Sunday, July 26, 2009

notes from the nervous breakdown day 1

If you are uncomfortable with frank talk about mental illness, stay away from this blog while I am having my nervous breakdown and trying to share it with you. All are welcome to read but this is really and truly Very personal. All names have been changed to protect me.

Thursday afternoon I went in to work and by Friday morning the one hour meeting I had with my supervisor, Roberta, had me to the point of what both my psychiatrist and my huzband (who has 20 years of work experience as an RN) both agreed was-- right on the verge of a "nervous breakdown". I am like constantly on the border of hysteria and my mood cycle swings (often Quite rapidly) between talking wildly and in circles and crying in deep despair.

My psychiatrist, Dr. Young gave me a new medicine that got me calmed down and let me get a good, long nights sleep and also wrote a medical excuse that gets me out of work until Fri 7/31. with good pills, good herb I am staying mellow. My illness has been very hard on my poor sweet Ron. I'm in a state where I am constantly on the verge of having a Horrible panic-anxiety attack. I truly hate having them. They are excruciating for Ron to watch and the fact is that I get by in this life by keeping a lid on all of my panic and anxiety. (I have been diagnosed with at least seven different serious and debilitating mental illnesses.)

Since old Ronny Raygun's old theory of "trickle down economics" is finally coming true for me. For the first time. The Library System is funded by property tax. Foreclosures, people not paying and a sudden halt to much new construction and the LS has a half million dollar budget shortfall staring them in the face.
This is my first experience working for government rather than business. Any private company that realized on march 1st they were half a mil short would have sent out pink slips til they were back on budget. That didn't happen. They announced instead that we would be using Very few substitues from now on. Now whenever someone is sick or on vacation or otherwise absent, we pretty much have to just do without.

Would you be surprised to learn that the Branch Library where I work, where I specifically chose to work because it was such an easy, fun and no stress way to earn a little bit of money to get by on. Since the substitute announcement, my library has gone from easy, no stress to a treadmill of ever increasing productivity demands where in front line workder are being told that keeping their job depends on moving materials at a rate that most of us are not capable of physically possibly acheiving. Work under the new standars my boss told me they were implementing my severely arthritic hips were Screaming in pain and my anxiety level was truly Dangerous.

And when I called in sick the following morning, having been completely unable to sleep and literally on the verge of hysteria , actually making the call myself (ron usually handles the phone since my hearing is so bad) she was clearly Ticked off with me for calling and Warned me that I would need a doctor's excuse and that my calling in was starting to become a "pattern". (I didn't realy hear all this; Ron was listening on the speakerphone and explained to me in detail Exactly what she said and her tone and connotations. I has been so focused on making sure she understoond I was absent because I was sick and let her know that I would definitely get a doctor's note.

I spent the day panicking while we first e-mailed (which required going to my friend Kathi's, who cheerfully allowed me to use her excellent broadband desktop) then Ron spent hours on the phone trying to get me in to see Any psychiatrist who had a slot available. my former shrink, whom I liked a lot accepted and who left the Tacoma practice a couple of months after getting a slot in the Seattle office which she says she likes much better. One of Ron's phone calls was to her and she could not have been more helpful. She told Ron exactly who to call and what to say, and then I had a 4pm appt with Dr. Park, who gave me pills and wrote me an absence excuse form that will allow me to stay home from work til Friday 7/31. It was my first time seeing her but I was very impressed and walked out of her office feeling relieved and almost overjoyed.

The saga will continue next time I have time to add another day's notes.


ender said...


i'm so glad you got in with a good doc fast. thank you for sharing this - i'll be by often to stay caught up.

Margaret said...

Alan -- I am feeling your pain. Hang in there buddy!