Bipolar Disorder and the Difficulty of Holding a Job

Answer the question below (Does your bipolar disorder make it difficult to hold a job?) and watch the results unfold as they happen.

45 Responses to Bipolar Disorder and the Difficulty of Holding a Job

  1. shemp says:

    I have a part time job (mothers hours) in the human services field that I like a lot and hope I don’t screw up so I can keep it for a longtime. I think it helps keep me stable by giving me a routine that works with my cycles and a purpose outside of my family life. I have had several different jobs in my lifetime (medical assistant, medical records clerk, medical transcription, telemarketing, kitchenwork/waitressing etc) but I am a caretaker/nurturer at
    heart to the point that I think I need the individuals I care for far more than they will ever need me. I’m in the field that is right for me and hope I don’t mess it up.

  2. Morag Cunningham says:

    Worked from the age of 17 to 59. Diagnosed at 57 with bipolar. Raised a set of twins as a single parent, owned property to live in, vehicle to drive. Never really fit in with groups, I was different. but on my income, I managed to be mortgage free without the help of anyone. Even my ex, who I did not marry, did not support me or our children. It was difficult at times, but I was on a mission to make it right. Took early retirement back in November 1, 2010, had to sell my 4 bedroom townhouse, now renting, less hassel, no more snow shovelling. My twins came with me and we are downsizing in May 2014. Me, in a bachelor, I have moved my furniture around since 1977 and want to travel light. and them, boy and girl, to move into a 2 bedroom together. They get the dog. yeah. I am looking forward in just cleaning my stuff, my dishes once a day and no more poo picking and washing up and disinfecting the floors. My bipolar, didn’t seem so bad when I was working but I did have moments, that I could not explain.

    • Bonnie says:

      I did the same medically retired in 2010. Daily panic attacks the visual migranes. I to raised my child alone and now just finished the divorce after 13 yrs. He still triggers my mood swings.

  3. Robert says:

    After 30 year as a very successful Pastor, was fired. When manic could multitask many things. Usually have 10-12 things going on at once. Great public presence when in the pulpit. It was a thousand member church with lots of stuff going on. Too much stuff. I’d go six+ weeks flying high in what was probably a manic state, then crash for two+ weeks. Had my first emotional crisis (read breakdown) when having a funeral every third day for three months. Was diagnosed with depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. Went on my first ssri’s for depression. This was in 1996. Should have realized something when my father came unglued (he was later diagnosed with bipolar). Couldn’t sleep, stayed up all night on the computer. Asked for a smaller congregation. When I got there discovered it had split three times in the previous year. Stayed four years but it was exhausting. Had a second emotional crisis my second year there trying to keep everything together in a conflictive situation. Was successful with that but my physical health was dying. So, in 2003 moved to an even smaller congregation. But it was too late for my emotional health. My second year I had a major illness where I almost lost my leg due to M.R.S.A. Had an extensive medical stay. Took a two month medical leave. Then six months after that had a major collapse, hearth attack, and lost my job. Could not focus. Lived in church housing, so lost my house, my job, my income. As it was a new community had no friends. Then my dog was killed in an accident, my best friend did suddenly, and my Father died. Was in shock for about six months for which I don’t remember much. That was 8 years ago. Am on disability from SSDI and church medical leave. Had great support from wife, kids and a sister. Without them I would not be here. But God is good. Sorry to ramble. Been in a slow/rapid cycle for a couple of weeks. It’s now winter, I live in the mountains and S.A.D.S.’s is kicking in. If my wife wasn’t still working, I’d be out of here and head south to the Florida Keys!

  4. FLJ says:

    Oh hell yeah! I had one of the most stressful jobs in social services, and after 10 years it eventually drove me to the worst mental states ever, including suicide attempts and hospitalization. I had to quit before I kicked my boss in the old balls or had a severe panic attack. Now I’m on disability while the lives of normal people go on, and I’m doomed to watch…

  5. Lisa says:

    I’m 50+ diagnosed with Bipolar and PTSD. It is VERY difficult for me to hold down a job. Too many conflicts with coworkers, supervisors and the public in general. I dont interact very well working side by side with somebody. I’ve had more jobs then I am old. I’m tired of trying. I’m running out of places to work. I have a lawyer also. Been denied in 2009, filed again this year, of course got denied again. I hate the thoughts of being in front of a judge. I dont do well in that kind of environment at all. I hope my lawyer will help me win my case. I’m exhausted enough with Bipolar ,PTSD and arthritis in my back and hips. Someday hopefully things will pan out for me. :(

  6. Deb says:

    I losing my job of 17.5 years. The bipolar, anxiety, and inability to focus have just become so severe that I can’t function anymore. Also terrible sleep issues – lucky if I can get 6 hrs. When I hit a manic phase it’s 3-4. Went an entire year on just 4 hrs sleep a night.

