I don't know how much longer I can keep working

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Californiablonde, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Seriously the older I get the dumber I get. My memory is shot to hell, which I partly blame on all these bipolar medications, but I'm sure part of it is middle age too. It's not just my memory. I am seriously feeling disoriented and just plain stupid half the time. Lately I have been asking the dumbest questions at work. Stuff I should already know the answers to, especially after being here almost eight years. Today I asked a lame question to the counseling secretary, who was literally dumbfounded at why I should be asking the question in the first place. When she told me the answer, I was like, "Duh, I totally should have known that. Excuse me for asking." The woman had the most perplexing look on her face because she wasn't quite sure why I was confused.

    Last week I made an even dumber mistake. My coworker from the attendance department and I were still making our phone calls to all the kids who were marked absent and possibly no shows for the year. One of them was marked absent in the computer from several classes but I discovered she was in our fourth period class as a student helper, so I knew she was indeed attending our school this year. I had actually seen her. She just had a schedule change and was mistakenly marked absent. I had an extensive talk about it with my supervisor. I told her I needed to tell her in class the next day that she needed to clear her absences with the counselor. The very next morning, I completely forget our whole conversation. I never crossed my student off the list of phone calls to make. So I pick up the phone and leave a message on her parent's voicemail about her being marked absent, and to have them please call the school to verify if she will still be attending our school or if she has moved and is going to another school. My supervisor overheard me leaving the message. She got upset at me and reminded me this girl I called about was our student helper and we already knew she was here. Another totally "duh" moment for me. My supervisor treated me like I was the dumbest person on this planet. I am quite sure I was blushing. Then yesterday I asked her where certain forms were, and they were right where they are supposed to be and I have no idea why I even asked her in the first place.

    I am starting to feel incompetent. A few months ago my doctor prescribed me a medication called Namenda for Alzheimer's patients to see if it would help with my memory problems but it didn't do anything. This year seems to be even worse than last year. I don't know if it's my older age or what my deal is. I have 20 more working years till I retire. I honestly don't see myself making it that long. While my kids are teenagers and I still need to support them, I have no choice but to keep working. Disability wouldn't even pay my rent much less anything else. But I'm starting to think that I may need to stop working after they are grown and out of the house. I can't see myself retiring at the age of 62 like my mom did. Right now I feel like I'm struggling and I just feel stupid and incompetent. Oh and I forgot to mention the daily anxiety at work that medications aren't helping. Ugh!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Personally I'd bet the farm that it's the bipolar medications. Whenever I trailed mood stabilizers, my memory went to shoot. I did trial Tegretal and...same thing. My daughter took Depakote and she called it "the stupid pill because it makes me stupid." She couldn't do her work. I don't really notice memory deterioration on the medications I'm on, but my memory has always been so bad that it's probably that everyone I know got older and caught up to me :)
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    medications can DEFINITELY make this happen. I would push for a medication change if at all possible. I would also start doing some games/puzzles every day. It could be that lumosity thing but I am sure that isn't cheap/free. So get a book of crossword puzzles or sudoku or logic puzzles. They sell them at the dollar store so you don't have to spend a lot. ANY of that type of puzzle, including word find puzzles, cana n will help your brain. In many ways the brain is like your abs. You can work and work on them, and they will work and look great, but if you stop then they get all mush and soft and jiggly. THe more your brain works, the better it works. Start with easy puzzles. If you get stuck or cannot get started, look at the solution for one or two of th answers, then use those answers to help you figure out the rest.

    Penny Press makes a lot of puzzle books. They have free puzzles you can print out, help with solving puzzles (with how to solve them, not just the answers), and you can buy past issues for a very low price. I buy a bunch of logic, sudoku and crossword puzzle books every couple of years because not only do we all love them, we work them together and we give them as gifts with cool pencils, erasers, other gaming stuff, etc...

    There is a guy who creates logic puzzles to be done on the computer. (http://www.kaser.com/) The demos are free and the games are addictive. My favorite all time computer game is Sherlock and it really helps keep the brain lint away. I get fibrofog and my migraines also give me problems, so I know what you are coping with. Working on these games is a BIG help in preserving and developing a mind that functions well. There are many games on the site and you can download a demo so that you can try them before you buy them. Single games are $19.95 and WELL worth the cost. Get the game on disk rather than download and you can play it on all your computers for years to come. I bought this game ten YEARS ago and have not had to buy a new copy. I haven't paid a fee to upgrade, and have had zero problems on any of the gazillion computers we have had over the years. The games are not 'old' and I am not doing the same game again the way it would be with many games. I get nothing from recommending this game and still have probably sold sixty copies since I bought mine. Most friends download the free trials of all the games and ten buy their favorites.

