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Keeping a Job When You Have Bipolar Disorder

September 3, 2013 Natasha Tracy

Keeping a job when you have a mental illness like bipolar disorder can be tough but these tips can make it easier. More at Breaking Bipolar blog.

Many people with bipolar disorder hold down jobs, just like everyone else. We get up, swear in traffic, survive on coffee and rant about our bosses behind their backs.

But people with bipolar disorder or another mental illness have special challenges when it comes to work. We’re sick more often, we need time off for medical appointments and stress affects us more than your average person. Here are a few tips on handling work and bipolar disorder.

How to Keep Your Job With Bipolar Disorder

1. Don’t tell.

This first piece of advice is contentious, I know, but I recommend not telling anyone at work that you have bipolar disorder – not even your boss – without a very good reason. That piece of information is terribly “juicy” and telling one person means the information will eventually crawl its way around the office until everyone knows. And whether one person knows or everyone does, you will likely find out what stigma, discrimination and prejudice are all about.

People will start to look at you differently and interpret your actions differently. People will stop recommending you for projects and you might even get passed over for a promotion. And that’s all assuming that more overt, illegal acts of discrimination and hate don’t happen. Is this a worst case scenario? Maybe. But it’s a real one that many people have faced and I recommend not risking it unless you really have to.

(If you do need to tell your boss, look into filing for a protection as a person with a disability. This can protect your from overt acts of discrimination.)

2. Work hard.

Perhaps it goes without saying but you should work hard at work. You should strive to work harder than others. Be on time. Turn in projects by the deadline. Create stellar work. Why? Because you are going to need more time off than others for appointments and for sick leave and you need your boss to remember you for your hard work and not your absenteeism.

3. Don’t stress.

Try not to let work stress you out. When you’re stressed you raise levels of hormones in your body and when you do this for prolonged spans of times you feel sicker and your immune system becomes comprised. Then you have two problems – you have the flu and you have bipolar disorder. Learn to meditate, practice yoga, do relaxation exercises or just go for a run.

4. Take the time you need.

Yup, you want your boss to think of you as a good employee but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the sick time you need and that you’ve earned. When you’re sick just admit it and stay home. It’s okay. It’ll be much better for you in the long run than trying to “power through” and making yourself worse for weeks or even months to come.

5. Be discrete.

When you need to take time off, understand that you don’t need to say why you’re sick, only that you are. It’s perfectly okay to need to take time for a psychiatrist’s appointment in many workplaces but you don’t need to tell people that’s what you’re doing. When you need to take time off because you’re too depressed, you don’t need to tell anyone that’s why you’re staying home – you just need to say that you’re sick. The details are your business.

Working and Keeping the Job with Bipolar

Holding down a job with bipolar disorder is entirely possible. You can achieve and succeed at work and bipolar doesn’t have to stop you but it may be more difficult than for others and it may take more of a toll on you. But following these tips can make it just a little bit easier.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2013, September 3). Keeping a Job When You Have Bipolar Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2013/09/keeping-job-bipolar-disorder



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Cheryl Breuer
says:
May, 23 2018 at 7:30 pm
I agree with most on the difficulty in working and keeping a job with bipolar. I was diagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety when I was 27 years ago. In 2015 I went into a rage and didn't recognize myself and was hospitalized for the first time for 2 weeks. My diagnoses changed to bipolar and all my meds were changed. Ever since then I've had nothing but difficulties, major, and legal. I don't know what each day will bring. I only know I am making it moment to moment on most days. The stress of job related issues would certainly push me overboard as it is ridiculously difficult to even leave the house or run simple errands. Those are accomplishments for me. I've had jobs which the best choice for me was to leave. I readily felt as though I had no hope and was "blacklisted" from working in my profession again of social work. My employers were aware of my diagnoses and had given me time off. I was told I wasn't the crazy one but those I worked with were. I was reacting to the stress from my jobs and hit rock bottom. I was so far gone I isolated and fell into a darkness I am still trying get through. Service providers are limited and I believe there is a national crises, if not international, for providers who remain at their positions and can handle caseloads effectively. Instead the exact opposite happened 2x with me which led to my initial hospitalization. The lack of providers, meds managed though the doctor on call with whom I have never met and sure they never read my file was the only way to continue treatment. The only way to get connected with a provider again is through partial or inpatient treatment. How long will that be is unknown. I believe I can be stabilized on an outpatient treatment if I could only get established with a new provider again. Recently, I had not seen my or any provider for 6 months due to their absence, not mine. There were no other providers available until just recently.It's not as easy as some make it sound and you are constantly advocating for yourself. It is exhausting!
Melinda
says:
April, 2 2018 at 5:03 pm
Hi. I have only recently been diagnosed with bipolar. In my life time I have had over 35 jobs . I am niw 52 . Employment has been difficult for me but now I am on new medication I for once in my work life feel settled.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dalton
says:
April, 17 2018 at 8:31 am
Oh man I'm 25 and I've had that many how do u cope dude
Lauree
says:
March, 9 2018 at 6:48 pm
I am a peer specialist. It my job to disclose I have bipolar disorder. This is by far the worst advise ever. It is things like this that encourages stigma around mental illness. Honesty is the best policy.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

