I haven’t been doing a good job of managing both sides of schizoaffective disorder. I focus very heavily on the schizophrenia. I’m constantly on guard for it – quick to back away from stress, quick to take a Klonopin, quick to dive into a dozen management strategies, quick to hide out at work.
But I basically ignore the major depression. As much as I think that The Dragon is my constant companion, it is the depression that is the true company that I always keep. I’m so used to it that it is familiar.
Usually this is how I function. On high alert for schizophrenia and ignoring the depression that keeps me chronically unhappy and in the dumps.
But it had been growing worse. Troubles with holiday finances, trouble with a coworker and, primary, trouble with the delusion of healthiness. Lately I had been on a healthy streak and these are tough. The Dragon tears into me during these trying to convince me that I really am healthy and that I am coming up short providing for my family.
My job is purposefully low stress and low stakes and when I’m healthy it feels like it is completely beneath my resume and I could be doing so much more.
This gets me down. Way down. Everyday I trudge into work under a big cloud of depression.
The other day it got the best of me though. I was hit from several directions, tight finances for the holidays made my earnings seem insignificant, the looming Christmas encounters coming up explaining why I’m working at a job with a less than stellar job description compared to my resume, seeing family and navigating their questions about my disease, and just trudging along day by day with a worsening depression was just bringing me down.
I broke down in tears (something I don’t do) on the way into work. Then, while cleaning the bathrooms (which isn’t a big deal there) I heard, for the first time in months, clear as day, The Dragon say “you are failing your family, they hate what you’ve done to them.” I broke down in tears again. This was a clear case of the depression leading the psychosis, which is backward from what I am used to.
From here my memory faded. I knew I needed to talk to my boss. I thought I discussed it with him on the radio and he asked me to finish up what I was doing. But as I was emptying trash cans in the cemetery things just weren’t adding up. I began to suspect that I hadn’t actually talked to him on the radio at all.
I went to the maintenance building and asked him if we had spoke. He looked at me confused and said no. “Then I really need to go home,” I told him, “I’m hearing things and am generally confused. I just can’t work today.”
He said he understood and that it was okay. He was concerned that I would be able to drive. After I said I could he said good luck and that he hoped to see me the next day.
This story is concerning because it shows a worsening of my depressive and schizophrenic symptoms despite a recent med increase. I know that the pressures of many things right now are playing into increasing my stress level, a common catalyst to my symptoms.
I ended up working the next day and had an appointment with my psychiatrist, he increased my antipsychotic by 33% and is adding in another antidepressant. I haven’t picked up these scripts yet so I am unsure of the benefit.
I’ve also missed the next day for psychosis caused by a different set of circumstances that I will definitely be blogging about in the future. This makes for, after I work tomorrow, about half of the week I’ve been out for my mental health.
This is a real blow to the pride I feel at being highly functioning. Even my low stress job is proving to be to much for me lately.