    Many of the people I have recommended Sherlock to love it but NOT for the fun alone. I have a lot of friends with health issues because we all used to be in a support group for people with lupus and/or chronically painful health issues. We ALL had problems with brain fog. e have allfound significant help from games like Sherlock that exercise our brains and make them stronger. Itisn't magic or a quick fix, but it can help a whole lot.

    The last suggestion for you is to kepe a notebookand postits with you at all times. Write notes to yourself about not calling the girl who is not absent, about lunch plans, about anything you need to act on. Refer to the list as you do tasks an it can greatly help stop the fog from making you feel like a total idiot.
  4. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    CB, ANXIETY can cause a lot of the issues you are experiencing as can medications. I am unable to work due to cognitive issues caused by severe anxiety and my medications for bipolar.

    It's the "Devil's" choice for me. Without medications I cannot function at all. I'm hypomanic and suicidally depressed at the same time. With medications, I can function but cannot work.

    If you are not in therapy I strongly suggest you find a therapist. I found therapy to be necessary adjunct to medications for both the bipolar and the anxiety. medications alone don't do it.

    medications-wise, I had to go off of Depakote, which gave me better control of symptoms because of cognitive dulling that was intolerable. I take Trileptal now, and though I have some breakthrough symptoms they are manageable with therapy and other medications.

    I think, in your case, that the anxiety is the cause of your problems (in my humble opinion, I'm not a doctor) much more so than the bipolar, though bipolar itself can cause cognitive problems.

    in my humble opinion, until you get the anxiety under control with the help of therapy, you will not find relief. You do need a medication tweak, and if you are experiencing cognitive difficulties, a neuropsychologist exam might be enlightening.

    I was diagnosed after a NP exam in my forties and four years ago had another done. It was enlightening as in addition to my other issues, I've developed some executive functioning problems.

    I am sorry you are dealing with this. I hope that you will be proactive in taking care of yourself.

    Sending good thoughts,

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm going to say "amen" to GoingNorth because severe anxiety has impacted my work performance too. It isn't so much my memory as when I am nervous I make mistakes and often get brain freeze. Anxiety can be debilitating, just like certain medications.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If things are getting worse... have you had a complete physical lately to rule out a physical cause?
  7. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I would recommend a complete physical as well. The NP I saw last time insisted I have a physical before she would commence testing.
  8. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Cb-I know exactly what you mean, and I feel for you. My issues have gotten better in some areas and not so much in other areas. Im sorry you are going thru this and I hope it gets better. When I was really having problems with memory, I tried suduko, it did help. My brain tried to stay focused to the puzzle and over time and not quickly things got better. difficult child wasnt at home at that time, she was in fostercare, but i do believe the puzzoles helped my thought process along. If you can't remember something, try to remember not to say anything out loud right away, if you can. The answer is there, it just might take a minute to pull it out of your brain. If someone asks me a point blank question, such as who is the exec. director of a stat association here at work, um, its a 50/50 guess, it might come right out and then I just say, gosh let me think about that for a moment. I'll find out. Hang in there and do some sudoku. start small with like a 2 star or three star difficult puzzle and build some thinking skills. it feels good when yuou finish one. My memory was so bad, that if I was watching a movie on tv, I could be watching this movie for two hours but if it went to commercial, I would sit that whole commercial time and not remember what I had been watching. It does come back.
  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I am math-challenged and can't figure out Sudoku. I find crossword puzzles to be helpful as there is both word knowledge and strategy needed. If I can find a partner, I play scrabble and boggle as well.

    I also find studying something very helpful. Being Aspie helps with this as I have serial obsessions. Right now I am studying Bronze Age European History. I am a voracious reader and find that that and my studies help keep my mind sharp and my memory functional. It also keeps my (uselessly large) vocabulary in shape.

