Thursday, July 16, 2009

"The less you say, the better."

Dr. R was very proud of me for being promoted and thinks I'll do a great job, as long as I don't talk too much.

I told him I was worried that I might be hypomanic again, that I feel like I want my clients to stop talking so I can get a word in, that I'm afraid I'll spin out of control and ruin everything with my coworkers and supervisors. How I'm having trouble concentrating on developing a group outline and other programmatic matters I should be focusing on, and I often feel like singing and dancing in the hallway.

"At this stage," Dr. R said, "The less you say, the better.

"You do not have to prove yourself," he continued. "They promoted you, so they know you are qualified. So do your job, but say as little as possible. What is good is that you are aware there might be a problem, so you can monitor your behavior."

He's right. And I tried to live by those words. Which is surprisingly difficult. I have to say my anger management clients made it easy in group tonight, though, because they're a very chatty bunch. I didn't have to say too much.

But after group, one of the new counselors came to my office to borrow my computer, and we started chatting about how tough it is to learn all of the agency policies and procedures.

"I learned everything through trial and error, mostly error," I said. "It gets better. I promise."

Then she noticed the acupuncture certificate on my wall. So I started talking to her about the training, and the five points that are targeted, and what the protocol accomplishes.

"If you ever have 20 minutes and you're stressed out, just let me know," I said. She pulled her hair away from her ear and said, "How about now?" jokingly. We laughed.

Why did I have to go on to tell her that it is my diabolical plan to introduce acupuncture to the program, and then offer to intercede with the accountant/techie if she ever has a problem with him, because he likes me more than he likes the other counselors? (Which happens to be true -- he answers my questions much faster and much more nicely than questions from the other counselors -- but she doesn't need to know that.) It's so easy to elaborate and digress and become grandiose when you're manic.

"You have such great energy, Ayelet!" she said.

I hope that's all she thinks it is. Because she's got a lot of experience working with people who have bipolar disorder. I don't want her to blow my cover.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. I get the "you have such great energy" comment and I'm always scared of what they really mean. I'm not bipolar but I am ADD/ADHD and I'm always thinking "they figured it out" or "now they'll never like me/respect me" or things along that line.

    Guess what. 99% of the time... no one notices... no one cares... no one looks as deeply at us as we do at ourselves, even if it is their job. Relax. :)

  2. The "keep quiet" advice is what I keep giving myself. So hard to do that. My emails are too long. I go back and re-read them and find way too many adjectives. Feel completely transparent.

    I need about a year of solitude. Feel like 90 percent of my interactions are "off" but I keep thinking "oh, I'm ok now, I look ok" and then I realize, "nope, still look crazy."

    Ultimately, to me, it doesn't matter if no one notices...I still feel lousy about it. Inner shame hurts just as much. I feel betrayed by myself. Unintentionally betrayed but betrayed nonetheless.

    I appreciate your blog and hope you feel better soon.

  3. Yes, it's hard keeping things to yourself. Keep on keeping doing it. It may become more automatic.

  4. Ayelet, you wrote "she's got" in your post.

    It is either "she has," "she's" or "she got" but not never "she has got" or "she's got."

  5. i am in the process of switching psychiatrists and as i was looking through my insurance, found Jan Roda's name listed. Since you speak so highly of her, I was really surprised to see that she's not board certified. Shocked, actually. As it's basically an expected norm for psychiatrists to be board certified in psychology/neurology, it really made me wonder about those who are not - especially those who've been practicing for many years.

    Just a little concerned for you....

  6. Michelle, I don't know if he's board-certified in neurology, but he's done about 15 fellowships in various specializations. He's one of the best mood disorder psychiatrists in NYC and came very highly recommended. But I appreciate you looking out for me! I could definitely give you the names of some psychiatrists to avoid ;)