What Are the Best Careers for Bipolar People?
At the end of the day, people with bipolar disorder are often able to succeed in just about any career (except the ones from which we are barred, which I will mention below).
However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t consider which careers will be best for us. Because of the special challenges associated with bipolar disorder, there are some careers where we are more likely to thrive as people than in others. In this article, I will discuss what to look for in a career, and provide some specific examples. Please note that this article largely derives from my own experience; I don’t mean to suggest that there won’t be exceptions to what I discuss below.
Careers From Which We Are BarredThe first thing to recognize is that there are certain careers from which we are barred because of bipolar disorder. These are careers which, at least until now, the courts upheld the disallowing of people with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses from entering. Please note that what I am speak of here applies only to North America. Other jurisdictions may have their own rules.
Almost any job that involves carrying a gun will disqualify people who have bipolar disorder. This includes the military and police forces. There are occasionally exceptions to this, and you should feel free to ask a recruiter, but those exceptions are rare. Don’t use any deception, especially in the military. Lying to be recruited can lead to a dishonorable discharge and time in prison.
In addition, some professions will still bar people with bipolar disorder from joining the professional associations. Employers are not allowed to discriminate in hiring, but in some cases, professions are allowed to discriminate. If joining a profession, you should check in advance whether or not people with bipolar disorder are permitted to join. If you want to ask discreetly, you can talk to an employment attorney, who will know the rules or at least be able to find out for you.
Low Stress or High Stress?People with bipolar disorder tend to be drawn to positions that include a lot of stress. This is because we can often find an outlet for our hypomania in high stress positions. However, this may not ultimately be wise. Stress is one of the most common triggers of mood episodes, and it can be very difficult to find the kind of emotional stability we need to live a fulfilling life under stress. Of course, some bipolar people will find themselves about to handle stress, but they usually have significant ways of compensating.
In order to reduce stress, jobs that do not have punctuated workloads are often best. By this, I mean jobs where we don’t suddenly find ourselves with massive projects to complete, with lulls in between. Note that I have swapped from the word “career” to the word “job” here. In many cases, certain types of jobs are available that are less stressful than others within the same career. The goal would be to find a niche within a career that is itself less stressful.
So, for instance, a career in finance might be less stressful, but it would be less stressful to work as a consultant than to work on the stock market floor. Similarly, working in medicine might be less stressful if one works with long-term care clients than in an operating room. However, since this level of specialization must often be made relatively early in training, it is worth considering in advance.
Another thing to consider is finding careers that can be performed on a part-time basis. Not everyone will need this kind of work, but it can certainly be less stressful for some people than a career that requires full-time work. On the other hand, constantly needing to find new work can be just as stressful. Positions like working as an accountant who works with a few companies on a constant, monthly basis are often good options.
CreativityPeople with bipolar disorder can be incredibly creative, especially during their hypomanic periods. Even after a hypomanic episode, there are often a number of different ideas that can be returned to for completion later. In addition, people who are bipolar feel things more intensely, which gives us the kind of experience that drives creative work. This means that we will often have a greatly potentially creative output, and finding a career that can fit into it some of our creative expression would be something that can really enhance our lives. Most creative fields have a disproportionate number of bipolar people as a result.
The tricky part is that our creativity can often come in spurts, rather than consistently. This can make it difficult to hold down creative work, especially during the drier, depressive periods. However, there are some careers that can combine creativity with the ability to set one’s own schedule. Being a freelance writer, for example, or writing short stories are things where we can set our own schedules and at the same time.
Of course, the downside of creative work can be the same for us as it is for anyone else: it can be hard to break into. Creative work may be something to break into gradually, doing some work and putting together a portfolio while working on a less stressful career. The internet provides a remarkable opportunity for many people with bipolar disorder, as it gives us a platform to publish our creative work while gradually building an audience and finding opportunities.
Scaling a Current CareerWhat if you’re already in a career that is high stress and doesn’t have a lot of creative output? Does that mean we should quit?
Not at all. However, the same principles that I discuss in this article can be applied to one’s own current career. After all, in most careers, there are often different streams of advancement, even late in the game. For instance, I work at a university, where I can focus on various things from teaching to research to administration to even working more closely with the union.
In cases where one has a current career, take a look at possible options within that career and what will work best for you. For example, a current job as a lawyer might include working long hours from time to time, which both causes intense stress and can disrupt sleep cycles. There may be, however, a number of different areas to work with more moderate hours and less intense cases.
