I work for Visiting Angels (www.visitingangels.com
) in Colorado. We are a home care agency that provides in-home caregiving services to seniors so that they can remain in their own homes as opposed to nursing homes. I'm the scheduling coordinator and work very closely with our 68 caregivers and 100+ clients to make sure all care runs smoothly. It's a challenge in that I am supervising 68 caregivers and making sure their shifts are covered at all times. This, in and of itself, can be quite a challenge, but Visiting Angels is the most rewarding work I have done. In the past, I have been a paralegal for 23 years and an at-home medical transcriptionist for 15 years while raising my children, ages 15 and 17. That was good work for me at the time, but I have always felt the urge and desire to help the community and the elderly. We hired Visiting Angels to care for my mother-in-law before she had to be admitted to a nursing home. I immediately developed a rapport with the director, Irene, and we both always knew we would work together in some capacity. It was about 6 months later that I saw their ad in the paper for a client care coordinator position and applied. I immediately got the job, but I did not really fit as the client care coordinator as this position entailed getting too deeply involved with the reality of losing clients and watching them decline and die. That's when I had reached my inability to cope with the stress and being bipolar at the same time. I gave my two-week notice on May 24, 2010, but left May 28, 2010, the day my favorite client died.
I went home that morning and started doing transcription again from home that afternoon. My husband was nervous about my working from home again as an independent contractor without benefits, as well as taxes, social security, 401k, etc., being taken care of for us. He understood my stress and sorrow, but he only gave me 2 hours after I left Visiting Angels before getting on me about getting "a real job" and not reverting back to being "the basement troll" again. I asked him to give me a little time to grieve and he backed off a bit -- for a day or two -- and was back at me about it. After about 4 days, however, I realized that I absolutely HATED sitting all alone again in front of my computer typing 12 hours a day with only the voices of physicians dictating in my ear as my only interaction. I really began to miss Visiting Angels! By the following Friday, June 4, 2010, I called Irene and told her I had made a terrible mistake in leaving and that I would love to have my job back, but not in the same capacity as client care coordinator. She said to come in and talk, which I did later that day. We decided my personality and professional skills would benefit me much more as the scheduling coordinator, and here I am. I had my job back within a week. It was quite the learning experience.
But, in thinking back over the last two weeks, I think my being bipolar played a big factor in how I handled myself. I was in a depressive state to begin with (before my client died) and I was stressing out with all of my clients' situations and problems. In addition, the job itself is a stressful job dealing with that many people (caregivers and clients). But the truth of the matter is, I now know that I need and thrive with the interaction with people, and the hugs and loves that accompany my position. I love being in the center of attention and in the heart of what's going on in the office. I choose not to be out getting directly involved in the lives of our care recipients, but that is only because I am bipolar, have anxiety, and empathetically take on their pain. I am a fixer and am frustrated that I can always "fix" their problems.
No one at Visiting Angels knows I am bipolar, have anxiety, have adult ADD, and suffer with depressive/manic episodes, so I am on my own. My own family denies the possibility, but that's because I am on such a good medication regimen. So ... I am on my own. My husband doesn't believe it and doesn't want to accept even the remote possibility. My children just know I take antidepressant medications. The rest of my family has no clue and I don't tell them. I absolutely CANNOT even confess or "come out of the closet" at Visiting Angels because they just cannot and would not understand. Yeah, I'm on my own.
It's only through dailystrength.org and moodtracker.com that I find a few friends who really understand the struggle I go through every day. It's a lonely, unaccepted, much misunderstood disease that for me also includes the anxiety and adult ADD. I'm 52 and can't wait for old age to settle in with menopause, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc., to add to the mix. Dear Lord!
Anyway, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to respond to my post. It really means a lot to me to know someone else cares out there. I hope we can continue to communicate.
If you get a chance, try joining www.dailystrength.org
as another opportunity to interact and get more support and friends (if you feel the need sometime). It's worth checking out. You can request to be my friend (angelczech) and join many specialized rooms where you become a part of that room's family. I highly recommend The Serenity Room, which is one of my favorites. It's not a dating service by any stretch of the imagination. As a matter of fact, most of my friends are women from Australia, Great Britain, Scotland, and Canada. It's a wonderful network of friends. You just might find it helpful in other areas of your life as well, in case you have more than just bipolarism bothering you.
I do hope I can find friends on MoodTracker.com, although I don't know how to communicate with just one person. It seems kind of random and a little depersonalized. Maybe you can give me some hints on how to culture and develop platonic friendships strictly for bipolar support? It'd be greatly appreciated. For instance, do I just send a post with someone's name in the heading to get a message directly to that person? Is that how I send you a message? I have to admit, I have no clue. :-)