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Finding Work That Works When You Have Bipolar Disorder

I'm a psychotherapist who has worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor - that’s a specialist who helps people with disabilities, including bipolar disorder, find and keep meaningful work. I also have bipolar disorder myself, and have struggled over the years to find work that meets my own “special needs.” 

The research clearly shows that work helps people recover - it provides structure, a sense of meaning and purpose, and social interaction. I've seen clients who are depressed improve almost overnight once they find a job they enjoy. Personally, I've found that work gives me a chance to stretch myself in a way that increases my confidence, decreases my generalized anxiety, and brings a sense of fulfillment to my life. 

Seek Work That Supports Your Recovery

It’s important to find “work that works” for you. There’s no "best" career or job for someone with bipolar disorder - but there are some things to think about when deciding what type of work to do:

  • Think about the work environment. Will it support you and help you thrive, or will it be detrimental? Many people with bipolar disorder find they do best in a quiet, relaxed workspace where they can easily concentrate.
  • Think about the schedule. Part-time work or a job with a flexible schedule are good options. Daytime hours are generally best. Most people with bipolar disorder shouldn't even consider work that involves overnight shifts or being on call - regular sleep is too important for recovery.
  • Think about the kinds of people in the job. Different kinds of jobs tend to attract different kinds of people. It's best to find a job where co-workers have values and lifestyles consistent with your recovery.
  • Think about creativity. Many people with bipolar disorder don't thrive unless they have regular opportunities to be creative. You can either find a job that involves creativity, or you can find a steady job that allows time to pursue creative activities outside of work.

Understand Yourself

Outside of these general guidelines, it's important to understand your unique self. Richard Nelson Bolles, author of the famous career book What Color Is Your Parachute? said “The key to a happy and fulfilling future is knowing yourself. This self-knowledge is the most important component of finding the right career.” Some of the things you’ll want to understand about yourself include:

  • Your interests
  • Your strengths and aptitudes
  • Your skills
  • Your personality traits
  • Your values
  • Your physical abilities and stamina
  • Your limitations and barriers.

Do Some Occupational Research

After you’ve done some soul searching, the next step is occupational research. A good place to go for occupational information in the U.S. is O*NET (note: this article contains U.S. resources - if you know of similar resources in your country, feel free to mention them in the comments). You can also do informational interviews, which are brief meetings with someone in a career you’re considering. Here are some of the things you'll want to find out about occupations you’re considering:

  • Work duties 
  • Required skills
  • Required education or training
  • Required license or certification  
  • Typical hours 
  • Working conditions (physical demands of the job, environment, and stress level) 
  • Salary and benefits 
  • Career path and opportunities for advancement 
  • Employment outlook (availability of jobs now and in the future).

Get Professional Help

If possible, get help with the career search process from a career counselor or other professional. Here are some possibilities for free or low-cost services in the U.S.:

  • Vocational rehabilitation: If you have a bipolar disorder diagnosis, you’re likely eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. If you are in the U.S., you can find your state's services in this directory. There are also private non-profits that provide vocational rehabilitation services - some tailored toward those with mental health disabilities.
  • Your school or alma mater: If you’re still in school, see if there’s a career counseling center. Take advantage of all the free counseling you can. If you've graduated, find out what services are available for alumni.
  • Government employment services: The U.S. has a nationwide system of career services called One Stop centers. They provide a wide range of services. You can find your nearest One Stop with this service locator.

Try Self Help

If you can’t get professional help right away, you can start with self help by using a variety of books or websites. What Color Is Your Parachute? is a good place to start. I also recommend a book by Robert Chope called Dancing Naked: Breaking through the Emotional Limits That Keep You from the Job You Want. The Resources page of the National Career Development Association is another good source of information.

Consider Your Own Business

Having your own business is a good option for some people with bipolar disorder. It allows flexibility and creativity. The downside is that you have to create your own structure and motivate yourself to get your work done. In the U.S., SCORE is a great organization for helping people start a small business. Many of their services are free.

Consider a Portfolio Career

A "portfolio career" is another option and is gaining popularity. When you have a portfolio career, you combine two or more sources of income - for example, you might have a part-time job as well as a small business that provides a product or service.