Part of scaling a current career is often a matter of refusing to “play the game.” Many careers have standards of success that are partly arbitrary and partly not, developing standards of machismo around basically being a workaholic and putting a lot of focus on being at the “top of one’s field,” whatever that may mean. Either way, as someone with a disability, we can set our own standards of success, focused around our own well-being and the ability to contribute in the way that best suits our unique talents.
There are a number of different career options for people with bipolar disorder. The best will take advantage of our unique talents and also allow us to be most fulfilled as individuals. As a rule, positions that have low stress and take advantage of our creativity will be those that are best for those with bipolar disorder. This may require us to not play the game that others are playing, but will provide us with a more important victory.
Bravo, right on point.
I’m amazed at how accurate that all reads to me.
I have over the last few years worked a 4 day week in a creative job, which has given me the right balance… I’m starting to feel the strain again though and am thinking of taking a job part-time while I get a studio space to develop my art work… For me this article has sound advice…
Yes I am creative, but yet stress is the biggest stumbling block to me working. Good to read
Thanks for the article, I am always looking for Bipolar career advice.
The part about stress seems somewhat contradictory to your article “the Smeared Rainbow”. Indeed, every Bipolar person is an individual, both in terms of personality (and what they find stressful) and in terms of the severity/frequency of their illness.
Personally I find it far more stressful (and episode inducing) to be undertaking basic administrative work in a boring, quiet office than traipsing about community housing estates dealing with rather difficult people. I need a good challenge and a good amount of responsibility/decision making capacity in my role to keep my mind active and balanced.
Obviously, there is a such a huge spectrum of abilities – it is hard to fit it all into one article. From people on full-time Disability Support, to famous celebrities performing in front of thousands of people, to people doing one or two days a week in a retail store, to high flying lawyers to volunteering on an ad-hoc basis. Or full-time mums & dads!
Part-time is something I can REALLY identify with, and try to sell to everyone I meet – Bipolar or not! After spending 3 years on Disability Pension, I have not worked full-time since being diagnosed 15 years ago. I am now working the most I have in all of that time (9-day fortnight) and struggling a bit. Too much stimulus!
I would love to read case studies/stories of Bipolar people in the workplace. Do you know of where there is an existing collection? Surely there is a book by now?? For a long time I felt I was boxed as “unemployable forever”. Some “everyday bipolar employment success (or non-success) stories” would have offered enlightenment in a time of need.
I do tend to contradict myself from time to time :). I’m often sifting through different ways of conceptualizing bipolar disorder. Thank you for pointing it out. It really gives me something to look at.
I haven’t heard of any books about bipolar disorder in careers. That’s a really good idea.
I liked this article very much as I recognized myself. I have not been diagnosed with the bipolar, just as a person with clinical depression, but I know that is wrong. No one really knows about my extreme episodes… Well, what is very significant is that during my episodes I had achieved vary big successes and also had to run away or had been laid of numerous of times.
Once I learned a lot about myself (my doctors do not make suggestions about my work and career that can be dangerous for them), I was able to get disability in order to recuperate from stress, anger, rage, low self-esteem etc. That was such a long and disappointing process that I still cannot believe how many people live on our misery: lawyers, doctors, insurance lawyers, specialists etc. That game is very well known those who know how to use us and put big money in their pockets, leaving us with so little that we can barely survive.
My story includes: master degree in engineering, 30 yrs. of working in IT, high education, and as an engineer; published and awarded writer, songwriter, player (had a couple of concerts); traveled around the world; had family and kids… Once I get to the bottom, after a longer or shorter period of time, I raise again.
Nowadays I am in one of my very low levels – after a long disability I returned to work and got what I wanted – a part time job. Instead of keeping it as it is in my contract, I was accepting more and more tasks, and ended up working more than full time employees. Now I am exhausted and totally disoriented and cannot make a decision what to do: to stay until they lay me off, escape to my disability (I can go back and live like invisible who do not eat, do not drive, do not exist, with around $700 per month) or to just quit and try to be proud of my courage to live and work the best I can. But I am 60 now, alone, with no family, kids far away and my energy level lower every single day…
Hi Nada. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having so much trouble with work. I know that in Ontario, there are services through ODSP to help people with disabilities sort out problems like the one you’re having with your employment, like a part-time job that is taking over. There may be something like that in your area as well.
