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Going back to work...


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I'm in a fucking chatty mood today but since this is on my mind here goes - this place is a wealth of information and full of insight and experiences so I'm taking advantage of it wub.gif

Okay, so I'm scared to go back to work. I'm in my last semester of school and I am burnt out so I don't see myself going further in my education. Once I have my degree I can ask for more money when I job hunt though so that part will pay off.

My experiences at jobs are filled with ups and downs. The joys at being able to work and be productive comingled with the terror of going to work while in a manic state and having people think "gee she's super funny today" or "god damn she's being snippy" or avoiding work because I need a mental health day (which is acceptable in my field since we DO need to take them and are expected not to abuse them) because the depression has me down.

There wasn't a day though that I didn't worry about being "found out" about having bipolar or the feeling that I was being dishonest somehow in not disclosing it. Like - the many times I wanted to tell a coworker that yes I'm bipolar and yes I can be super funny but the crash is a bitch... and to ask for support. I'm leery of it.

I have never ever been able to cope with the paranoia of wondering if coworkers are talking about me - and if they are, big fucking deal any way (right?) I have only been able to identify and even share with my pdoc and tdoc my paranoia as there's shame attached to it.

Then there are the days where I am full blown manic and think that my supervisor is doing a shit job (she was not a good supervisor) and that my coworkers were idiots and my thinking tells me that I can be program director... and it's a fucking bitch to be aware of all of these things (like I have a bipolar hall monitor in my head that tells me I'm flying too close to the sun with my behavior and sounds the alarms) and think the thoughts anyway and barely be able to contain my mouth and my behaviors...

Then there's the days when I get in my car after my shift and just think to myself "where's the nearest freeway over pass so I can just drive off of it because I did a horrid job today"

And I won't even go there with the sleepiness and hangoverish feelings from med changes or lack of sleep

My self esteem took quite the battering, my self confidence is low but I'd like to get off disability and work full time. My hubby thinks I should only work part time because he remembers all too well the mental states my jobs have taken me to in the past and it makes him nervous.

It doesn't help at all that I hate talking about these issues when I'm IN them or while it's happening because I'm so embarrassed or ashamed..

Which is why I'd like to know how you guys handle going to work every day - or how working with bipolar issues has affected you...

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What type of work do you do? I have to admit, I have not handled full time work very well myself. Are you in the US? The ADA can be helpful, and you don't need your doctor to tell them precisely what is wrong with you, just that you are covered by it. " Reasonable Accommodations" might be working from home a day a week (if that is possible), having you own office, getting a little more time off, stuff of that nature. Remember, you can also use the FMLA if your company is larger than 50 people, and you need a week or two off.

But the FMLA does not require that you be paid during that time.

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I work in the MH field, and I've been out (or not) about it, varying from job to job and the culture thereof. I have had jobs where I would have been VERY MUCH discriminated against for being out, I think, and in one case I totally WAS fired, in response to outing myself at work (in combinations with other factors).

At my current job, my supervisor knows I am BP, as do some of my coworkers (well, probably all of them, by now) but I don't make a big thing of it. It helps that a lot of the counselors there have had either MH or SA issues, or both. So, there's a pretty nice atmosphere there, and no one really makes too much of it. I really like being able to let my supervisor know if I'm having a bad time, as well as what I plan to do about it (take a day off, go see the doc, be extra mindful of my therapy that day, get her feedback on stuff) and whatnot. I mean, I REALLY love it. I'd say this is probably the happiest balance I've found, at first I was all "out and proud" and shit, then have been in the closet at times, completely, and now it's kinda like, yeah, I'm BP, so what, it's mentioned if it's needed.

So, yeah. I have found the lack of WORRY about it to be the most refreshing. And lack of discrimination, it's totally not there. My supervisor actually KNEW I was BP before I was hired there (my stepf. works in a different dept,. is friends with her, and talked a lot about my manic crash of 08) and I still got hired, which I thought was pretty cool. I mean, it's really easy to not get hired for something like that in that situation the discrimination would be HARD to prove.

I don't know if that answers your question AT ALL. Sorry.

Part time work can be a good way to start things off, if you can do it. I went from off on disability to full time, though, and it was hard at first but it turned out fine.

Anna

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I told my job of seven years when I was diagnosed with BP because they helped me get in to see a pdoc (I worked in HR and had a direct pipeline into the health insurance company). The more time went by, the more angry they became of me that I didn't instantly get better. It got so bad that I went to work two days after I started seroquel and was so drugged up (I didn't do well on seroquel) and couldn't type a single thing. I went into my Sr. VP's office and asked him to see how I looked. I told him this was how I looked when I said I needed an FMLA day off. I told him I was done dealing with the crap in the department and that I needed to find another job.

A week later I went out on FMLA and never went back. The three jobs I had after that each lasted less than three months. None of them knew specifically that I had BP, but each knew something was wrong because of my erratic and often extremely paranoid behavior.

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your position may be alot different because you have had much more education than i. that said; i am and have been batshit crazy, self destructive to the point of self destruction (obviously not enough effort expended in that), asocial, addicted to narcotics, aggressive to the point of knocking the fuck out of coworkers, on and on infinitum.

but because of some fucking thing or another in my emotional make up, never lost sight of the brass ring, never stopped working up the ladder to the highest paid, most responsible work in my trade. don't lose sight of the fact that a broke moonbat is gonna hurt far, far more than a paying whack-job.

