Recently, I came across an article on the website The Mighty about behaviors at work while experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder. Myself having Bipolar for over 20 years, and now at this time accepting it more thought I should share my thoughts on thiis article as it relates to my recent weeks at work.
As many of my followers know, the past 9 of 10 months have been sort of a rebellious time for me while attempting to find my true self, I had the brilliant idea that I didn’t need certain medication. I had the assumption for several years because I have been taking them for decades that they wern’t needed as my behaviors were no longer present two decades later. I was wrong, however I have also learned that I needed to have that time to test the waters to see if that theory was valid.
The truth is. The professionals knew then and they still know now!
While I never took notice over those past eight months that I now realize was a steady decline in my mental health, About six years ago, my therapist of several years had seen me ride that roller coaster over the past 8 or so months, so she knew that I needed to medicate because first and foremost she knew me and secondly she had listened to me say that I was slowly being stripped of my responsibilities little by little.
And the truth hurt that it was because over that past eight or so months I have became less and less dependent.
Just prior to that session, my coworkers have seen the decline over time and moreso of over the month prior to the discovery, as such my schedule was reduced and discussions were occuring about my work capabilities. Thankfully, I have a very accomodating employer and thank the powers above every day for that. As such, the schedule was reduced to two days and still is, not only because of my behavior, but because of the multitude of changes over the past year and the additonal services and supports that I participate in this was necessary to balance the workload. Thankfully this time of year the majority of the workload keeps us in the office and occasionally in the field, therefore two months in it seems to be doing great.
Also, I know that Autism and Bipolar are two very different conditions, however oftentimes we must remember that Autism is not a mental disorder, its just classified as such, so there are several individuals with Autism that have other diagnosises in all spectrums of behavioral health, not just mental or developmental. Therefore I feel its important to discuss the severity my symptoms of Bipolar as blended in with Autism and other traits that by not taking your prescribed medications can be very dangerous to the point that several indivuals on the spectrum who do not have the right coctail do not succeed well in life and are unable to hold down a job or stay in higher learning. I am to say that I am under six months to go for my tenth anniversary of my employment.
A few weeks after restarting the regimen, co-workers and supervisors and others at the day program I have been involved in over the years have seen a change. Some of the staff at the day program noticed the day after I started medicating regularly again have seen me on the roller coaster and monitored my closely. At the day program, just a week later, we went on an outing and they said the change was like night and day and they were proud to have the “old” Dustin back. Likewise, earlier that same week, my supervisor was in the field with me she had seen the “old” me returning to myself.
With that being said, I must stress how important it is to take your medication on a regular basis. I will have my followers know that one of the medications that I was skipping for weeks at a time is used to treat the irritability in Asperger’s. In order to make certain that I medicate regularly, I use the app from my pharmacy to scan my pill bottles and set reminders and to refill or reorder when necessary. I keep my pills and planners to make sure that I take them (and have a dedicated reminder on Saturday night to fill that container.) Also, since I live on my own, in the bathroom, I mark on the calendar the time I medicate, because oftentimes I do so at home and I also keep track of the fact that I shower because I also struggle in doing this, nonetheless it has improved greatly.
Lastly, anyone who has a mental health conditon and is employed (especially in the community,) should take time and complete a Wellness Recovery Action Plan which is a self-designed prevention and wellness process that anyone can use to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be. It was developed in 1997 by a group of people who were searching for ways to overcome their own mental health issues and move on to fulfilling their life dreams and goals. It is now used extensively by people in all kinds of circumstances, and by health care and mental health systems all over the world to address all kinds of physical, mental health and life issues. In some states, this tool is offered digitally to its citizens through a web collaborative called Network of Care making it accessbile to all citizens of those states that provide it at no cost and its secure.