Returning to work after a BPD crisis – Update

Smoking kills

Image by LeRamz via Flickr

Well, I’ve made it through three weeks back at work now! To help me adjust without overdoing it I have been working just 3 days per week for 3.5 hours a day. Next week I am increasing my hours to 4.5 hours a day, still 3 days, but it means I will be doing the full afternoon, hopefully this increase wont be too much that it will ‘rock the boat’ as it is so easy to go too far too soon. You may not think an extra hour is much, but believe me if you had the problems I’ve had you would be worried about it!  The main reason I feel able to attempt the extra time is that the stress, anxiety and panic that was filling me each day in the first two weeks has now subsided in the third week, so I think I am adjusting at last.  If the increase goes well next week, then I am thinking of adding an extra day the week after, but lets just focus on the extra time for now. One step at a time!

One thing I am hoping won’t cause me to slip up is the fact that I am making a step toward quitting smoking.  I am using E-lites electronic cigarettes to help me cut down gradually.  I may be taking on too much trying to quit smoking whilst gradually increasing my working time, but the two do go hand in hand really as I can’t smoke as much when I’m at work anyway – only on my break.  Again I’m not going to rush with it, just take it as it comes and see how I get on. It has already meant I am smoking about 5 less cigarettes in a day, so I would say that’s not bad going really!??

The final part of this update is more good news. I have FINALLY had an appointment with a therapist. On Thursday I went to see her for the first time.  The only bad thing is I am having to pay privately because I still haven’t heard anything from my NHS referral 😦  The first appointment went well, it was really a bit of another ‘assessment’ (as if I haven’t had enough of those already!) but I understand why it has to be this way, the therapist needs to know if my problems are something she can work with, and I need to know if I can open up and be honest with her, so I can work with her. We both felt that we can work together so I go back next week to start ‘working’ through my problems, fingers crossed this will be useful and help make a difference to the difficulties I face, time will tell.

Baby steps with each thing, at least they are all positive things 🙂

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4 comments on “Returning to work after a BPD crisis – Update

  1. Good luck on quitting smoking. Keep, keep trying to quit even if you “fail” at several attempts (it took me many tries to finally quit & I even started again after quitting for 15 yrs. after having a major depressive relapse & smoked for another 7 yrs. before being able to quit again when getting on Lithium). Right now I am in Seattle (Washington State, USA) as I had to fly here suddenly from the Midwest last week when my sister-in-law (husband’s sister) found out she has lung cancer.

    I have been the only relative she has been able to have an open relationship with as she has mental health issues so she can talk to me openly when she has had a panic attack or major depression or that she had been sent to a psychiatrist after she was fired from her job because of her “paranoid” behaviors.

    We have worked together on our cognitive distortions (& had many laughs about them when we examined them in the bright light & out loud instead of leaving them to fester in the back recesses of our brains) & she has managed to raise a lovely daughter who is now 26-years-old, but her husband is clueless & can’t seem to “get it” as far as the kind of support she needs emotionally & NOW she really needs help & support as the cancer is NOT GOOD–very advanced.

    She had been refusing to go to a doctor for YEARS for a physical exam due to her anxiety or would go & then “refuse” to get the lab tests (actually “run away” or “escape”), etc. & I had not seen her physically in 6 mos. until a couple mos. ago & she had deteriorated so rapidly (malnourished; weak, memory failing; pain in her limbs; her breathing sounded like she had had a tracheotomy it was so loud; just on & on; her horrible condition was/is horrible).

    So I had spent many hours on the phone since seeing her convincing her to see her physician & getting the lab work done & following through with what the docs recommended, & that she needed to tell the doc she needed him to help her due to her anxiety issues; he needed to be her advocate & even walk her to the lab (he did); explain everything carefully to her so she could write down notes as her memory is failing; & for the doc to be the “ringleader” & her advocate & coordinate all other docs & appts. she would need as I knew once she saw one doc she was going to have to see many as she was wasting away.

    At that time I did not know she was going to be diagnosed with lung cancer…

    She is a smoker. Her mother died of lung cancer (though at least 10-15 yrs. older than my sister-in-law is now & her mother WAS able to have surgery which allowed her to live for a year after her diagnosis & surgery; she decided against chemo & radiation when the docs told her that the odds weren’t very good for them to help her)…

    Anyway, my sister-in-law was so PROUD of herself for getting to the initial appt. & getting all the blood drawn & enlisting the doc for assistance & taking notes, etc. She credited me for “getting her to the doc & getting her to stay through the lab tests”, but I could only give her the advice as I had been through my own anxiety issues with docs so much that my therapist had to accompany me once to an appt.!

    BUT I primarily want to encourage you to keep trying to quit smoking not only for yourself but for your children. My sister-in-law does not have good odds. From a 3-hour consultation with a team of 5 docs the day before yesterday we learned: Her tumor is too large to operate on; her cancer has spread.

    She gets more tests (MRI in 2 days; 4-hour procedure down her esophagus, nose & throat under anesthesia in 5 days) to determine exactly what kind of cancer cells they are to figure out what the chemo & radiation protocol will be, but they have already said she may want to get in a “trial” (tests conducted for upcoming drug treatments that have not been approved by the gov’t yet as they are usually more aggressive & are often used on those for which the already-approved treatments are useless or have a very small chance of helping, but she could get the PLACEBO in a clinical trial)…

    Researchers here at Duke Univ. (tobacco country) have shown that people with mental health issues have a harder time quitting smoking so, please, ask your therapist about stress-reduction techniques or quitting smoking classes (that’s how my husband quit). This is a wonderful opportunity for you to improve your mental/emotional health & your physical health. They do go hand-in-hand & when you do a very difficult challenge like quitting smoking you will feel so much better about yourself, too. So proud of yourself & you will be such a great role model for your children.

    As you can tell, I’m rooting for you fiercely!! For success (& for you to keep at it when you “fall short”) in all your challenges & endeavors.

    • Thank you so much for your support, I also had quit before although only for 2 years before my ‘current’ BPD episode got me smoking again. I do want to quit and will get there eventually, but at the same time I am aware of my own limitations and strengths, so I am trying not to be too hard on myself on this one at the moment as I am still not at my ‘best’. I don’t want to push myself too hard too fast and end up failing at everything, hence the baby steps approach. I am proud each time I have ‘less’ cigarettes than the previous day and know that gradually the number I smoke will get smaller and smaller, which will be good for me and everyone around me 🙂 (it will also be good for my voice, I am a good singer but lately due to have increased my smoking my voice has been deteriorating, which I don’t like! another good reason to quit!)

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