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Fired for being bipolar - anyone?

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Old 10-24-2006, 01:09 AM   #1
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ronniesteers HB User
Fired for being bipolar - anyone?

HAs anyone ever been fired once their employer found out they were bipolar? (Even though, of course, other reasons were given). This just happened to me which is why I never shared the information with these "understanding souls". They found out, I think, because I had a seizure at work b/c they think the medications I was taken interacted with each other. I have contacted my medical insurance company to see if the employer - or anyone - is allowed to check on my medical claims (which would show my meds and pdoc visits), or even his insurance agent. Anyone been through this and have any advice? The company is too small for me to report them to the labor board and I am looking for other avenues.

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Old 10-24-2006, 07:27 AM   #2
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tsohl HB User
Re: Fired for being bipolar - anyone?

You could try calling one of the state agencies in Florida that deals with employment issues, or you could always call the ACLU. My son decided to just let it go as he didn't want a prolonged, dragged out fight. I am a bit sorry now that I didn't encourage him to fight it, but at the time, it was more than he could handle on top of everything else...I'm sure someone else will have some good suggestions....tsohl.

Old 10-24-2006, 07:45 AM   #3
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Ruth6:11 HB UserRuth6:11 HB User
Re: Fired for being bipolar - anyone?

Ronnie, bear with me a bit ok? Please don't misunderstand my questions - I have Type I Bipolar so I am NOT questioning that you have a problem.

Can you tell me in general terms what you did in your job? If you are having seizures (which by itself is NOT a bipolar symptom) is it a danger to you or others to have you in that posistion?

There are jobs that I CANNOT DO because of my Bipolar Disorder, and I know it.
High stress jobs, jobs that require fine hand detailwork, multi-tasking, etc.

I understand that Bipolar Disorder is considered under the Disability Act, but it is a unique one in my mind.

My sister is mildly bipolar, cyclothymic, and has a masters degree, a full time job and has never sought treatment.

I have Type I bipolar and have a good grasp on my meds and what I can comfortably do. I have a low stress (yes, and low paying) job, but I do what I do quite well without triggering mood cycles.

Mudhound's wife is severely bipolar (and hopefully on SSD) and unable to work - nor should she!

So, it's not like we're missing an arm exactly, but I don't think that there is a total black & white issue here on what "disabled" means for us.

Tell me a little more about the seizures - you said they are possibly caused by the meds you are taking?
Are you situated where you can take some time off until they get your medication straightened around? That made all the difference to me in being able to work...

I understand if you or anyone in your family wants to fight this.
My only comment is that you be sure that the job is WORTH fighting for.
I suppose I'd rather see the energy used to get balanced instead and move on.

Old 10-24-2006, 05:13 PM   #4
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Re: Fired for being bipolar - anyone?

That was my first seizure at work. I only had one before at home. They are not sure what caused it but they didn't see anything on the CAT scan at the hospital. I am supposed to follow up with a neurologist at the end of the month. I have officially been diagnosed bipol and take lithium and lamictal. I was taking Wellbutrin and my dose was increased - I began having tremors, etc. My pdoc lowered the dose but I have since researched Wellbutrin and their are a bunch of risk factors that can cause seizures - three of which apply to me. I don't blame my pdoc for what happened b/c the med did work for me.

About a week before the seizure, my boss called me into his office and told me what an excellent job I had been doing (he's a Social Security Disability attorney, isn't that ironic?) that the firm was doing better than ever and that he attributed a lot of that to me. The job was not that stressful - I have had a lot more stressful jobs that I've excelled at - the only part that was stressful was handling my boss's mood when I am already a yo yo. I know he hates his bipolar clients who apply for disability, which is why I never said anything to explain why some days I just wasn't myself. I basically would brush through it and laughed at his stupid jokes to lighten the mood. Some days when I felt bad I'm sure it showed.

Basically, I am a very vengeful person and part of me wants justice and to get even, the other part just wants the peace of just being glad to be home for a while and spend time with my daughter. I had about 1 1/2 weeks vacation left. They called my family the day after the incident to see how I was (nice gesture, right - they care?) and to take the rest of the week off. Then the following day called my FIANCE, not even me, to say that they were terminating my employment. I don't want to apply for Social Security Disability. It takes too long and arguing that you can't work b/c you are bipolar is hard. It can take up to two years that's if you even win your case.