I feel ya minus the kids and in my thirties now but I can relate…and agree
Thank you Daniel,
I appreciate your courage and your advices. Discussing some of our struggle in life is a big relief for me. I do not need doctors anymore; I need someone who understands what is going on from their own experience. I know that this is one of my downfalls, but I also know that if I get a new interesting job, I will be happy for a while…in the meantime, I need to survive: boredom due to the repetition in my life, too many hours of doing something I don’t like anymore, a new phase of low self-esteem etc.
Some people know how to hide such phases, but I become too emotional, irritable and may say something to offend someone who I work with and that way I easily ruin everything positive I had built in my career.
I also know what is the only way to overcome all I said – a long vacation! Every six months, if I had three weeks off, I would be OK. In this real world something like that simply does not exist.
Thanks a lot again.
You’re welcome, Nada. You make a very good point about vacations. I find that they are extremely helpful, especially if I can get out of town where I can’t work. Otherwise, things can really build up.
I just found your blog today and it makes very interesting reading. I’m currently being assessed for Bipolar II and I’m trying to get as much information as possible. I notice that you use the term Bipolar, without referring to Bipolar I, II or Cyclothymic. Is there a reason for that? Do you see them all as the same? Thanks
I don’t really think of them as being the same, but there’s a lot of overlap. When I don’t specify, I’m usually referring to the symptoms that we all share, especially hypomania and depression. There are a lot of other things we share in common, too, like taking medication and general issues with stigma. Bipolar 1 has some special problems of its own that I do deal with sometimes.
I did write a post a while back about bipolar 1 and 2 and how they differ. It’s available here. I don’t discuss cyclothymia there, though the symptoms there very similar to bipolar 2, just with a different frequency and intensity.
I have struggled to try and “fit in” doing what is expected working a 9 to 5 job. Needless to say, I just cannot fit in. When I spent 3+ years at home, freelance writing and selling my art online I didn’t make enough money to pay my bills but I was content.
It was so refreshing to read this post and feel validated for a change. Now if I could just figure out a way to earn a living without jumping from job to job life will be good. I know my triggers and try to avoid/control/deal with them. One of my biggest triggers is the stress from having to try and be someone I am not in order to earn a paycheck.
Wish there was a simpler solution to my problem.
It’s definitely a difficult dilemma. On the one hand, bipolar disorder makes it hard to hold down a job. On the other, not being able to hold down a job causes stress that can worsen bipolar episodes. I’m glad you’ve found the article helpful, and my hope is that it can help people get out of this dilemma.
In the middle of a late mid-life crisis where my career is headed,,,,i just don’t like it anymore.
I studied accounting in college, and **** if i didn’t get a job doing it,,,,sheeeesh.
It encompassed a whole lot more as it was at a union hall whereby i had to be mother, friend, lawyer, doctor, confidante and such to the union members who belonged (i loved that part of job) but none the less, keeping the books were, and still is, my main responsibility.
Never the less, I want, and guess I kinda need, a position where I can feel I am giving something back,,,it seems I feel I have taken far too much from others,,,in advice, in friendliness, in just overall neediness! Its my turn,,,,to give! I hope i figure this out soon!
Thanks for the great comment, Mary-Anne. I’ve also been working at a union in the last year, and I really appreciate that feeling of giving something back to the community.
I’ve found that working in a field where I do a lot of problem solving has worked out best for me. Disability seems to think that people with bipolar work best in repetative, mundane jobs, where there isn’t a lot of social interaction. I disagree! I prefer to work in a position where I am occupied and don’t have time to “sit in my head”. I have excellent inter and intrapersonal skills, and enjoy working in a client or customer service related field. I have a degree as a Paralegal, which can be a high stress job, but I’ve learned that in that field, as most any job, if I’m working for an attorney or a company who treats their employees well that I enjoy the work. If I have a boss or work environment that makes me uncomfortable, I tend to cycle frequently. I have to work a job where “my inbox is never empty” doesn’t apply, because I become overwhelmed and it triggers mania, although I like a job where I have plenty to do. I guess it’s about finding a balance between utilizing our skills, a comfortable environment, and doing something that is somewhat fulfilling.
Thanks, Angela. I find it tricky, too, to find that right balance between being busy and being distracted. I find, too, that having something engaging is very important.