Consider Volunteer Work

If you're not ready for paid work or haven't been able to find a job that meets your needs, volunteering is a great way to go. I’ve seen many clients start volunteer work, build some confidence and connections, and move on to paid work pretty quickly. VolunteerMatch is a website that matches people with volunteer opportunities near them.

Live to Your Full Potential

I’ve just covered basic information in this article, but I hope it gets people thinking about options they may not have considered. People with bipolar disorder should have the opportunity to live to their full potential, and for many of us that includes enjoyable and meaningful work.

Comments

'ello Carrie Beth Lin. Many thanks for all your hard work and support for fellow sufferers of all mental illness. I look forward to reading more from you. Nico x

@Karen.. I am very impressed with ur intelligent comment.. I have the nervous condition called bipolar/manic depression and worked full time all my life but broke down about seven times... Never told anus emolyer due to the fact that prejudice exists with the condition. I would love to change this.. Everyone suffers anxiety but some kind and sweet and sentimental people who can't handle any trauma suffer more from CNS detachment which causes all mental illnesses and that's not mine or their fault.. Its genetic sometimes too.. So hopefully I or anyone that wants to join me gets a TV interview platform that isn't shy to speak about does!! I am from Ireland, a small country and you're nearest east coast across the Atlantic Ocean neighbors from Europe and hopefully we all get a chance to change public misconceptions!!! Thanks Karen

While our country has not evolved to the point that everyone can be open about their illness, the tide is changing. Research potential employers through Google. Employers who are openly supportive of LGBT rights is usually more progressive and more likely to have management who is understanding toward mental illnesses, as well.

Most people with bipolar disorder are also intelligent, it's part of the bonus of bipolar. :). We need jobs that we are constantly challenged but have flexibility and good medical benefits. This is most likely to be found with large employers.

Check out Fortune magazines Top 100 companies to work for. Larger organizations in that list are moving to more "virtual" positions where you can work from home. Those companies are selected based on anonymous sample surveys of the employees, as well as examination of benefits and career development opportunities provided to employees. They also review all employee assistance programs and packages the company offers. It is a great starting place.

I'm fortunate to work for one of those companies and hope that one day it will be the norm and not rare to find supportive employers.

Also - SLEEP! I cannot stress enough the importance of finding a job that will respect the routine and your need for sleep. When I changed jobs I didn't realize the impact it would have on my sleep patterns and it threw me into a tailspin. No matter how much you love your job, company, or how passionate you are about what you are doing, be sure to get regular, structured sleep every night.

It has been my experience that employers who are sympathetic to mental illness (not necessarily in the mental illness field either), make the best effort to give those with mental illness flexible hours and ease with leaving early to meet with psychiatrists or psychologists when needed. I find it hard to find these sorts of jobs and I lost one of them due to a long manic episode. I regret that loss everyday. I have gotten over 150,000 in debt in student loans since leaning that job. So the lesson is don't take advantage of the hand that feeds you and helps you out.

I have been diagnosed with bi polar depression and i duo not have an online of idea that i want to do but need to think quick.i have no support group my dr says i cannot work my family won't allow me to live with to get back on my feet.i have hit rock bottom was art my daughter's but my mom was w always saying how she missed me and other family members were interfering badly ended up coming home.my mom said i can stay with her but now she wants me out. So now i have to go to a senior disability building.and i don't think t this state is good for people with mental illness or the town.i really want to go back to my daughter's she believes i can over come this.do i.please give positive advice?

Hi Audra,

Sorry to hear about what you are going through. Have you tried going to a support group? There are groups available online and in person. NAMI and DBSA are two organizations in the US that have support groups around the country. If you need help finding a support group email Heather at hzupin@ibpf.org 

NAMI: http://www.nami.org/Find-Support 

DBSA: http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=peer_support_group_l...

