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Unpredictability of moods and work


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For the past 2 years, I´ve tried to re-start working. But it has been hard. The unpredictability of moods makes not only work very hard, but also starting new relationships.

For some days, I have motivation, energy, I feel sociable, want to achieve goals. Those days I think of looking for a job. And I actually feel I am being very lazy, because I have the energy to work and I do not do it.

 

But then I have this dark, depressive days, in which I isolate, everything is hard. Those days I undestand why I didn´t look for a job. I just can´t cope with work stresses and high need of socialización in the kind of work I do.

 

If I could find a company that would understand this, I would probably try. But I doubt there would be an employer that would be willing to hire someone whose moods are so unpredictable.

 

I havent been diagnosed as it. But I would say I am a rapid cycler. My mood changes in days, and even hours. Making things difficult.

 

My pdoc doesn´t say much.

Edited by CookieN
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I'm with you. I think the meds have been the most important piece of the puzzle for me. I would NOT be able to work in my job position without them. Maybe you just need a little med tweak? It would be hard to find a job that is going to be understanding of mood swings. I would blame it on a physical problem like migraines or nausea. My 2 cents.

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I understand this. I have these periods when I feel pretty stable, and I feel I could and should be working and it's wrong that I'm not. Then I have another episode and I know I absolutely couldn't cope and it would contribute to making me worse. I'm hopeful of the new cocktail I'm on, and I haven't needed to go IP in 18 months, but I've decided I need a good long period of stability before I consider working again. 

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Instead of looking for work at the moment, perhaps "dip your toes in the water" by doing small volunteer things when you're in your better states. Some volunteer opportunities only last a day or a week. This would:

 

1.) allow you to feel productive

2.) allow you to assess your ability to work (eg. how it may affect your mood stability, symptoms)

3.) keep your resume updated and looking good

4.) keep the time commitment low, so if you drop into an episode you won't have to worry about keeping up your job for weeks, months while struggling with your episode.

 

You're not at all lazy and you do not need to feel guilty, if you can't work - you can't work, don't feel that you "should" have to just because you have a short string of mood stability, especially if you're like most on disability who find that their mood stability drops when they do try to work. That said, I understand what you're feeling, and the best recommendation I have is above - to volunteer. We all like and need to feel that we're useful, that we're participating in society and involving ourselves in life, and volunteering may just give you that.

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Instead of looking for work at the moment, perhaps "dip your toes in the water" by doing small volunteer things when you're in your better states. Some volunteer opportunities only last a day or a week. This would:

 

1.) allow you to feel productive

2.) allow you to assess your ability to work (eg. how it may affect your mood stability, symptoms)

3.) keep your resume updated and looking good

4.) keep the time commitment low, so if you drop into an episode you won't have to worry about keeping up your job for weeks, months while struggling with your episode.

 

You're not at all lazy and you do not need to feel guilty, if you can't work - you can't work, don't feel that you "should" have to just because you have a short string of mood stability, especially if you're like most on disability who find that their mood stability drops when they do try to work. That said, I understand what you're feeling, and the best recommendation I have is above - to volunteer. We all like and need to feel that we're useful, that we're participating in society and involving ourselves in life, and volunteering may just give you that.

Thank you for your advice. I do use my time productively. Not exactly a full time Job. But I exercise, keep myself busy, read a lot. I am happy with this low stress life, is all I can take. The thing is that my family, neighboors, friends pressure me to start working. Since I look good on the outside, even though I am not 100 percent healthy.

Than you all for your responses. It seems that is easier for you to understand what I am going through than my family.

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Cookie I too need an ultra low stress life to keep myself more stable. This means not working. Try not to beat yourself up about not being able to work. You are not alone.

Thank you. I know there is people going through similar situations. I just would like my family to read these forums/board so they could understand what I am going through. I look so healthy on the outside that no one would have a clue everything that goes on, on the inside. Thank you again. I will try not to beat myself about this

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Cookie I too need an ultra low stress life to keep myself more stable. This means not working. Try not to beat yourself up about not being able to work. You are not alone.

Thank you. I know there is people going through similar situations. I just would like my family to read these forums/board so they could understand what I am going through. I look so healthy on the outside that no one would have a clue everything that goes on, on the inside. Thank you again. I will try not to beat myself about this

 

Cookie, do they have any support groups near you?  DBSA (depression and bipolar support alliance) and nami (national alliance on mental illness) are national organizations that provide information and support.  Maybe you could check it out and if it is something you think would be helpful bring your family?  There are people that still don't understand why I can't do more but my husband only went to a few meetings with me and I think it helped him understand.

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Cookie I too need an ultra low stress life to keep myself more stable. This means not working. Try not to beat yourself up about not being able to work. You are not alone.

Thank you. I know there is people going through similar situations. I just would like my family to read these forums/board so they could understand what I am going through. I look so healthy on the outside that no one would have a clue everything that goes on, on the inside. Thank you again. I will try not to beat myself about this

Cookie, do they have any support groups near you?  DBSA (depression and bipolar support alliance) and nami (national alliance on mental illness) are national organizations that provide information and support.  Maybe you could check it out and if it is something you think would be helpful bring your family?  There are people that still don't understand why I can't do more but my husband only went to a few meetings with me and I think it helped him understand.

