How To Find Work When You Live With Bipolar Disorder
With the right support and training, people living with bipolar disorder can find a meaningful and sustainable job, which suits their strengths.
People living with bipolar disorder will experience an improved quality of life and independence when working because they earn a fair wage, develop and improve their personal and work-related skills, and feel more important and valued as part of society.
While you may think that it will not be easy for you to find work, the key is access to information to help you get there.
Here, weve put together the facts about the benefits of employment, and included some examples of jobs that may suit you.
If youre someone whos living with bipolar disorder, be confident theres a job waiting for you and we can help you find it.
Supporting A Loved One During Bipolar Disorder Treatment
Once your friend or family member agrees to see a doctor, you can help by being a partner in treatment. Your support can make a big difference in their treatment success, so offer to be involved in any way your loved one wants or needs.
Things you can do to support a loved ones bipolar disorder treatment:
- Find qualified doctors and therapists.
- Set up appointments and go along.
- Offer your insights to the doctor.
- Monitor your loved ones moods.
- Learn about their medications.
Can Ptsd Cause Bipolar Disorder
Although little evidence points to PTSD as a direct cause of bipolar disorder, experts do recognize links between the two conditions.
Its not clear what causes bipolar disorder, but a combination of brain chemistry/structure, genetics, and environmental factors may play a role.
One major environmental trigger? Stressful events, such as:
- moving away from home
- going through a breakup
- dealing with challenges at work
Traumatic events can also cause stress both in the moment and later, while you work to recover from the experience.
Not everyone who experiences trauma goes on to develop PTSD, bipolar disorder, or any mental health condition. That said, the lingering stress of a traumatic experience can factor into mental health symptoms, including anxiety and depression. Repeated childhood trauma also increases your chances of developing complex PTSD .
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Things You Should Never Say To Someone With Bipolar Disorder
Dont take a leaf out of clothing store Joys book. I may have bipolar but its not what I am. And enough with the Stephen Fry comparisons
On Monday, high-street clothing store Joy was forced to make an apology after not only stocking a product offensive to people with bipolar disorder, but then also managing to offend people who pointed out its offensiveness. Matryoshka dolls of offence, if you will.
As part of its accessories range, Joy is selling a card bearing the message: Dont get mad, take lithium.
When challenged about marketing a product which trivialises mental illness, Joy responded on Twitter: If you know anyone with bipolar disorder, then dont buy it for them. PROBLEM SOLVED.
Joys social media
guru idiot was then asked how someone with bipolar might feel if they happened to see the card in a store. Their response: Theyll like it one minute and hate it the next?
Mental health charity Rethink Mental Illness deeply offensive, aggressive and obnoxious, while former Labour strategist and mental health campaigner Alastair Campbellsaid the comments proved a deep ignorance about the reality of mental ill health.
Language is an interesting thing. Our choices inspire a multitude of reactions. Language around mental health is especially difficult. In this instance, many people vowed never to set foot in a Joy store again, while other people with bipolar disorder took to to say they couldnt see what all the fuss was about.
What Its Like To Be A Nurse With Bipolar Disorder
The tricky part about mental health is learning how to balance your work life when you are struggling. I am a registered nurse at a hospital in an acute cardiac setting, and I struggle with high functioning bipolar 1 disorder. The unit I work on can be a very stressful environment. I believe that I have become a good nurse over the years, and can handle everyday stressesbut when Im not feeling 100 percent with my mental health, things can get a little difficult.
Ive worked in the past when I am hypomanic, because sometimes I dont realize Im sick until I start working. Im anxious that Im going to make a mistake, hyperactive, too intense with my co-workers, and I have a heightened sense of self, meaning: I think Im the best nurse ever. It feels good and scary at the same time. I have energy for days, and am hyper focused and diligent with everything I do.
The hard part is, I have all that energy but Im still exhausted under the surface. Im constantly assessing myself to see if Im safe to be at work. Im always second guessing how I respond to my co-workers, doctors, supervisors, and anyone on the interdisciplinary team. Am I being appropriate? Am I being reasonable? What if they notice that Im not myself? Does everyone notice?
Sometimes I can be in a stable form of hypomania, where I dont feel myself slipping and Im still in controlbut other times I have to understand how to prioritize my health, and realize its best to just stay home.
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How Does The Process Work
You receive a Ticket in the mail. You take this Ticket to any Employment Network or State Vocational Rehabilitation agency , and if you both agree to work together, the EN or VR will help you with job training, finding employers, information about work incentives, materials to send to prospective employers, and other tasks that will help you go to work. Participating in the Ticket to Work program means that youre protected from a Continuing Disability Review based on your potential ability to work.
For Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries
If you receive SSD benefits, you have a trial work period of nine months that allows you to test your ability to work without risking your benefits. Be sure to check how many months you have left of your trial work period before you begin. A month only counts if you earn over $720. After the trial work period ends, you will not receive benefits in months where you earn over $1000. For three years after the end of your trial work period, you can begin receiving benefits again if you stop earning $1000/month and you?re still disabled this is called Expedited Reinstatement of Benefits, or EXR.
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Supporting Staff Who Have Bipolar
Flexible working and reasonable time off to attend support services are simple ways to help people with bipolar to remain in work:
- Boost confidence and self esteem by telling employees when they are doing things well
- Work with individuals to identify any workplace triggers and seeing how they can be minimised or avoided
- Consider asking another trusted employee to act as a buddy or mentor to support the person with bipolar.
Dont Forget What You Can Control
How you work, where you work, and whom you work with is up to you.
If youre in a situation now that you hate and thats making you sick, start today to have a plan to be in a different place by next year.
Youll notice I said next year and not next month.
I really do mean it when I say I plan way in advance in order to work!
Taking hours just to prepare to work is my daily reality. Its a choice. I like the feeling I have when I get something done.
Whether or not we can put in this kind of effortor even if we want tois something each of us needs to assess for ourselves.
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How Are Bipolar Disorder And Ptsd Different
The symptoms of bipolar disorder and PTSD can seem similar. Yet there are plenty of differences between the two conditions, both in the symptoms themselves and the patterns they take.
First, bipolar disorder falls into the category of mood disorders, so the symptoms you experience mainly relate to your mood and emotions. Theyll also appear in distinct episodes typically marked by significant changes in mood and energy.
These episodes of mania, hypomania, depression, or a combination of these symptoms can last from a few days to a few weeks, though depression can persist for a longer period of time. Between these episodes, you may not experience any symptoms at all.
As for PTSD, the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders categorizes the condition as a trauma- and stressor-related disorder. In other words, you wont develop PTSD unless you experience some kind of trauma.
PTSD usually wont involve these key symptoms of mania:
- a high mood state characterized by heightened energy or euphoria
- increased self-esteem, self-absorption, or grandiosity
- pressured or confusing speech
- feeling refreshed on little sleep
It often does, however, involve an irritable mood, along with impulsivity or a tendency to take risks symptoms that commonly appear with mania.
PTSD also involves other trauma-specific symptoms, including:
Stay Active And Eat Well
Eating well and keeping fit can help reduce the symptoms of bipolar disorder, particularly the depressive symptoms.
It may also give you something to focus on and provide a routine, which is important for many people.
A healthy diet, combined with exercise, may also help limit weight gain, which is a common side effect of medical treatments for bipolar disorder.
Some treatments also increase the risk of developing diabetes, or worsen the illness in people that already have it.
Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising are an important way of limiting that risk.
You should have a check-up at least once a year to monitor your risk of developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
This will include recording your weight, checking your blood pressure and having any appropriate blood tests.
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Learning To Say ‘no’ At Work Because Of Bipolar Is Not Selfish
We have to learn to say “no” at work because bipolar disorder is a variable and volatile illness that requires a lot of lifestyle adjustments to manage. This can make finding stable, sustainable, and enjoyable work difficult. I think many folks with bipolar feel additional pressure to take on extra work or obligations as a way to impress employers and increase the chance of maintaining a long-term job. Unfortunately, this kind of overworking can easily lead to burnout, which isn’t ideal for managing bipolar and mood shifts. This can and often does lead to a vicious cycle of mood episodes and job loss that damages a person’s mental health even further.
I have personally experienced this kind of burnout in both my professional experience and personal relationships. I have often felt obligated to give more energy or time than what I could healthfully manage. While I do have a tendency towards perfectionism, looking back, I see that a big part of it was a desire to make up for the procrastination, forgetfulness, and volatile emotions that were exacerbated by my disorder.
I perceived these things as character flaws and believed that I had to overcompensate to “prove” my professional worth, as well as my value as a friend and partner. After doing a lot of internal work, I realize that while it is always good to strive for self-improvement, these things do not make me “bad” or “unworthy,” and I don’t need to burn myself into the ground to “make up” for them.
Time & Work With Bipolar Disorder
It took me 12 hours to sit down and work today. That is not a typo.
If you live with a mental health disorder or anything else, such as a head injury, that affects your ability to work, time is your friend.
The timeline YOU work with will NOT be the timeline the regular world follows.
