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Old 08-03-2005, 06:36 PM   #1
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Good Grief! HB User
Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

Okay folks, I have been here for a short time. I have made a few friends and I'm sure alienated a few potential friends. I suppose in a community like this gain and loss is to be expected. But the gains or losses do not change the fact that I am here to jump start my life. To that end I have challenged myself to MOTIVATE myself. I am in the second week of my motivational training. And I am happy to say that, with help from this board, I have not let myself down. This week have two more items to my list.

1. Regulate my sleep schedule. Often i get my days and nights turned around. Definatly NOT condusive to a happy life.

2. I must schedule my bills and payment responsibilities. I am always 'forgetting' (AVOIDING) taking care of my accounts. I have no reason WHY I do this, but it causes BIG problems. So NO MORE.

Plus the items from last weeks list that require continued effort.

1. Keep kitchen cleaned.
2. Continue to unpack, til done.
3. No napping. This has gotten easier!!
4. Be consistant with taking my med, ON TIME.

In order to BUILD a new LIFE, I must look to employment. In my work history I have had and lost over 126 jobs, this according to SS office that was helping with paperwork for disability. I have decided that I do not want to go on disability. I do need to find a career that I can do being BP. I want to WORK, to be PRODUCTIVE, to feel as though I am CONTRIBUTING to my life, i want the SECURITY of knowing that I can TAKE CARE OF MYSELF.

Each new job I took I considered 'training', I knew i would not last so I got every bit of free training and hands on experience I could. Then bluffed my resume for the next position. Not too much bluffing, just enough to keep my on my toes. So I advanced even though i was advancing through so many different companies. It has been three years since my last job. I had worked on DoD contracts as a Program Manager/Scheduler. I no longer have the skills or desire to re-enter that field. So all my training, is for nothing.

I would like to 'break' into graphic design, maybe advertising. I have been teaching myself photography over the last two years. But more than just photos, i have been learning how to use editing software. I have even sold some of my work. The fact that I have never before considered making a career of my artistic skills I have NO idea where to start. i need to learn the ropes, learn what graphic art options are out there, which one best fits me and my ablities.

Then there is the fear that I am deluding myself into thinking i am ABLE to hold a job for more than 6 weeks. Can I work? Or am I trying to fit a square peg into a round hole?

Anyone else out there, who has come up agianst this problem, who has overcome the negative thoughts, overcome a BAD work history, who is employed, is BP and feels productive?

 
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Old 08-03-2005, 08:48 PM   #2
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polarized13 HB User
Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

Hi There,

What a great question. I have just been asking myself the same thing. I have lost so many jobs due to bipolar ( I didn't know that's what I had at the time ~ only that I felt overwhelmed, unable to concentrate, upset or angry to the point where I lost it ) I would truly love to be able to work again, it's been over a year since I have tried ~ I'm lucky because my husband supports me, and I have kids, so being at home is nice. But we could really use some extra money, and I used to love to work before....

Just out of curiosity, what did the ss disability folks think about the whole thing? 126 jobs is a lot!!! I haven't even come close to that kind of record. I understand and commend you for wanting to try and work, and not drain the system unncessarily.

The thing is for me anyway, if I am able to keep myself somewhat stress-free, and function at my own pace, I am usually ok. But during times where I have dead-lines, and things like that, I just kind of lose my composure, which usually ends in some kind of episode. Getting manic is bad and getting depressed is worse, but either one is a problem. I have been able to keep myself pretty much stable for the past several months, but at the same time, I am being taken care of, I don't have to work, or worry about bills or money, or annoying co-workers, or traffic or any of that stuff. And I'm really afraid if I tried to go back to dealing with all of that, I would just lose it again, and have to start all over.

I have had a psychiatrist tell me that I can't, and or shouldn't try and work anymore, but then I think he figured I didn't have to, so why would I. But I feel bad putting all of the pressure on my husband, and I also feel bad asking the government for help. We are already pretty comfortable compared to most, but then you always have to worry about retirement, and college funds for the kids, and that kind of saving isn't happeing right now at all.

I wish I had the answer for you, but thanks for the thread, I'm interested to see what others think. BTW, welcome, I have been gone for a while, so I'm not sure I've seen you around, this board has been so helpful to me.

take it easy, and good luck to you!

~~heather~~

 
Old 08-04-2005, 06:15 AM   #3
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michele1975 HB User
Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

I'm also getting ready to start looking for a job. I've been unemployed for about 21 months now. I've been a stay at home mom but we need the money. I'm really nervous about getting a job, I'm afraid I'll quit. The longest I've ever held a job was 15 months and I've had my share of jobs.
Anyway, I wish you the best of luck and I hope everything works out for you
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Old 08-04-2005, 11:12 AM   #4
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Ruth6:11 HB UserRuth6:11 HB User
Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

I've been luckier than most. I've worked steadily (mostly in customer service positions) for almost 30 yrs.
EXCEPT that I took a promotion (bad mistake because it increased my stress) and then my Dad died. I lasted another year at that position and then I self-destructed and turned in my resignation.
I didn't work for 2 full years.
Now I'm working part-time at a (for the most part!) low stress job that I enjoy... But I would imagine that when my mom dies I'll be a ball of depressive misery and will need ALL of you more than you can even imagine right now. (She's 79 and in good health by the way!)
I'm just glad you're all here - with as many opinions on a subject as possible!