Another great article which I identify with on most points. Recently, I have made radical changes to my approach to work as my it has become evident that my previous coping mechanisms cannot work with my radical change in circumstances and priorities. I have previously worked full-time in the publishing industry and become a proficient graphic designer, working to deadlines was an ultimate rush. In retrospect, some of these work challenges and stress-driven peaks were obviously the hypo’s in full force and over time, I learned that the come-downs sometimes took their toll and were handled with ‘duvet or sick days’ and in latter years I actually used to book a couple of days holiday after a monthly deadline to cope with the aftermath. 20 years and almost as many jobs later, I had my first and only child – little did I realise how much he would change my life. With my priorities radically changing and my commitment to raising my boy, I toyed with part-time work and eventually freelance but had a major breakdown a couple of years ago and it’s taken me this long for me to realise that my previous life before having my son was an adequate, albeit chaotic, way of coping with bipolar and that I have had to approach work from a completely different perspective now. I am currently employed on a ‘sessional’ basis for one company and have a few smaller local companies I do freelance work for. As long as the hours fit around school times, I can still enjoy the thrill of a deadline, but things are much less full on as they used to be. Still creative, still feeding my hunger but managing to find a bit more balance – it’s working for now (ie today!) – thank goodness 😀
Thanks for this great comment. I’ve had a similar experience. Full-time work is too overwhelming, but I find part-time work too unstable. There’s got to be a happy median, and it sounds like you’re onto it. Thank you.
I have bipolar, and have managed a career in Nursing. When I trained 25 years ago, I wasn’t diagnosed, and I’m glad I wasn’t, as I would probably have felt unable to nurse. My career has been a huge struggle, and since I was diagnosed 12 years ago, I dropped down to part-time. This has meant I haven’t gone for promotions, and will probably always be a Staff Nurse. But I’m proud to have managed this, and I do thrive on the stress when I’m hypo-manic. Sometimes I needs time off sick when I’m depressed. But overall, I cope ok, and I do think I make a good nurse, especially with patients who are struggling with Mental health issues- I am not judgemental, like so many Health professionals tend to be. Having Bipolar disorder does not define who I am, I have just learnt to accept the limitations it has put upon me. Any disability can be overcome, and life is what you make of it!
Thank you so much for this comment, Joanne. I’ve found, too, that setting my own goals that I can meet has taken off a lot of the stress that normally comes with working.
God Bless you Joanne. We all could use a lot more mental health care professionals that truly care about and understand us. Thank you!
I just want to say one thing. How can a bipolar person be gainfully employed in a career where he/she is needed to be the breadwinner of the family? It is very hard to find a job that pays enough to support a family of two, let alone more. I have struggled with needing to be the breadwinner for my wife and I, in light of the fact that she is starting to show the advanced complications of Type I diabetes. Her blood pressures and heart rate skyrocket at the first sign of stress, and it will only be a matter of time before she will have to leave her position. Yes, it is easy for one to say that she can find another job, but making the same pay? There aren’t many jobs out there to come by, let alone similar jobs making similar pay for her. She has 16 years in with the same company, and I am really hoping she will be able to at least put in another four more. Yes, I am in a career-driven company with a career-driven job, but the pay will not support the two of us even though I work for a gigantic company. And furthermore, it sickens me when people think that she brings all of her disease complications on herself when the do not live in her body. Also, it sickens me for people to say that I can control my symptoms. I can only do do much. There is that much more added stress on me to have to end up supporting both of us. She needs to go on disability, but it would bankrupt us and we would end up literally on the street. Sorry for the rambling, but you know how us bipolars are.
No worries, slc. I’m also the breadwinner for my family, and I find the city is just too expensive. We’ve gotten by by living an inexpensive lifestyle, but as our family grows, the city itself is becoming more of a problem.
I have bipolar and have worked full time for over 27 years. I am on my own with a house, my daughter has just moved out. So I am the only person providing for my home. Its tough, very tough sometimes, but it is about knowing your limits, your stress points, and triggers. Just wanted to say that you are not on your own.
Thank you, Sue. I appreciate it.
I am bipolar and work from home.Finding a job I could work from home has helped me to stay employed. There are legtimate work at home jobs. I work in customer service at home,and am paid hourly. It has been a great challenge for me to stay employed, and provide for my family. This works for me!
