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No one would know it. I look fine. On bad days I put a large amount of effort into looking presentable, clean, and even stylish. I focus on not stressing myself out about it when I do manage to get out of bed. I take the time to shower, get dressed, and eat a healthy meal before getting to work very  late. Even now that I’m at work I get a fair amount done, and everyone sees that I am being productive. I’m sure to them it seems as if I chose not to come into work this morning. I did not choose it.

My housemate has expressed her suspicions that I am not where I say I am. She has this fantasy that I am having a great time instead of being at work. I can’t help but wonder if this same suspicion is shared by some of my co-workers. It is hard for them to understand. About a month and a half ago I let them all know I’ve been struggling with a health issue. They were supportive and starting asking me how I was doing. Now that I was getting back to normal and my sudden relapses remain unexplained, the understanding has been replaced yet again by confusion and suspicion.  On top of it they see me taking off early on occasional Fridays to go on trips with my housemates and think “she’s acting fine now.” They do not understand though if I do not do the social/fun things with my housemates that it will be worse for me. Recovering from depression/bipolar mood swings is not all about rest like a physical ailment is. Of course my therapist would probably say something along the lines of “You do not know what people are thinking so don’t assume it is bad.”

Also, here is something worth mentioning: I am a volunteer. I do get paid a little, but it’s not like I am missing hours at a real job and then taking more vacation time off. Being a volunteer does not make me less dedicated to my job, but I feel better about taking time I need for myself.

Somehow through dealing with this all throughout college, I only experienced one time when I completely shut down for about a week and forgot all responsibilities. I am pretty good at keeping myself close to afloat (or I have been lucky enough not to experience a more severe episode). I hate to admit this but I read about other people going off the grid for weeks, and it sounds kind of nice. I know letting myself down there would be more painful, but when I am so exhausted/depressed like this it just seems like it would be nice to come out to everyone in my life that I am not well and disappear for a bed vacation.

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1 Comment

  1. Some days it is so very difficult to put on the mask and pretend to be normal for everyone … I got the “you seem like you’re doing fine now, why do you need more time off?” questions from a boss a few years ago, and it was a portent of disaster. I will keep pretending and never admit anything to anyone at work again.


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