Last edited by Ruth6:11; 08-04-2005 at 11:13 AM.

 
Old 08-04-2005, 09:38 PM   #5
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jephiner HB User
Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

This subject makes me sad. I guess because I am realizing for the first time what an effect this disease has had on my potential. I was very bright in school before this disease got a good hold and I quit..then proceeded to quit every other thing in my life. Everything came so very easy to me - I was always getting the highest scores even in college - when I had been a high school drop out. I always thought I would some day get "there" wherever "there" is ... but now I am worried I will not ever have a "good" career - let alone a "great" one. I know there is nothing new about my story - Bipolars are famous for being clever and yet unable to fulfil their potential.....I guess I am just not over that part of my disease yet.
Jen
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Old 08-05-2005, 04:49 AM   #6
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madmac HB User
Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

Wow! sounds like me! Lots of small, short jobs in the past. Best luck I had was running my own businesses, though most destroyed by me when depression started, though some survived a couple of cycles when younger. Went into teaching, ESL, literacy, numeracy etc...that was ok because the courses are generally short (week, month etc) and one can walk away at the end, take a break). Better still are temp agencies, work when you can. Some weeks i work 3-4 days, some weeks none. It's so much more flexible, and the day ends at 3 or 4, with no prep work for the next day, great if it was hard just to be there for 8 hours.
Problem is the poor pay and lack of promotion, but there are avenues for getting up the ladder- get tickets- 1st aid, licences- think short term courses, and these add to your hourly pay and better job postings. I'm off to do (renew) my 1st aid ticket on Sat/sun- will add $3/hr to my pay for many postings, and get me more that I want, and easy work ("put the 1st aid guy on site clean up, can't have him shattered moving plywood all day- what happenes when someone gets hurt and we need him?"). Look up the thread on temp agencies for more.
Good thread!

 
Old 08-05-2005, 05:50 AM   #7
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kittyy HB User
Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

Hello , Yes sounds familar , I am not sure I have had 126 jobs but I can say I def. have not been able to keep a job longer than a year (I am 23 ) .I am suppost to start a job at the end of this month we will see how it goes I am on meds so I will have to see if there is a difference on them w/ a job than w/ out.

 
Old 08-05-2005, 06:15 AM   #8
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dws1119 HB User
Exclamation Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

Where to begin???

First I empathize with all of you. I could write an entire book about this subject but I will hit the highlights.
I have a nursing degree. But due to illness have not practiced since 1995. I spent the better part of 2000 and 2001 locked up on a psych unit. I was discharged to our local MH authority, living in a group home for a year.
While there I became involved with Vocational Rehab. I started working through them at the day treatment facility as kitchen/janitorial supervisior. We fixed hot meals for those attending day treatment 3 days a week. I did this for 2 years. I then applied with the same MH authority to work as a MH tech in their group homes. I am still there. I have taken courses to recieve the necessary CEUs to reinstate my nursing license. My company paid for the reinstatement fee. I will be working for them as a RN once I recieve my license. I am also enrolled in the local college to get my degree in psychology. That way I can work as a counselor.
Most of us who suffer from Bipolar are extremely intelligent. Which is a blessin and a curse. Not everyone is able to function in the field we are trained for. I am on disability for now. I have only me so it is essential tohave some income. I continue to recieve this even though I also work. I do not live off the government as a previous poster stated. I draw money off what I have paid in over the years.
For those wanting to work, have your psych MD to refer you to voc rehab. They are there to assist you on returning to work. They many programs in place to make this possible.
One more note: Prior to my hospitalization, I went from earning $50,000/year to living in a homeless shelter. Being able to work just feel better about myself has been helpful on my road to recovery.
Diane

 
Old 08-05-2005, 01:15 PM   #9
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polarized13 HB User
Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

Hi All,

I was so interested in this thread because it seems to affect all of us to one degree or another. After I read the last post I just wanted to clarify, because I think I may have been misunderstood. I realize that I have paid money into disability insurance for years, and that is the money I would be recieving back if I decided to file a disability claim, and it was accepted.

I also believe that all of the money that each of us puts in goes into one place for of all of us to draw from if and when it's necessary. For example, if everyone had to draw back out what they had put in, it would strain the system as a whole. Most people don't have to worry about that, because they are healthy.

So what I meant was, that if I can keep from having to take from that source, so that there is more for others who are more needy ~( my husband makes a good living as a manager of a successful company) I would feel better, even though I understand I have paid into it during the years that I was working. Maybe I shouldn't feel that way, it's just that I know there are so many who are worse off than I am, and I don't want to feel that I am taking advantage.