Thanks, Gerald. I do a lot of part-time work that I can do at home as well. My experience lately has been that the lack of job security is itself very stressful.
I’ve recently quit my new job of three weeks due to an extremely hectic work environment. I have had a few run ins with work from home scams. If you could share your authentic “work from home opportunity” I would be greatly appreciative. Due to health and personal reasons, I’ve had to move back in with my mom, and although she’s my best friend and I love her dearly, it is time for me to fly. If I could find a job that I could stick with and not have my bipolar symptoms flare up then I could save some money and start my own life.
Please share your knowledge and know you’ve helped a very grateful woman.
Thanks ahead of time.
hi from the uk ,interesting and insight.as for myself i have been on the mental health circuit since i was 13 and i have not worked for the last 10yrs.my stumbling block is getting into a routine chaos is not just part of my condition but my nature.
Thank you for the comment, Adrian. I find chaos a problem, too. For me, part-time and flexible work has helped.
I am currently on disability I am getting older 57 and I have worked over 32 yrs as a RN I don’t know how I handled it but I did Now at this stage in my life I feel like I can handle very little but we will see. After my last leave I moved to the city of my birth, Montreal QC Canada.I quess I am saying that I am ambivalent about my current employment status and also anxious about finances .
Turning 27 here later this month I’ve probably had close to twenty different jobs. It isn’t that I am getting let go left and right, it more has to do with a need for continual stimulation. At one point 2 years ago I was holding down 6 different jobs, now granted keeping in mind that they were all part time jobs. Currently I work at a desk and answer phones. This was fine for the first couple of months but now by month 3 going on 4 I find myself stirring inside for a new venture. Fortunate enough, I’ll be heading back to the cruise ship that I worked on this last summer come May. With Bipolar II, the rapid succession from mania to depression and back again is what prepares me for jobs that include lots of stress. However when it comes to a stressful job vs. a consistent yet often boring gig, I find myself wanting to utilize the best of what Bipolar can bring and go out and tackle the stressful job. In the end I am able to look back and say “Ahhh, if I wasn’t Bipolar I don’t know if I could have done that!”
Thank you for this article, I’m continually needing healthy resources!
I am new to this blog and am very thankful to have found you. I’ve been diagnosed bipolar II for over twenty years and holding down a job has been tricky. I am NOT a multi-tasker by any means of the word. I am more of the steady as she goes type of worker. I am very reliable and motivated, but cannot handle much outside stimulus. I need a quiet environment in which to focus on a single task at a time. Recently I started a new job in a hospital and it was a disaster. It was simply too busy and too much information for me to be responsible for. I ended up quitting after three weeks. I am tired of feeling so overwhelmed at work to the point that I’m anxious and nervous every second of every day. It is interesting to mention that once I feel comfortable in a job, I tend to swing into hypomania mode ( talkative, overly confident, ready to take on the world)…it’s just such a challenge finding the right niche.
In my early 40’s, newly diagnosed w/2 autoimmune disorders (AD)–thyroiditis and celiac disease– which has been life altering. As I unravel the ravages these 2 AD’s have had on my emotional, physical, & yes, mental health, I am only now opening my heart to the possibility of being bipolar. I have struggled with some form of depression since my teen years and never really felt I ‘belonged’ in any area of my life, be it among peers, at school, at home, at every job I’ve ever had, and in my marriage. Yes, many of my feelings can be atttibuted to thyroiditis & celiac, but, I’m finally able to acknowledge bipolar may be a cofactor as well. Ironically, what I want most is to feel normal, live a normal life which includes a successful, long-term job. Thank you for this blog…I need all the input and varying perspectives as I move forward in my lifes health expedition.
I have worked in part-time, stay-at-home jobs like writer and one other profession that I still do. The problem is if you’re depressed you can slack off and no one will notice. Especially if you work for yourself and can set your own schedule.
Right now my goal is to find a low-stress job outside of the house. I want to get out more and interact with people.
I am terrified to interact with people in customer service job after I went to jail for throwing food at a very difficult woman in the restaurant I worked for.
I am a 40 year old woman and I have no idea what to do as far as work goes. I have attempted to work in a full time job a few times but I usually do okay for the first 6 months and then the depression takes over.I dread going to work every day after that and I am usually just hanging in for the next 6 months doing the bare minimum until I get fired or quit. I honestly think a temp service is what I need but I have never lived anywhere there was one.I think jumping from one job to the next with a kind of permission would be great so I dont get bored and Im not there long enough to annoy my employer.lol Everyone I know tells me to get on disability but the very idea of being disabled makes me want to throw a chair through a window. I am 40 years old not 100 and there has to be a job out there for me somewhere.
