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Bipolar and high-stress jobs?


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Does anybody here have a high-stress job and bipolar?

 

I am a first grade teacher in a very impoverished area with a high violence rate, and although I absolutely love my job, I'm worried about my MI and job long-term.

 

I have been IP for suicide attempts twice five years ago, but have had well-managed symptoms since then (yay lamictal!) 

 

However, recently, I have become seriously depressed and don't know what I would have done if I didn't have two weeks off for winter break. I'm dreading going back if my depression doesn't back off. For the past month, all my energy has been spent on just getting to work, trying to make it through the day, and immediately going to sleep when I come home. 

 

I forgot what this was like, since it's been so long, and it's absolutely horrible. I have an appointment with my pdoc in a week.

 

I love teaching and couldn't imagine having another career. Anyone out there with a similar situation? How did you deal with it? 

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I understand where you are coming from. It IS high stress!  I substitute as an educational aid. I work mainly with kids k-8 in resource (special ed) and kids on the autistic spectrum. It is so draining sometimes. I barely worked last month I wasn't functioning well.  The behavioral management with the middle school kids is tough.  You get to see what "hands off parenting" looks like.  I was offered a permanent position, but I like/need the flexibility that goes with subbing.  They don't realize that I have a Dr.'s appt. (pdoc) every 3-4 weeks.  I did disclose to the secretary that I have a "chronic health condition" that requires me to see my Dr. on a regular basis.

 

My suggestion?  Do as little as possibly during your break... you are going to need everything to get going again in January.  Now is not the time to take on new projects etc. Relish in the fact that you have worked very hard and deserve of nice vacation of doing NOTHING! Sleep a ton, watch movies.... it will help.

 

sleep, sleep, sleep!  Amazing how it helps.

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I have had highstressjobs by managing the Information servies system at a hospital. It finally got to be too much and the hallucinations, anxiety and mood shifts I went out on disability. Waiting for SSDI approval. 20 years ago I was on SSDI fpr 5 yearsand was thenable to return to work,and after a few years I was back to whereI was careerwise.  

 

I always knew the bp would come again. I have saved a nice savings account balance, which gives me a sense of being prepared.

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I have a high stress job in a technical field, although for the last year or so, it's been relatively easy.  But it's about to get really busy again after the holidays, so it will be back into the trenches.

 

I find it really helpful to acknowledge to myself that I have a serious chronic illness, and to cut myself some slack.  That means that if I get to work and do an okay job, that rates an outstanding on my scorecard.  When I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I stop all other non-essential activities, and spend down time on my own, as that seems to restore me the most.  That means I cancel social plans, often on short notice, but that's just how it is. 

 

With the exception of a couple of very close friends, no one knows about my MI, so they just think I'm lame or rude or whatever, but that's their problem.  I haven't and don't plan on disclosing at work, there's still too much ignorance and I can't afford to lose my job as I am my sole support.  I do take the occasional mental health day and blame it on something I ate, or a terrible headache, but not that I'm actually crazy and can't get my shit together that day.

 

I have a plan in place with my pdoc on what drug will get added in when the inevitable depressive episode rears its ugly head again.  I have been in remission five years thanks to Lamictal, and a lot of effort on my part.  Knowing that my pdoc has my back is really important to me, because I do have good friends that want to help, but my pdoc is the only one who will actually be able to fix me back up.

 

And like Savannah, I have also been saving some money.  I would like to use it for retirement, which is about ten or fifteen years away for me, but in reality I will probably use a good chunk of it the next time I get sick.  It does help me feel more secure.

 

Even when I hate to, I try to do some self-care things every day, like getting some fresh air and eating a halfway decent diet.  I also treat myself to the extravagance of having a young lady clean for me every week. It forces me to keep clutter down, and having a tidy house is critical to my mental health.  My mother was a world-class hoarder, so a messy house creates extreme anxiety for me.   

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No, I cannot handle high stress jobs. Teacher, lawyer, museum administrator, all too much. Working half-time at a doggie day care hit the sweet spot for me, although I am currently disabled with headaches. When I start feeling better, i might do that again.

 

The only thing that's annoying is i have a lot more "brain power" than is required for DD care. But when I try to fully engage my brain, I get sick,

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I actually had an episode and got fired from my last high stress job. I've retrained for a new field but I'm having a hard time finding work. I can't imagine going back into the high-stress situation. Right now I'm taking Latuda which is the best antipsychotic/anti depressant I've ever taken, but it is $600/mo so I have to quit taking it in January.

