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Bipolar Disorder and Work

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Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the year 2009, I have struggled with coping, not only with my mood and personal life, but also with my professional life. I was asked to resign from my previous job in fashion retail because of my delinquency when it came to my attendance. I failed to be present on special work occasion where I was needed, thus, the company forced me to resign. They really pushed me after they brought me to a psychiatrist and later knew that I have “ Post-Partum Psychosis” which became “Bipolar Disorder”. After that, I was on the street and became a beggar, and later on I was admitted to an institution for people who have mental disorders. After some time had passed, I recovered coming from the institution, and lived in my mother and stepfathers house, having no work financially, broke, and depending on them for my food, shelter, and medicine.

By the year 2013, I started looking for a job again, and landed a job in Merchandising Department in another fashion retailing company here in the Philippines. It was such a huge achievement for me to be able to work again after quite some time. Despite the fact that I become overweight and looked quite differently during that year, I was quite happy with the way I was doing my job. But unfortunately, my vices seemed to get me. Again, I started drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, and I also stopped taking medication. But then, the day came when I experienced hallucinations and psychosis again. I failed to report to work most of the time, and failed to do the tasks I needed to at work. The retail director and my co-workers seemed to notice that I had been doing really poorly at my job. And once again I was back on the street, talking to the imaginary saints and God, having delusions that people will kill me and that I am bound to go to hell. I saw devils on the streets, and believed that I was cursed by God to forever reside in hell. I became a beggar again. I was not brought back to the institution, but lived with my Auntie in the province. By and by, I again recovered.

A year after these events, I went back to the city to apply for a job. I had a record, but I had so much vitality to go back to work again. But even now that I am teacher, there are times when I can no longer cope with the toxic work I am facing each day. Loads of work seems to overwhelm me, and there are times when I get panic attacks because I run out of time to finish the lesson I am teaching to my students. The worst part is when I fail to take my medication and have nightmares the night before work, all because of skipping my meds.

It has been tough for me to be mentally stable and work at the same time. Like me, if you are experiencing the same battle between illness and work, I advise that you never skip your medicine, no matter what happens. Opt for a job with no shifting schedules and stick to a day time job, have breaks often, and make sure that you visit your doctor. Always keep going and have faith in yourself that you are going to succeed in your work. Smile and make yourself productive as best you can.

Read the rest of Rome's posts here


for the first fifteen years after my diagnosis I was able to work. We think that before my diagnosis, my late night shift at a rock station (7-12a) triggered my first manic episode. After I got out of the institution in Salt Lake City, I got a job at a love song station and had to work from 5-9p, somewhat better and the music wasn't as fierce but I was given tranqs to help me sleep, as a sleepless night can turn to a manic episode, or so I was told. Then, a few months later I got a job offer across town at a station that played rock but the hours were perfect, 10a-3p, known as 'middays.' I'd get up at 5, go running, go to work and go home and get ready for the next day. The next ten years I had day time shifts except when I was working in San Diego at KUPR Carlsbad, a competitor to legendary Alternative outlet 91X. I had to work late night, 10p-2a and to be honest, was on a 'do not rehire' list with a small firm and was lucky to get any work. The late night schedule had me back all mixed up in a doom and gloom mood. I like regular sleep.

I was diagnosed in 1994. I haven't been hospitalized since that time. I am on stable meds, but my life, for the last 11 years has been unstable. I divorced a good man that was too controlling to marry my best friend. I gave him a book by patty duke as a manual the day he asked me to marry him. He did not read the book. He has had to learn first hand about my up and down moods. I worked in the medical field for 11 years, I was at times unreliable. I love that work, and then quit with no job to fall back on. Since then I have had 3 jobs. I am unreliable. I recently was told by my current boss I needed to work part time. We can't afford part time. I need a major surgery. I have a husband, 3 adult kids, and 2 stepkids, and 4 grandchildren. I can't leave them but want to leave this world daily. I can't even write this...these words in my head. My own psychiatrist doesn't have time these words. I can't stand the pain that my kids say they love me, but push me away.

I am at work right now contemplating going home. I've always had trouble holding down jobs. I am 30 years old and never held down a job for more than a year. My daughter has completely pushed me away, I know my unstableness is the cause of this. Now I am having to live with the guilt of it all. Its just too much. I so badly just want to be normal.

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