RonnieW
says:
April, 19 2018 at 9:24 am
I totally agree with you Lauree. When I put in for FMLA due to a month long bout with returning depression, I needed to disclose my bipolar diagnosis. It wasn't a surprise to my boss that I needed the time off either. I tell everyone I am bipolar and offer advice to those who suffer from, not only bipolar disorder but other mental illnesses as well. If people have a problem, it is them who needs to be singled out and educated.
Alison
says:
February, 10 2018 at 12:07 am
I've had bipolar since I was 17. I'm now 52 and have had over 30 jobs. Which proves that I tried. I was a single mother also. At 2 jobs I had episodes at work. Basically losing touch with reality. I've been hospitalized 6 times. I take care of myself, take my meds but nothing works 100% when you have bipolar. I'm now 52 and work part time trying to do things I like. My life now is less stressful and my coping skills are better. I liked your article and just wanted to let you know my experience having bipolar and working. :)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Lauree
says:
March, 9 2018 at 6:50 pm
You are awesome....people like you make other feel less alone. Thank you for sharing your experience!!!!!
Paola
says:
January, 19 2018 at 3:59 am
Natasha I have a question. What if you can't just say that you're sick without explaining what's wrong with you? I don't know but in my country you just can't say that you're sick and not bringing a certificate signed by a Dr. explaining which is the health issue that you have. I never could tell anybody about my bipolar problem. Luckily I have been so stable that I didn't had to and I went to all my Dr's appointments after work time. But now that I give birth things are kind of different in terms of my bipolar issues. So that's my question.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
says:
January, 19 2018 at 4:37 am
Hi Paola,

I can't really comment on another country's requirements. What you might do though, is see if you can work with a doctor who will give you a note saying that you are ill, but just not specifying why. That way you have a note and your privacy.

I hope that helps.

- Natasha Tracy
Shirley M
says:
November, 1 2017 at 5:11 pm
Looking for job that I can do at home. I've a few mental issues. Any advice would be great . Thank you

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
says:
November, 2 2017 at 3:13 am
Hi Shirley,

I know many people are looking for jobs that they can do from home. Unfortunately, I am not an expert in this. I write from home, so I know that is an option, but I'm not aware of the broader options, I'm sorry.

- Natasha Tracy
Maria Taber
says:
September, 19 2017 at 8:32 pm
Im maria and i was diadnosed with bipolar 9 yrs ago and just this passed 4 months my therapist told me that im no bi polar what is that ive just started learning about it for them to change it
Bonnie
says:
July, 3 2017 at 11:18 am
Sandra! I would never ever give an employer a letter of your diagnosis or any medication. I would mark the disability box and that's it. It is illegal for an employer to let you go or keep writing you up or whatever. AND if HR knows this stuff believe me other folks know it too. This may become a trigger for you to be paranoid or as they call it develop a self filling prophecy in a way. You must maintain your confidence. I hope you are seeing a therapist and you are on the right medications. I'm older and I know that your body chemistry changes and therefore you need to change up your meds. Can you be more specific about what is going on at work and how YOU are feeling and thinking through this? AND for future reference I can't reiterate enough the importance of maintaining a "don't tell" policy in the future.
Bonnie
says:
July, 3 2017 at 10:58 am
It's refreshing to read these comments. I was diagnosed with "manic depression " in the 1970's and later in life due to a traumatic event I was diagnosed with PTSD. I have a learning disability as well. My grades were atrocious and I had to re-do 1sr grade. My brothers bullied me Peet's at school bullied me and I was constantly being ridiculed by my parents. Why are you do dramatic, why can't you understand math, why can't you find better friends. So I spent most of my time alone. From the 1st grade on I never felt normal. Anyway fast forward. I started using drugs running away from home at age 12. I was kicked out of 3 Middle schools for drinking or smoking pot and cigarettes. I was arrested at age 13 in Las Vegas! Ok the story's go on and on. My mother said she was taking me somewhere and I was admitted into a locked mental health facility at age 15. I ran away from there and placed into a locked unit.


