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Readers Respond: The Effect of Bipolar Disorder at Work

Responses: 151


Updated April 30, 2009

Too Many Jobs and Lost Relationships

I am 49 years old and the effects of BP II has hit me hard in the last 2 years. My episodes are event related and it began with losing my father, and now to the point of not being able to hold a job, I have it, and the relationship factors are this, choosing men that are totally wrong for me and now, the family is pressuring me to go back to work after the last job loss. Oh, it lasted two months.

Bipolar and injured on the job

I was diagnosed as bipolar at age 23 but have been suffering from the illness since I was a child. I was working with Mentally challenged adults with severe behaviors and was injured by one of my students and now I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy in my right arm which is a nerve disorder that is extremely painful. I am on temporary disability and dealing with a Workman Comp claim which has been so hard on me that I have been hospitalized. I know that I can't return to my old job so I have been trying to figure out what my next step will be to find another job that is in my capability. Ive been through four different jobs in the past four yrs and I am beyond discouraged and am limited now due to being physically disabled. I have no friends where I live and people that are friends with my partner dont like me or fear me because they dont know me nor do they understand my condition. I am not crazy but I am fighting for my life with no support.
—Guest C.C..


one word - HELL. I also have RA, hypertension, asthma, muscle spasms w/ other chronic back pain. I am going for disability hearing on Monday, and am very nervous. If I don't get help, I don't know what I'll do. Good to read all your posts. i don't know why they even question someone with this disease, especially with an auto-immune disease on top of it all.... wish me luck, my life may depend on it...
—Guest MPatt

Working with Bipolar

I worked in Factories until I was 36 years old. I was a very dedicated emplyoyee and well liked. I worked day shifts and night shifts, and 400 hours of overtime a year. I began getting worse with age. I went to my employer to notify them that I had Bipolar disorder and that I was having difficulties and needed their help. In turn I received no help and management leaked my disorder to my coworkers. I was treated different and became the gossip of the job. I had to leave the job and I became disabled. I could not believe the tratment I received. Be Careful Discussing your Disorder. Talk to your Doctors before informing your employer.
—Guest James

Do I Give Up?

I am 47 and was diagnosed after the birth of my children when about 32. I am off work this week after waking on Tuesday morning unable to get up, anxious, in tears. My husband rang and left a message that I wouldn't be in this week, I am too scared to go back next week, don't know if I can cope. I am really good at my job as a school canteen manager, except that sometimes dealing with people brings me undone. I have had this job for nearly 4 years, I deal with lots of staff, parents, students everyday. When I see something that isn't right I can't let it go, this leads to heated discussions, why can't I leave things alone. So I sit here today unable to make a decision, quitting would be best for my health, the house wouldn't be a wreck, I would be easier to live with, but this is a no win situation.

down and out...now in and up

i was diagnosed at 19, but have had unseen problems since my father passed away when i was 9. High school just seemed like a blur for me. Like i was there but struggled to just barely fit in. I met my first love, but things got bad, did stupid things and i was in hospital twice in 2 yrs for a month each,i tried to fake my death because of 'unexplained' paranoia after a manic high. After that it took a while to get on my feet with the support of my mother mostly but also an awesome doctor. i now am the master dishwasher at a higher end restaurant. I know it seems low and meager but i work like i'm a professional. I realize now that this is just a sign of better things ahead. now i pretty much forget about my bi polar until i take my meds. i am saving up to buy a house next year because i work hard. Anyway thats only really half my story. I'm not saying it was easy, but a strong support system is vital to any type of recovery.
—Guest bp dishwasher

Just having one of those day's

I guess I can leave out the part of what bi polar is .. I am 43 and just realizing what it is and why I am who I am ! harsh reality, I have hit rock bottom and yes gypsy is me. Up to finding out I had bi-polar I just thought I was a night person hard to awake and mood swings I blamed on over worked. Loss of jobs always a way to blame it away as I was a mortgage underwriter it happens all the time. I am glad I know bi polar now but these depressing swings make me feel so uncomfortable I have no family support emotionally. I just had a surgery and needed help from my mom well I always thought she was crazy but now that I know bi polar ummm I see similar things with her and I that scares me. The surgery is what was the final final. I lost my job in FEB 2010 gee guess why.. then March 2010 a major surgery tumor removed no denied disability due to not enough banked hours thanks BiPolar disorder.. which I was unaware of yet. And here I am now bipolar and scared
—Guest Gypsy with Bipolar


I am getting ready to return to work an am a liittle nervous because of my bipolar. I always end up leaving jobs becaue of my inability to work with others. The thing is I need the money!!! My bipolar has left us broke and I need to contribute to rebuid our savings account as we are maxed out on charge cards and loans. Any input would be appreciated.
—Guest Linda Ellis