I am sorry to hear how difficult things are for you. Encourage your family to educate themselves, NAMI is great. Also, please do consider Meds. Find a psychiatrist you trust Abe’s explore the pros n cons of different options.
I was diagnosed bipolar more than 20 years ago and refused to admit the severity of my illness. I quit lithium after three months and tried to “heal” myself with yoga, meditation, massage, herbs - you name it I’ve done it. But honestly all the self care in the world cannot cure mental illness. I have struggles to finish my education, destroyed a marriage, an unable to keep friends or a career because of unstable moods.
Last week I returned home from my first psychiatric inpatient hospitalization. A psychotic break with severe paranoid delusions and my teenager begging me to get help let me there. Finally I am taking Seraquil. It is a miracle that the self hatred and incessant intrusive thoughts that have plagued me my whole life are calming down.
Take meds!

Same here, at almost 56,,,,and here at a new job..I am not fitting in and ignored a lot. I know I will get fired. I am tired of all the BS in my life.

Hi Rob, we can imagine how tough this must be for you. We are deeply concerned about you and we want you to know that help is available to get you through this. If you are in a crisis, please call this number which is a crisis line with listeners trained to help you: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), as we are not a crisis center. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting START to 741-741. For a list of international crisis centers visit this page:http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

If you are not in a crisis and would like someone to talk to online, we recommend the websitewww.7cups.com It’s a free, anonymous online chat with a trained listener.

Medication is not a bad thing. When you are finally on the right meds for you, life starts falling into place as it should. It's a lifelong learning process, as with anything, and fluctuations are to be expected as changes naturally take place in our health, career, relationships, perspective, etc. Medication doesn't magically fix things, but when finally on the right ones, life becomes noticably easier compared to bipolar without meds. And remember, bipolar or not, people are experiencing dramatic difficulties in jobs right now because our whole society is undergoing economic change on a large scale. This adds to the difficulty for bipolar in the work force. But it's important, when contemplating our own position, to differentiate the pitfalls of poor economic structure from individual issues. Don't discount the value of medication and don't be too hard on yourself for being bipolar. One thing is always certain, and that is change.

I'm bipolar and all alone. My family is not familiar with bipolar and they say I need therapy. That may well be the case but I can't maintain relationships or stay focused at times. I've been through 3 jobs in the last 7 months. My mother thinks I'm a fake because to her bipolar is not real, she says I should attend church more often. One week I'm sad and the next Im fine. I feel on top of the world one day and in the very next day I can't get out of bed. I think about death, not just my life but people I've lost, and people I may lose. I just want to be OK. I would like to find a job where I'm accepted. I would like my family to accept me. I've never spoken to my father about this, when I'm down he keeps his distance and when I'm up he's confused. its when I'm down is when I need him the most. I don't want meds, I just want support from the people I love. Life is difficult as is but its even more difficult with a mental disorder. I'm a 32yr old male and with every year that passes I feel more and more alone. Things like this are just not spoken about in my family. I've reached out but its my family I NEED! I love you all and God bless.

Hi there J. I was looking for information on the internet because my husband is currently not working and looking for work. I wanted to find out what is said about hiring people who have bipolar and came across your comment. I wanted to encourage you in our difficulties. My husband is 47 and was just diagnosed last Oct. He was very manic. It was a very scary time for my children and I. We prayed and cried out to God more than any time in my life. God quickly answered our prayers by allowing my husband to get so bad he had to be involuntarily committed to a mental hospital for 11 days. It has been and continues to be a very rough time for us especially now that he has lost his job and has not been able to support his family. He was always such a good hard worker. We have been very supportive of him and helped as well as forced him to seek help. I am so grieved to hear that you do not have support from your family. That must be a difficult place for you to be in. I'm convinced it is because they simply do not understand bipolar and it is intimidating for people to believe that their loved one has a "mental" disorder and to believe it and seek help themselves. We do need to seek help as the family members of someone who has this illness. I would highly encourage you to find support where ever you can! Try www.NAMI.org also www.ccef.org don't just look up things on their websites...call them!! Reach out to experts. You shouldn't be experiencing such ups and downs like you do. My husband is finally on the right medicine and dosage for him and does not have that kind of mood swing that you are describing. I understand not wanting to be on medicine but it is so completely necessary! It really may be the only way to manage bipolar. If you go to a therapist that doesn't seem to be helping, try a different one but don't stop going to a therapist and DON'T stop taking your medicine!! It is so similar to other disorders like diabetes, thyroid disorders and other illnesses that require a person to take medicine regularly! It doesn't make you weak to take medicine! I pray that you will find support that you so desperately need!

