Decisions suck!

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.


~ by theartistryofthebipolarbrain on August 9, 2012.

7 Responses to “Decisions suck!”

  1. I am felling really stupid asking this, but what is “accomodation under ADA law”? Is it disability? I have been on that for like 12 years and i am glad I did.

    • Accommodation under ADA law is asking for special treatment (whether for a physical illness or mental illness) and can vary from allowing a service animal, providing specialized equipment, or relaxing a specific policy. In this case, I am looking into requesting extra absences before my job is at risk. And I might not be able to get it that clearly. That’s one reason I have to talk to my psych. It might be that we can’t phrase it that way or determine the number of days that would be good. [I don’t expect them to allow an infinite amount.] It may come down to not counting days only if I get a letter from him or am hospitalized. I just want to make sure I am protected.

  2. Ah, I was also going to ask what accomodation under ADA law was, but I’m glad I got here late enough to see it already explained! As always, I have digital hugs to offer, and the knowledge that I completely share your reluctance to seek special treatment of any kind.

    As much as you might not like having to go through that process, I think your logic is spot on (in that you’d rather keep your job one way or another), and you have as much reason as anyone else to request protection.

    My experience of special treatment has only been in education so far, so my opinions are limited somewhat. My school told me that I had to get “special consideration” in my exams, essentially so that they couldn’t be accused of neglecting a “disabled” student or something to that effect. Now, at university, I get extra time which I don’t need and didn’t ask for, and I’m not allowed to refuse it; at the same time, they are unwilling to (or just refuse to) provide the help I actually need. It’s a very illogical system.

    I hope it sorts itself out without taking too much of a toll on your health than it already has. Hugs again.


    • Thanks a lot!

      It’s a really hard decision to make. When I am here, I work very hard (assuming I have work to do). I am always willing to do extra work or travel for my job. So to ask for help makes me a little crazy. I also work incredibly hard to be here every day. So I am asking for accomodation because it is harder for me to work every day, but people I work with ar incimpetent and lazy and aren’t at risk for termination.


  3. You’re right, it’s more important to keep the number of absences to a low number so you are in control of your job, rather than let management enforce some policy that you have no control over. Even when you don’t want to go to work, sometimes you just have to go. Doing less than your best is often better than staying away when you can’t be sure the effect your absence will have.

    So, hang in there and stay in control of your job.


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