I am capable of handling a mid-stress job. It just depends on who I am working with. The law firm I was with before, the attorney was great and had such an even temperment. Guess he was just a happier man. Well, that's it. I think I should just move on too. Maybe I'll try to get a recommendation from the jerk (in writing of course) just in case I need it along the way. My family thinks I should first take time to recover (I just got out of the psych ward after I voluntarily admitted myself after a major episode - what an experience that was!) I appreciate your feedback. It helps to get other opinions, especially when I am still a little enraged and am tempting to act on my emotions instead of being rational.

Old 10-25-2006, 12:48 AM   #5
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Picali HB User
Re: Fired for being bipolar - anyone?

Hi Ronnie

I don't have any practical advice (sorry) as I'm in the Uk so the organisations and regulations are a little difficult, but it was the bit you said about being vengeful and wanting revenge that rang a bell with me.

I'm exactly the same and have spent the better part of the last three years making complaints and seeing what action I can take over various things. My little boy has autism and is often pushed to one side by doctors and other professionals here. I hate injustice and prejudice and always feel a kind of 'I must alert the world to this' whenever anything happens, so I know exactly where you're coming from on that one.

I have had to accept, however (and it's not been easy) that it's often not actually worth the effort. Ruth mentions this in her post. I've found that I really need to focus my efforts on myself and my little boy, and the deal is that after I've done everything else I need to do (ie spend time with my son, eat good meals, exercise, relax, sort the housework out, see my friends - you get the idea), if I have time left over, I'll take on these idiots. There never is time.

It is hard to walk away, but equally it's incredibly difficult to get anyone with any power to listen. All people in authority care about is money - if your company were committing fraud and evading taxes people would be interested - anything to do with milking human beings for all they're worth fails to raise an eyebrow.

The idea of karma helps me through - I've seen several instances now of professionals who've 'wronged' myself or my boy go through difficult situations now and I think, good - maybe now you'll be a bit less judgemental and a little more compassionate. It's really hard to 'give up' on something, but I feel now that I make a conscious decision to put myself and my family first and leave these idiots to wallow in their own superficiality.

Sorry if this load of waffle makes no sense!! Don't know if it will be any help, but you kind of seem to be in the situation I was a few years ago. Hope things get easier for you. x

Old 10-25-2006, 09:45 AM   #6
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ronniesteers HB User
Re: Fired for being bipolar - anyone?

Thanks Picali for sharing. I have often thought that God gave me a tough hand and that I had done something in a former life that I am paying for now. I am going to take the experience and use it to build something else nice for myself and my family. After all, it's only a job. Before I was a legal assistant, I was a journalist - truth, freedom and justice for all, you know. Tell the truth, face the truth and all of that idealistic stuff. And it is hard to do, I loved being a journalist and need some employer that understands that. I just don't want to work in the classified dept. of a newspaper typing stupid ads. That would just be too low to go. Do you have any advice about the politics of journalism/media. I don't know if I want to go back to that (you can earn a lot of money being a paralegal here in the U.S.) but I always dream of my career before the "higher ups" decided to kill it. It's because I figured out the politics of it and threatened other people's jobs that I got "killed". It's been many years and I have a beautiful daughter now. I still have all the articles I've written and tapes from TV and maybe when she's older and she is interested, I will show her who her Mom really is (and was). My fiance got a glimpse and I dragged him along on stories, made my own schedule but made, well you know - next to nothing. Can't raise a family on that. I sued the Hearst Corporation (I was an editor at Good Housekeeping magazine) for wrongful firing and it went nowhere. The lawyer took $1,000 retainer, wrote one letter and then I did what I had to do survive. I am dealing with so many emotions right now and am just not stable. I just got out of the pysch hospital and they took away all my medications, except for lithium, which they increased and now I am nothing but sick to my stomach most days and left with depression. I am exercising and trying to work through it. My pdoc is out of town until tomorrow. I have an appt. Friday but I am going to see if I can get in sooner. Also, I must have banged the left side of my head like hell b/c it still hurts. All I can do now days is know that God has a reason and I need to believe in that purpose for my life. I loved being a career person and helping others that way. Then I realized none of them were really my friends, but just confused people seeing what they could get out of me. I am so tired, Picali. I've had to fight to get anything I wanted in life (including my fiance - who wasn't even divorced yet when our relationship started). But I love my daughter and would give her the world - even if I had to steal, cheat and lie - Heh Heh! She was already depressed about my "meltdown" and I continiue to treat her like the old soul that she is. I would never lie to her. I tell her Mommy has something happening in her head that doesn't make her feel right and needs to be corrected with medication. She is so smart. When she talked to me in the hospital she knew exactly where I was and spoke to me more like a teenager then a child (she is five). God, I rambled again - the whole problem is my therapist (also my pdoc) has been away for over a week and I am going through tons of withdrawals from all the medication I have been on for over a year and a half. So how about it, Picali, would you go for the money or the dream. I've done both and b/c of my bipolar, I am emotional either way and couldn't care less. Wouldn't it be nice if I were strong enough to set up an appointment with the editor of the local newspaper here in Bradenton, FL and see if he is interestead in old garbage. I know that in either "profession" I am pretty good, if nothing else, effective and talented (not to truly toot my own horn) - I just want to know if it is worth digging up the fossils of a dinosaur to be put in a museum. If you don't write back, oh well. But don't you think it is kind of interesting to have such MPD as far as one's career goes? Take it easy and take care. Thanks for your feedback.