You are most deffinetly not alone :/

J,
You sound like you're going through exactly what I was (and still am going through). I've been depressed and suicidal since my early teens. My mom tried sending me to a psychiatrist but, like you, I thought all I need is support from people who love me. Needless to say, after 20-30 years, I finally gave in and sought professional help. It's important to have family and friends who care about you however it is way too much to ask them to help you overcome your illness by themselves. Bipolar is a complicated illness. It's takes a trained professional to help guide you through your mental obstacles. And yes, medication does help. Don't be closed of to the idea. I wish you the best. Don't give up and stay strong.

Im in the same place have been for so time now. you are right its really bad to have family on the planet right next to you but they make you feel as though you are an alien....i know it doesnt help but im a single mother as well and have just decided to find my way alone just me and the lord

Hang in there. It's tough. You need all the love and support you can get having this bipolar disease. I commend you for being able to live out each day with no support but you need to find a church, friends, organization or somebody to encourage you. I will pray for you most definitely.

i feel your pain. i felt as is if i was the one who wrote your paragraph. people just dont understand even family. all you can do is just try to make it as comfortable for yourself as possible...
love, sue

Hi.. I got diagnosed bipolar when I was younger. The doctor gave me meds and I immediately flushed them down the toilet. I thought this was something I could 'overcome'. My life has been a train wreck with a mental illness, dysfunctional family, others who do not understand bipolar and me not even understanding myself.

Last year I hit rock bottom and my best friend literally saved my life. He first made me get on medication and oh my god how it helps!!!! Then my friend forced me to go to therapy and that has helped immensely also.
If you have been diagnosed with bipolar... PLEASE take proper medication!!!! Give it a try at least. I wish I would have taken medication sooner. There is a part of my life that was lost to do bipolar and I can never get that back.

Hi Aubrey! What medication did you take? I've tried many, but most just made things worse.

Good day Sam. I am from South Africa. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder and ADHD in 2013 and trust me, to stay without medication is not the answer for this type of condition. The medication I use is Concerta for the ADHD;For Bipolar I drink Epilizine 800mg 2 times per day,Epitec 200mg 1 tab per day for a mood stabiliser, Dopaquel 75mg fast release to drink at night before bed to make me switch off and sleep, Wellbutrin 150mg 1tab per day For my Severe depressive episodes and Lexamil 10mg 1 per day also for anxiety and depression episodes. Good luck

I can identify with all of you. I
Wasnt diagnosed until a year ago. From what I understand my family knew but, it was shameful to them. I have been on meds for a year and my life is finally stable but, I feel like my life has been wasted to only now be able to live normally. People don't understand.

I feel the same as you. I will pray for you because I know GOD is real and HE loves us all. Please pray and never give up.

I found that factory work is great living for me. It's a set schedule and isn't stressful. It may be boring and not allow you to exercise that creativity biplor people have but it works for me. Factory work isn't for anyone though. You can get injured or burn out due to overtime and sometimes schedule does change. Also noise and lights everywhere. I somehow block it all out. I even work second/third shift but I make sure I get sleep.

J
I feel the same. My mom thinks I need religion, I find that completely useless. Ive lost all my friends and family doesnt understand they just demand I get a job and get better. Im on disabilty now but my mom is my payee and it is horrible. I want to die everyday. I try to get new relationships but I cant open up to them about what is going on so I cant keep any relationships. The medications dont help in my opinion they cause other issues like making me have more anxiety and more suicidal thoughts and other side affects that are too embarrassing to say. I hope to work again but I really find everything too much to deal with. Ive been through so many psychiatrists evaluations and therapists and no one can help. I have the same response from my father. None of my family cant help or really have time for me.

Hi R.H., we can imagine how tough this must be for you. We are deeply concerned about you and we want you to know that help is available to get you through this. If you are in a crisis, please call this number which is a crisis line with listeners trained to help you: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), as we are not a crisis center. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting START to 741-741. For a list of international crisis centers visit this page:http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

If you are not in a crisis and would like someone to talk to online, we recommend the websitewww.7cups.com It’s a free, anonymous online chat with a trained listener.

