I must make a confession: I am a workaholic. This is great for anyone who employs me, but obviously problematic for me and my health (because my mind never rests). Also problematic because I am a perfectionist when it comes to my work, which means my work must be up to par before my boss sees it. I guess being a perfectionist and a workaholic go hand in hand.
My ability to focus and concentrate fluctuates day to day. Noise and people distract me more than they should. I have questioned the possibility of whether or not I might have ADD (and am going to further explore this with my doctor), as I feel frustrated, sad, and let down by my (perceived) low level of productivity and diminished attention span for the past few years. Adding one more diagnosis to the mix doesn’t bother me, as it would provide me with an answer and, like I always do, I would find new coping strategies.
I have worked consistently since my diagnosis and I haven’t had prolonged absences from work because of my desire to keep working and because I wanted to keep having a regular schedule. Working a “9-5” job means my weekdays are structured and I know (roughly) what to expect 5 days a week. This doesn’t mean it is easy to go to work and “act normal” but it makes waking up during the week less anxiety-provoking because I know what to expect when I get to work.
This particular job does not involve me having to interact with a lot of clients, as the position is really a customized position and I am lucky in that respect, as it means less “faking it”. I only have to be pleasant and say “hi”, “good morning” etc. to co-workers (if they do the same), and sit at my desk and do my work. I am not saying work is easy, because it isn’t when you can’t concentrate and are experiencing a very long depressive episode and every morning and afternoon, there are points where a feeling of overwhelming sadness and pain hit you like a ton of bricks and you want to run out of the office crying or just take your purse and go home.
Working full time is exhausting period, but even more so when you have multiple mental illnesses and want to please everyone, get everything done in one day or set unrealistic deadlines for yourself. I do have tight deadlines to meet and some weeks are harder than others. The past few weeks at work have involved a lot of late evenings and overtime due to these deadlines. I haven’t felt like myself at all and I feel worn-out. It feels like it will never end and the work keeps piling up, but I am looking forward to a well-deserved week off next week of “doing nothing”. I am hoping I will catch up on sleep, relax a little bit and forget about work for a week. Will any of the aforementioned happened? We shall see.
About Melanie Luxenberg
My name is Melanie Luxenberg and I am finally ready to live openly with mental illness. I was first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2003, which I still experience. At the same time, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety (which I also still experience), and then briefly experienced Agoraphobia. I have had depression on and off since I was 13 years old. In July 2010 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II. Shortly after it was realized that I experienced rapid cycling. I can experience multiple cycles in a week. Despite my diagnosis, I completed a university degree and then a college program. I have always held stable employment, regularly taken my medication and regularly attended my doctor’s appointments. There have been times of hopelessness, but I have always found support from my family, husband and 3 dogs. I am a law clerk, social media/content writer and of course, mental health advocate. My Twitter feed is full of mental health advocacy messages. I hope one day to see the end of stigma towards mental illness, because stigma has to stop!