Back in July I checked myself into an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) and was in the program for approximately a month. I had a lot going on at the time and my anxiety and depression was overwhelming me. After the program, I went back to work and tried to get back into my normal routine.
Now, I would have issues with my anxiety and my bipolar disorder at work on the regular, but with cognitive therapy tricks and some relaxation techniques I was always able to bring myself back to “normal”; however that wasn’t working anymore. People talking were talking about me, people laughing were laughing at me, I was fidgety, my usual tricks weren’t working, and I have 7 more hours of this shit to go! Why is this so hard? I just got out of a program and I don’t want to go inpatient again! What the fuck am I supposed to do?
That’s when I made a tough decision. A decision that I have been trying to avoid having to make for some time because I didn’t think that I was “that bad”. I filed for Social Security disability. I still feel ashamed because of it, because I am only 38 and I feel like I am giving up or giving in to my illness, but at the same time I know that I get anxiety attacks just thinking about having to go into an office and be around people, or having to deal with people who are upset about an issue. I know that every morning before work that I would sit on my couch paralyzed in fear just thinking about having to go into the office. I know that if it wasn’t for the caffeine and Xanax, I wouldn’t make it most days, and that’s not even getting into the depression and then anger that would come along or the mania and not sleeping for 36 – 48 hours. So, even though I know that my condition(s) have worsened and have impacted my ability to work, I still feel ashamed. Which is pretty dumb, to be honest.
Then there’s the fear. The fear of having to explain this to someone who I don’t know and have them judge me. I have to explain that I have a mental health issue and it is affecting my ability to work and they get to decide if I am really sick. If I really feel this bad and if I am really worthy of their assistance. I am afraid that I will get the “you don’t look sick” line and I will have to go through hell every day again for 8 – 10 hours, plus commute. I just won’t be able to make it, I don’t think.
So, hopefully, in the next few months I will get some good news and all of this fear and shame will be for nothing and I can look back on this post and laugh about how silly I was being. I hope that I will be able to post an update on this with a positive outcome.
Until then, I will just keep hoping for the best.