Bipolar- Tools to use -  Working While Living With Bipolar . . . (33 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: dstone311 DelphiPlus Member IconSep-7 3:08 PM 
To: All  (1 of 1) 

Working, while living with bipolar disorder, can be a real challenge. Some of us are on disability because our illness disrupts our life so much that we cannot work. Even though we might be deemed disabled, we are still encouraged by Social Security to work.

My most recent jobs ended due to my mental illnesses. A few years ago, I was working as a barista at a very busy coffee shop in Nashville. We had a line of customers at all times. I was usually on the register talking to the customer because, let’s be honest, I stunk at making espresso drinks. I was anxious at the job. Soon I was anxious on my way to work. Finally, I was anxious to go before I even left the house. I felt physical symptoms like the urge to throw up. It was like being a barista with stage fright. After a few months, I turned in my resignation. Picked up my last tips and moved on with my life.

My next job, in Durham, North Carolina, was at a brand new clothing boutique. During my interview, the owner told me she had goggled me and, thus, knew I was mentally ill, specifically with bipolar disorder. She was also a psychologist and had knowledge about mental illness. She asked me whether or not I was up to the task of working at her boutique. I told her I wanted the job and she hired me. My job was to be the lead fashion stylist for the shop – I thought that mainly meant dressing the mannequins and staging the front window, it also meant working the register. Right as I started the job, I was directed to change medications. As many of us will say, medication changes are the worst and with this one came the brain fog. This one made it especially hard for me to grasp how to use the register. For some reason, it was too complicated for my brain to figure out. She tested me once at the register when just she and I were working. I could not figure out the right way to navigate a sale. She “let me go.” She told me that as much as it hurt me, it hurt her more. Right.

Do not get me wrong, a lot of people with mental illness work and do so successfully. I guess I wanted to share those two bits of information to say, “It is okay to fail or to not be able to do certain tasks or jobs because of our mental illnesses,” as well. There is a lot to consider when working and living with bipolar disorder. Consider the length of your workday and workweek. Is that something you can handle? Remember that some of your medications make you sleepy which could affect your work performance. Find a job that works with your lifestyle and schedule. For me, that is writing. I do it when I can, at times when I can.


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