Since leaving the last job, I’ve been more open about having bipolar. It had nothing to do with me leaving – the company restructured and eliminated my position – but I’ve noticed that I am more at ease now and don’t have to dance around it. I can’t list specific people I’ve spoken to about the bipolar for the first time, and, when trying to come up with examples for this post, I realized that’s the point. My general life has been easy and casual. I don’t need to keep a mental list of yes-they-know or hell-no. It’s lovely.
Things that I have to dance around in the everyday:
- I don’t know how to open a bottle of wine or champagne – or choose a beer to serve. Never drank it, and someone else always knows how. This comes up a lot (and is something I should just figure out).
- I don’t have kids. People push about this, at different times. Why don’t you have kids? And – You can always adopt. etc etc. Please, readers, don’t do this. There’s always a reason why someone does or does not have children, and it is always personal and none of your business unless s/he shares it with you.
- My Facebook feed runs a lot bipolar posts because I follow some great bipolar groups that post a lot, like the excellent resource bphope. I can’t open Facebook in front of someone who shouldn’t know my history. That’s really why I stopped using Facebook a few years ago when I started a new job.
- I need to get a lot of sleep, and a certain quality of sleep. Night, morning, weekends. Various people regularly comment about whether I look tired or similar. Let it go. It’s not actually helpful for either of us, and I’m not interested in your interpretations.
- Some offices have group-wide weight loss initiatives. I could probably be more fit, but I’m not going to lose much weight. My weight is tied in with my medications.
- I have to leave the office at 5:00pm once every other week. Therapy, duh. I don’t give a reason, am just sure to leave at the right time – the official end of the work day anyway – but a coworker had noticed and would remind me to leave. (Separate but related – I had thought more people in the general population go to therapy than actually do. When did this change?)
- My medical appointments are not limited to psych. I have different doctors, appointments, and procedures that are not directly related to bipolar – except that I have other health issues because of the stress and/or strain of bipolar and the medications. It stands out when I have to leave for an appointment, even though I always make up the time.
- I take some medications during the workday. I set med-language-absent alerts on my phone, and when it’s time I have to duck down, or bring a box into another room. I’ve tried to walk away from my desk with pills in my fist to be more discreet, but have been on hands and knees several times to find the ones I’ve dropped – so, not only am I on the ground during work, I’ve missed the dose if I can’t find them.
Do you have to cover up some things when at work, regardless of whether you have an illness? Things that you have to do in the day-to-day, but don’t want anyone to notice?