Under Pressure

Marcia Purse Health Guide
  • As I wrote about in Shock & Anxiety last month, this has been a brutal year physically. And as if all that hadn't been enough, I spend ten days in the middle of this month with excruciating pain in my knees that turned out to be bursitis.


    Physical ailments have increased the pressure on me to keep up with my job responsibilities. I work from home, doing freelance writing and bookkeeping. With all my illnesses, the bookkeeping is backed up for months. Up till now, though, I've managed to make all my writing deadlines by the end of each month.


    Two things can happen when I'm under pressure of a deadline. The first is that I am galvanized and work like crazy until everything is done. The second, far less common, is that I get fatigued and depressed and plod ahead desperately until everything is done.

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    This month has been so exhausting, with vocal cord sugery at the beginning and then pain that knocked me flat for a week - not to mention having a colonoscopy as a follow up to the colitis attack at the end of April - that I'm not going to make my deadlines. I feel bad about that, but there's just nothing I could do about it.


    This got me to thinking about having bipolar disorder and being under pressure. As I said, most often I respond well to deadlines. I've sort of been that way for a long time. In high school, I did really well on the SATs and ACTs because (a) I knew the correct answer for each question had to be there, since it was multiple choice, and (b) there was a time limit. (I got the highest score in the school on the ACT, even though I was by no means the brightest student in my class.)


    Yet there are also types of pressure where I freeze. Sometimes I have difficulty talking on the phone, for example. This started when my house was broken into four times in six weeks back in 1987, and one of the things stolen was my telephone. Also, because I was at work every time, it got so I was afraid to answer my phone there because it might be yet another call from my neighbor about another break-in.


    How do you respond to deadlines? How well do you work under pressure?

Published On: July 31, 2012