Thursday, September 11, 2014

My BiPolar Life

Well...I am so frustrated!  I think this will read more like a poszZXt in my diary or journal but I have to shout it out.

Last spring (2014), for the first time in my 20+ years of nursing practice, I experienced extreme work-related stress.  I stopped sleeping, I had racing thoughts, visual hallucinations, and started cleaning obsessively.  Now - I am 44 years old,  Just a slight history of depression and some anxiety, but otherwise mentally healthy.  I saw my counselor who said I needed to see a psychiatrist.  Which I did, and still do....every week or two.  So...the verdict was that the major work-related stress, caused my brain to decompensate and let the bipolar me through.  Bipolar II to be exact.

Bipolar 1 is the more extreme form of the disease, with extreme behavior sometimes.  Bipolar II is the more mild form, but the symptoms are the same.  The psych said I am smart and that is why it has not been diagnosed before, but I probably had it from a young age.

The meds are really helping, and I feel so much better.  It was time for me to go back to work.  I am still having trouble making it through the day without a rest period after lunch.  Sometimes I have a lot of anxiety in the morning, so it is hard to leave my house.  I'm fine in my house, and i love being home. 

  When I was released to work, I wanted to ask for a reasonable accommodation.  I went through my employers process, my psych filled out more paperwork for them, and I attended a meeting as part of their "interactive process."  The meeting was me (alone), an HR Director, HR rep, my supervisor, and the manager of employee health.  A very intimidating environment.  I had also filled out extensive paperwork.  I requested (as part of the reasonable accommodation), a flexible schedule, permission to work from home, a private work space (for difficulty concentrating) and a flexible start time.  The position is exempt (salaried).  During the meeting they threatened to put me back full time because my psych did a release in addition to their paperwork for the ADA.  So, they threatened.  They picked apart my requests, put my on an unpaid leave but did say they would protect my job and extend my benefits during this time.

They requested more detail from my physician, so i took their request to him.  He was very frustrated saying he had already completed their paperwork (costing me $30 each time).  Jointly we decided to put me back to work part time so i could build up my stamina.  So, I had to wait for another meeting with the same group.  This occurred on Monday.  It didn't go well.  The HR director took me outside the room because I was so upset.  Such an intimidating environment.  They argued that they needed a full time person..blah  blah  blah....  

I have worked for this company for 10 years.  I have worked so hard, 75 -80 hours a week in this department at times.  Sacrificed family times.....and mostly, I believed in them.

Now....they won't let me work part time, during my time of need.  Then they go around talking about our "work family" and how we need to take care of each other, etc.  I am completely and utterly disappointed.  What do I do now?  Do I call the VP of nursing, who originally placed me in the position.  Do I call  the COO?  In the meantime, I am flat broke and so emotionally drained.

Here are some important links, in case they are ever needed:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Dept of Fair Employment and Housing - this is the governing body in California

Job Accommodation Network

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