Boing Went the New Job!

This was a day for the books as my grandmother would say. It will go down in my history book as my shortest job ever. I didn’t get fired. I imploded. I got up for work with my husband. I took my usual two plus hours to get ready. This is not because I’m a fashion diva, but because I change my clothes five to ten times in the course of getting ready.

I have ever since I developed bi-polar disorder. Or when I’m manic it could be many more times! Oddities like this befall the lifestyle of people with a mental illness. You compensate, absorb them into your routine. Joke about them. Try not to think that most people just get dressed.

Back to the implosion. I haven’t worked outside of my home office for nearly five years steadily. But, I thought I could get back. And I still feel I could, with the right circumstances. If the company leadership knew I had bi-polar disorder and would let me work and their office and virtually (at my home office). If I were doing what I love: social media, blogging, etc. I could see myself doing that.

But the days are past when I can call companies and people on the phone and sell them things. I’ve done some campaigns from home. I guess that makes the difference. However, it makes me anxious to think about it today. That’s how I imploded. I had a full blown panic attack and had to go home in the middle of lunch. These are not common for me. It was awful. My heart raced. I felt like I had to jump out of my skin, which felt all creepy crawly. I was hyperventilating. I tried to slow down my breathing.

Worse, I had to call and tell them about it and that I wouldn’t be back. Most embarrassing moments? Tell me about it. I called my supervisor and told him I experience a severe panic attack about the job and he said, “I guess it won’t work out then, will it?” I said I would be happy to call for you from home and he said they needed someone on site. So I apologized again.

Disappointment can reign in the mind and heart of an over-achieving bi-polar! And worse yet, I had an appointment scheduled with a really good new psychiatrist in two days and had cancelled it because of the new job. I didn’t want it to interfere. Poor judgment is another trait that plagues people who are bi-polar. I’ll get in to see her. But I wish I was seeing her in two days.

I do have someone I can call. It’s so important to get regular psychiatric help, and ask for help when you need it. Panic attacks are not for the weak at heart. I had my reservations about my desire and ability to do that job right then. So when I had the attack, I listened to my body. I didn’t push myself. Sometimes you have to do the opposite and push through the panic. Knowing when to push, and knowing when not to is key in managing a disorder like bi-polar.

Sure, I have to push myself or I’d end up sitting in a chair staring out a window. I push myself to be involved in life and to engage with people when I am depressed. I talk to myself to slow down and rest when I am getting manic, and give my husband permission to help me. I push myself to leave the house because I’m a bit agoraphobic or working outside the home would be as easy as writing in my home office.

That is the story of my shortest job. There are many stories like this in the life of someone battling mental illness. I am trying to live above the madness. I do appreciate your help! Please read along and learn with me. There is so much in life that’s new each day. I’m trying to find my way like you are. Let’s find our way together.

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell

copyright Libby Baker Sweiger

Blog first appeared in Howie Blog: MN’s Regional Blog


10 thoughts on “Boing Went the New Job!

  1. I think you probably did yourself a favor and ultimately them as I doubt i wuld have worked out. You are capable of being so much more when you have your tools and your private conform. I am proud of you for facing this before it became an issue.I am certain something will come up soon. You’re good at what you do and you deserve the opportunity to shine there.

    • I appreciate your comment tremendously, Joe. I now feel strongly that the anxiety was my body’s way of telling me to “exit stage left” rather than a serious attack of agoraphobia or something of the like. I appreciate your vote of confidence. I have been working hard changing my website and on this blog. I am serious about a speaking engagement company and am doing all I can to make it happen..

  2. Great post! People need to know more about mental illness. Employers especially need to know how to work with those who have it, I think this is an important message and I’m glad Libby is out there talking about it. Good luck!

    • Thanks Lois. I totally agree. Most employers have no idea how to deal with a person with this type of illness. There is a large, untapped pool of brilliant people who could work with the right support. Thank you for your support my friend.

  3. Good article Lib. My mom has been severely Bi-polar since she was in a car wreck at 19. She gad to get 100’s of shock treatments just to survive. At around the age of 79 she changrd doctors, changed drugs and has vastly improved. When we kids were growing up she would say “As soon as you’re all in school, I’m getting a job.” She meant it and got a job, but it only lasted one day. I can’t stress this point enough: If you’re not getting better after so many moths, get a new Md. It can really make the difference.

    • Dear Mike, thank you and for sharing about your mom. I take your words and the caution for me behind them very seriously. I am much better. And haven’t had another panic attack. I am working closely with my team. Right now they feel it was episodic and based on my not wanting the position, not wanting to return to that line of work. So my body said no. If that is the case I will continue to pursue a career I love and not worry. I have worked for many years and this is my first one day job. I will heed it’s lessons and not repeat it. Rest assured if there is more panic attacks in the future and a med change is in order, I will make the change. Thank you my friend.

  4. Libby you do this so well, I would be blessed if you would Guest Post on My blogger Ol Tom , you write so well. As far as online selling goes, you can’t be beat at selling Jesus, you are a salesperson that sells by living in the light!

    • I would be happy to post on Ol Tom! I was cold calling by phone for this job. I’ve done that for years, but I guess it wasn’t the job for me. Today I cold called churches in the area to see if they were interested in my speaking business and had a wonderful time. Being in God’s will makes all the difference I guess! 🙂

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