That’s certainly a good point that we have difficulty holding on to positions because of bipolar disorder. I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue, and I’m beginning to think the ideal is to have short-term contracts for a highly-skilled area. This gives us the flexibility to pick our work. Unforatunately, I’m not in such an area, but it’s something I’m looking into.
After decades of career changes and breakdowns, I have finally settled on being a writer who pays the big bills with an annual short-term contract, organised through my previous employer who knows of my condition and appreciates my commitment and expertise. It takes me a long time to recover from this intense – and invariably hypomanic – experience, however, I find it immensely affirming.
That’s great to hear, Peggy :).
I somehow managed a career in law until last year and had a big break down. Ive been studying fitness this year (knowing how much exercise helps me manage my moods..) but dont think I can support myself and my two kids (single mum) in this industry. I have lost all confidence in my abilities, legal or otherwise and am torn with over analysis of different possibilities. Am variously thinking of part time call centre work, part time legal assistant work (but will then think of myself as a failure given where I was previously). Am petrified of applying for full time positions because my moods are so unstable and get so angry at myself after my hypomanic episodes because I start making phone calls/meetings etc and with full confidence make myself out to be someone who can commit. Ive considered at home remote call centre work but I kind of think this is only going to increase my social isolation and play into my depressive states. I have managed to get by without work, living on savings for the last 2 months but have my head in the sand financially. I’d sell my apartment and move somewhere cheaper if it wasnt for my kids father who lives in the most expensive suburb in my city and shares care of my kids. I feel absolutely trapped and petrified right now.
After I had a serious breakdown in 2001, I had a great deal of trouble getting my self-confidence back. There’s nothing to be angry at yourself for. We can’t stop ourselves from having episodes. I wish I had something more useful to say, but self-confidence is still a big hurdle for me. I did find that sitting down with a career centre, and going over my skills was very helpful, as it helped me realize that there are some things that I am good at, even though I am bipolar.
I am happy I found this site because I have been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder since 1990. I am extremely compliant to my doctors advice and taking my medicines. my bipolar is managed withmedicine and cognitive therapy. I was a house wife until my marriage went left and I had to separate from my husband that cause my condition to leave me in the worst emotional situation leading to being diagnose with bipolar disorder. I went back to school to become a medical assistant. I excelled in the course and graduated getting hired instantly after externship. I’ve worked steady only changing within the company so I can work in back office with hands on patient care. I let that company with two physicians to join a private practice doctor office in 2001. I ended up hospitalize at least once a year due deaths in my family, and situations I couldn’t handle and having my condition made it worse. I unfortunately am chronically suicidal. my supervisor has mistreated, attacked my self esteem, and bullied me constantly. this is every day. I’ve been hospitalized due to stress from work. she caused me to lose my job unjustly, I couldn’t find a new job but got hired back at this one because I was fired because of a nervous break down. her evaluation of my work is a constant put down even though I perform my job as described. I am a care giver and that works for me my job is structured and that is what I need however my problem is with the supervisor who knows that i’m bipolar and she pick at my self esteem issues. I can’t handle the stress of a human being constantly having me on edge about losing my job I care for myself and money is a concern due to hospital bills. I work full time but recently my depression is severe and she makes me extremely agitated beyond my ability to control my anger toward her. i’m 52 and afraid to leave because she’s my only problem even though I file a complaint on her the administrator does nothing. not to mention other employees she terrorize I feel like the only way out is to not exsist any more. sorry for rambling but it’s the whole problem
I’m sorry to hear about all of the trouble that you’re having at work. My usual suggestion is to speak with an attorney about harassment at work, because employers are not allowed to discriminate against us. However, there is tons of it that goes on. Basically, anti-discrimination laws are a complaints-based system with no one policing them, and so having an advocate from outside the workplace can be very helpful.