    Therapist and Psych Doc both say it’s time for me to stop, apply for disability, and focus on getting stable and taking care of myself. I am 52. I have worked/gone to school since I was 16. This is so hard on me but working has become tortue – induces a ton of anxiety and I am making far too many errors because of inabiity to concentrate.

    I am hiring an attorney to help me apply for disability. Have been hospitalized twice with psychotic episodes/suicidal ideation, hearing voices. Have heard very good things about this attorney and am hoping that will help me get my case approved.

    I’m sorry to hear of everyone else’s struggles. I’m really sad to be losing my job, it’s been such a big part of my life and I’ve been so proud of it. My boss is heart broken to have to let me go, I’ve had to reassure her that I undertand and it’s probably for the best.

    • Sara Coonse says:

      I have not yet been diagnosed with bipolar yet but going to talk to my dr the more I read on here the more it fits my life my husband has been diagnosed with bipolar and he seems to think I may have it to he has a lawyer been to court got denied appealed it got denied and now waiting for appeal answer again I have filed for the physical problems and the anxiety and severe depression I have also been to court been denied my attorney wont retake my case now Im on appeal waiting on answer again im beginning to think its impossible to get disability I have days I cant even get out of bed without help and I have had to call in work alot

  7. Flex says:

    Unfortunately I haven’t been able to work since 2001. I have a tendency towards mania and as a result don’t deal well with low sleep high stress jobs and it sucks because I am a Network consultant/administrator. When I’m “stretched” to thin I have an explosive personality and act unprofessionally. I would like to work but most likely will have to do so in a different field of work. I’m just not sure what I wanna be when I grow up and I’m in my 40′s

  8. Monte says:

    Wish I could work at least part time however realisticly being bipolar and having a lot of pain from arthritis I just don’t think it would work

  9. Christine Mason says:

    Being bipolar affects me memory, concentration and ability to stay focused (I’m likely an undiagnosed ADD as well). Most of all, gross fatigue is a byproduct of my depression and all the medications I’m on have the side-effect of fatigue as well. Not so much fun.

  10. Matthew Romeo says:

    I dont know if my Bi-polar lead to me being fired from a customer service position I had with cingular/at&t but that was before I was diagnosed with all of my mental illnesses, with the diagnoses I have now I can see how it would make it almost impossible to hold down a job, especially dealing with other people, but either way, with two seperate shrinks saying I am unable to work I would have to agree with them, I dont know if it is because it wouldnt be safe for others, or for me, or simply not able to keep employment

  11. Michelle says:

    When I was in denial I had a hard time holding down any king of job or relationship. I was dx. with bipolar when I was 15 that was 24 years ago. I went through every mediation out there, following every street drug. I went through men and money like water. I can’t believe that I am alive today. I thought about colleting disability but I hate the thought of charity.

    One day I woke up and realized it was time to die or live! I chased everyone out of my life who loved me! I found them and asked for their support. Now I take my meds everyday, go to the doctor, and see a consoler. I wake up everyday feeling great, and wanting to go to work. I love work! I help people everyday! I have since finished school, and hope to go back and help people with bipolar disorder and drug additions. I know not everyone is so lucky, but I have all the faith in the world that bipolar people can come do anything! If I can do this so can you!!!

    • Matthew Romeo says:

      I understand how you feel, it took me about a year to finally break down and apply for disability, that was after both a traumatic closed brain injury and a suicide attempt, I started getting medicated and decided that I need to get some sort of income because I wont be a leach on my mother living on her own disability, that was sometime is 09, and I am still fighting to get it, after having 2 shrinks say the same thing… it is quite difficult having to admit you need help, it hurts not only the pride but the ego.

  12. David says:

    I had a flurry of restaurant jobs and was able to survive on/off meds for 20 years. At age 40+ it was harder and harder to find a job because I had worked so many. I got worse so now I’m on disability…. I’d love to waiter or bartend again but I know I’d relapse booze wise, then stop my meds and back to the hospital. I’ve worked too hard to lose myself again so I don’t pursue a job.

  13. Robert says:

    Lost my job of 30 years after my 3rd “emotional crisis” (a nice way to say breakdown. In addition to bipolar have back, hip, knee and ankle issues which makes it difficult to stand for long. I can’t handle any stress, which sets off my fibromyalgia. Am in pain all the time, somewhere in my body. Am on disability from my employeer and Social Security. They won’t even let me look for a job or they cut my benefits.

  14. juli says:

    i’m taking depakote and having very vivid dreams just currious if anyone else takes this and do you have the dreams? what meds do other recomend?