I stayed for 8 months.. The only reason they let me out is because my mother 's insurance ran out. I came home only to learn my family had moved and I had no bedroom so I slept in the basement. Ok fast forward again. I was on lithium, an anti depressant and diazaphsm anyway my mother told me to stop taking my meds because "she didnt like me when I took them." This goes on and on. Iv had 5 hospitalizations up to now I can't even count how many jobs Iv had. My mother has not spoken to me for 15 years my brothers want nothing to do with me.

I was able to earn my BA I found out I had a learning disability and that I was dyslectic Jesus! No wonder I had such a hard time in school so I was an honor student in graduate school when I earned my MA. I had to work very hard to be accepted into the university which is on the top 10 list. Upon my graduations my parents said they only wanted your money.

So much more to tell. Ok so I was the first in my family to graduate from college AND move on to get my MA. I got my dream job and bought my first house again the first in my family. So I was quite the achiever this is a pattern I get a great job build my savings buy a house and then I lose it al!!! This has happened 3times in my life. This happened to me every time I got into a relationship. My bipolar meds were changing all the time. When I had no insurance I'd end up trying to kill myself over and over again. Now I am homeless can't hold down even a cashiers job.

This illness and my PTSD has gotten worse over time. I have 2counselors and both have recommended disability so I'm going through that process. My medications don't work I want to kill myself every day. As someone stated above it's not if I do it it's when. I don't know why my life goes from making $80 K a yeah to $17K a year but I'm 57 now so I just can't pull this off again.

My future is bleak. I see therapists but finding a psychiatrist that takes Medicaid is impossible! Anyway this illness is a life sentence and the stigma and discrimination is rampant amongst the workforce because I did have to take sick time. When I ran out of meds it was noticeable. So this is part of my story. Iv managed to keep one true friend for 17 years I'm grateful for that. My question is, is it a normal symptom to build your life up and lose it all and have this repeatedly happene with my illness? I mean I build great success then lose 100% and have to start ove. Iv always had what I call panic jobs until I can get some work in my field but I feel like due to my age and having an increase in my symptoms with more symptoms of hyperventilate mood swings deep depression and suicidal ideation and more. Do people with B PD and PTSD go through this? I am unable to find these patterns with this population so far? Sorry such a long one!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Garrett
says:
August, 13 2017 at 5:33 pm
Your not alone. I built a good career... lost everything. Then I built my own business and got a house.... and guess what... a relationship cost me that. I'm in deep depression...unemployed... and it was relationships that did this so your not alone.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Joe Ranager
says:
October, 1 2017 at 9:40 am
Yes it is normal every time I had my meds working I would get a great job and the future looked great I'd move my family to a nice house and things would be great then the meds would stop working and I would go manic I would max out our credit cards and go to another state without my family then my mind would start racing all I wanted was it to stop I tried killing myself i shot myself slit my wrist and Oded then the Great Depression would come then I would be so bad I would want to kill Myself again. And the cycle would begin again I would go back home rebuild get a good job and things would begin again I would work for 6 months then here comes the mania so here I go again so I know how you feel I'm. 52 and I'm still trying break the cycle
Sandra
says:
July, 3 2017 at 5:38 am
Hi thank you for this information. I struggle with Bipolar as well. Here recently I gave a letter indicating my diagnosis along with names of medications earlier this year. About 2 weeks ago I got written up at my job for absenteeism, and tardiness at my work when they already knew of my diagnosis. And I don't know what to do now.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Ash
says:
July, 5 2017 at 7:28 pm
Sandra, you may need your meds adjusted. Not saying that this works for everyone, but I wasn't on enough meds and my work was suffering for it. I'm actually open about being bipolar at work because it made my co-workers more understanding of my situation, and why I react the way I do. Of course its probably not common that you can really be open, but this is the first job where I've worked with everyone for a few years now, and when you work closely with a small group of people, it pays to be open and honest. All my life I've been bad about being late. I was late for school, then late for work, and I lost what would've been a great job because of it. They were really lenient with me for a long time at this job, but eventually they told me enough is enough. I called in sick the day after I realized I was going to get a write-up (had a breakdown that night) and looked for a psychiatrist that could see me right away because I couldn't handle this anymore. My regular doctor has been treating me, and I improved some but I needed more specific help. It was either God or fate that brought me to the psychology clinic I now go to. They had an appointment that day and my life has improved tremendously since then. I feel like a "normal" person now. I'm not riddled with anxiety, I can get up when I want to and get ready and be to work on time. I've never felt like this in my entire life. It's still early in this self-improvement journey, but now that I can function I hope I can get over my fears and move forward in life. If you think things aren't working for you, as far as your mood and lifestyle goes, it doesn't hurt to seek out help.

