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Bipolar Occupations


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I've been reading Kay Jamison's books and it brought this question to mind: do people with bipolar disorder gravitate to certain careers? I've been trying to find out if there are any statistics on this but so far I haven't been successful.

So: what do you do for a living?

I'll go first- I'm a middle school art teacher. It is a job that seems to work well with being bipolar. First, because it is a creative job. Second, because I never have to concentrate on one thing for more that 50 minutes at a time. And third, because the adolescents I teach are so mercurial, my mood swings usually seem normal to them.

I used to have an office job. It sucked. Bipolar people should NEVER be forced to sit in a cubicle 8 hours a day.

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I work with special needs kids, all sorts, but mainly autism, ADHD, and behavior disorders.  It is my niche.  We all have incredibly short attention spans and I have to use my brain constantly so I'm never bored.  I'm always moving, usually running.  The kids and parents of the kids I work with now know I have bipolar, and its sort of a running joke yet the parents are sensitive and flexible.

I also work in a group home for disabled adults on the weekends with aggressive guys.  Love that.

I also teach ballet.  Love that, too.

I was a waitress for 6 years.  That was fun.  Lots of moving.  Everyday was different.  I think as long as every day is different and I don't have the opportunity to get bored.  If I get bored, I quit and move on to a new challenge.

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I'm looking for a job right now, actually. I'm hoping to find something in the school system--behavior specialist, inclusion specialist, preschool special ed, etc. I've worked with kids with special needs (primarily autism and developmentally delayed) for several years. Like others have said, it's a great job for me because I'm up and moving. Even when I'm really depressed, the kids are distracting, and I don't have to focus on reading or something like that. Also, academic calendars are great for me because of the days off. I don't think I could handle working 50 weeks per year. I'd rather make less money and keep more of the remnants of my sanity. This past year, I completed the internship for my MA degree and was an intern therapist. Overall, that was good too, but I know I can't do it full-time, 50-60 hrs per week in a public agency.

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Prior to going on disabilty with my company, I worked Insurance collections for a large bank. In essence, my job dealt with all the disabilty, deceased, and total loss (vehicles) accounts for the bank. Let me tell you, it was one cheerful job.

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I've always worked in an office. ;)   Admin...and gradually attempted the graphic design/marketing education, but last year switched to anthropology. Of all things, I'm working as a bookkeeper for a real esate/property managment company, which is hilarious, as I have no education to back it up, but I'm kicking butt at the job.  I switched majors not just because I fell in love with anthro, but because I've discovered my creativity is a hit and miss. When I have it, things are awesome, I can whip up great web sites, wonderful paintings, portraits and now awesome digital scrapbook designs. BUT...there's no gaurantee and currently my small business...it's a struggle to squeeze out my monthly designs.

Now, anthro, as much as I love it, is tough, and I will have to do a lot of schooling and I worry I'll never retain all of this, but it is a nice change from what I'm used to. Until then, I'll be working in an office setting, and I don't mind that. I've discovered I need some form of structure and this will do for now.

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I've waited tables and tended bar for years. I agree, the moving around and the need to fully occupy your mind with constantly prioritizing your tasks is one of the best ways to get thru a day.  I was really good at it.  A bartender of 25 yrs told me that I was the best he'd ever seen and I believe him, it was constantly noted.

Tending bar, in the beginning, was first important b/c people give more respect to bartenders automatically, they will try to push around the waitress (I never allow it now, I'm a total "broad").  think about it, when someone tells you they are a waiter, you think, eh.  If they say they are a bartender, you automatically think, cool!

I did office work for a yr and ended up in one of the worst depressive states ever.  It was dull, windowless and I didn't get the constant instant gratification of tips.  I also felt that if I was in an office all day, I wouldn't want to sit and write at night (or the morning). 

Now, I'm disabled.  The net keeps me going and I can work on my writing and creative projects at any time, leaving hours open for dealing with mania (and the coma induced by Seroquel) and depression, when it hurts so bad to stand up, let alone try to do a thing.

I'd love to get my ass in gear enough while unemployed to get all my projects going so I can live off them, instead of keeping a full-time job as well, when I do stabilize.  But sometimes, it's so fucking hard, you know?

BTW, I love the internet.  It is simply the best way to deal with bipolar or plain depression.  You can stay connected with people by emailing them at 3am or talking on message boards or just surfing around.  It's too hard to pick up the phone when you need a connection.  Plus, you need to have something to *say*.  With an email, I can just say, "hey!  check out this funny site!"  and get back, "damn that was funny!  Thanks!  and how are you"  and it's enough.

