I Put My Hand in Yours

I kid myself. I set myself up with an art project and put on a favorite record. What could be more soothing, right? Connection. Connection with another human being. My curtains are drawn. Doors locked tight. I’m alone. And lonely. Isolation is dangerous. I can keep writing. I can wipe away the tears. I can take the razor blade to my wrist and numb out for awhile. But the fact remains my world is too small.
I went back to work yesterday after 2 weeks of outpatient treatment. I felt a flood of panic and overwhelm. I fought back tears in the restroom. At lunch I called my husband and the tears ran loose. I fear I can’t do this job anymore. I fear I have known that for some time and just keep pushing myself to the brink. What would it mean if I can’t work? I’m weak? I’m pathetic? I texted a friend who is distant but have some issues like me. He suggested I talk to a friend about it. While that’s what I thought I was doing by reaching out to him, it was yet a reminder I have no friends. My world is too small.
I’m entertaining changing jobs. It’s still in social services, which is all I know. But this would be part time. A good friend of mine left my agency and she is recruiting me. Truth is I already work with this agency as they are a vendor. So, there is some comfort in already knowing people. Plus my friend knows of my mental health issues.
Trust in myself is a big concern right now. I don’t trust I know how to make a decision. I don’t trust it’s not just the depression talking when I think I no longer can handle my current job. But, history speaks and I go out on leave about every 5 months and the trigger is often work stress. The trouble is I think it’s my own fault. I get in my own way. I care too much about my job performance. I have too high of expectations for myself. I don’t allow myself mental health days. It’s almost as if I push harder to prove I’m still good enough despite a mental illness. Funny thing though, almost no one at work knows of my diagnosis. So, who am I proving it to?
The constant chaos and chatter in my mind is overwhelming. I can’t collect my thoughts. There is “safety” in my job now in that I have been there for 16 yrs and have quite a bit of seniority. They have worked w me over the last 3 years since my bipolar diagnosis. My longest leave of absence was 3 months. It can’t be easy for an employer. But more often I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread. Would this feeling exist even if I didn’t have a job? Are the symptoms solely because of bipolar or exacerbated by work stress? How do I find the answer?
Uncertainty then fuels my anxiety. What an uncomfortable existence. Sometimes I think I want to run away. Pack a bag and drive. Sometimes I think I want to jump off a cliff into the ocean never to be found. Yet here I am trudging through the mud trying to figure out what’s best for me. If I do a face plant, my husband will help me up. He is my world. Something else I got to work on.
One step at a time with his hand in mine we are going to figure this out. He promises. If I can’t trust myself, maybe I can put my trust in him.

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