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Bipolar Disorder and Work - Ugh!

Bipolar in the Workplace


Updated June 18, 2012

The last full-time job I had, I was extremely lucky that my boss was also bipolar. She worked with me so much that i was able to hold onto that job for eight months. I had a flex schedule, which means I had Wednesday off and I had to work 10 hours on Monday and Tuesday, and a half day on Saturday. I did have a lot of absences, due to my stupid meds ... some days I couldn't get out of bed, and if I don't want to get out of bed? Forget it. That job was severly stressful, however, and as a result I ended up losing it after eight months.

Stress and money ... my number one trigger. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. I hate working full time, but I need the money. I refuse to go on SSI, because I actually consider it welfare (don't send me emails ... I know many of you feel differently). Besides, SSI would only give me $575 a month, and where I live, one bedrooms and studios are $700 a month or higher. There is no way i could live on SSI, so it is not an option for me.

Has anyone considered TWO part-time jobs? I did that for a long time. It worked out well for me, as I had variety in scheduling, and days off if I needed them. Between the two jobs, I was getting 35 hours a week or higher, and having no problems.

I am actually working two jobs now ... I work full time in the finance department of of a major university hospital, where I have a 37 1/2 hour work week. Eerily enough, all I do all day is verify the State Department of Public Aid cases. I credit the money to the bills, or debit, and check out if people are eligible for public aid. If your name is spelled one letter wrong - well, for example, my name is Sonya. If it comes on my paperwork spelled Sonja, the DPA will deny the claim. That is the majority of what I do all day, verify stuff. At the time of this writing, I have been there two weeks. In my other job, I work for a home health agency. I am a CNA, so I go to people's houses and give them baths, or help them with meals, and stuff like that. That is my Saturday job, and I love it. If I could do that full-time, I would, but it is a hard full-time job to find. Most of the home health jobs are part-time.

I am doing ok right now, and I am severely hard on myself about my sleep. Sleep and working are like food and water to me. If I don't get enough sleep, I can't function. I will not take my Ativan. It makes me terribly groggy, and I realized one day that while I am groggy, I make very bad decisions, like walking out of jobs, or not calling in. So I REFUSE to take it. I do better with no sleep and coffee. I might be pissy all day, but having a job is even more important to me than sleep.

Readers Respond: The Effect of Bipolar Disorder at Work

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