    Hope some of these ideas help you. My BFF, who has MS and Fibro, finds video gaming to be helpful. Her focus is on strategy and puzzle games.
  10. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Now i just need to work on my typing skills. sorry about all the typos.
  11. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your input. I hate to admit this but it's been several years since I had a physical. I need to wait till October when I start getting a regular paycheck again to make my appointment. There really is no good excuse for me not getting seen by a regular doctor. Money was always an issue and taking time off work, since I already have to take so much time off for the kids appointments, etc. I know these are lame excused and I need to be seen ASAP. Besides my memory, my anxiety has gotten ten times worse in the last couple of years. I get bad panic attacks at work now and that never used to happen.

    Oh and I forgot to mention I don't like my new boss at all whatsoever. He is a new assistant principal who transferred from another school and he is in charge of attendance. My supervisor used to work with him years ago at his old school, and swears up and down that this guy is the greatest guy on this planet. I don't see it. For one thing, he never came up and introduced himself to me on my first day back at all. I had a question for him about a week after I started back to work, and I had to go into his office and introduce myself for the first time because he never bothered to talk to me before that. When I did talk to him, he didn't seem very friendly. I have never had a problem with any of my other bosses being friendly but this guy won't even say hello to me when I pass him in the halls.

    Plus he's a hard a**. We used to run attendance reports every month and call all the parents of kids with attendance problems. That one day a month used to give me huge anxiety but I got through it cause it was only one day out of every month. This new guy wants us to call every single week, even for kids who are just missing a couple of periods. The lists are huge. The phone calls are dreadful. We have automated phone calls that go out to the parents every single night for the absent kids, but that's not good enough for him. He wants us both to call personally. I am starting to really not like my job.

    And the therapist I was seeing told me I wasn't paying him enough when my copay was supposed to be only $20. He told me it's actually $45 and I now owe him like $150. So now I can't see him until I can come up with the money to pay him back, plus now that I found out my copay is actually $45 I will only be able to afford to see him once a month, which is better than nothing I guess. But the first thing on my agenda is to schedule an appointment with my regular doctor and get my hormones checked out. A couple of women in my bipolar support groups suggested I get my hormones looked at because once they hit their forties their hormones were off and their anxiety got much worse. I am hoping it's something easy like hormone problem. I know that's something easy to fix and it sure would explain a lot that's been going on with me in the last couple of years.
  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry CB, you have so much on your plate, I think dealing with all of it would tweak even the most balanced of us.........sending hugs and good thoughts.................
  13. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Recovering. This has been an incredibly stressful week. Poor easy child must have it worse than I do though. All the anxiety about starting a new school and unexpectedly leaving his friends. I know if I were a teenager and had to suddenly switch schools my anxiety would skyrocket. Luckily both my parents were stable and I never moved the entire time I was growing up. I feel easy child's pain. I wish it were me instead of him.
  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    CB, be kind to yourself. Stress is all over your life, you just moved...........and into a one bedroom with a teenage girl.....anyone who lives with a teenage girl in my humble opinion deserves to get the Nobel Peace Prize. You have a new boss who is demanding a lot of you and you are now forced weekly to do tasks which bring you anxiety. Your ex is being a &*%$# and essentially abandoning your son so you now will be in a one bedroom with two kids.....................plus you have loads of empathy for your son who was happy where he was and now he has to deal with moving AND being thrown overboard by his Dad. You have money issues and that makes any of us feel STUCK which feels just awful. CB, anyone with all of that on their plate would have serious anxiety and fears, worries, all of it.

    Clearly you need a physical and some help with your medications, but I also believe it is very helpful to see the reality of your situation, there are major stressors in your life and yes it is really hard, but you ARE dealing with all of it, everyday, all day, you are facing your fears, facing your days and showing up. If you don't acknowledge that, you will be focusing only on what isn't working, rather then how well you're doing under some pretty extraordinarily insane circumstances.

    Stop for one moment and acknowledge yourself. You are doing it!! And, I know from my rather loopy life, sometimes that's as good as it gets! And, you've managed under all of this 'stuff' to lose weight!!

    So, there you have it, just switch your perception a tiny bit and you end up being a powerful woman, dealing with a full plate quite successfully and all the while looking good!
  15. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I seriously wanted to stress eat soooo bad this week but I didn't and I'm proud of myself! I lost another pound last week, so now it's 17 pounds total. I find out Saturday if I lost any more weight for this week. I have decided to reward myself with a new pair of shoes for every ten pounds I lose. I already bought myself a pair last month after my ten pound weight loss. Three more pounds to go and I get another pair. Of course I am going to have to wait till I get my big paycheck October 9th to pay for them, but I'm still excited. I rarely buy anything for myself, but this time I feel like I deserve it!
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    How old are you and when did you last have a thorough physical exam? I hate to tell you that menopause can start as early as the mid thirties and can last longer than 10 years. Mine did. Don't just assume that this is related to your medications, although they can have some drastic side effects. Symptoms of menopause:

    Hot flashes - don't assume it's a sudden outbreak in a sweat for no reason. Get nervous? Sweat. Thinking hard? Sweat. Worry? Sweat.

