Thanks for visiting my little blog, Please note that this is my online diary, thoughts & feelings expressed on this blog are mine & mine alone. I hope that you will take the time to comment & tell me what you think about the things that I write. If you do not wish to know what I am thinking in my tiny little head then please do not read on, but I will not apoloize for my spelling (although I'm trying to be better!) or my posts!

Thanks for stopping by,
Princess Steph

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mental Health, Migraines and the Workplace

i have had a bitch of a morning. a total bitch of a morning. i was called into my firms office to discuss my new assignment that starts on Monday half way across the country. i was not expecting to have a deep discussion about a bad review that i had received from a past client, but so it was to be.

i had received a "scathing" review from a client that i worked with for a whole year. the vp that i worked with was very disappointed in the work that i did with them, not in the strategy, not in my ability, not in my "smarts", not in what i brought to the table, but apparently in my reliability and the fact that i was ill a lot.

these are two very different issues in my life, and i feel like i need to deal with them both separately and independently. i also feel that the only way that i can thoroughly think about this is to write about it here. I also revealed today to both of my sr. vp's that i was taking drugs daily not only for my migraines, but also for my chronic anxiety and depression. i think that it was surprising to them and also made them realize that these issues are sometimes bigger than the person as a whole (me) and not as clear as they seem.

when we spoke about the reliability issue, i was very honest with them and spoke to them about the fact that this was the first that i had heard about this. also it was the first that they had heard about it. they agreed whole heartedly. I also talked to them about some of the struggles that i have with perfectionism and the need for my documents and client work to be perfect before i present it and how this is such a difficult thing for me that i am working through. this, i admitted does cause things to be late some times. we chatted about my current state of being frozen with stress and anxiety. i was of course in tears by now, because it was too much. i have not slept in ages and i am so stressed out about everything. it was not good.

what was wonderful is that both of the Sr VP's, a man and a woman, were totally supportive and understanding. the man was particularly compassionate and empathetic saying that he often was "paralyzed" with stress and hours would go by with out him being able to function. it was nice to have them understand and not only empathize but be supportive and offer to help. they also were wonderful in offering to be on the other end of the phone if i ever need them just to chat. i feel very lucky.

this is when i told them about the drugs. i told them that i take them for chronic anxiety and depression. they were shocked. i explained that it was a learning process, but i am in that process and trying to figure it out. i also explained that instead of being on a total manic roller coaster, i am trying to be on a lovely wavy pool of life. neither of them had noticed that i was "crazy manic". i told them it was because i was always "on" with them. they seemed to understand and it brought us onto a better level. I am glad i shared this information with them.

I was struck by the comment on illness. i think the struggle with migraines for me is that there is no hiding them. i look ill when I have a migraine. I am greeny-grey and lethargic. apparently you can tell in the middle of a conversation that i am getting one from my eyes. i cannot hide them.

the irony of how i view my chronic migraines is that i do not see that i am ill. i do not consider myself ill. i actually consider myself a very healthy person. i have my first cold now in 18 months. i do not really get sick. i do however have a chronic pain illness. i have chronic migraines. i can do nothing about it. i take drugs for it. lots of drugs for it, with lots of side effects, but i am doing what i can. this is not easy.

what is also not easy, is that i have also, always been very open about my migraines and mental health. i think that it is an important part of the process. it is important for me and it is important for other sufferers. it is one of the main reasons that i am so open about mental health and migraines and mental health on this blog. it helps me and it helps others.

From this comment, i have to rethink how i talk about myself. do i know take the view that: i will not tell my clients that i have a migraine, i will not comment when i have a headache, i will not say yes i do have a headache when asked. sorry i cannot remember a name, it's the topomax. this is all a mind shift for me, but i think that it is the answer.

so today started with a conversation that i never thought that i would have on any front. i hope that it has calmed some nerves on my end and theirs. here's to a new client and new opportunities. i also now must figure out what to do about this lovely client that i worked with and what to do about him. i really liked him and thought that he liked me. should i call him, e-mail him, or leave it. i'm at a loss. need to fix it. the world's too small for him to be defaming my integrity all over the place.....

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