friends with depression

I have a friend at work who has been going through depression for the past few years due to stress over his daughter’s worsening mental illness. He is a very funny person, but when the laughter stops, he turns quiet and moody very quickly. He has been coming to terms with the fact that he has a mental health condition, but he is not someone who is likely to write about it. He is a more take-action type of person, and it bothers him greatly that he can’t simply fix the problem of depression in the same way one would fix a broken bone or by taking cold medicine. I don’t know for sure, but I think he would be very reluctant and uncomfortable talking to a therapist about the stressors that are causing his depression; he would rather sit and stew about his problems and drink whiskey to forget about things for a while. I don’t want to stereotype, but I think this is a typical “guy” response to depression when he doesn’t understand why this is happening and he doesn’t understand how he can more effectively cope with stressors causing the depression.

We have talked about mental health because of his daughter’s illness, my daughter’s illness, and my own experience. He is the only person at work who knows I have bipolar, but I think to him it is simply an abstraction I live with and he doesn’t understand the full experience. I’m okay with that; it never seemed appropriate to give him the full story of how bipolar has fucked with my life over the years. I don’t know what he suspects about me, but he understands my personality is different than his, and that I tend to be more closed-up about my thoughts. He may be curious to know I have been to therapy multiple times (I wouldn’t tell him that it didn’t work for me very well), but I don’t think I could convince him to see a therapist. I think it would really surprise him to find out how open I have been on this blog about my mental health issues, but I don’t think it would surprise him that it has all been written under a pseudonym.

just say “fuck this shit”

I seem to have shaken the deep depression for a little while; I’m back to just being a little depressed all the time instead of wanting-to-escape-it-all depressed. Work is no less hectic and stressful, but I seem to be dealing with it a little better right now. A healthy “fuck this shit” attitude seems to have helped, along with adding Wellbutrin to my medicine cocktail. The p-doc, who I still like, seems to think that a little bit of the anti-depressant will not send me spinning off kilter, it will help with the depression, and it will give me a little more energy. So far, I think he was right.

I know most people don’t get to do what they enjoy for work, and work is something they have to do to pay bills, myself included. I somewhat enjoy engineering, I’m somewhat good at it, I just hate all the shit that accompanies the actual engineering part: budgets, schedules, meetings, permits, deadlines, and so on. I enjoy solving problems, doing the math, brainstorming solutions, and drawing things in Autocad. If I could have someone else do all the other crap, I would have a lot more fun.

The other frustrating part is that the workload keeps growing, management keeps hiring more project managers to deal with more projects, but the number of technicians who actually produce the work has actually shrunk. We are expected to accomplish more work with less people, and management will not get us any more help, and instead asks us to work more overtime. Other departments seem to get more help when they need it, but not ours. If this were a temporary thing, we could deal with it. But there is seemingly no end in sight; morale in our department is getting lower, and the constant pressure is wearing people down. People are starting to have a “fuck this shit” attitude toward overtime, because people have lives outside of work too.

Most people’s lives are much more interesting than mine, but that’s a topic for another post.

overwhelmed and tired

For the first time in a while, I feel like running away is a perfectly sane option. Not really, but you get the idea. I am on call for jury duty this week; most people want to avoid it, but I would love to go.

I am so overwhelmed right now at work. So many projects, so many demands. I’ve been working lots of overtime, but there is seemingly no end to the number of “emergencies” that keep me from getting my work completed. How much more do they expect of me? How much more do I need to give?

I have already shuffled a few projects off to other people, but I really can’t do it again. Everyone else seems to be getting their work done; I’m the only one who can’t seem to get any projects to completion. The others seem to be okay with working their amount of overtime; it is a struggle for me to work my 40 let alone any extra that is expected right now.

I am mentally and emotionally drained every day, and it is affecting my physical health. They don’t realize I have this little time bomb called bipolar ticking away, waiting to blow up my professional life. This affects me more than it would other people, because I’m more vulnerable to external stress.

I’m starting to wonder if I may have to play the “disability card”. If I were to have my psychiatrist place me under work restrictions for mental health reasons, I could force management to shift projects so that I could only work 40 hours. Could I keep that under cover? I don’t exactly want it known that I have bipolar, but if I play that card, the secret will get out. Mental health is one of the things that supposedly cannot be discriminated against, but good luck proving it. Then again, I have the protection of a union position, and I am not seeking any advancement from my current position (like I need any more responsibility, right?).

It’s so lonely in my head right now. Everyone has their problems, and I feel like this is the only place where I can actually unload. You don’t have to read, but thank you if you do.

I realize this is not a well organized or proofread post, but fuck off. I’m tired and I just want to sleep for a week.

wide awake

Yes, it’s way past my bedtime, but sleep isn’t happening. I’ve been in a stress-induced hypomania for several days now, and it shows no sign of stopping. I’m anxious, twitchy, my head hurts, my eyes hurt, and despite being very tired, I can’t sleep.

I’ve been working 10-hour days this past week, 8 on Saturday, with the promise of more long days this next week. The overtime money will be nice (it will pay for my Christmas present, a new computer), but being able to sleep is good too.

I have several worries spinning around in my head, none I wish to write about, and I don’t think I could form coherent sentences even if I tried. Thoughts of doom and inevitability and negativity are pervasive right now.

Finally, and this may be connected, I have been tinkering with the dosages on my medication. I am trying to cut back a little just to see if I can manage at lesser amounts of chemicals, but I think that plan has been unsuccessful. I plan on riding this hypo a few more days until a project deadline passes, then I will go back to my normal dosage. I’ll be okay in the meantime as long as I watch myself.

fake

I’m holding my head in my hands while trying to work. I can pretend I have a headache. I can fake that.

I’m close to weeping at my desk. I can pretend my allergies are bothering me. I can fake that.

I go home and want to crawl in bed and just be alone. I can pretend I have a migraine. I can fake that.

I am tempted to put my real feelings on Fakebook, but instead I make a witty observation or post a funny picture. I can pretend to be my old self. I can fake that.

I don’t want to live being hopelessly depressed all the time. I wish I would suddenly just cease to live.

I don’t know how to fake that.