Stressed over trying to do too much

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marthamae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 12/12/2008 9:36 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi!
I normally hang out on the anxiety or GERD forum, although bipolar is probably my most serious issue.
 
I'm 49 and have had a lot of ups and downs with my bipolar. I've lost many friends and done a lot of stupid things. I've quit a lot of jobs and left a lot of situations. I've been manic and alienated people and made a fool of myself. I've lied a lot about dumb stuff. Many times I lied about being physically sick to cover up being depressed.
 
But it could have been worse. I've not had addiction problems or ever been in jail. I've been married 23 years and we are fairly happy. I have three healthy kids, one in college and 2 in high school. I feel like all my kids and my husband love me. I managed to earn my Masters degree along the way and I taught school before my kids came along.
 
I had a nightmare childhood (as have many of you) but I had some therapy and am over most of it.
 
A year and a half ago I was hospitalized for serious depression. (This  was probably my 5th hospitalization in my life.) This was by far the worst depression I ever suffered. I thought I was simply going to cross over and die. I don't know how else to explain it. But I got on five different meds and got through it. I went back to school for a semester and got my teaching certificate back. I started substitute teaching a year ago.
 
I don't think I can hold down a regular teaching job. There are days where I just struggle to get up and go. I've been doing better but it is still hard.
 
I just feel guilty. I feel I should be able to teach school, come home and cook dinner and straighten the kitchen and house a bit. I should be able on the weekends to change the bed, go to the grocery, and do a few home chores. Now with xmas coming there is more to do. But I am so tired I can hardly move after work.
 
How do the rest of you do it with jobs and kids? I'm just overwhelmed. I feel that the stress can "flip" me over into depression and I don't want to go there. But I feel lazy if I don't do what I should.
 
Does anyone understand?
 
Thanks for any advice.

shebsy
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 12/12/2008 12:08 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't have a job or kids (I am trying my hand as a writer) but there are days when I don't feel like cooking or doing any chores. I have a maid for cleaning and I just carry on with my chores so that I don't look lazy or incompetent in front of her. I have lived in the U.S. for 5 years and I feel Americans are very hard on themselves. American women manage their households and have careers as well. You need to meet women of other countries and see how little they do to feel better. I live in Kuwait and most Kuwaiti women only shop, talk on the phone and watch T.V. Their fathers or husbands make money and they have maids to take care of their homes and children. It's a different story that they have to share their husbands with four other women and a harem. Most Indian women only cook a little and spend the rest of the day socializing. These women never feel guilty even though they are perfectly normal and capable of achieving more. I used to be hard on myself after returning from the U.S. but now I have learned to relax. If God made me unhealthier than most normal women, then I guess God should understand if I am not as productive as them. It is my own weird theory but it works for me. Everyone has their imperfections and one has to live with them. There are many normal women who cannot work because of cultural reasons and they have learned to live with it. So I guess I should as well.

marthamae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 12/12/2008 12:30 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks shebsy. I wish I did have someone to do the cooking.

It's not just the housework. The kids are draining too. Although they are teens (and one 20) they still need so much attention. I have to help them keep an eye on their grades and teach them about taking care of their money. The two older ones have cars. They all need medical and dental care and appointments. The younger two have band concerts and other school activities to attend. My 20 year old daughter has a boyfriend and wants to talk about him and her college problems all the time. I have found that when you have teens you have to constantly be on the offensive. If you don't keep a tight eye on them, then troubles develop and you have a bigger mess on your hands.

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids. But it all takes a lot of energy. When I had my three kids, I was in a good part of my life. I felt good and things were fine. I stayed pretty good until about 7 years ago. Then things have been off and on. Luckily my husband has been here to fill in the gaps and the kids have done well. Most of the last 7 years I've felt fine, but I've had bad periods where I laid in bed a lot. But I still talked to the kids and supported them. I did the best I could.

I think Americans ( and maybe BP people) are too hard on themselves. I know I feel guilty a lot too. But what can you do?