 

I think the folks who are suggesting that you back way off on non-essential activities are giving you good advice. And stay in touch with your doctor!

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Yes. I had a similar mental health job and then teaching job. After my first son was born I chose to find a half day kindergarten job in a wealthier charter where I had to be less "everything" for the children/families. After my second son was born I chose to be a stay at home mom and took a couple kiddos into my home. Now I own and am a couple weeks away from opening my own preschool! This plan works for me because I can, to some extent, control the level of traumatic input I am getting. When I feel stable, I volunteer. When I don't, I can go inward and still do my job. Big hugs to you, being a teacher in that type of school is incredibly hard. Looking after your own well being at the same time is even harder.

^to clarify! I took kiddos into my home to provide childcare. Not to foster.

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Hope you get better soon and find a solution to your current situation...

 

To answer the question: I have a rather high-stress job that I enjoy a lot (university/research). I love my work, and it has always helped me get through episodes as well as recover. Getting my degree and now working made kept me active and motivated, I'm not a fan of recovering by resting, it doesn't work for me. However, different from other people, in my line of work, the pressure is often strongest from inside and external pressure usually does not come with immediate deadlines.

 

Maybe this is different from what others experience, but I find having a job helps me get through depression, otherwise I'd just sit at home and watch TV all day, dragging myself to work, while exhausting, helps me get out of depression. In depression, I'm less productive, but there is still tasks I can achieve, and it makes me feel better and not sink into depression too deep. If I get hypo, I just get double the things done I get done normally. 

 

Do you think it might be possible for you to get a teaching job, but in a slightly lower stress environment?

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I have a high-stress job (policy) and I enjoy it.  There have been times when I struggle, but I've disclosed at work and they're great (I've been promoted since) and the med combo I'm on now is a huge help.  I have been hospitalized once and they were super good about it.

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Many, many people with BP have high stress jobs, and are fine. It annoys me that I can't, because my episodes are really not that severe, just easily triggered, and severe enough. I have never been hospitalized. I should have been *once,* but I'm 50, so it was practically a freak occurrence. But I think in my case it is the combination of bipolar and migraine that has me screwed. I mean, obviously right now it's the headaches, that's why I am on SSDI. But even so, I think it is the co-morbid synergy that makes it so easy to set me off.

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I feel I have a high stress job, but I don't like it and I want to pursue other careers options, as I'm stuck in a job I've had since high school. Having a job you like is a big plus for you I think. My job has a huge impact on my mental health. When it got to the point where I was freaking out at work and self harming on the clock, I had to go out on disability for a couple months. I'm back at work now, but still struggling. I just looked into two online schools to try and complete my bachelors degree and hopefully I can go on to get a masters online as well. I still have to apply and get accepted, but at least I submitted the financial aid forms. I think that the cliche that you have to take care of yourself first applies to us all. No job is worth yourself, and if you need to take time of for your health, you might want to consider it. If I didn't go out on disability, I probably would've tried to kill myself because I was so unstable.

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^Truer words were never spoken.

 

It is just dawning on me/I am just coming to terms with the fact that "normal people" don't have to take into consideration a mental illness and all of the drug and doctor copayments and appointments and time management skills and self care that goes along with it.  It is a large chunk of life they just don't have to think about - they get to use that time to work out or have a hobby or work harder or more efficiently or whatever.  I didn't choose this and for a long time I decided I could will it away because I was resentful.  Yeah, no.  :glare:

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Thanks everyone for the advice. Ray of Sunshine and Vascillate Wildy, youre right. My own health and stability is the most important thing. I just hate being super functional when I'm stable, but completely dysfunctional when I'm not. I am going to look into a half-day kindergarten or teaching in an area where I don't have to be everyone's mom/trauma counselor/etc. I'm at a school where I don't have union protection and the administration takes MAJOR (possibly illegal) advantage of that (read: no subs so no sick days, lunch breaks randomly cut in half, etc) so I don't think disclosure is an option right now. l just want to make it through the year - I'm not planning on staying past this year anyway, due to the ridiculousness of the administration. I just saw my pdoc who increased my ADs so hopefully that will kick in soon. But you're right - better to take time off than spiral out control.

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