Sunday, 10 March 2013

Bipolar and work output

The other week I had a regularly scheduled developmental chat with my boss. It was surprisingly pleasant and good — I learned a lot about how she sees my role in the lab, my performance, and what she is doing to enhance my productivity, situation and activities.

I was surprised to hear that she really appreciates having me around.
That she thinks I'm doing a really good job.

I suspect the fact that I am so surprised is tied more to my depression worldview than to anything remotely similar to objective reality.


The point I wanted to talk about was how my boss brought up how she's gotten herself to get used to how I tend to work in waves: I'll have a very low output for some time, and then work frantically for some time, producing immense amounts of work, and then have a down time again.

I wonder how tightly connected these habits are to my underlying bipolar issues? I know my paper writing episode last fall, when I produced most of “Sketches of a Platypus”, happened in what felt like an essentially dysphoric light hypomania. I was energized and had to get this thing written and done, and worked every waking hour at producing text, sleeping less than usual, and pushing onwards even though it often didn't feel very pleasant.

And my down times, my improductive times, usually come with a growing despair at how as much as I try to do work, I seem to only surf the web and play games. And do nothing but.

In the end, my improductive periods provide my bad self-esteem with enough fodder to feed the self-image of myself as lazy, unworthy and improductive that it drowns out my high output periods when I try to build my own self-image.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah I have very productive and very non productive periods. Probably in a different way. But definitely if I have a non productive period, it can lead to being depressed. When I have a highly productive period my wife says "remember this when you are having a slow patch". In fact I think this is one reason that the mixed teaching/research nature of a lecturing job suits me quite well. When I'm having a slow research patch I can often be at least doing the teaching part of my job to my satisfaction, meaning that it can help me not get down.


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