to the National Weather Service (, for 2012 there were:
  • 155 heat-related fatalities
  • 29 flood-related fatalities, with a 10 year average of 76
  • 70 tornado-related fatalities, with a 10 year average of 109
  • 4 hurricane-related deaths, with a 10 year average of 109
Power outages, as mentioned above, can have disastrous effects.  You and your family should be prepared to survive for at least 72 hours on your own.  Take a moment to think about all the daily activities that rely on a society, we are highly dependent.  Of course, consider those you know that may rely on respiratory equipment, such as oxygen, ventilators, CPAP machines.  Are you prepared?

I have thought about this topic a lot in the last year.  It seems such situations are prevalent in the news.  We have 5 children.  It weighs heavily on me that we are not adequately prepared, though our pantry is always well stocked.

A blog I recently discovered, called "A Bowl Full of Lemons" has an awesome post on emergency preparedness.  Find it here.  This links to the "week 1" post.  She conquered emergency preparedness for her family over the course of 8 weeks.  I need to talk with Pigeon Man, but I would like to get started on this plan.  Even if we need more than 8 weeks, doing something is better than doing nothing!

This site has a good post as well -

Thoughts, comments, ideas welcome!!  What have you done to prepare your family?  Especially if you have a special needs child - how do you maintain enough medication with insurance company limits on amounts?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Well....that is a good question!  The last couple years have been busy and personally challenging.  I'm not ready to write about them all yet, but I am ready to get started again!

On November 15, 2013, I had a gastric bypass.  I have now lost just over 50 pounds and am feeling so much better!  I am finding that as my energy increases, I am able to resurrect some of my previous interests.  I had over a year of health challenges which really affected my energy and general life engagement.  I was just surviving, not thriving.

Upcoming topics include crafts, sewing, Valentine's, financial aid (The Singer is a high school senior, and The Queen is beginning community college with the hope of transferring to a university), cooking/baking/recipes, linkies, diabetes management & struggles, pics of my family, home management, decorating, sports, etc.  You name it - I like to write about it!

I do not consider myself really an expert on anything, except some areas of nursing.  I do consider myself proficient with Type 1 Diabetes and home management.  We are raising 5 daughters but I find I learn so much more when each one passes through an age, I don't think I will ever consider myself an expert. 

Welcome to my world!

How many totally awesome people have visited?