Trust me, unless you get extremely lucky, no one gives a crap about your bipolar disorder. They aren't going to let you use it as an excuse to get out of doing your job. They don't care about you personally, only what you can do for them. I had to get a freakin doctor's note for my IBS to keep from getting in trouble for going to the bathroom so much. That's embarrassing.

You have to take care of yourself. YOU have to seek out help, YOU have to make the appointments and take the meds. YOU have to put in the effort to control the disorder. Work is not going to be accommodating. Ever. There are some things they might be a little lenient on (like having to go to appointments or shifting moods) but tardiness and being absent is something they won't cut you slack for, or not for very long. I had gotten lucky at past jobs for years the only reason I didn't get fired for being late all the time was they couldn't afford to lose a person. I did a contract job once and thought it was in the bag, but they wouldn't tolerate my tardiness despite the fact I did excellent work. When our big boss came and told me that I "choose" to be lazy, thats when something inside of me snapped. I didn't make this choice, I didn't choose the anxiety and I didn't choose the depression. Thats the way my life has always been, but now I have the power to change it. For the first time in my life, I'm functional. Now if I just wasn't so socially awkward...

Situations vary, I think that most of the time discretion is good, but sometimes being open about things makes people more likely to be empathetic instead of resentful. But in your case, they just didn't care. If you feel your current treatment isn't working for you, seek out help elsewhere. But only you can make that choice. You have to realize that you are strong and worth fighting for. I hope everything goes well for you Sandra.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Taylor
says:
October, 29 2017 at 6:14 am
Hi Ash, I am 21 years old and I have gone through many diagnoses. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 18 in college and a few months ago I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder when I was admitted to a mental ward. I've been on countless different medications and I've only seemed to get worse. Your story makes me feel hopeful. The way you describe your life now is what I have only dreamed of. Could you email me? sennetttaylor@gmail.com
I just want to know what kind of medication you're on and the amount you're taking
Thank you
Monica
says:
June, 26 2017 at 6:04 am
I am also bi polar. Would never wish this on anybody. I hate it. I hate myself. I crave my manics even though I know they are bad for me. But at least I get out of bed and don't need my son to hide my meds. I think about suicide every day. Not how or if. WHEN. When can I do it with the least amount of trauma to my grandkids. Work, ha! Missing 4 - 7 days every 3 months because I am too depressed to get out of bed. Can't even leave my room. Hide from family and friends. Cry uncontrollably. Wish for death. Don't tell my employer? How else do i explain the mood swings, the depression, the manics, the 2 days a week I have to schedule around therapy, the sick days, and the hospital stays? My therapist suggests I go on disability. Have no clue how to go about doing that. My family doesn't care to understand. If I upset their lives in any way, I am being dramatic and get cut off for a month or so. Work, ha! Been almost 2 months since I was in the hospital (1 week stay), just now got the approval from headquarters to go back to work. They could care less.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kristen M
says:
July, 23 2017 at 4:42 am
I have felt exactly like you. Several times. Also taking 4-7 days off every 3 months. Or an extended vacation...I've had to go on temporary disability through the state unemployment dept. taking two-five months off. Every other year. I'm sure they know I'm bipolar. But I'm not going to say anything. I work in a hospital (nurse) and nurses are terrible w stigma. "Oh "god this patient's crazy. Says he's bipolar." Smdh.
*Gina*
says:
May, 31 2017 at 9:30 am
its so hard living with BPD, sometimes its even harder accepting that you have this and have to live with it for your entire life. I have BPD and it haunts me, all I ever am is depressed and exhausted, yes my meds help and I have a loving husband but sometimes I feel like I am not content enough ...I have bigger dreams and not being able to even hold down a job is so stressful because we need to survive, I just don't wish this thing upon anyone especially my little baby. :-(
Smiling_lulu
says:
March, 13 2017 at 4:22 am