I was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar several years ago and have been through several jobs as well as Voc Rehab to secure stable employment. I try to deal with this but meds don't make it go away they only help manage it somewhat. The meds have tons of side effects making most jobs impossible and the jobs I do find I always seem to get irritated and snap either walking out or get fired from. I've tried school and some semesters go okay and others cause pure self destruction. My family needs the money and I need it as well. I'm at a point where I'm lost, confused, and irritated. This has lead to several psychotic episodes due to more stress upon more stress. I've got to a point that I don't know what to do and think I'm best off filling for disability. Can anyone help me figure out what to do before I lose my kids and my wife? Please!

Do not give up go to psych dr for help get your thoughts rolling on a therapist to sort out why an how your feeling. I too have identical patterns. This illness of ours will throw you down an meds only treat symptoms no cure. Disability isnt the answer find your passion working independently- outside inside -ect...medicine is key to tolerating all chemical imbalances going on . Hope this helped god bless.

Apply for disability why you continue to get treatment. Call your states dept of mental health to get free helP with your bipolar. Get stable and start with partime work if you get disability. Hopefully you have a medical and work failure paper trail that will help you get disability. Disability payments do not have to be permanent. I also have bipolar and finally had to file for disability 2 yrs ago , go to outpatient program and now am working with voc rehab to figure out what vocational goals are realistic for me.

Charles, are you feeling so irritated because you are trying to be someone that you are not? Are you trying to please someone who cannot be pleased? Some people just keep blaming us for their dissatisfaction, but really they won't be satisfied with anything. i humbly suggest that you stop trying to do these impossible things. And maybe take some anger management guidance to help you cope when you do feel super irritable. If we don't act as badly as we feel, our troubles will be fewer. i keep trying to do the same things in my life. I get away from one person who is a maniac, i end up with another. And another. I'm trying to stop the cycle of drama in my life.

This is a very interesting article and something I can relate to as a careers counsellor in the UK. I have currently got a client who is bipolar, and so many things mentioned here are so relevant. Something I work on with my client is managing the 'ups' as well as the 'downs', and looking for the right company and environment to work in, not just the job.
Bipolar is challenging, but manageable in the right job. Seeking specialist help, like at First Focus Consultants (www.firstfocusconsultants.com), can really make a difference.

I worked for many years in a government job working with families. It required tons of paperwork and strict adherence to rules. I was able to do this work for over 21 years, but am now retired. I am at loose ends, but think I have found a new passion. I took a course in welding and now plan to become a sculptor, and will be able to live on pension and whatever I am able to sell. I find there are days I just can't face people. I always wanted to work part time, but as the primary breadwinner was not able. Life is good now.

After 3.5 years I've finally been diagnosed with bipolar. I lost the job that I was in with a large company for 9 years because it was triggered there by a management bully and the company didn't understand or want to know me or my condition of repetative secondary depression (work related stress). I fought all the way with a grievance v disciplinaries tit-for-tat for 2 years but they wouldn't let me return fit for work and had replaced me and said they had no current job vacancies. I left and had to desperately drive taxis. I had for 2 years but got involved in 8 aggressive police incidents in manic mode over 3 years of illness of which 3 have gone to court and 1 so far was admitted guilty and cost me my taxi job. My relationship broke down last august and we got back together last month and another police incident over an ex feeling scared because of me has cost me my relationship again.

This is informative,but being in australia,basically the only option is a sheltered workshop.I can't do that,I'm married,have bills to pay and have my wits about me..I'm not severely dissabled.yet I'm expected to be a mute.a carer will get my social security,I will get $26 week.How is my country so backwards when it comes to people with bipolar?
Employment agencies just put me at the bottom of the list.I constantly get told 'sorry we can't help people like you'
Thing is I'm fully qualified in transport and logistics,have a national truck licence,dangerous goods ticket.I'm in the state emergency service and country fire authority.Have not been able to get employment in nearly 5 years.Its destroying not just my life,but my wife aswell.I will never be able to buy a home or have children(we are in limbo on the ivf program).everything depends on me
rejoining the workforce.any advice would be much appreciated