Thank you for your advice and suggestions

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It's not easy to work with MI. What about part time, if you can manage? Volunteering is also a good idea, because you can set the hours and its much more appreciated with less stress.

 

You aren't lazy, you're sick. And until you get better, it's hard to work.

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I relate to a lot of what you're saying. On top of what you've mentioned, I find I struggle with feeling tired a lot. I'll have some days where I feel good and think, oh I'm ready to work again! And then the next day I feel exhausted, get a migraine, or just feel wiped out.

Currently trying to figure out the tiredness is meds-related, not being active enough, something else.

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I relate to a lot of what you're saying. On top of what you've mentioned, I find I struggle with feeling tired a lot. I'll have some days where I feel good and think, oh I'm ready to work again! And then the next day I feel exhausted, get a migraine, or just feel wiped out.

Currently trying to figure out the tiredness is meds-related, not being active enough, something else.

I have also had fatigue and tiredness, although is not the problem that bothers me the most. Ive suffered from fatigue many years and was able to work. It is the unpredictability of moods, what prevent me from working. Thank you for sharing!

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It's not easy to work with MI. What about part time, if you can manage? Volunteering is also a good idea, because you can set the hours and its much more appreciated with less stress.

 

You aren't lazy, you're sick. And until you get better, it's hard to work.

Part time would be ideal.

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It's a jungle out there, people can be very strange, lot's of drama, mind games, socializing at different levels. I work full time and have only had a few breaks, for hospitalization and in between jobs. I do better in jobs where I work alone or with a small crew or fewest people. Otherwise I last only a couple of years the most. I was self employed for 11 years and I loved it! Over nites is perfect for me and is what I work now. I only come in contact with a handful of people and always the same ones. I click with some and not with others. I would suggest a job where you can work the amount of hours you can handle but nothing to overwhelming. Volunteer work is also a great idea to test the waters with and also provide a way to find other positions. There are also some jobs available you can work from home too. I'm sharing this with you because I am careful what position I get myself in to. You don't want to put yourself in a situation that will overwhelm you and discourage you. Good luck to you!

Edited by IndieVisible
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Firstly, I'd say you are definitely a rapid cycler. My moods can change every 2 days, every 24 hours, every 2 hours, every 20 minutes, and every 2 minutes. So, I certainly feel your pain. It's hell, especially when you're in a mixed state of panic and depression. Ugh..even writing that makes me shudder. I've had to experience many of those mixed states lately, but that's a different topic altogether (see "Too much stress--I can't do it anymore"). 

 

Secondly, I'm in the same position as you as far as work is concerned. I recently got fired from a waitressing job at a Chinese restaurant because I went into panic during the lunch rush and had to leave to go to the hospital because I wasn't breathing. My boss said she didn't want me to do that again, so she let me go, which, now looking back, wasn't necessarily a bad thing because that was a major source of my anxiety. It was a very high-stress job, which a rapid cycler or anyone with mental illness does NOT need. The next day I was depressed as shit, didn't want to get off of my couch, got a little lot agoraphobic, and then called my god-mother (who has the same thing I do) and told her I needed to get off of my couch because I was getting to where I didn't want to leave the house again. Then, during the next few days I alternated between shear panic, depression, mania, anxiety-ridden sleepless nights, back to semi-stable, back to the ER, then into mixed states, then into panic, back to the ER again, then depression, etc... I did have some funny moments, though, one involving a broken vibrator that a customer was returning to Walgreen's (where I work, but only 2 days a week). If you want a laugh, you need to check out my post. 

 

Thirdly, employers are legally not allowed to dismiss an employee on the basis of mental illness, especially if they are fully informed of it (by handing in a document stating that you have Rapid Cycling or whatever current diagnosis you have been given and that you are currently being seen [albeit, not with full attention] by a psychiatrist). Finding a job that is not too demanding is the trick. I find being a check-out person at Walgreen's rather soothing at times because customers will chat with me and give me a distraction if I'm having a bad cycling day(s). I'm also a personal assistant for a woman in my town, and she is fully aware of my disorder and is actually a great pillar of support for me. You just don't want a high-stress job, especially if you're in cycling. And, if you're like me and the majority of Bipolar people out there, if you're a night owl, a late shift is usually best. I work 3:30-11pm, which is perfect because I can sleep until 3 if I have a bad night and don't get to sleep until 5am, and I'd be most awake anyway, so why not make money? If there is a store or business in your town that has 24 hour shifts or are open late at night, you might want to take a look at them and see if they're not too stressful and might fit your particular schedule. On the other hand, if you're an early bird, the opposite would apply ;)

 

I hope you find something you feel comfortable with. Just know that there is a support system out there and you can come to it. (I've just recently been introduced to this forum, and I already feel better about what I'm going through because I know that someone else is having the same mood swings.)

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