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I'm a lawyer.  Back when I was mostly depressed, I had a dead-end in house counsel job in a depressed agency.  The law was interesting and convoluted so I kept myself entertained that way, but it was a loser of a job.

Now I'm in litigation, still working for the gubinnment, and happy as a pig in shit most of the time.  It's been a bitch this past few months making med changes and only working part time (and sleeping the rest), but I think I'm coming out of it now.  I had saved up lots of sick leave, and my boss has been wonderful about letting me manage my schedule.  I'm blessed to have kept my BP stable for years, and I really believe I'll get there again.

Previous jobs: wilderness park ranger, farm hand, secretary, bus driver, to name the highlights.  Park ranger was the best and the worst: living in the most spectacular places in the world and getting paid to wander the backcountry all day was great, but getting depressed there and drinking myself through the nights wasn't. 

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Former lawyer.  No severe episodes between clerkship and career change, except when on maternity leave.  To get away, decided to set up shop as a portrait & wedding photographer.  It worked. I freaked.  Still trying to redefine/limit the scope so I can put it back together.

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Prep cook. I get to work by myself most of the time. Waited tables and bartended for ten years, but the anxiety, depression, and mood swings were unbearable, trying to keep my shit together enough to do a good job in the face of strangers. The bread doesn't mind if I cry or freak out! Kneading dough is very theraputic. Gotta be careful with the sharp knives on bad days, though.

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I am currently a college student studying both Theatre and English...

Now that I am home for the summer and in need of some extra cash, I am working as an intern at a local government establishment... the classic desk job.  Sometimes it gets hard to take and I sometimes have to take a day off, or even leave for the afternoon.... it gets really hard to take sometimes....

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I'm currently a student but I want to be a nurse. Sounds like a fatal mistake, huh? At least if become a psychiatric nurse I will KNOW what it's like to be a patient in the psych ward.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm a psych nurse, working in an acute adult in-pt unit. Supposedly you've gotta be crazy to work in psychiatry, so I guess I fit right in!!! I don't know about being a patient in a ward, but I know enough about being unwell, so I do have a distinct advantage in my work. And I love it - most of the time  ;)   :)

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AnotherBP- can you come to my house and crunch my bones? Plleeeaassee?!!! MY back and neck hurt.  LOL! THe last incompetent chiropractor I had screwed up my lower back so bad ,I have been on daily pain meds.

Anyway! I am a teacher. I was working with an unusual population- mostly ADHD/ ADD , learning disabled, severly emotionally disturbed(sound familiar?!), and even gifted and autistic. That was for the past 2 years. My workplace was such a crazy environment, Nobody noticed how crazy I was!  ;)

Now, I am no longer working there because I am going to work for the county(assuming a get a job- still don't have one and school starts in 2 weeks :) )- alot more money, better, cheaper benegits. I am dertified to teach 5 subjects, so I have applied for 44 jobs. Still waiting for someone to give me a job. Although I am scared shitless about going back to work. The last time I was at "work" I had a nervous breakdown and was almost hospitalized. Haven't worked since then, unless you count doing report cards. Wish me luck. Sorry this short answer survey turned out to be so long!Mel1

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I'm an OB/GYN nurse, working as a case manager, in an insurance office. HATE IT, but too old and mean to work in a hosptla or directly with patients.  I am quitting that job about Sept, 1 to move to the beach in Fla, and I thik this is probably my last nursing job.  Much too toxic, too stressful, too everything for a BP that cycles like I do.  So next job will be, hopefully, selling tee shirts or ice cream on the beach in Daytona.

I love nursing, I will miss it dearly, but I can't do it any more, and it breaks my heart. I meant to be a nurse tiill I died--its allI ever wanted to do, help women have healthy babies--but this fucking brain of mine had other ideas and shot that idea straight to hell. I have no memory, short or long, and I just am not physically able to do the job, which make me cry evey time I think of it.  But I guess its time to quit or retire or what ever you want to call it.  Damn, I hate being fucking crazy--I hate it so bad--I never asked for this, I just wanted to live my life and do the work I loved and I can't and it makes me so angry.  Its not fair --no way is it fair, and there's nothing I can do about it.

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Office Manager. Very small office, mostly managing the day to day running and making sure the lawyers and arbitrators/mediators we deal with don't get out of hand. Lots of small stuff to do.