I know this is a far stretch but, have you ever considered becoming a pet-sitter, at least part-time work and in addition to that, working another "regular" part-time job? I know all countries vary in what the wealth factor is but, for some areas, people will pay high prices for someone they can trust to love and care for their pet(s) while they're gone on vacation (sometimes for a month). Some just want their house cared for, the trash taken out, newspaper & mail brought in, plants watered, etc... It might require moving closer to a city or "where the rich live" but, it might be a real answer for you and your family in the end. You can draft-up a simple contract that allows your family members (if responsible) to assist you in the "chores" of a home you are caring for, etc... I wish you the best in all of your endeavors with work and health both.

Believe in yourself you are strong you are powerful you can overcome anything I have bipolar doesn't mean in stupid but plenty of small minded people think thater call me mad under their breath surround yourself with positivity get more skills if you can I believe you can do this any problem can be solved I hace empathy for you and respect for you as I know what this illness is like get a good sleep pattern every night pray and bless your wife every night before sleep couples who pray together stay together I hope you get work soon!!! God bless!!!

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when i was 13yrs. old. I have been to multiple doctors and a few mental hospitals. I currently take only a couple medications and have gone to college and received an A.A.S. in industrial technology and am currently working on my B.A. for interior design. I received SSI for ten years and a few months ago they said i was no longer disabled. I have been looking for work ever since. I have gone to employment services and filled out several applications but to no avail, i was told by one company that i was a liability. I tried to do the ticket to work but was told that i did not qualify. I am running out of money and have begun selling my belongings to try and make ends meet. I am supposed to start my last year of school this august so finding a full time job that will let me have tuesdays and thursdays off seems impossible. I'm looking for any advice that anyone may have for me dealing with how i should find employment? or just any advice that may be useful?

Khrysta
I am facing a lifestyle change as well. Have you considered working I a restaraunt? If you can wait tables you get paid tips for being friendly.

Wow,that was a really great article, just put it all in order for me, thank you!!! I have a template to move forward.

I too am thinking about a part time position. I have been "retired" for several years. Almost every position I was fired from, due to not being stable and other factors. Currently I am volunteering at a Montessori school which helps but I still have too much time on my hands. I don't have a good tract record work wise. Am just starting to think about all of this again-Gina

I've been in a high stress industry for the past 20 years as healthcare facilities management. it's finally to a point where I question the very negative effects that stress has on me and my BP. In addition, I seriously question the wisdom of staying with the career because of my fears and added stress of the risks. And what will happen if there is a hospital crisis and people look to me for answers and I could say or do things that are contrary to the safety and welfare of my organization and community. Should a BP airline pilot be allowed to fly us all over the world? Thanks to all

I'm BP2 with ADHD when hyper and GAD when depressed ....
If your job is stressful you will eventually need to leave the job as stress exacerbates the Bipolar condition.
If it's stressful and your job involves the safety of others then you should do this to avoid that extra worry in the job.
The best thing about BP is that you have a lot a creativity...,
Also watch your spending when manic or hyper....
Look up the 13 effects of bipolar on the net..,.
Take your medication and talk to a councillar about your work and work options.
The BPs big plus is "creativity" you can explore this through writing and the arts music and painting..
Look up famous people with bipolar for clues on jobs...
Best wishes Allan

I am less than 25 years old. During my good seasons its usually the end of Winter, Spring, and Summer. I am on the move these times of year. When the seasons change it makes BP worse. I worked at Wells Fargo Figuring Accounts. While stressed of course. And Having extreme high an lows. I had to make a choice. If I work knowing im mentally unstable MY NAME COULD OWE THE FEDERAL GOVT Xyz money! So, I resigned
Bipolar could cause you to make a careless decision and that could hurt others. So if you know your not well. Leave temporarily or all at once. I know for me - this system don't excuse bipolar for little "mistakes." So do the right thing. If you dont you could be hurting other people which is NOT FAIR AT ALL. Especially when YOU KNOW you "sick" or having an Episode. And as BP recipients our Level of Intellect is Beyond normal. We could make some good points when rationalizing but we could be wrong.

