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I have been working full time since college (I'm 50) and am on my second career. My second career is totally unrelated to my first career, which I just fell into after college. My 2nd career took some planning and forethought to get into. Neither has anything to do with my college degree, which is an arts degree in performance.  

 

The main problem I have with my mental illness is keeping interested in work, due to ADD PI. While I tend to stay at a job for some time I'm good for about 5 years and then it gets painful with burnout and disinterest. For my current career I am trying stimulants now that I have made it past 5 years. It seems to be working. I've had luck with keeping my depression at bay but it does break through from time to time. The cocktail for that has changed slowly over the decades to account for breakthrough depressions.

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I do. I'm in my second (though related) job out of school. I'm doing okay with respect to remaining interested in it, partially because there's a lot of variety to the job itself. I could see how that could be a problem though. My bigger problem is making sure I monitor my stress level and keep it from getting too high.

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Funny you posted this at just the right time...I cant keep a job to save my life, literally.

I have so much stress in my personal life and always have. About 5 years ago I left my 2nd husband and actually got a descent job making descent cash.

I stayed there about 2 years when I found out that I needed back surgery (this job involved lifting 50# plus repeatedly) That was 2009.

 

Since then I've tried going back to school, working part time and my biggest issue is that something like this happens:

 I come home from work and realize neither of my sons ( who were left in charge of my daughter) are home, and neither is my daughter. I call them and they say they left her with a friend, who also isn't home and isn't answering her phone. Panic sets in. I tell the boys to get their asses home, call my daughters father, we consider calling the police as its now been hours since the boys last saw her when down the driveway comes my daughter in her friends grandmas car.

 

I cant make enough money to pay for childcare.

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I work. I've pretty much always worked. Even when I was in school full-time, I worked. I'll be in my current position for 20 years, come the middle of next month. 

 

For me, the key is loving what I do. That, and being able to have the freedom to explore different ways of doing things. Sometimes they pan out and sometimes they don't. I know that I could go to a different division and make about 50% more than I do right now. Problem is, I'd lose my freedom. Working in Research & Development is right where I need/love to be. 

 

There have been times when I've been very symptomatic. That's when I rely upon my friends at work. We help each other. We cover for each other. We work as a team. If any one of us is having problems then all of us are having problems. Yes, I know I'm spoiled. I also worked my ass off to get this position and to keep it. 

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I worked with special needs kids ( i.e. autism, life skills.  a wide variety issues and  levels of functioning).  during the school year - 6 to 24 hours a week.  Highly demanding, but had the luxury of turning down a position that day if I just couldn't go in.

 

My other job?  I am a professional musician.  Won't be posting my instruments here.  I perform, teach, etc. Have two music degrees from Universities. Things were good and then 2008 hit and my profession really took a nose dive.  less live music at functions like weddings and memorial services. I saw an increase in "canned" music i.e. the iPod.

 

It has been a long time since I have felt the crazy creative side of things in a musical way.  I  miss it.  I would love to get it back.  Embrace it.  Maybe this year...

 

In the meantime, go back to school... went back too soon this term.  Flunked a class.

 

Currently trying to stabilize and barely making ends meet with the above mentioned and child support.

 

Phew, that was way too long.

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I do not work. I am on disability. 

 

I used to work at an amusement park. But, the drive was scary and interacting with people was scary. I was so afraid of making a mistake or getting in a car crash. Then I ended up in the hospital because I couldn't handle it. 

 

I also used to work a couple food service jobs. I cried every time I had to go into work because it was so scary. It caused me to have panic attacks. 

 

I tried college, and got my AS degree in science. But, I have no confidence, no self esteem and I am afraid of almost everything. Any kind of job will scare me. Even baby sitting scares me. I am so afraid of jobs that they make me suicidal. 

Edited by CynicalReality
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I work full-time.  I have been at three companies since university (same industry) and at my current job (one promotion) for 6.5 years. 

 

I work in policy, not related directly to my degree. 

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After college, I worked for three years for a fortune 100 insurance company, selling health and dental insurance. Then my mental health went to shit and I was put on SSDI. I'd like to get a job that I could maintain while respecting my limitations and strengths (right now I'm thinking of medical billing), but I haven't been cleared for return to work by my pdoc.

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Full time, with young children. I am usually okay unless I am symptomatic in which case I use the PRN meds and call my pdoc. Sometimes I get burned out and prefer to work with a coworker to help do the things I can't bring myself to do.

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I go to nursing school full time for 8 months of the year and then work part to full time hours during the summer. Does that count? Nursing school is fuckin' hard! :P I used to work and go to school full time at one time, but found that it caused my episodes to be worse, so I had to stop working during the school year. I also volunteer. 

 

I have immense support from my university. I have 2 disability advisors that advocate for me in all my classes and in my clinical positions. I have an entire individualized accommodations plan that has been worked out with the university so that I have the best environment to succeed. I know I am extremely lucky and I am very grateful. I have a pdoc and a GP who both manage my medications and other medical/psychiatric needs. I also have a tdoc I can call anytime I need her. We all work as a team to ensure that, when I am symptomatic, things go smoothly and do not impact my studies or work too badly. 

 

As well, one of my co-workers is also bipolar and is "out" to my boss. So, I told my boss that I have schizoaffective. She is incredibly supportive! She was very understanding when I had to go IP and take 6 weeks off. 

