I have told y’all that I missed work this week due to insomnia and exhaustion. I have a very understanding boss, but there are specific absentee policies enforced by the company. I am not quite sure how close I am to getting written (leading quickly to termination), but I am very concerned. As such, I made the decision to bring up possibly requesting accomodation under ADA law.
I know many of you are yelling at me right now. So many companies see a request for accomodation as an excuse, especially with mental illness. Then promotion and the like become impossible. I’m also trying to make sure that I’m not using my bipolar as an excuse for not going to work. I want to go to work, need to go to work, and like going to work. I want to make sure that I don’t get fired over something that is out of my control. If it comes down to a choice between staying home or going to work when I’m pretty sure that my reactions will be inappropriate (like the last two days that I called in), I know which one I choose. But if my job is at risk due to absences, then what do I do?
So I spoke to my boss and HR. I have a packet I need to go through. I am going to make an appointment with my psych and talk to my therapist. I would need a letter from the psych to do this anyway, but I also value his opinion. When I called his office yesterday, they took a message and he called me back within about 30 minutes. Not only that, but he took the time to discuss what was going on to make sure he would be prescribing the right medication. So I want his take on the situation.
I’m also going to make sure I have a copy of the absence policy and the number of absences in the last 12 months. I figure the more information I have, the better decision I can make. I feel like that’s true for my treatment team as well. The final decision isn’t going to be made quickly anyway. I want to discuss it with my therapist, and she’s on vacation for the next 2 weeks. [I saw her today, but that was before I contemplated this decision.]
I hate even contemplating this request. I am a very functional person when it comes to making it to work and doing my job. But I also hate the thought of losing my job for excessive absences. For all I know, I could go the rest of the year without another absence. But I am a realist and that’s sheer fantasy to depend on something like that. So I am looking at having to admit (in a pretty huge way) that my bipolar effects me even when I am medicated. [I accept the thought in general, but not for me in particular.]
I know that my bipolar disorder is like any other life-long illness and will never go away. Even medicated, there are aspects of my bipolar I feel are simply a part of me. Thinking back over my life, I feel that my irritability factor is very much an aspect of my bipolar. It varies pretty wildly, even when I am on medication. I stay very aware of it and how it is affecting my emotions and behavior. My emotional sensitivity is another marker that I believe is very influenced by my bipolar disorder. I am not saying that others (everyone) don’t suffer from irritation and sensitivity, but, in my opinion, the variance in mine seems to be disproportionately large. And when I am off meds, they vary even more wildly. It may sound like I am saying these are out of control right now, but they aren’t. But that is because I am medicated correctly and I work very hard to stay aware of when these emotions are out of proportion to the situation at hand.
So, even though I am on a good medication combination, I still have problems with irritation and sensitivity. And they are the first symptoms to show up when anything throws my system off. They are also the last to go away. *sighs*
So I am going to talk to my treatment team about whether they feel this is a good idea for me and try not to talk myself out of even bringing it up with them. Even if I hate the idea, I hate going hungry even more.