Temp you are making your shifts and who the fuck doesn't talk about coworkers? in my experience there have been just a handful of people in the factories, mills, shipyards, machine shops, fab. shops that didn't shoot shit about coworkers--- it don't mean a thing chicken wing! try to find some kind of radio dial to twist and tune the frequency off the self! those shitheads will chatter about anyone and if you stay cool and ignore it will be the next Jane-not you.

i hate that shit about work but ya gotta be able to work your wits and tune it da fuck out!

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I'm a substance abuse counselor - I'm in recovery so that's acceptable ... to be an 'ex-drug addict' but for some reason it's not okay, or AS okay to have MI on top of being an addict. However, it's "more" acceptable to have depression and anxiety and ADD...but it's not acceptable to have bipolar, schitzophrenia or personality disorder.. I don't know why it is but I'm aware of that's how it is.

I have people in AA that are psychiatrists, nurses, therapists, substance abuse counselors and mental health workers...and they all see the same thing - that alcoholics think less of addicts and addicts think less of mentally ill people - it's like an ego protecting or some kind of bizarre hierarchy thing.

If it weren't for my pervasive paranoia and over sensitivity I would say fuck it and just admit to having bipolar. But then I'd worry about what people thought about ME and my MI instead of focusing on the patients and my job.

It's all fear based and it's all just like an addict it's all "me me me"....just working past it so I'm not crippled by my own thinking is the hardest part.

If I could just shut my head off it would be nice

When I was in school and doing my internships I heard a lot of discussion about how much self disclosure to do with the patients...but nobody ever talked about being MI and working in the treatment/mental health field. But..they DO talk about taking mental health days because we would need it from time to time and it was considered part of taking care of ourselves.

I suppose I should be grateful I'm not in a corner somewhere sucking my thumb after receiving 28 ECT tx against my will and snockered on thorazine staring out a barred window on some cuckoos nest wongo ward somewhere in my twisted wrinkled state issued crazy jammies

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am a midwife and I have been struggling with work lately. I have been having major medication changes and have needed time off. I have told people at work that I am bipolar and most of the staff have been great, but some staff are not so great. Health professionals are notoriously bad at dealing with mental illness. One has even written a letter to the big boss saying that I should not be working due to my bipolar and that I am a danger to patients!

At the moment I am really struggling with drowsiness. A few hours after I take my meds I am so tired that all I want to do is sleep. I am going to talk to my doc about changing my dosage times as I need to be able to keep working. I wish I was in a job where I didnt have to think so much and be in the public eye, but that is not possible. I long for a little office hidden away somewhere, where I dont have to interact with people so much.

Carolyn xx

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Hi. I'm not out at work but a couple people know. All were told when I was hypo. Just couldn't keep my mouth shut. wink.gif One was my former boss because I wanted to explain why I was so erratically wound up and taking a leave. He was cool about it, kept the info to himself. The other two are coworkers who also are cool about it. My current boss does not know even though I took another leave of absence while working for him. Maybe he'd be okay, but I'm not sure about that. A lot of managers would report it at least to their bosses. The culture is not hostile to MI but it's not accepting, either. It has an active grapevine and I don't want to make the news.

In addition to the leaves, I have an ADA accommodation to telecommute in the mornings. Meds have just been a real challenge. I got over my fears and talked to the accommodation people. The info is supposed to be confidential. As with the leave, my boss just knows that there is a medical reason and it's been approved by EEOP.

I think being out or not depends on where you work. If the culture is not open to MI or if there are many people who are hostile, it's not a good idea to share the info. Conversely, if the place is accepting of MI, then it's probably a very good move.

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To be really honest with you, I never officially asked my pdoc for permission to change the time in which I took my meds. I just did it, and when it worked, mentioned the change at the next appointment. Now, this may not be for you, but come on, you are still taking your meds, you are only changing the time. Why would they object?

I personally found my ideal time is 7 pm. That gives me enough time for the meds to work and for me to get tired, but still long enough for them to work their way out of my system by morning. YMMV.

As for work, you are going to find people who won't want to work with you because you have BP in every job in the universe. So just chalk the old cow up to stupidity and ignorance and intolerance.

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I have worked full time in the past. My latest attempt at full time work drove me to my latest stay at the nuthouse. I function much better part time tbh. That is what I aim to do later this year, if my CV is not shot to shit with my relapses and the gaps they create.

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I'm not in the mental health or any type of health field. I would absolutely work part-time if it was available, but unfortuntately it's either all or nothing in my industry.

I was let go from one of the best jobs I ever had as a direct result of people finding out about my MI. I should have sued under the ADA, was told I had a good case, but instead I went into yet another episode of major depression so didn't do anything, or work at all, for two years.

Having had that experience, I will never, ever tell anyone at work, even friends that I see outside of work, that I have any type of MI. If I feel the need to take a medical leave of absence under the FMLA, you can bet I will have my family doctor write the letter, since my pdoc's office is clearly identified as a mental health office. That way if one of the HR folks can't keep their mouth shut, no one will know anything except I need to have time off for "medical reasons". My GP and my pdoc know of each other so I don't see that arranging it would be a problem.

I also feel less than truthful at times, but every time I think about telling someone at work "in confidence", I think about getting fired and shut up. Then I get home and tell my friends, or post here, until I feel better about it. MI sucks in so many ways!

Also, when I'm interviewing and it gets time to discuss the gaping holes of time in my work experience, I say that I was off work caring for an ill family member, which is true. I just don't mention that the family member was me. It's worked so far, and it seems to shut down that line of questioning right away. And I call in sick when I'm not able to deal with work, but since it happens maybe a day or two every couple of months, it hasn't been an issue. I don't mention what's wrong, just that I don't feel well.

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