And if this thought popped into your mind just now:
But, Julie, everyone has struggles! You are not the only one!
please dont say this to someone with a brain illness or brain injury.
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Bipolar Disorder And Disability
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition. In some cases, it can affect a persons ability to function in daily life to the extent that it becomes a disability.
In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act protects anyone with a condition that substantially limits one or more major life activities. This means that employees with bipolar disorder may have certain workplace rights.
The ADAs protections include:
- Protection from discrimination: An employer cannot deny someone a job application, promotion, or training opportunity because they have bipolar disorder.
- Right to privacy: People with bipolar disorder do not have to disclose their diagnosis to any potential or current employer if they do not wish to.
- Right to reasonable accommodations: This means that an employer must adjust someones work environment to help them manage their condition, unless doing so causes undue hardship to the employer.
Some examples of accommodations that may help people with bipolar disorder include:
- flexible hours
- a quiet office or cubicle to work in
- more frequent short breaks
- working from home
Even if someone thinks that they may need accommodations when they apply for a job, they do not need to disclose this to the employer.
Support For Success: Finding A Fit To Thrive
The specific careers that weve described above are simply initial possibilities. Individuals with bipolar disorder can thrive in a wide array of roles. Keeping in mind the basic concerns weve outlined, you can find a suitable position in most fields.
In some ways, the most challenging aspect of your job search might be learning enough about a potential role to make an informed decision. When talking to prospective employers, remember that youre entitled to ask relevant questions. Gauge the responsibilities of the role, the associated pressure, and the general working environment.
After all, its far better to spend time evaluating your job prospects proactively, rather than discovering significant issues once you start. You deserve a job suited to your needs and abilities, so gather key information before making any commitments. At Joblist, were eager to lend a hand however we can. Our platform gathers listings from a powerful mix of sources, so youll never miss the perfect position. We also help you personalize your search, so you can set parameters that youre comfortable with. Start your search to find the ideal opportunity, so your work success never comes at the expense of your well-being.
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Living With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, once referred to as manic depression, is a mental health condition defined by disruptive changes in mood, energy, and daily function.
The type of bipolar disorder you live with may indicate how long you experience a depressive episode.
You may feel depressive symptoms for weeks at a time, or in the case of cyclothymic disorder, for years at a time.
Bipolar depressive episodes can bring many of the same signs of major depressive disorder. Feelings of despair and intense sadness can overrun your thoughts.
You may not feel motivated, and you may question your self-worth and abilities.
During manic episodes, you might find that youre more inclined to be impulsive, irritable, or easily distracted. Your need for sleep may diminish, and you might seem unable to focus on any one task in particular.
Bipolar disorder can make you feel isolated, no matter what type of mood youre experiencing.
What Is Bipolar Disorder
According to the Black Dog Institute, an Australian medical research institute which investigates mental health, bipolar disorder is a chronic mental health condition with strong changes in mood, energy, focus, activity and ability to function in everyday life. One in 50 adult Australians experience bipolar disorder each year.
People living with bipolar disorder experience episodes of depression and highs, which could show in the following ways:
- Depressive episodes: low mood, feelings of hopelessness, extreme sadness and lack of interest and pleasure in things
- Manic or hypomanic episodes: extremely high mood and activity or agitation, racing thoughts, little need for sleep and rapid speech.
The pattern of mood swings is different for each person living with bipolar disorder and these changes in mood can last a week or more, and affect thoughts and behaviour.
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First What Is Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition which includes an experience of mood from emotional highs, referred to as mania or hypomania that can last for days to a week, to lows, or a depressed mood which can last for weeks, explains clinical psychologist Dr. Desreen Dudley, PsyD.
According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, 5.7 million American adults are currently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
There are different types of bipolar disorder, including:
- bipolar I
- cyclothymic disorder
- substance-induced or medically induced bipolar
Your thoughts may differ depending on the type of bipolar disorder you live with.
Does someone with bipolar disorder remember what they say? Yes.
Do people with bipolar disorder know what theyre doing? Also yes.
Many people think that a person with bipolar disorder doesnt have any control over themselves or that theyre unable to take care of themselves or function in society. This simply is not true, says Ikaika King, who was diagnosed with bipolar II when he was 17.
In many ways, we think exactly like everyone else most of the time. Its when we have symptoms that things start to go haywire, adds Gabe Howard, author of Mental Illness Is an Asshole and host of Psych Centrals Inside Mental Health podcast.
People with bipolar disorder may face unique challenges as a result of their condition, but theyre fully capable of leading happy, healthy, successful lives.