Thanks for responding. It helps to "talk".


shebsy
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 12/12/2008 12:42 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been a terrible child so I don't know what to say. I have had bipolar for 15 years and was diagnosed last year. I have used my parents' money to save the world - I have given money to every beggar in India and joined every wildlife organization in the U.S. At that time I felt great about life. Now I feel guilty all the time for being a parasite. But I guess one can't really change one's past. One can only try to change one's future. Can't your children help with the cooking? In India, daughters help their mothers in the kitchen when the mothers grow old. I guess your children need to understand that you are not feeling that great and you need their help. American parents do too much and expect too little. Asian parents do too little and expect too much. You need to take a family vacation to some destination in Asia.

Precious Gem
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1139
   Posted 12/17/2008 10:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Marthamae.
Go look at my response to your reply on "Flushed my meds" I know what you mean, I have been married 25 years and I am lucky that he has now accepted my dis-ease and helps me all he can. If I thought I could qualify for disability I would do it in a minute. It is not that I am lazy and do not want to work, I have worked since before I got out of High School, it is just so exhausting to try and work and do everything else. At Thanksgiving I had 4 days in a row off, when I got back to work, everyone commented how rested I looked and I felt great, but it did not last. I am trying to hang in there as long as I can because I know what is coming down the road, there will be no choice to make. For me, I like being at home, I like doing all the stuff it takes to keep home and hearth running smoothly, and when I have that chance I am at peace with myself than I can ever be trying to juggle everything. I just take one day at a time and the future will work its way out.

Thanks, hope this day is a good one for you.
BP Gemini

Mackem
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 12/17/2008 12:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Marthamae, just wanted to send you some love and support and say that I hope today isnt too bad for you Remember that you need to make some time for you too! You need to rest and try and do things that will take away the stress! We all live for our kids, but don't forget about yourself in the process!! :-) xxx

BPHubby
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/20/2008 11:50 PM (GMT -7)   
This reply may anger you, but please understand I am asking because I want to find out more and understand from those with BP their thoughts. My wife is severe BP and we like everyone else are struggling with it.

There is a balance of what one must do in order to live and what one needs to do to reach a goal. (Yes, I'm the dreaded type A). What my wife and I have struggled with is overfunctioning (me) and underfunctioning (her). I found that when I do more she does less and feels worse, that when I do less and she does more she seems more stable. Going further, there is a threshold that when too much is put on her she retreats to doing barely anything. I also find that I and many people I talk to are like this as well. So it seems that this is not something unique to those with BP but what is different is the threshold changes with the rollercoaster ride and the effects of crossing the threshold are intertwined with the swing into depression.

My wife seems able to do what must be done to live (sometimes just barely) but definetly struggles to be consistant beyond that. She has difficulty doing anything to reach a long term goal. She is very good at doing creative things and often volunteers at church and school. She is the PTA treasurer - Though she has issues spending our own money she is doing extremely well with the schools money. They have audits every month locally and quarterly with the state.

This brings to the topic accountability. She was never accountable for anything and if there was someone to hold her accountable she would make them feel miserable and often just dump and run. Both she and I struggle with accountability. Which means that neither of us holds the other accountable for too much. Results in fewer arguments but leads to other issues.

Consistency: neither her nor I are very good at being consistent. We'll start something then let it kinda drop and without accountability we just don't make a lot of changes that are uncomfortable but would lead to higher quality of life.

Keeping on topic I just wanted to hear your thoughts on what I've written.
How do you fair with accountability?
Do you struggle trying to be consistent?
What are your thoughts about over and under functioning? (Regarding manic phase she goes into uber over functioning super woman... but no accountability or consistency.)
Do you think there is a correlation between mood, accountability, and consistency?

about us:
Both recovering alcoholics (11+ years); inactive in AA
Her - BP; currently on various meds; not seeing Psychologist regularly; Meets with drug doctor when having issues or needs refills
Me - Anxiety disorder - Sertraline; Meets 2-3 times per month with "Life Coach" LSCSW (Liscensed Clinical Social Worker) She's awesome!
Married 11 years
2 Children; Boy 10 - Aspbergers ADHD; Girl 8 - ADD
Dad - Bipolar untreated; divorced and remarried
Mom - Anxiety (my opinion); Also a Social Worker; divorced remains unmarried
Occupation me - Engineer, Real Estate investor
Occupation her - full time mom, PTA Treasurer

marthamae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 12/21/2008 2:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Your reply doesn't anger me in the slightest. I'm trying hard to think of how best to respond.
 