Personally i was relieved whn told i was bipolar and couldn't work..i tried for 8 years..no success..i've been recieving total disability since 1980 and love it..i sleep days awake all night and able to lollygag around at walmart and Denny's..wouldn't work if you paid me,,actually ..i can't anyway..

Walmart shoppers make me want to punch...throat punch, specifically.

I am 27 yrs old, I was diagnosed with Bipolar when I was 10, I dropped out of school when I was 16 because of being bullied about my disorder, I went back got my GED then went to school to become a CNA I have worked a several nursing homes but I just can not seem to keep a job 6 months is the longest i have stayed at one job. Right now I am about at the end of my rainbow. My mom says she is trying to help and so does my dad.. But in reality they are make my life worse, I am criticized because I cant keep a job. At this time I need help but I have no where to go as my insurance will not cover it. I know my medications are not working, I just started another new job and I cant do it... I am mentally not stable but no one will believe me.. Its all my fault they blame me.. My mom accuses me of being a lair. Saying I dont want to help myself saying I dont take my pills because I dont care. I just want some answers!

Have you tried working nites in a hospital? I did when I got my CNA. I can relate to your work and parent problems. I have to stop convincing them of my problem. It's insulting to hear I need to act right. I am a dedicated worker but can't retain info. lately which is insulting since I graduated from a California university in biology. Nothing but memorization!

Wow, thank you for sharing, it felt like I was reading my own life. Do know you are beautiful

Most people have to go thru our experiences themselves to understand or support us. Many people just dont have the time, patience or strength that we hope to get from them. When you know you are being honest with yourself, let that be enough to keep your morale from collapsing. Forgive them. Don't hang on to the bitterness or shock of how people talk to us. Not worth hanging on to. Your worth as a person does NOT depend on their opinions, or even on your own successes or failures. You are human and have dignity just for that, period. It's no fun being diagnosed with Bipolar, and i dont think it goes away, but we can learn to manage our symptoms to be useful/ productive. We may not be as fast as the next person is, but that's ok. Your worth does not depend on your speed. Accept the facts, hold on to your unconditional dignity, and move on to seek a better solution. It's not worth giving up trying. Learn skills for communicating with people who don't understand your situation. Learn other life coping skills. That's what i am working on, one day at a time.

I haven't been diagnosed bipolar, but I have the symptoms. I've been on my job almost 2 yrs. I'm on the verge of loosing my job due to a bully. Guys she sang a racial tune at work & I lost it shouting like crazy. I broke down crying telling them I'm a victim and they don't see how. I'm blamed for not being able to work with everyone just because of one person. I'm really good at my job, smart like MA level. I'm a business writer totally not appreciated. Someone told me I'm different, because I don't talk and stay to myself. Since then, it's the worst thing possible it feels like everyone is starring at me when they walk past my office. I wish being quiet was normal. It hurts like pure hell. I'm away from my son, because I moved for the job. I only have a few guys I talk to that want sex. I don't really have friends. I'm 28, and I'm so freaking angry I haven't found my true comfort place. I rush home to get snugly under the covers and cry asking God why do I let people hurt me so bad. I'm a timid adult nervous on the inside, while the outsiders take my quietness for hostility & when I assert myself I'm seen as aggressive. Guys it feels as if I can't win. If I start my own business, I'm afraid it will falter and I'll lose my home. Please reply. I'll be looking.

Hi A, thank you for reading our blog. I'm sorry to hear about what you are going through. Your story makes me think of a book I read recently called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. It's not about bipolar disorder, but talks about why being quiet is seen as a bad thing in our society and why this is harmful. 

Your issue at work sounds like a legal issue, I recommend discussing it with your HR department if you have one or whoever is in charge or personnel matters. Depending on the details, the bullying could be illegal harrasment, especially if the bullying is based on your race. If it does meet the legal threshold, the employer has a responsibility to try to resolve the situation. 

It goes without saying that the stress you are experiencing at work will affect your mental health at home. Try to practice self care at home to de stress as much as possible. For example you could plan to do something you really like doing as soon as you get home from work - maybe watching a funny show and eating your favorite snack. Anything that will help take your mind off of work so that you can try to feel better at home.

If you have any other questions you can email me (Heather) at hzupin@ibpf.org  

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