A Full Time Job: Managing Mental Illness

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I was reminded of a number of things when I met with my psychiatrist last Thursday afternoon.  One thing that she complimented me on was how I was in tune with my body and on top of my appointments.

She mentioned she felt that managing a mental illness, like mine, which is Bi Polar, among a few others, is a full-time job, and how she believes that others do not fully comprehend how much time and energy go into managing the condition.  I can not begin to express how it made me feel to hear my doctor, of all people, share this with me.  To have a person who I deem is on my side, tell me that she feels, I am in essence working two to three full time jobs, and still keeping my wits about me.  It was such a compliment.

By trade, I am an executive assistant and have been working in this capacity since the summer of my junior year of high school.  It’s a job that turned into a career and one that I do enjoy, and it fits me and my personality.  When I am able to keep my brain and wits about me, I am able to juggle multiple calendars and help keep my boss in tune with what is going on and allow him to be prepared for whatever the day may bring.  Now days, the days are not as busy as they used to be some five years ago, and this is a blessing as I am not the person, I was five years ago.  But the skills that I possess, not only allow me to help me do my job, but also help me manage myself and my illness.

Much like I manage the calendar for my boss, I use the calendar feature to manage my appointments, reminders to take medications, to schedule appointments, and when needed, to get up and take a walk.  Technology can be used to improve mental health, when used for good and in moderation.  There are many days when my brain is foggy and I am incredibly forgetful, where I would not make it to appointments on time had it not been for my calendar and the ability to send emails to myself with reminders or jotting down thoughts when they popped into my head.  I have learned to use my skills to help me, help myself, through thick and thin, through better and worse.

We all have unique gifts.  Time comes and goes. As does the opportunities to use the gifts, they ebb and flow as well.  Having a mental illness is a challenge and managing it can feel very overwhelming.  Taking it bit by bit and breaking it down one small piece at a time helps to make it more manageable.  It can easily become overwhelming, but take a moment, take a breath and try again, you’ve got this, don’t give up.

Cupcakes and Sprinkles,



12 Replies to “A Full Time Job: Managing Mental Illness”

  1. I haven’t worked since 2015 I’m not even sure I can, even though I wish I could You’re right…managing mental illness and in my case, an undiagnosed developmental disorder IS a full time job in itself and one I wish I could walk out on

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is not something you created, and it is something that IS very tiring as I know all too well. I think you have done the first and best thing, and that is to recognize that you have such a developmental disorder, even if it is not diagnosed. I want you to know that no matter what you have, your life is sacred and important. You are here as you are because by some miracle of design, we are all here as we are and there must be some reason. Take good care of yourself and know that whether anyone else realizes what you have or not, you know something doesn’t work right, and I believe you will be OK because you know it. Don’t be hard on yourself. There are probably more of us with some form of illness than there are totally healthy individuals. They just seem healthy to us, but believe me, we are not in the minority. Bless you and keep you safe and well. One day soon, you will find your purpose and place in this world, and each of us DOES have a purpose and place.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for your kind words, although I have to take major issue with your last statement that each of us has a purpose. That is simply not true. If that were the case, you wouldn’t have so many suicides or elderly people rotting away dead in their rooms, unattended for days or weeks. I do not believe in the sanctity of life. We should be able to end our lives if that’s what we ultimately want. As for me, if I mattered, I’d feel it. It’s easy to put words on a screen and say someone matters, but are you prepared to back that up with actions? While your intentions are most likely good, I do want people to dee the dangers of making statements like that to people in my position. I have been chronically lonely for years and things just keep getting worse. I stopped believing the “it will get better” nonsense long ago. Time and experience has taught me that this will not happen. Unless I can find the courage to go on my own terms, I will die a lonely old person eventually…that is my future. No thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s true. Any mental illness feels like a full time job. During the day, you try to pretend you are okay so that no one sees your struggles. Then, at the end of the day, you are physically and mentally exhausted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the straightforward way you have written this article. It is difficult to be honest and talk in such a wise and straightforward way our our mental health issues. I have mine too – permanent PTSD, which involves a lot of suicidal thoughts and actions over the many years I have lived with it. It takes a strong person to be able to deal with it in such a way that it might help others. I am doing that right now on my own blog related to the things I have dealt with since I was a child. But I have realized that it is not healthy for us or others to hide something we did not create, and in the end result, it might just help someone else to live better or just plain to live. Thank you kindly for being so courageous.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for this insight. Yes, it is a full time job. I like this analogy as it helps me understand why at the end of the work day I am so exhausted. It is hard for others not going through it to understand how much effort it takes just to get through each day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m unemployed, not by choice, and the clock is ticking. My mental health is deteriorating (untreated) at the same time I need to be “here.” I read your post and was washed over with positive feelings and just a tad of hope (hope is something I shun at the moment). I realized I had stopped breathing while reading, and right at the end, before I read the last sentences, I paused, thought, and did some nice breaths. I laughed at “take a moment and breathe”… yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Perhaps this is the reason I feel people with mental illness are so strong. It’s difficult for people that function “normally” to understand how much work it is to manage. I hate hearing how lazy I am when I’m in the depression state. Like do you even realize how hard I worked to get out of bed? When I’m manic, those words don’t even bother me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very inspirational post! I appreciate your positive outlook on what is a very debilitating condition. I have schizoaffective disorder and deal with a lot of bipolar symptoms and it is definitely a struggle. I find peace in God as I daily deal with these things and I pray that you will continue to do well. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is so true. My therapist said kinda the same to me. I was taking care of my mother’s finances, dealt with my own mental health and studied for my exams at uni. I was so depressed because I couldn’t take on more than three courses that year and felt utterly incompetent until she pointed out to me how much I was actually truly doing and how much energy that must cost me. And it made me see things clearer and accept that I can’t do everything at once and expect to be perfect in all these things. So I only took those three courses and concentrated on getting my mental health better and finances settled. Now, a year later, I have more energy for uni and I’m back on track. I’m really grateful for my therapist to point this out. We tend to underestimate ourselves

    Liked by 1 person

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