Bipolar Disorder & The Workplace

There’s no doubt being Bipolar has some drawbacks, but it’s not impossible to have a regular life. It creates problems in your personal and social life. Some people think that we can’t hold down a job, but that’s not necessarily true. Eighty-eight percent of people with Bipolar Disorder have said that it affects their work-life, and fifty-eight of them have stopped working altogether. Not everyone believes that working is wrong for someone with Bipolar; some think work gives someone a sense of structure. Work gives people structure, can help enhance your mood, and maybe empower you.

There isn’t a specific kind of job for someone who is Bipolar; you should always search for something that makes you feel comfortable. There are a few things to think about when looking for a job, and I want to bring them to light for you.

Here are a few things to consider when looking for work. 

  1. What will the environment be like? Will you grow as an individual here? For most, a relaxed and quiet workplace can help them stay in a structured routine. 
  2. What will your schedule be? Part-time, an adjustable schedule, and day jobs can be good for you. Working overnight isn’t recommended, as it can throw you off your much-needed routine. 
  3. What are your coworkers going to be like? Seek a job where you relate to them and make sure you have a nice balance between life and work. Having a support system at work can be crucial to someone struggling with Bipolar Disorder. 
  4. Is it creative? I enjoy working in places where I can use my imagination. 

Make sure you keep thinking about…

  1. Your interests
  2. What strengths and abilities do you have
  3. What kind of personality do you have
  4. Your values
  5. Your health
  6. What are your limits and triggers
  7. What are some barriers you have?

Tips for handling stress at work…

  1. Recognize when you are getting overwhelmed and take a break. 
  2. I like to use the relaxation mechanisms I’ve gotten from my counselor. Deep breathing, grounding myself, and mediation have helped me tremendously. n
  3. On your break, put your headphones in and listen to music that calms you. 
  4. Realize when you are getting burnt out and take some time off. It’s okay to take a break from work to regroup. 

Do you have legal rights at work? Yes. Yes, you do. 

  1. No law says you have to disclose your Mental Illness to your place of work. Its understandable people wouldn’t be open about it. There is a huge stigma surrounding Mental Health, and most people don’t understand how it can affect your work-life. 
  2. I have shared with my boss that I am Bipolar, and I was scared at first. I had gotten tired of hearing my boss throw around snide comments about people who are mentally ill. IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT THEY CAN NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST YOU FOR THIS. 
  3. There are hotlines available to those who need help talking about their illness. You can go online to Mental Health Works and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce stress and angst at work.

Get outside.

Excercise.


Eat better.


Drink water.


Make sure you SLEEP!
Stick to your routine.

It’s not impossible to work with Bipolar Disorder. In fact, work has helped me grow out of my shell. Getting up every day and having something to do is amazing for my routine. It’s okay to be nervous about speaking up, but know that you are NOT alone. Be strong. You got this.

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