Today I went back to work for the first time in about two months. Needless to say, I was a little anxious about it. I didn’t know what people were going to say to me about being gone for so long and I wasn’t sure how I wanted to respond to what I had been doing for the past couple of months. I was also anxious because of things that had gone on in my absence and things that had happened before I had left. There was a lot of anxiety to deal with and I don’t deal with unknowns very well.
So I stressed and worried and fussed a little but, when I got to work this morning, everything slipped right back into how it was before I left. I walked in and the guys were very excited to see me (I even got a couple of hugs out of it). Nobody really asked me what had happened but they all seemed to know that I was sick and needed to leave for a while to get some help. After the first five minutes, everything was just like it was before and, man, can I just say, what a relief that was. Do I trust it yet? No. I would be lying if I said I did. I still have some anxiety about being back here and the fact that nothing seems to have changed for the better since I’ve been gone but, for now, I’m okay with that.
Is my life stress free now? Absolutely not. My lab looks like it blew up while I was gone, so I spent all day getting everything back into some sort of semblance of order and trying to figure out everything that was done while I was gone. My lab partner decided that today, of all days, was a great time to be gone so that he could mow his grandmother’s lawn (because I guess that was too hard to do over the weekend?). I still have this blog to take care of because it is important to me and my continued efforts at caring for myself. I still want to work on putting together my idea for a Change Your World Foundation and, eventually, if it all works out, I want to end up working for myself, helping other people get the care that they need (I swear I will write about it at some point, I’m just trying to take my time on this one thing). Plus I have a husband and puppies and kitties that insist that I spend some time with them. It’s busy and stressful but, you know what? I love it. This is my little slice of normalcy. I prefer hectic and busy over slow and easy any time. It’s all part of my less than settled personality I’m sure but, I like this particular personality quirk.
Stress doesn’t have to always be a bad thing. It can give you that little burst of adrenaline that you need to get things done. It can make you more alert and make you more efficient. For me, it’s something that I use to keep moving forward. It adds a little excitement to an otherwise all to predictable day. It’s just that when you let it start to take control (like what I was doing in a couple of months ago) that it gets to be bad. With my bipolarity, it can be REALLY bad. Stress is one of the biggest triggers for relapse. And combined with the fact that I had refused to be on medications for a variety of reasons and I had set myself up for a huge failure.
In an effort to prevent going back to that scary, dark, and dangerous place, I will definitely keep my medication going, keep going to my psychiatrist and my therapist, keep this journal/blog going and try to remember that I can actually enjoy my crazy, hectic, somewhat stressful life. I’ll also incorporate some good old-fashioned relaxation into the mix as well. Because all stress and no play is no fun for anyone. For right now, I’m enjoying my own little version of “normal” and I am hoping to keep this level of routine going for as long as possible. I could go for a year or two of bland ordinariness with the occasional burst of fun crazy. If that doesn’t happen (because I still haven’t been able to talk to the owner or my co-worker about my diagnosis and what I need to do to ensure my continuity of care), then it doesn’t happen. The worst thing that can happen is I don’t work at this job anymore but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever work again or that my life is doomed. I just have to keep the stress under my control (as opposed to me being under it’s control) and I can handle whatever happens.