Hi all..I have bipolar disorder and being diagnosed when I am 17 years old. I had to repeat my schooling due to been warded during exam year. I passed that exam after repeat the school years and went to University. All is good and been employed and happy working as social worker. However, I had major breakdown again and experience another episode. I am blur at work and could not function as a worker that make me resigned and warded too due to manic episode. After a year, I am happy at my work but now I had another episode. I could not focus much and end up make a big mistake and totally cannot help myself from feeling guilt, lost self confident and feeling like a crap. I could not stay longer in that job and felt less capable to perform at work and feel not on my good condition. I afraid of doing more mistake due to my depressive episode. I decided to resign due to unbearable stress to continue work. I tried but cannot function at my best. Feeling gloomy and for 2 days I cannot get myself out of bed. I sleep until 3pm. I did took my medicine but still hard to manage when the episode happens again. Now Im in the process of seeking professional help
Joey
says:
March, 2 2017 at 8:44 pm
I'll share my story. I'm 26, suffered from BPD my whole life, not diagnosed yet. When I was young I thought it was just angst but it never went away. As I grew into my twenties it intensified and I learned the nature of my illness. I spent around 2-3 years studying electrical and working as an apprentice, but ultimately I found it wasn't for me. One day I went from cripplingly depressed, to manically laughing once I got in the truck for a work errand. I don't have swings as much as my ups and downs are greatly exaggerated. I dropped out of trade school, and since then I've just been quitting jobs left and right, staying for about 4 months each until I turn into an apathetic zombie. Any job-related stress just triggers me into a downward spiral because my personal life doesn't provide any happiness (loner, pathetic love life, etc.) So I rely on that job to really provide a sense of belonging and when I'm already feeling down and my coworkers or boss gets on to me, I lose it. Quitting is like this great escape into freedom. It's an impulse. And because of that, it's becoming harder to get hired each time. And employers don't want to hear it. You can't explain yourself anyway. In an interview?? Yeah, better keep all that to yourself and seem as normal as possible. It's just an endless cycle. But in a way I still have hope that I will find some sort of job that suits me. What sucks is if you don't tell anyone, they just think you either don't care or are lazy. I'd like to think that bi-polar people, when feeling right, can work harder than others because we do care. our feelings matter. Therapy helps. Make your feelings known to someone, anyone. Take care of yourself.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Micky House
says:
April, 21 2017 at 10:26 am
Joey, you can't depend on others for happiness. If you think that is where it is found, you will never find it. Happiness and joy is inside of you. Some days you will look and can't find it, but keep looking for your happiness from within.
Bob Roach
says:
February, 21 2017 at 5:04 am
I've been reading the comments and am glad to see that you all can talk about your issues with bpd.
I've been bipolar my whole life and not diagnosed properly until 5 years ago. I was treated for depression and anxiety for a long time which only helped me make more bad decisions and keep me "manic" and out of touch with reality.
I'm now coming up on my 59th birthday and can truly say that the reality of getting old, bipolar, financially unstable for the future and unable to find a job that I fit well in is pretty depressing. I've isolated myself from most everything and everyone because of my diagnosis. God blessed me with a wonderful loving wife that stands by me and I hope that she will continue to. God bless you all.
Claire
says:
February, 13 2017 at 12:15 am
I have been reading these comments and sad as they are, I feel there are people here who understand. My heart goes out to you all. I have struggled with bi-polar I for all of my adult life but was only diagnosed a couple of years ago. I left my last job after having a complete breakdown and was signed off work for a year. It has taken me two years to get back to what passes for normal for me. Financially we have been going backwards because my income from the part time work I did helped. This has been the last in a very long line of quit jobs (all jobs that in this current economic climate you would hold onto with both hands) and breakdowns and that is very depressing in itself. Frustratingly part of me thinks I don't have bipolar and I am just a flakey person. But even when I do what I love (which is crafting for the markets) I become mentally exhausted and apathetic so can't even do that. I have been looking into claiming total and permanent disability from my superannuation fund. My psychiatrist says he will support me in whatever way he can because it is apparent it has been getting worse as I get older, but these insurance companies can be tricky little buggers, and I'm not sure I can push through the apathy and have the stamina for trying to prove myself to them - how they must love bi-polars. Them: "No, go away" Me: "OK"
Tresa
says:
February, 7 2017 at 5:09 am