Something that really struck me was this:
 "Going further, there is a threshold that when too much is put on her she retreats to doing barely anything."
This definitely I can relate to. I have to be careful when I am feeling good not to overdo.
 
When I feel well and am stable, I am very accountable and responsible. When I am depressed, I am not. Fortunately, the depressive times are well in the minority.
 
I can be very consistent if I have structure. I have had very good luck with the "flylady.com" system. Daily routines have made a huge difference for me.
 
Your post confused me a bit as to your questions. I'm sorry if I didn't answer them clearly. Perhaps someone else can pitch in and help.
 
Best of luck and health to you and your wife. :)
 
 
 

tyno3
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1081
   Posted 12/21/2008 5:58 PM (GMT -7)   

i can certainly relate to the delemmnas described in this thred about trying to do too much, how much is reasonable for a person with BiPolar illness, or any chronic illness, for that matter. It is both an individualized matter and a temporal matter. Some times when we feel better, we can do as much as anyone, sometimes more because we try to compensate for other days we've not been able to contribute much. But there is a fine line that needs to be observed when deciding to take on additionsl responsibilities. As we add to our load, we need to build in safe guards for those days and times when we simply cannot function.

We will have those days. other than being methodival about taking our meds, our bad days are part of this disease, and even though you might not look sick on the outside and you may be falling to pieces, inside. If you were insulin dependent diabetic and didn't have access to the insulin, say you realise you're out on a long holiday weekend, are you going to get angry because you can't function. No, you'reing to do whatever you can to take care of yourself.


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 12/21/2008 6:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Very well put tyno
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


marthamae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 12/21/2008 8:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Tyno,

I really like your answer. That is the one good thing about the job of substitute teaching. When I don't feel well, I can just go click "unavailable" on the computer. Now I don't like to do this often or it becomes a bad habit, but on my desperate days it is an option.

I know substituting is an erratic and "wild" job sometimes, but it is probably a good fit for me right now.

I saw my doc since my original post and he put me on Lexapro to help with some anxiety I've been having. He also told me my tiredness could very well be from all the meds I have been taking. But he does not want to change any of them.

Thanks to all for the advice and help here.

BPHubby
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/21/2008 9:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you Marthamae, Tyno3, and Shebsy for your response.

I had to go back and re-read all of the posts from beginning to end again. I wish I could do something to help. I see so many similiarities in everyone and just want to help.

The comments "When I feel well and am stable, I am very accountable and responsible. When I am depressed, I am not. Fortunately, the depressive times are well in the minority.

I can be very consistent if I have structure."

Sometimes I focus so much on the bad times where she isn't functional or is being incredibly irresponsible. We're in the middle of a really bad down turn and she says it is getting harder and harder to turn them around.

tyno3
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1081
   Posted 12/22/2008 3:11 AM (GMT -7)   

Dear BP Hubby: I'm glad you have come here to gaina perspective on this disease and how it wipes it's victims out. Do you swim? If you do you probably enjoy swimming in the ocean when there is a bit of a surf, you can body surf, like wait for a wave just about to break, throw yourself into it and let it carry you to shore. If you haven't done that maybe you have used a "boogie board", a small much lighter version of a surf board, but made of styrofoam, not wood and not resin, just styrofoam.

I've done both, it's great fun. However well  I can manage to do it, I certainly would not attempt it in seventeen ft. seas. That is your dear partners illness. Sometimes there is a foot of water pooling around her feet. She can slosh through it, inconvenient yes, insurmountable, no. Slightly inconvenient walking around in wet shoes all day but not impossible.

Sometimes the seas are very high. Try as she might, she cannot do more than curl up in a ball in bed and hang on tight, to her life raft I hope, that's you. She isn't being lazy or as my mom wrote to one of my teachers back in 5th grade, she isn't "malingering". This is a very serious illness and a very unpredictable one. A person can be functioning at a very high level, there are many geniuses with BiP, but underneath the facade, it's very unstable. If you know physics, you know this: what goes up, must come down.

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