I'm currently not working and for the first time in more than a quarter century, I'm relaxed about it.
Waaaaaay back in 1990 I got fired from a job that I was really bad at, and I was able to collect Employment Insurance for nine months. I honestly don't remember what I did with those months, but I remember it being stress-free.
Now that I'm unemployed again, for the third time in a year, and I did have the experience of panic over not working. Mostly because of the whole 'no money' issue. But also because I was feeling useless. My sisters pointed out that I could apply for EI even though I quit my job. So I did. I was told I'd hear back from them by the first week of January about whether or not I was approved...but I haven't heard anything yet. I keep filling out my time cards online and check every day about the status of my claim but still nothing. And you know what? I realized I don't care.
For some reason I am at peace with the idea of not working. I am happier, generally more positive, and relaxed. If I don't get EI, then I don't. If I do, then some financial pressure will be relieved. In the meantime, I still have room on my credit cards to pay random bills.
But the happiness confused me quite a bit at first. I am accustomed to Bipolar cycles. I am aware when I feel too great of a shift in moods. I am alert when my mood changes suddenly. I watch the reactions of those around me and see when they are guarded. The Empowerplus has leveled me out significantly. I still have mood swings but not nearly as dramatic. No more intense rage. No deep depressions. No mania. But I don't remember ever feeling generally happy and relaxed. Those two don't go together in my world.
Happy is not a word that describes my universe at all. Manic, euphoric, joyous, excited, ecstatic, jubilant, elated. Those are words I experience. Those are feelings that I know. Empowerplus has taken away the extremes but there was still and edge present. Happy? WTF is that? And yet here I am. Happy.
Relaxed is also not a word in my universe. Always on edge, every minute of every day. Always waiting to see how I will feel, if I reacted correctly, if I behaved appropriately, if I offended someone, if that was correct parenting, was I a good girlfriend or sister. Always. Again the Empowerplus has taken away a huge amount of that edge, but it was still there. Was.
And now the two have come together. Relaxed and Happy. I am more inclined to smile, laugh easy, the world is a good and kind place. Not extreme, not sharp, not waiting for the inevitable fall....just generally...content? Is that the right word? Is that what relaxed and happy means?
I found it confusing and worrisome at first. Was the Empowerplus working? Do I need a higher dose? And wait, why am I even questioning a happy state? What kind of tortuous world do I live in where I need to question contentment? Then S pointed out that maybe working was causing more stress than I knew. Having to be around people and behave correctly might have been causing the Bipolar to want to break through the pills (extreme stress does cause that, so I up my dose when it gets out of hand). But I never thought that the everyday stress of working could cause a constant struggle between Bipolar and Empowerplus.
While the pills have dramatically altered my life for the better, less stress seems to be the key to a door I didn't know existed. Also, good to know the Overthinking part of my brain has not changed.