These mental illnesses have remained a dirty little secret for too long! If you have any choice, please tell your employer what you're struggling with - things will only get better when we stop letting shame direct our actions! I really do understand the challenges - I've been Bi-Polar 2 my entire life and was finally diagnosed with depression when I was in my thirties - with the help of medication and a lot of reading and research on my own, I catch glimpses of what "normal" might feel like. I have to support my family and I miss more work than I'd like but I give 110% when I'm there and have reached the place in my life and illness that my attitude is this is how I'm made and I deserve the same consideration and allowances as someone who is on kidney dialysis (one illness I can think of that would require extra time off) or having chemo treatments - and if an employer cannot give me that same respect, then I'm in the wrong job. Or maybe we should talk things over in court . . . if that's what it takes! Would my family suffer? Absolutely! Would we lose things that are important to us? Yes! Bankruptcy, foreclosure, reposition - probably! But those are just things and if you're so miserable you're ready to go to sleep and never wake up, those things don't mean a thing! Not only have I struggled with these isssues my whole life but I've watched as my son AND daughter have fought the same struggles - and that's been worse than anything I've gone through myself! Discrimation is discrimination - and being afraid and ashamed of who you are is not the way to live your life!
sarah
says:
January, 9 2017 at 5:16 am
Ive struggled with keeping work consistent all my life.between anxiety and depression and then late last year was diagnosed with bipolar 2 i have struggled to have motivation to keep going to do a full weeks work.when i go home and on days off id have no interest or desire to do anything other than sleep.the quality of life,of not having a dreary,boring,sad life is difficult to fight.
Dan
says:
January, 8 2017 at 1:04 pm
Anybody else remember their very first breakdown/moment of sudden change? I was 15 and 2months old suddenly at lunchtime at school... i suddenly had to sit down on my own and felt ultra sad... i didnt know wtf was goin on. Thought i was sick. But i also lost interest in sport I loved "yesterday". Diagnosed at 33. Gets worse as get older. Had lots of friends who died in late 90s and got really down n out about it cant stop thinkn of death. As soon as i get up i get depressed bout work. just stay home play guitar. i wake up for work depression starts. I want to stay home n maybe make stuff to sell. Hate people all dumb users as well.
Theresa
says:
December, 19 2016 at 12:49 pm
I guess I have been bipolar all my life but just recently diagnosed since I have been so bad for so long this time and making arrangements for Partial Hospitalization Program or Intense Outpatient Program, I have an intake for IOP tomorrow. I just started a part-time job two months ago and recently have been out of work with a doctor's note for a week and a half and the doctor will extend the note, I guess until I get stabilized. So, just to make my mind race even more... what do I do until I am stabilzed, I don't think FMLA applies because I am part-time and only been there 2 months but on the other hand under ADA I am afraid to tell my employer, etc. HELP! What do I do? Has anyone had similar situation?
Lynne
says:
December, 1 2016 at 10:05 pm
I am struggling with BP2. I am being treated by a reputable psychiatrist ans therapist. I takw my meds properly, exercise and do all the other recommendations. Part of my problem is being on my job as a lead manager for over 30 years. Bossed have seen me at my best. My pattern has depression that caused me to stay home 2 days outof 15-20 work days. How do I het this better as in makw it to woek daily or am I dreaming of the old days. I am not Medicare age, have a daughter who just started college, so I feel my options are limited. Any ideas
Sherrie
says:
November, 30 2016 at 9:33 am
I have had depression since I was 15. I was 22 when I was first prescribed an antidepressant. Since that time, I have been on many different antidepressants without much relief. I have worked in health care for many years but I could never hold a job for longer than approximately 2 years. I completed a masters degree in 2012. For the past 3 years I have had severe depression. I could barely work & after work and on weekends I could not function. I was practically bed bound. I had to quit work in February due to depression. At that time I had not yet been diagnosed with bipolar 2. At the urging of my PCP, about 3 months ago, I had a complete psychological evaluation. I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder. My primary care physician prescribes my medications as recommended by my psychologist.
I am feeling some better but I still have episodes of depression that is unexpected and can put me in bed for several days.
I'm currently working 4 hours each week. My student loans are on forbearance and my spouse is struggling to pay our bills. I see bankruptcy in the near future.
I also have severe anxiety (my hands shake so bad), ADD, hypothyroidism and vitamin D deficiency.
I am terrified to go to work or even leave my house. I feel safe only at home. I can't even go grocery shopping. Is fear of working and anxiety normal symptoms of bipolar 2 disorder?
John
says:
November, 19 2016 at 3:44 am
Any chance you could email me johnpcarey730@gmail.com? i would love to talk to you

