Supporting Career Development for Individuals With Bipolar Disorder: Online Resources and Job Search Strategies

Author: Sam Bowman


Living and working with bipolar disorder can present unique hurdles, but your professional growth doesn’t have to be hindered. Supporting your mental wellness is crucial to forging a positive career path with bipolar. With the right resources and strategies, employees and job seekers with bipolar can thrive in the right career environment. Learn how to take practical steps to support a career journey with bipolar, empowering yourself to navigate the delicate intersection of mental health and work.

Unique Career Challenges People With Bipolar May Experience

Frequently, people with bipolar experience employment issues. The various phases and symptoms that affect daily life living with bipolar can seep into the workplace, causing issues

with productivity, attendance, and holding a job. More people with bipolar are unemployed than healthy controls, and this is exacerbated by a type 1 diagnosis and a worse mental state at the time.

Employment for those with bipolar is often difficult due to depression and mania phases leading to:

● Excessive absenteeism;

● A gradual decline in work efficacy;

● Reduced participation in work activities;

● Stigmatization from coworkers and higher-ups.

These harsh realities can be discouraging for anyone dealing with bipolar disorder. However, treatments and tactics are available that make career navigation with bipolar much more manageable. The first step is to have an optimistic outlook — on mental health and career development.

Job training and mental health treatment have a positive influence on the employment rates of those living with bipolar. It’s achievable to work on mental wellness while showing up at the workplace. Use the following tips to enhance career development while living with bipolar disorder.

Planning a Career Path With Bipolar

Employees with bipolar need to make a career plan with achievable goals. This can help empower and motivate you to make informed decisions about your personal and professional lives. Identify desired career outcomes and the roadmap you need to get to those results. This can include:

● Defining desired work environment and necessary accommodations;

● Developing new skills periodically;

● Networking with relevant professionals;

● Setting short- and long-term goals;

● Conducting self-assessments.

Most saliently, a career plan for someone with bipolar needs to be more adaptable than the typical trajectory. Acknowledge that setbacks can and will happen, and falling off course doesn’t mean you are failing altogether. Career success is a result of lots of trial and error, and you may have to experience various career settings to find what works best for your unique situation.

Seeking Out Bipolar-Specific Online Career Resources

There are various tools for professionals with bipolar that you can find across the internet. Search for support groups for those with bipolar in a certain industry. These can even serve as

valuable networks for furthering a career. Online forums and blogs can provide solace in knowing that you are not alone in your career struggles.

Further, check out assistive technologies for employees with bipolar. Mood charting apps can help keep track of bipolar phases and adequately prepare at work. Reminder and note-taking apps can help professionals with bipolar keep tabs on applications and work tasks, increasing efficacy in the workplace. Above all, seek assistance from your employer for working with bipolar. Open and honest communication about your workplace needs is the best way to make sure they are being met.

Conducting Personalized, Effective Job Searches

The online job hunt for those living with bipolar can and should look a little different. Maximize job searching time by filtering search results to only include companies that fit with career goals and values. For example, you may find that you work better remotely or on a flexible schedule. Look for companies that encourage time off and are open to adaptable circumstances.

Managing Bipolar and Career Development Simultaneously

One of the best ways to enhance career development with bipolar is to find balance. Use a combined approach with ongoing mental health treatment and a commitment to workplace development. Remember that there will be ups and downs. Self-awareness, support, and practical tools can empower you as someone living with bipolar disorder to pursue and thrive in a fulfilling career.

The content of the International Bipolar Foundation blogs is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician and never disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read in any IBPF content.
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