    Irritability - remember being 13 years old? Only worse because you're quite certain you should "know better".

    Headches - why not?

    Forgetfulness - I forgot more in 10 years than I learned in 30.

    Anxiety - about anything.

    You might also have vitamin deficiency. You need to see a doctor for a complete exam. A disability claim takes six months to process. If you don't have six months of savings set aside, you can't do it.
  17. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I just turned 42. I don't think I'm anywhere near menopause, unfortunately. I wish I was. My mom didn't go through menopause until she was 60 and knowing my luck I'll take after her. My periods are still very regular and come like clockwork, every 28 days. I never ever skip months, although I wish I did. I have had enough of menstruating and I'm done with it. I don't have hot flashes or any other symptoms. I get cold super easy and barely sweat. I agree I do need a physical exam to rule out any other issues. I still think my hormones may be off. I haven't seen a regular doctor in three years so I am way overdue. Plus I should have had my first mammogram last year. I have two friends my age who are suffering from breast cancer so that's putting a scare into me. I am going to schedule an appointment for October 9th when I get my big paycheck.
  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Forty two is prime time to start peri-menopause ("around the time of menopause"). It's a common misconception that menopause happens when we are done menstruating. Menopause is actually after you have no periods for a year and by that time most of the hot flashes and emotional symptoms have calmed down. If you go five months without then have one or two, you are peri-menopausal. Given that menopause can take 10 - 15 years to complete, 40 - 45 is when most women start, and they reach menopause in their mid to late 50s. It doesn't start with weird periods. It starts with bouts of anxiety, forgetfulness, changes in mood, and usually periods every 28 days, and then you'll notice hot flashes. I had emotional highs and lows and forgetfulness for 3 or 4 years before I started getting hot flashes, then another 8 - 9 years before I stopped having my period.

    Good for you for setting up an appointment! Don't let the question of whether you are peri-menopausal go unasked. Many doctors gloss over it, but be sure that yours understands that you have questions. Better to know whether or not it could be hormonal. There's a blood test that can be done that most doctors won't do because while you're in the middle of it your levels fluctuate too badly for it to mean anything.
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Until you get in to a doctor, consider some all natural remedies. This is a list of things that help from Dr. Oz: http://www.oprah.com/health/Dr-Oz-All-Natural-Cures-for-Anxiety While I don't have any great respect for the guy because he is on Oprah, he does seem to have some commons sense. These things are worth a try. One thing he mentions has bergmot in it. That is also what is in Earl Grey tea. Consider having Earl Grey instead of a cup of coffee during the day. It has caffeine, so you get that boost (but too much can make you jumpy, of course) and it has the bergamot which is great for worry. I find that Stash brand is relatively affordable and has a healthy amt of bergamot. Tazo is also a good brand, though more exensive. Tazo is sold at Starbucks, but also is sold in grocery stores and I think in Target for FAR less than in Starbucks. You can buy a whole box of tea bags at the grocery for around $4. Stash is about $2.50 maybe.

    Celestial Seasonings makes a tea called Tension Tamer that is quite wonderful and has ingredients proven to help wtih anxiety. Tazo makes a tea called Calm that many say is excellent for helping with anxiety, but to me it tastes like you dumped grass clippings into your tea. Lots of people I know swear by it though, including a friend with bipolar and many with Fibro. I just hate anything that tastes like health food, it makes me gag, so I don't really like the Calm tea. If you wanted, you could try a cup at Starbucks and then if you find it tasty/tolerable you could buy a box at the grocery. If you buy a box at Starbucks it costs a TON more.

    Other herbs are helpful and if you google 'herbs for anxiety' you should be able to find some other ideas that could help.
  20. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the tips, Susie. I will try the tea. I have a blend of chamomile and peppermint tea at home but it doesn't seem to help with my anxiety. I think it's time to give something else a try. I am going to see if difficult child will try it as well. Her anxiety is off the charts lately and she has been having horrible stomach problems. Perhaps something herbal will help her too.