Does that make any sense?

I just wanted to clarify. I don't have any problem what-so-ever with anyone using their disability beneifits when they need to, that's what they're there for.

Am I incorrect about how this system works? If I am, please tell me.

thanks,

~~heather~~

 
Old 08-07-2005, 06:29 AM   #10
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kimber lee HB User
Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

hello, you are trying to take on too much, we all know our capabilities, but unfortunatly our capibilities are on our time(bipolar time, dont expect to hold down a full time job, get a partime job, thats what i did and it turned out great after awhile , i am an artist and an animal trainer, i eventually went on my own freelancing for other people as a contracted employee doing my art and training animals, i dont make a ton of money like i used to but i have a sense of self worth now and i feel appreciated, dont let your self down by going all the way, gung ho in a job interview and getting the job then not bieng able to fulfill the recomended requirements, maybe yiu used to be a lot more able to do so, but maybe not so much anymore so you need to try adifferent approach. I too had a 1,000 jobs in one year and lost every oone of them by being late, not achieveing the deadlines on time like i said i was capable of doing, bieng let go is humiliating after the 6 or 7 job lost . I taalked a good story of myself but that was the kim before the bip[olar came along, i cant talk the same story of me to prospective employers because i dont have the thinking or the focuse i had before, i feel retartded, but i have the knowledge, oh its soooo delayed. people dont seem to have the patience for what looks to them like we are dilly dallying around when we are not we are just trying to get the **** together on our time, andas we well enough know they are watching us saying oh my god what is she doing or whay does it take so long for her to do that. well good luck anyway bye bye kimber lee

Last edited by kimber lee; 08-07-2005 at 06:34 AM.

 
Old 08-07-2005, 07:57 AM   #11
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Ruth6:11 HB UserRuth6:11 HB User
Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

I know what you mean. When I was off work for two years I even started the process for SSD - but there was some part of me that felt like I could do SOMEthing.
Turns out that was right this time.
But I do know that if I'm ever just totally unable to make it in the work world because I can't handle it due to the Bipolar and my low ability to handle stress - well, I'll be first in line.

Last edited by Ruth6:11; 08-07-2005 at 07:58 AM.

 
Old 08-08-2005, 11:59 AM   #12
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polarized13 HB User
Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

Hi again,

I appreciated hearing from you kimber lee, and Ruth ~ I guess this is a complex issue, huh? I mean some days I really feel great, and I can take on anything, and others I just cant hardly seem to accomplish anything. I never know what to expect, so it makes it hard to commit to anything, really.

I love to go and help out in my daughter's classroom, but I hesistate to volunteer to do too much, because sometimes just being around all of those kids made me feel so anxious. I ended up volunteering to be a chaperone for my daughter's field trip to the Zoo the day before because I felt like I would be able to handle it, and it ended up being fine.

Maybe I could find something like data entry work from home or something like that where I could work at my own pace. I'm just afraid I would have trouble concentrating, and I would make a bunch of mistakes, and I would have to face more failure.

I used to be really successful, and happy and outgoing, and now I'm just trying to get through the day, and have my kids lives be as normal as possible. I feel like I can barely keep up doing housework most of the time, not to mention another job on top of it.

Does anyone else have anything to add to this thread?

take it easy everyone,

~~heather~~

 
Old 08-09-2005, 04:42 AM   #13
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kimber lee HB User
Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

HI heather, LAUGH AT YOUR MISTAKES! dont take it too seroiusly to where everyday is yucky. And also there are lots of thing you can do at home off the computer, if you are interested let me know an i will list what has helped me, dont worry about failing of course your going to fail we all do but thats how we learn "from our mistakes" I will always make a big joke out of it becasue, accually it is kinda funny when you think about it. (well i have a weird sense of humor)but anyway good luck, kimber lee

 
Old 08-09-2005, 05:57 AM   #14
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princess2poles HB User
Re: Bipolar Employment. Is this really an oxymoron?

hi all. i haven't been here very long, but i have been in this world since i was 8yrs old. my mom is bipolar and up until recently i was trying to deny that it had hit me. i think i knew it was time to seek help when i had reoccuring thoughts of death. went to the dr's and they refered me to a pschy. but back on the subject at hand...
working. up until last august i was a model employee with home depot. then my then-husband said that i should go for a supervisor position, and that is where it all came crashing downhill. my reviews started sucking(pardon the term..but that explains it perfectly). i received two discipline notices within 3 weeks of each other for being unorganized...something that all of my friends and old coworkers would tell you that is not in my nature. then the cherry on the top of this miserable icecream sunday is when they put me on a 60 day improve or remove.
so... i wonder if all of this downhill slide is because of the bipolar surfacing.

sorry to ramble.... but i guess it comes with the territory.

Jen

 
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