It's alright for me, except my boss is crazy (ecven crazier than me I think), lol.

Very soon I will be going back to school and getting my Culinary Arts and Culinary Management diplomas and opening up my own catering business. I think this will be much more suited to me with all my issues (bp included) in the long run.

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I'm a dog groomer at Petco.  It's really nice, I love my job...I get to work with animals, and seeing the faces of owners picking up their dogs when they are done is quite satisfying.

I'm also going to school part-time at a community college near here...taking off a few semesters from being a full-time student at DePaul University in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood (wow that was a lot of capitals).

rachael

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I am an art student at the moment, majoring in Jewelry/Metals & minoring in Printmaking with plans to either teach at a Univerisity or get into Object Conservation.  Originlly, I went back for Graphic Design but Metals was far more interesting. 

I used to be a social worker.  It sucked.  I worked with Senior Citizens, who have an unfortunate & depressing tendency to die.  Between the emotional toll, the shitty pay & the insanity of agency beauracracy, it's a wonder I didn't totally self-destruct.

Art's by far the besst field for me- lots of challenges & different things to think about, when I start getting too far out I can switch to busywork to keep moving without having to worry about focus.  I just worry that I'd have problems being a full time studio artist because of the lack of structure. 

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Artist, writer, various projects fill up my days and nights.  Used to work part-time as a legal assistant. Can't do the job thing anymore, it practically killed me--trying to please my parents who were attorneys and wanted me to copy them.

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Well... started studying Social Work, but quit that because I hated Sociology... this is still one of my many regrets in life.  Then switched to Psychology and Law.  Hated Law, continued with Psych.  Picked up 2 degrees in Psychology and Philosophy, but couldn't afford to go all the way to formal qualification as a Psychologist.  Spent a few years teaching undergrad Philosophy, in between periods living in the UK and working as a temp secretary (*never again*, although the one advantage of all that is that I feel particularly respectful of secretaries and admin staff now).  Then while working full time completed a Masters degree in education policy and planning.  Now working as a Planner in a large university faculty.  Pluses:  everyone else there is terrified of numbers, planning and government policy (which I have to simplify and explain to them), so the job has pretty much been designed around me and I get a hell of a lot of leeway in terms of my little mentally interesting "holidays".  Minuses - they think I'm indispensible, I'm an insane perfectionist and hate having anyone touch "my" data or planning work.

Reality:  I can't believe I'm working in such a shitty field. 

Dream:  To go live in a quiet forest somewhere with an absolute minimum of people and paint and indulge my creative side to my heart's content.

Reality Check #2:  I need money.  Because I'm crazy and have to be on meds.

argh

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I used to have an office job. It sucked. Bipolar people should NEVER be forced to sit in a cubicle 8 hours a day.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Professional singer (rock bands, top 40 bands, jazz, seedy lounge singer, casino singer, corporate parties singer, too many bands to count).

Always had to have a day job on top of singing, unless I was on the road full-time.

Usually work in offices. I so fucking agree with you, Artchick. Hey, thanks for starting this thread. I'm getting some ideas of other ways to keep the cash flow going.

Will be teaching knitting classes in the fall. Oh yeah, I'm 2 classes away from a degree in CIS (Computer Info Systems)

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I've been a secretary for 27 years.  I know they have new names for the job, but I don't see any reason to change the title since the job is no more and no less diversified than it's always been.  I even get coffee for my bosses and guests.

Over the years I have also:  Written a book (unpublished - correctly), gone to night school and gotten a Bachelors in Psych, worked in a book store, been in the Army National Guard (gone through Officer's Candidate School), read a library, and done enough crafts to start my own how-to show.

The thing about being a secretary, it's a job I can always do.  Sometimes very well, sometimes barely adequate.  But as a least common denominator, I can always do it.

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I am a technology specialist concentrating in the installation, configuration, and training of staff on new networking equipment. My BA is in economics and I've done post-graduate work in psych and anthropology. I've also been to the nut house 4 times.

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BS in neuroscience, then research assistant for two years. Now med school, with grad school inbetween.  Can you call that an occupation?  I don't make any money doing it.  In fact I'm losing money as I'm typing this.    ;)

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IT.  Specifically, programming.  It allows me to be creative and somewhat insular.  What with the severe anxiety in addition to BPII, that is kind of a requirement.  Before that, several periods of agoraphobia and crappy, meaningless jobs.

And working in a cubicle sucks ass.  Too many people, too much noise.  Headphones are a necessity.

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