I hate having BP

I am 30 going on 31 & I was first diagnosed with BP/Anxiety/Panic when I was about 17. For many years, even when I was a child ppl excused my behavior as that's just him. I hate ppl saying, "that's just his way". I don't want to be like that, I want to be the nice, caring, loving & understanding person I know is truly in here somewhere. Like many of you, I've had many, many jobs. The longest job I've held on to was teaching middle school at a private school for 1.5 years. I was so proud of myself for lasting that long in a job. I truly loved that job but it was a long commute & I was feeling more & more tired every day I kept going. I also had family problems going on that just didn't help. I felt like my life had paused & become about the family member I was trying to help. After leaving my last job at the end of Dec 09, I attempted to return to school & dropped the first 2 semesters. I finally passed one semester & now with the 4th in place, I feel like dropping. Fall=major episodes.
—Guest Sentenced2HardLife

A Job

Hearing these stories helps me to feel like I'm not alone- even though they are depressing! I have been out of work for 1 year, 3 months. I did get a job in a field I love, but I only lasted two weeks. I was hoping to find some suggestions on good places to work. My doctor says, part-time is best, but I can't seem to get anything at all. I have two degrees, and lots of experience, but I didn't do well at the two interviews I did get. I am worried about getting sleepy on the job, or having a panic attack. Lithium keeps me pretty stable- most of the time. At least that, with a combination of other drugs keeps me calm. I was good at my job, but I can't find another one. What is a good job for someone like me? In the past, I was a teacher and art director.
—Guest Eileen


Oh my gosh, doesn't it feel good when you know you have a name to yor sickness. Yesterday when I finally admitted it I was happy cause for a while now I felt I was the only one in the world with these Symptoms. I can't keep a job either. I have had such a tragic life, I feel like I am going to to keep going down and never come up again. I am so sad. I am sorry for all of you, we are somebody, we just handle things to extremes or not. I am glad I have everyone here for support.
—Guest Cupid

Scared to Work Again

I used to work full time as a Junior Consultant at a big multinational firm. It was my first job after graduation, and even though it was hard work, I pushed myself to get through it. A year later, I started having severe panic attacks, and was later diagnosed with Bipolar II. Yet I still pushed myself, not wanting to quit. Another year passed until I could no longer handle the endless late nights and working during weekends. It has been 6 months now since I quit that job, and I have been in a half vegetative state ever since. I do apply for jobs, but will chicken out when called for interviews. Last month I took an easy job working with kids, but quit on the 2nd day because the supervisor kept nagging at me, making uncalled for comments, thus triggering a very very angry person inside of me. I decided to leave before that angry person came out. So here I am, wondering whether I will ever be able to muster up the courage and confidence that seem to have now disappeared.....
—Guest Ana

is it me?

I just lost my new job. I tried to move on after my breakdown and being on disability since November 09. I thought in order to put what had happened behind me, I ought to find another job and move on. But I wasn't ready to do so, and I went to a firm which still has their technology from 1980. I went from top-notch law firms with all of today's technology to where we were 30 years ago. I found that I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't do anything right. I've been networking to find a new job, and I'm second-guessing everything. It's so draining. I'm afraid to live this way. I want to move on; I don't want to be here any longer.
—Guest no point

I feel your pain

I was first told I was bi-polar, manic depressent and other issues. I have had my first job for two years with a corporate company dealing with alot of people. I had a major surgery a few months ago and I went back to work to early only to break down within three months and now back on disability. I cant cope. I am seeing a therapist, psych doc, pain managment... The other day was so bad.. I just wanted it over! I love myself, my kids but when i get my depression bouts...its bad. I got put on cymbalta and today is my first day. Its ok... I am praying.
—Guest Katherine

People Don't Understand

I was diagnosed as bipolar in 1986 at the age of 19 - was hospitalized twice and once almost committed suicide - had three months stints when I could not work or function at all until I accepted the fact I was bipolar and stayed on Lithium since 1993, with the addition of Risperdal in 2001 and occasional Xanax for anxiety. I am on a ton of sleep meds, because for me sleep is the biggest problem. If I don't get my 8-9 hours of sleep, I cannot function. I have done well, became a Registered Nurse, and did excellent in school. I have been a nurse for 17 years and my resume is a mess. I have held good jobs, the longest was 4 years, but the past year I have been through 4 jobs. I can't work too early in the morning because I am so exhausted I can't think straight or focus. My current job is rotating days/night shift - this was not a good idea and I was warned by family and friends, but I thought I could do it. There are many nursing jobs I just cannot do. I feel I can't do it anymor
—Guest JoJoBella

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The Effect of Bipolar Disorder at Work

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