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
says:
November, 21 2016 at 3:36 am
Hi John,

I'm not sure if you're talking to me, but I'm not available by email. Sorry.

- Natasha Tracy
Lacy Burchfield
says:
November, 17 2016 at 1:10 pm
I have Bi-polar,Anxiety,and Depression, I am about ready to lose another job I don't know what to do, I would love to Quit,but I need the money, help please! ! Thanks
Belinda
says:
September, 30 2016 at 7:43 am
I have had bipolar all my life and I was diagnosed in 2010 with BPD. That was the year I had found my brother dead in his home. It has been very hard for me to hold down a job, I worked at Hardees for 3 and half years and I was fired from there because of a bipolar episode. I could not afford my medicine so I was without for like 2 weeks and for that I was fired. It seemed my body was shutting down, I became suicidal and I would black out and find that when I had come back to reality I had hurt myself. It would be different everytime I blacked out. I struggle everyday to get up out of bed so I have decided to take these diet pills that are over the counter to give me energy. I have found that taking these are making me angry. I fear that maybe just today I have lost my job again. I struggle everyday that I wake up and most days I lay there wishing I would just go to sleep and not wake up.....
Deanna
says:
September, 11 2016 at 5:42 pm
I have lived with bipolar majority of my life but was not properly diagnosed until 10 years ago. I have been mostly stable on my medication regimen for 8 years. I have been in counselling for 16 years. I have had my current job in health care for 13 years. Nearly been fired twice but managed to come back. It's not easy. I fight every day to get out of bed, go to work, take care of two autistic kids but somehow I manage. It is possible and it's okay when I or anyone with bipolar has a melt down and needs a little time.
Stacy
says:
August, 22 2016 at 8:55 am
I have been trying to handle my diagnosis of bipolar disorder for a few years now. Out of four years, I am on my second big breakdown. My boss is about to fire me for the time off I have to take for this. I am supposed to be trying new medicines, but I can't do my job or even drive when I'm taking new medications due to the side effects. I don't understand how we are expected to manage our disorder and hold down a full time job at the same time. If I am fired, me and my children will lose everything. Prayers please.
Leanne
says:
August, 19 2016 at 10:00 am
I just read through the comments and was so sad to hear the different struggles. A close family member of mine has Bipolar and I've seen firsthand what a hideous thing it can be. But I've also seen God bring us through it and I don't believe it is God's will for anyone to suffer it. In the Bible Jesus healed people and wanted them whole and well. He wants the same today (Hebrews 13 v 8). The Bible says the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus came that we might have life. If we take God at His word, He will transform us - with God all things are possible (Luke 1v37). I pray for you all. x
Carol Bennett
says:
July, 23 2016 at 9:42 pm
Been suffering with Bipolar daily struggle.
Shawn Rintoul
says:
July, 12 2016 at 12:09 pm
I am really scared. I have been diagnosed bipolar for approximately 10 years now, but finally got on 'proper' medication about 1.2 years ago. Since 2004 I have been through 4 separate jobs, all lasting about 3.r5 years. Am reaching 2.5 years at the current job and am starting to see my credibility go down again. My memory sucks. My work product is constantly being called sub-par and I feel constantly like just abandoning my responsibilities and going homeless. The only thing that keeps me going is my two boys (8 and 9). I am divorced and get them 50% of the time. It scares me that not only may my ex try to get full custody due to my mood issues, but that I am not as good of a father as I want to be. I don't do much physical due to loss of interest in things I used to love, plus a bad back that has been diagnosed inoperable (which is why I can't work out any longer, which while I was doing the bipolar was not effecting my work capabilities). My job requires consistency and high-quality. I have great credentials in a field that requires a high level of skill, but the inconsistencies caused by bipolar is making me think I need to completely change careers. I am so scared, which of course causes my work product to go down again. Have been out on disability multiple times over the last 8 years for this. I have never told my employers I am bipolar, but am now wondering if that would be a good idea or not. At least they would know why I am having issues, but with what I do I am afraid they may decide I cannot perform current job. I am in a no-fault state, so they don't even have to have a 'good' reason to terminate. Has anyone told their work and had a positive experience? Have contacted my Psychiatrist to get in ASAP, but of course I am traveling for work this week and will not be home until next week.
Kbs
says:
July, 1 2016 at 2:04 am
If you don't let your employee know, can't sue for discrimination if and when that occurs. If you let them know you can. I agree with youll be discriminated against maybe but is it really worth it to not tell an employee and then have to tell them when your at a really bad place- for example extreme mania- and they don't let You have needed time off? Better to let them know that's just my opinion
Ramone
says:
June, 15 2016 at 12:53 am
I think this post about working with bipolar over steps a key ingredient is surviving this disorder & maintaining any hope of a productive life style; and is MEDS & plenty of therapy!!!!!!!! I hope no one gets the impression that you are fine and well to act like you aren't sick and try these steps instead of seeking help and advice from a professional. Most jobs give you a limited number of sick days (3-4). Jobs hire people because they need them to work.
My suggestion is follow the regimain set by your doctor & keep all visits with you therapist and understand the ups and downs of thus disease. It can be very dangerous for you and others if you take on imployment in denial of your illness.
