educating co-workers

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out Archives' started by AuburnTeach, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. AuburnTeach

    AuburnTeach Companion

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 16, 2006

    Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar type 2 disorder which is being controlled very successfully due to medications and a lot of work on my part. My close colleagues at school knew about it because I chose to tell them; they've been an incredible support network and have never treated me as less capable or like I was going to break when something difficult happens.

    In November during the 2004-2005 school year, I started taking a new medication which wreaked havoc with me physically and emotionally. I was in-patient in the hospital for ten days, then in a day program (I could go home at night) for five weeks. So, I missed seven weeks of work.

    I had no problem with people knowing why I was gone. I'm not ashamed of my illness an have become very active in educating other people about it.

    There are two teachers at school who still don't "get it". When I have a difficult student in my class, they tell me I should have the principal move the student to a different class because it might make my bipolar disorder "kick in".

    When we found out some staff members may be reassigned for next school year, one of them said I should get my doctor to write a note saying I couldn't handle a reassignment.

    I'm not sure if they really think I'm emotionally unstable or too weak to handle tough situations, or if they think I should use the fact that I have this disorder to manipulate people to get what I want. Either way, it really bothers me.

    I've told them over and over, in many different ways, that I can handle anger and other strong emotions as well as anyone...maybe sometimes better because of the work I've done with doctors and counselors.

    Have they seen my angry? Yes...when a child's education is short-changed for any reason. But, not red-faced, yelling, screaming obscenity angry, and never in front of kids or parents.

    Have they seen my cry? Yes...when our favorite janitor died unexpectedly, when one of my students was diagnosed with leukemia, when I'm frustrated because a student baffles me and nothing I do seems to help.

    ~takes a deep breath~

    Anyway, I've done everything I can to teach them that bipolar disorder doesn't necessarily mean a person who's falling apart, unable to handle criticism or tough situations, or has to be treated with kid gloves.

    So, do I keep trying? Decide what they think doesn't matter...because I suppose in the long run it really doesn't? Maybe what I needed to do was just vent here, because I've seen how supportive and helpful the a to z members and moderators are. Either way...thanks for "listening" and letting me get this off my chest.
     
  2.  
  3. Mrs.Bick

    Mrs.Bick New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 16, 2006

    Congratulations on your successful mangement of BP.
    Is it possible these two really are just concerned about you and not really thinking you "are emotionally unstable... too weak to handle tough situations or that you should... manipulate people".
    As you know relapses, and medication failures are possible and very frightening for those who love you- been there.

    If these two really aren't supportive I say go with your last idea and believe-"what they think doesn't matter"
     
  4. hanvan

    hanvan Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Messages:
    1,776
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 16, 2006

    I always take things WAY to personal! Its hard when you feel like someone is attacking you. I would try very very hard to stay away from these people if you can. You know what you can handle and thats all that matters. Try to just surround yourself with positive people. And when they say things like that to you I would just ignore them and keep going about my day.

    Good Luck
     
  5. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 16, 2006

    AuburnTeach, bipolar runs in my family...........several of my family members have been diagnosed with it. All you can do is continue to educate others about it. Sounds like most of them get it..........the few who don't probably never will, no matter how much educating you try to do. I know having a family or good friends who support and love you are very important. It is good to see you discuss it so openly. My brother should connect with you.......he is in denial about the whole thing........but that is for a different thread!:rolleyes:
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,938
    Likes Received:
    681

    Apr 16, 2006

    AuburnTeach, glad to hear you are able to manage your disorder well. Those coworkers just sound old-fashioned and rather ignorant.
    Excuse me if I am being too personal, but how old were you when you were diagnosed? You don't have to answer if you'd rather not. It's just that my son was diagnosed about 12 years ago with probable childhood BP disorder. He was on meds for it for about 3 years. They weren't all that successful. He stopped at age 15. I'm still wondering just what his actual problem is, or if it will turn out in a few years that BP was the correct diagnosis. Today, he refuses treatment of any kind and was actually terminated from treatment by his pschologist and psychiatrist in the past because of his behavior.
     
  7. AuburnTeach

    AuburnTeach Companion

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 17, 2006

    I was diagnosed when I was 34 (so it was 13 years ago, not 10 like my original post says), but I think the depression part of the BP manifested itself when I was in my late teens/early 20's.

    I started going to therapists when I was in college. They all said the same thing; I hadn't fully dealt with my dad's death (he died when I was 15), or I must've been abused. Of course when I said I knew I wasn't abused, most of the therapists said I just didn't "remember".

    When I finally was diagnosed, I was so thrilled to know there was a cause for the anguish I was going through that I was very willing to go on meds. I was hospitalized for about 6 weeks that summer, and I left feeling like a new person.

    The manic part of my disorder isn't the euphoric, "I am superwoman", up all night cleaning and doing things like flying to Vegas and gambling away all my money that most people associate with BP. "My" mania manifests itself as irritability, extreme anxiety, and anger...anger that I turn inward. It took a while for my docs to realize I was BP rather than "just" depressed an having anxiety attacks.

    I'm very, very fortunate to have family, friends, and pastors who are loving, supportive, and educated so they can tell me if they see signs of a possible relapse and so they know how to be supportive. I take every chance I get to thank God for them and to let them know how grateful I am that God put them in my life.

    Thank you all for your kind words and support. There have been tremendous gains in treatment and medication options, and slowly but surely the general public is learning about psychiatric disorders.

    Daisy, I'll e-mail you after work...it's time to head out and turn from spring break mode back into teacher mode.

    Kinder, I wish your brother and your family the best. I can't imagine how difficult it is to know someone with BP who is in denial. Please e-mail me if you'd like. I don't know how much sage advice I can offer, but I do have big shoulders and two good ears :)

    Thanks again, everyone.
     
  8. Starista

    Starista Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2006
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 18, 2006

    Auburn ~

    I know exactly how you feel. Last year (at the age of 26) I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder ~ in short: depression. My doctor put me on a course of Wellbuterin and some anti-anxiety meds and they did not interact well with me and I too spent time in the hospital. I did not finish out the year and took a medical leave of absence because of how people reacted to my illness. I was also going through a very painful divorce at the time. At the end of the school year I moved to So. Fla to be closer to family. I secured a job teaching 1st grade in a private school and am very happy. I found a wonderful, caring doctor down here who has helped me very much. VERY few people at work know about my illness... as every mood can be blamed on "Well, it must be her depression kicking in..." etc etc. It, like BP2, is a very difficult illness to live with. I have many resources on both illnesses (I was first diagnosed w/ BP2 at the age of 21) and would love to talk w/ you more on this. :)
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. MrTempest,
  2. hp htc6035
Total: 460 (members: 2, guests: 443, robots: 15)
test