I was just browsing around and ran into your site. Thank you for being so transparent about bi-polar and the very real struggles of it. I am 42 now and I’m really trying to get a handle of it by medication and prayer ofcourse. Why is depression or bi-polar so misunderstood by the general public. I mean if I had not been around my mother growing up, I wouldn’t even understand the mental condition. Also if I didn’t have the struggle either, I would never understand someone that suffers so…Why is it a shameful disease that the church and people do not want to discuss “depression/bi-polar”?? Having said all that, what do you do for yourself when you go through those hard times of an episode? I’m 42 and feel that I have no hope when it comes to being healed of this terrible disease and have given up on the idea of being a motivational speaker…I have a very outgoing personality and can relate to anyone. When I was active in my church I was asked to minister to the Women at our retreats. Now I’m miserable because I’m not doing what God has called me to do. Again, depression is sooo misunderstood in and out of the church…Feeling hopeless…I don’t know why I shared with you. Just needed to vent I guess and share my thoughts 🙂 Thank you for reading. 🙂
Hello I have bipolar type 1 and have been suffering with this disorder for the past 5 years. Since my illness started to go into overdrive I have had both major Manic and Depressive cycles. When I was manic I became super delusional where I thought I was linked to the CIA and that I was Jesus Christ. In the depressive states I was extremely suicidal, over 5 years I have attempted suicide 16 times. This of course affected my studies and subsequently has prolonged it.
Since my diagnosis two years ago I have been admitted to hospital four times.
While I appreciate some of the information in your article, its pretty similar to a lot of the data already floating around the web. What I would find more helpful is specifically what jobs bipolar people are typically successful at, in both fields and particular positions. I am considering changing out of a more creative field that has crazy hours and not a lot of reliability to something more steady but if I am going to make the sacrifice of something that I am passionate about for something that might keep me sane I would like to no where to start… I’m probably babbling to much but its 4am, I am in the middle of a mistake and I’m looking for a life perserver at the moment.
That’s a good point, Lex. I’ll look into that topic. I know that people with bipolar disorder are disproportionately represented in the arts, especially in poetry.
Hi, I enjoyed your article very much. I am really struggling right now. I’ve been a elementary school teacher for 16 years with several episodes that required time off (from a few weeks to several months at a time). My job is very very stressful with a lot going on at the same time. I find myself now unable to handle it and wonder how on earth I did it before? Is it possible that after all this time I can no longer do it? Is it possible I will never go back? I’m 55 years old. I should be looking forward to my final phase before retirement and instead I have no confidence to return to my job. Intellectually I know the low self-esteem and lack of confidence is part of the depression and anxiety but I wonder if somehow I’ve contributed to it by staying at work and doing a very poor job of it. I have high standards for myself and am disgusted with how I’d been taking short cuts and generally not caring about my students before I went off work a month ago. I would love to hear from other teachers about how they handle the stress of a very demanding career as well as the noise and stimulation of a busy classroom.
I’ve been a university teacher, and I found that I enjoyed the work, but I found grading and prep quite stressful much of the time. However, I think my experiences were different because so much of my own work was done on my own, and my classroom was a lot quieter. Are there other teachers out there living with bipolar disorder?
Hello. My name is Fran and I just quite my job. I had worked there for over two years. The atmosphere was terrible because of the worker right behind me. I have never heard such vulgarity and foul language in my life. I know people cuss, I do to at times. But the front office of a business is never the right place. She treated our staff terribly and didn’t have a clue to being a team player. I am usually very quiet. But that morning I lost it. I didn’t cuss but I got very loud. They said they didn’t even recognize my voice. I’ve heard that before. She was trying to get our nurses in trouble again. I take care of their supplies which she has nothing to do with, but as usual she was causing chaos. I confronted her and was interrupted by my supervisor. I was told that yes her behavior is caustic but she is an integral part of the company but my behavior would not be allowed. No one stood up for me. What else is there to say? I didn’t go back. I have been totally wiped out after this. I am on my meds but my dr is having surgery and my apt isn’t until May. I have been looking for another job but everything just overwhelms me. I have been diagnosed with bipolar for several years now. I’ve been fighting to not be swallowed by depression. I’m fighting so it won’t kill me. Thank you for this article. I am praying for direction.It really helps to see that other people struggle just like me. xxoo
Hi Fran, I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling. Workplaces can be really hard, especially when it sounds like you were being mistreated. Not all workplaces are that bad, but some are, and it’s especially important for us to be able to protect ourselves, because self-care is so important when living with bipolar disorder. I hope things are going well with your physician.
I’m sorry to hear that you’re having such a tough time, Amanda.