Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wait what month is it? Oh, and what day is it?

So this past year I cycled up and down 3 times. And each time I didn't really notice until it was too late. I would suddenly be behind at work, with an inbox of unanswered emails from two weeks ago and a feeling that I'd been asleep at the wheel. 

You would think that at this point in my life I would have clued in to the fact that something was terribly wrong with me. After all, I'd been diagnosed as depressive back in 2001 and been on medication since then. Everything should have been ok. But no....

The most recent time I cycled was in Jan/Feb. And by mid-Feb I found myself in a small room with a frustrated boss who wanted me to succeed. She wanted me to tell her what I needed to be successful. How could she help me be successful. And why were we having this discussion again.

After that meeting I started to put some pieces together. I'd gone off my meds - again - and had been on auto-pilot. I'd been sitting in my cube, staring at my computer, locked inside my head. I'd stopped doing things I loved - again - and my art supplies and piano were covered in dust and piles of paperwork. I was exhausted by 5:00 and "stretching out on the bed" after work only to wake up at 7:00 or even 8:00 to a hungry but resigned family.

When I cycle, decision-making becomes really painful. I come to a full stop and can't make simple choices let alone the complex decisions my job demands. So small tasks get left undone because "I can't think I'll do that later", emails get left unread because "I'm tired I'll read that later". And before I know it, days or even weeks have passed in a unproductive haze. 

Then comes the wake-up call.

Usually the wake-up call is a missed deadline with an unhappy employee who has escalated up the chain trying to find out where their stuff is and why they aren't getting any answers. Then the stress and anxiety kick in and I jump into over-drive, staying up until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, desperately going through my email, tracking down work, identifying missing assignments and begging vendors to rush work through so I can land on time. Or close to on time. Nothing motivates me like panic.

After that mid-Feb meeting, I realized that I had gone through this cycle of ok-depression-panic-ok way more than I'd realized. That I'd given up taking my meds which had only fueled the problem.

I felt backed into a corner by demons that I thought had been controlled. And now the demons might be costing me my job.

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