 

Without these supports in place, I would not be where I am today. I am in a very privileged position, and for that, I am thankful. 

 

Notfred, I also struggle with losing interest in my work, most likely due to my ADHD. That's why I chose nursing, because it is a dynamic profession with constant learning.

 

However, my ADHD impacts my ability to work efficiently, which kills me. For example, I can't pay attention to or retain what people are saying to me. To compensate for this, I obsessively take notes in a little book, and I request written directions versus verbal directions. I find I have to be a strong advocate for myself in school and work. While I have to adapt to changing environments, I also find that my environments need to be able to adapt to me a little bit too. 

Edited by Parapluie
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Yes. I started working outside of the sex trade when I was fifteen (before that I saw it as work... but it sort of wasn't, I guess).

I've been working ever since. Even when I was unemployed, I worked. I was just severely underemployed, but I still worked.

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One of the challenges I've had with working is that I get bored easily... like around 3 years.

 

One of the things I've been trying to do to address that is to always have an interesting project happening outside of work that is almost completely unrelated.

 

It seems to help a bit.

 

That, and volunteering for special projects when I can.

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Long self-absorbed version:

I did college and professional school.  Then had 2 bad psychotic breaks.  Then I bartended for some time.  

Then got a chance to do my profession.   Did OK with that (sometimes w/ significant successes) but I've had some further hospital stays and it's more important to me now to avoid breaks.

I almost reached a point where I wasn't afraid of my illness but, based on the last 2 or 3 episodes, I'm very much afraid of breaks again.

So, now I do something in my profession that is not high end work at all.  In fact it's very, very boring but I get paid something for it,

A pdoc told me once that it would be important for me to structure my life.  That made sense and work helps me do that.  

If not for work, I would try and find structure some other way.  Not sure how, but I would hope I could do some volunteer work of some kind.

I was able to tutor a first grader with his reading this school year.  Don't know if I helped the kid, at all, but he was sweet and it helped me.

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I've only been able to hold down full-time jobs for two years at most, and that was once. I went onto disability for headaches, not bipolar (although that was taken into consideration) in April. Fortunately, DH had such a high income when he was working, that if we combine our disability checks, we can live comfortably, if not lavishly. DH was only unable to work after his brain surgery. Part of the reason we just moved to Salt Lake is it is cheaper here than in San Jose

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I have immense support from my university. I have 2 disability advisors that advocate for me in all my classes and in my clinical positions. I have an entire individualized accommodations plan that has been worked out with the university so that I have the best environment to succeed. I know I am extremely lucky and I am very grateful. I have a pdoc and a GP who both manage my medications and other medical/psychiatric needs. I also have a tdoc I can call anytime I need her. We all work as a team to ensure that, when I am symptomatic, things go smoothly and do not impact my studies or work too badly. 

 

 

 

Thats good that you accessed the available supports for disabled persons, many do not and have no idea what services are out there. Accommodations are out there but no one is going to come ask you if you want them, you have to take the lead.

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i work (in a field related to my degree) but i'm currently on leave and i'm not sure for how long. the more i think about going back to work the more stressed out i feel. that's not a good sign. at the same time, i'm petrified of losing my job. my current pdoc suggested i go on SSDI but I just can't bring myself to do that. Idk what to do.

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dancingtea,

 

I can relate to where you stand with your present job. I was off work so long my FMLA time ran out. I applied for SSDI in Feb and expect to hear in July/August what the response is. I have state disability until December so I have money coming in. The longer I am out of work the more I actually miss it. Not my last job, but would love to start something new. I am just afraid I will fail at it too. I have failed at 4 of 5 of my last jobs.

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I work full-time - I've been in my current post for just over 4 years, and this is the fourth full-time job I've had since 1998.  The content of what I do at the moment has some relation to my master's degree, but not as much as I'd like.  There are times when I loathe and despise what I do, but I'm good at it and could never afford not to work.  I've recognised that the only way I'm going to move out of this space is to get my PhD, and I'm slowly chipping away at that.  My senior manager is aware of my MI issues and is mostly helpful and accommodating when I need it, but still veers towards unreasonable expectations at times.  I'm learning to speak up for myself on that front.

Edited by miab
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Not right now and not for several years.  I went from anxious but functioning full-time work in secondary-school summers and saving-money-for-college years, to part-time in college, to dropping out of college, to neither work nor college as the MI and physical symptoms worsened.   Then temporary jobs here and there for a few years as my former colleagues offered and I could still get the work done on a more flexible schedule.  Then I had a terrible mania/delusion where, among other things, I came on to one of those colleagues (a married person) and totally humiliated myself and burned what few bridges were left to me in my field.

 

I am on assistance now, with maybe some hope for improvement in health if the "bipolar" they've been medicating me for is actually significantly PCOS/hormonal/thyroid, as my GP recently suggested, and I have long suspected.  I wish I could go back to school some day. 

 

edited for basic stupidity

Edited by fantod
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Last worked three and a half years ago. Walked off an exploitative part-time job that hired disabled people for menial work. Before that I was dismissed from my last "permanent" full time job working for a non-profit that patted itself on the back for housing the formerly homeless. This compassionate organization made a point of contesting my unemployment claim -- ironically putting me at risk of becoming homeless.

 

I have been on Social Security Disability for the last two years. My game plan is to keep my reported income below the "significant gainful activity" level and run the clock out until I become eligible for early retirement.

Edited by Retromancer
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