Bibiana
says:
May, 22 2016 at 3:10 pm
I feel very blessed to have part-time work that is meaningful to me. I also go to a day program. Although I wish I could work fulltime, I am proud of the fact that I do my best and am appreciated. There was a time I was not even able to do this much.
jeffv
says:
May, 1 2016 at 11:49 am
I've dealt with BPD my entire life. Only recently diagnosed. The only way I have made it through was to find a career that actually caters in a way to my moods. Not saying it's not trying at times. I got into the HVAC trade. I work out of a service van and see multiple customers for short periods of time. Works well for me. It's hard to to find a niche for everyone but I tell you it's possible.
I write this now going through a major depressive episode but it gives me something to hold onto. My family and supporting them. Yes it's extremely hard right now. But I can power through. I will be here tomorrow, if only for my kids is my mantra. Brothers and sisters out there hang in there. You have to for your loved ones.
valerie
says:
April, 29 2016 at 11:13 am
I NEED to believe God wants me to have this disorder to learn what it is like so I'm going head first unto it because the more I run the harder it's going to be and the more lying I will do. If I don't believe this...then I validate that God messed up and perhaps that I am less than another. By comparison and mixed judgement and confusion is one actual more or less than another.
Love you all. I hope you don't ignore what you are. Reach for yourself.
valerie
says:
April, 29 2016 at 11:09 am
Maybe the problem isn't our brain physicality. Maybe it's that we have a stigma against not working so much so that people feel like their lives don't matter if they can't contribute. Bipolar disorder has a second runner up in the creativity department and that is PhD students at Top Universities - I can't imagine God gave me this 'disability' for nothing and I absolutely do NOT believe he'd give me this much creativity to be a 'pencil pusher'-we have a DUTY to contribute to our communities as creative thinkers, empathetics, sensitives, and artists. Does that trade for money, shelter, food? Not in this day and age. But I'm not going to sit in an office and pretend I fit in. Trust me I've tried-but that's not the point-the point to me, is dealin' with what you got. You got Talent-you don't just ignore that. I've been in terrible places in my mind and there are thousands of people out there feeling like they got to apologize for it. Stop thinking you're here for the satisfaction of anyone but yourself and become what you are. -No conform to your bf gf husband wife kids. Show them why this is the good WITH the ... " " whatever you choose to call it.
valerie
says:
April, 29 2016 at 10:35 am
Hello,
I guess I don't know where to start. I'm bipolar. I was diognosed when I was 19. I go into severe psychological hallucinations when I am overly stressed or unable to take my meds. The question I keep asking myself is-Do I 'deserve' to get on disability.
Sitting here now, I feel great-well good enough- I could Work! Which is great because I'm a wonderful, punctual, pleasant, happy, relaxed employee:some days. But every Tuesday or 3rd full moon of the autumn equinox or something- I am angry, paranoid, exgausted, crying, afraid,>>But! No fear!! I'm a GREAT faker. The best. Why wouldn't you hire me? Why can't I be the CEO of a company or even self-employed and choose my own hours? I'm intelligent, nice AND beautiful. I'm and "triple threat". Don't worry. I do, and I kick ass! I work for myself, make so much in 15hrs/wk that that's all I need to work. Gulp. Wait. Life-boyfriend-extra bills-stress-ambulence. So what I fell. Get back up. Dust myself off. Do it again.
Done and done. That was easy. Now again. (Haha). And again. (Sarcasm) and again...(not laughing). Would they? If they were me would they?- would they put their emotions body brain happiness life aside? For money, a place to live, food? And those are just the basics-what about the extra cash, vacations, retirement. So. Stand up. Brush yourself off. Do it again. Do you hear that? I think they're whispering. Gulp. Haha laugh it off. Until you break again. People are shit. (Im not exaggerating-it's me and you and the 'dolls' in highschool. We are the witches. We are the sick. We are the mentally ill. Yet-we, mine, yours-emotions are making us stop. "Hey dumbass". My brain a dresses me. "Why are you ignoring me? I've told you time and time again that I'm tired. When your stomach complains, you feed it. When your legs hurt you sit down. Why is it when I complain you ignore me? Hello!?! I'm your BRAIN! When you tell me to SUCK it up you might as well tie the noose-I've explained to you 1,000 different ways that you.can't.work.with.these.people. In fact I've told you to lay in bed. In fact I've told you to stop trying to be someone else so much. Remember when you were young and you didn't care what people thought-you were a little different, a little unique amd you liked it!? Fine.. try it...try not to listen the the only organ in your body that actually talks to you. By the way it's called your "higher self"."

So now what?
Deborah Treacy
says:
April, 22 2016 at 6:07 am
Oh my gosh!
Jake, Mindy and James I cannot explain how much of a relief reading your comments has been. I struggle with bi polar and an eating disorder, I constantly feel fat and worry about not being able to exercise due to jobs. I cannot handle the stress from work, I feel like a child and secretly love the simplicity that childhood has. I feel mis understood by everyone close to me including my partner who says he understands but clearly does not; he thinks I am not trying when all I do is stress that I am not good enough or doing what I should. I am 21 , 22 in june. I think that there should be more help and less labelling/ stigma for people like us; its not fair that we suffer alone without acceptance or tolerance for our situations and what I feel are limitations. I feel disabled like my mind holds me back even though I am able bodied. :(

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