So I've been thinking about stress and how to minimize it-- particularly with respect to my job. While I am teaching I am not stressed. I know what I am doing, I am flexible, I have a plan, but can change based on the students in front of me. It is when I am doing all the OTHER things that don't involve teaching that things can get dicy. Especially when there has been some kind of change-- a new supervisor, new/different expectations etc.
The OFP (Once and Future Psychologist) commented that I have done a really good job of making things work for me-- so my bipolar has not been much of a problem. And she's right. Which is probably one reason it took a while to figure out.
I looked through recommendations from the Job Accommodation Network on how employers can support bipolar employees.
And here is what I realized. I have a lot of these accommodations built in to the job/s I have created with the help of my boss. She has been very supportive since before diagnosis.
Here's what I've got from her:
self-paced work load
work from home during part of day or week
part-time work schedule
provide positive praise and reinforcement
develop strategies to deal with problems as they arise
Here are the things I wish I had:
Reminders of important deadlines
Several calendars marking meetings and deadlines
Written job instructions (for team lead--not the teaching part)
Sensitivity training for coworkers and supervisors (not so much sensitivity, but information)
Being able to make up time missed (not always possible)
Recognize that change of supervisors may be difficult
I realized that with the change to the new Big Boss, who doesn't know me from Eve and whose first interactions with me were Very Stressful I have had some of the rug pulled out from under me.
I am terrified of making mistakes because I am sure they will cost me any future jobs there. The fact that EVERY SATURDAY I come forty-five minutes before class starts (paid for 15 of those minutes) does not make me feel any more secure about the one time I was five minutes late. And I'm pretty convinced that whenever Big Boss looks at me, that's what he remembers too.
I have missed meetings with him. During this last mixed bipolar state. And I have not been open with him about my bipolar because... I don't know him from Adam and I don't know how to talk to him about this. But I'm starting to think that maybe I should. If it would help him understand that when things are on an even keel I AM NOT A COMPLETE DOOFUS.
But here's the thing: I'm not sure that these accommodations are things that are helpful to me because of my bipolar disorder. I'm pretty sure that the whole time thing has just been chronic with me forever. And I kind of don't care whether it is bipolar related or not-- I really do need more help from some quarter staying on top of anything that is out of my ordinary work week.
I think what my plan should be is to talk with my boss and see what she thinks about talking to Big Boss and then maybe having a meeting with the three of us because she has known me forever and really respects my work and crap.
I think it's a plan.
A really scary plan.
took my meds (112.whatever mg of venlafaxine, 450mg bupropion, 150mg lamotrigine)
tap danced a tiny bit. nothing to write home about.
texted 2 friends. will see one tomorrow (although the other friend got pneumonia and had to be hospitalized just so I would respond to her texts-- which I think is overkill. I'm just saying.)
Grateful Crap: four-year-old sleeping on my knee. Earlier she said, "Mama, I like it when it's just you and me. Just the two girls. That's what you need to be peaceful. And NO TALKING!"
Quaker, teacher, parent,