Bipolar and Working: Scheduling

So, as some folks may know, I have rapid-cycling Bipolar I.  I spent several years on disability, but I’ve recently reentered the workforce and gotten off of disability.

When I did this, I transitioned through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and moved to a DVR Limited Term Employment position in May of 2016.  In September, we used a little used rule to transition from the LTE position to a Project position, where I’m sitting now and hoping that a permanent position will open up.

Because I went through DVR, to a specifically DVR position, I was able to ask for accommodations, and the biggest one was having Wednesday off.  I work 32 hours a week. (and am allowed to work up to 40)  My vacation is prorated, so I have less of that, but my health insurance is in full so I have the health insurance I need to continue working.

So, I’m supposed to have every Wednesday off for appointments, but this is tested all the time.  Sometimes my coworkers need Wednesday off, or there’s an event they have to attend, so that gets pushed to Friday or Monday or I don’t have one that week.

This is a problem.

It isn’t just that I need the time off for appointments, I need the time off so I can maintain my health.  If I’m sick, and I’m really struggling, I can manage to work two days in a row – one really badly and the other a struggle but with the end in sight.  And then I get a break, and a chance to try and get my feet under me again.  I can manage two days generally even at my worst.

But this thing with four in a row?  It’s beating me up.  I’m struggling and getting sicker and struggling some more.

I know that I have to advocate for myself, but that’s easier said than done.  It’s hard to look someone in the eye and tell them that your health trumps the days they want off.  It’s hard to admit that I can’t do it.

It’s embarrassing.

I hate confrontations.

But I’m going to have to address this so I don’t get sicker.

How do you deal with situations like this?  Do you have a method for keeping things pleasant when talking about unpleasant things?

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