Old 10-25-2006, 05:53 PM   #7
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weasel HB User
Re: Fired for being bipolar - anyone?

I was fired while I was in the hospital over voicemail. when I got out and checked my messages there was a message from the day after I went in "if we dont hear from you by tonight dont bother coming back" mind you, they knew i was in the hospital....i didnt fight it because it was not worth the fight for me, but you better believe i was [email protected]#$ed

Old 11-07-2006, 11:42 PM   #8
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redfive HB User
Lightbulb Re: Fired for being bipolar - anyone?

Medical and psychiatric help should be your first concern. Your health and well-being are more important than any job. Seizures are not common to bipolar patients, so get a doctor to check you out.

I have Bipolar I and have been monitored and on meds for about 14 years. I'm a rapid cycler and difficult to medicate. I have worked since my diagnosis, full-time at high stress jobs. Pushing myself didn't help my mental state, but my strange behavior has been accepted because I work within an art-related field. I began having flashbacks in 1999 over several rapes I experienced when I was four. The same year, my home was destroyed in a flood. In 2004, I was diagnosed and treated for cancer. The mounting stresses took their toll in 2005. During that year I was fired from 2 jobs - one as graphic designer and one as production manager. I excelled at my work, but in 2005 began to behave with volitility at work. I was fired, both times for 'unrelated' reasons. After the second firing, I had a manic episode during which I left my apartment on a cold winter night at about 3 am, naked, traveling across a field to throw some things in the woods. I fell in a briar patch, resulting in some permanent scarring. To retell it, the incident is quite humorous. Anyway, I've been in three different psychiatric facilities since then and am now unable to work. I have applied for disability, which is a difficult process that can take quite a while to produce results.

I'm now living with family and seeing a psychiatrist regularly and am also in therapy. I've been encouraged to use the time I am out of work to focus on less stressful endeavors. I keep employment as a goal, with my current treatment pointing me in that direction.

Everybody needs help from time to time. Accept your limitations, but set goals you can reach. Pursue answers to your health issues and enjoy relaxing hobbies. You're going to be ok.

Old 11-09-2006, 06:07 PM   #9
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Shazzi HB User
Re: Fired for being bipolar - anyone?

Itís really sad that employers have more compassion, understanding, and even help for alcohol and drug addicts then bipolar or any kind of depression for that matter. People just assume that one can deal with working days just like any other employee. What they donít seem to understand is when you call in sick a lot it doesnít mean that youíd rather spend your day in the park listening to the birds chirp. Itís a physical battle to even get out of bed or even get through the day at times. You canít plan on a mood two weeks in advance to take the day off. When it happens it happens weather it be before during or after your shift. I believe there should be more policies for depression. Not really special treatment but just a little more understanding and not to just jump to conclusions because they donít understand what the depressed goes through.

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