    • Matthew Romeo says:

      I am on depakote er, I used to have “hypnagogic hallucinations” which you are still asleep and stuck between asleep and awake it is an interesting read, I havent had any recently, but I did have a few earlier this year

  15. chuey005 says:

    So much so, that I am on disability due to bipolar

    • Sharon Beth says:

      How long did it take you? I have been waiting over a year now and I was just wondering.

      • Matthew Romeo says:

        I have been waiting since 09 for mine, “luckily” I get the judge that almost never awards disability, I have been through an appeal, she denied me again, I went and had a second hearing in… june I think and havent gotten a denial YET, I am really not looking forward to going through another hearing if I need to

  16. Lorna says:

    On the 3rd job so far this year. Just can’t seem to control my temper even when I take my meds.

    • Tammy R says:

      I feel your pain. I have temper problems too. I wish I could control it.

      • Matthew Romeo says:

        I have “intermittent explosive personality disorder” which makes things hard because on of my triggers is stupidity, now stupidity and ignorance are not the same thing, with ignorance you do not know, and I am more than happy to teach you, with stupidity you have already been taught and are just being hard headed or choose not to learn, then I want to rip off your arms and club you to death with the wet ends

  17. EP Hamilton says:

    I not only have a problem holding jobs, but just completing a job/project that I have started. I am a rapid cycler/add/ocd and have many projects started and not very many finished. I have to be real careful about this because it also take a big bite out of the budget to have all of the “project material sitting around, that cost quite a bit of money, and the project stopped or unfinished. I have gone through as many as 8 jobs in a year on my ups and downs…no one gives a shit if you are manic or depressed, they want you at work. This sucks… if you tell them up front…forget about being hired.

  18. Tasha says:

    Hold a job? HA I can’t even get a job! the one I had last year fired me because “I made my co-workers uncomfortable” and yes they knew full well I was bipolar.

  19. Jane Doe says:

    Yea, I cannot hold a job. Basically impossible at this point

  20. Judi says:

    I am retired but when I was young it was hard to keep a job or a man

  21. Kasey says:

    When I am in deep depressions it is very hard to work through the funk and intense anxiety. When I lose jobs it’s because I simply can find no reason to care and I am paranoid of anything and anyone.

  22. Steven F says:

    Due to my bipolar and a traumatic brain injury I am on disability. I couldn’t function at a job though I really would like to go back to work. I also have short term memory problems and constantly battling depression

  23. Colene Roberts says:

    Yes being bipolar has affected me holding down a job. Before I knew I was bipolar I had over 30 jobs. Now that I have my daughter and I went to school and I’m on medication it’s easier to keep ahold of a job. I’ve learned more about myself and my bipolar cycles. I’ve held the job I have now for 2 1/2 years and this is the longest job I’ve ever held onto. Also knowing that I have someone who depends on me and thr I have a responsibility for makes me keep pushing forward and helps to keep me stable.

  24. Sandy T says:

    On disability. More of a problem with memory and confusion (have ADD too). That brought on bipolar issues. Could not keep a job and eventually had major breakdown. Doing much better without the stress of trying to work and keep a job.

  25. S.C. says:

    I have no problem holding jobs, I just have difficulty finding them and actually being hired. I had an anxiety attack at an interview a few months back and it was embarrassing. It never happened before at an interview but I obviously didn’t get the job. I had to get out of there really fast!

  26. Melissa says:

    I personally haven’t been able to hold a job for longer than 9 months…until recently.  I work as an on-site property manager, I live where I work and I work with my husband.  This had allowed me to take time/breaks during the day when I need to.  I have worked here for just over a year and 9 months.  I’m very proud of that.  But I also realize it’s kind of a falsehood because of the little breaks I wouldn’t get at any other job.  Anyway, lately it’s becoming too much for me again.  I find myself going through extreme ups ands downs.  “Crazy” notions that haven’t been in my head for a year are definitely making up for lost time.  My husband was making good money before and only stays at this job for my “benefit”, he’s ready to leave and is packing our stuff.  Iwon’t be working anymore.  How on earth do people do it?  How can I?  If I have a four hour screaming jag, well…I couldn’t explain that away to co-workers.  I want so much to feel “useful” and “””normal”””.  Without a job,I don’t leave the house.  With a job, all I want to do is go home.  My family says not to worry.  Yeah f**** right!  Today I want to crawl in a hole and disappear; tomorrow could be different.  Are people able to find a balance that lets them maintain long term employment? I ask because I don’t know any :-(

    • Lorna says:

      Longest job I held was 5 yrs. I never saw my boss. I had industrial customers and they never complained about anything I did for them so I never saw the boss. Then I got laid off… been free falling ever sense.

    • ReadDeeply says:

      I feel for you, Melissa. The only long term job I was ever able to hold was in restaurant work. Waitressing permitted me the short frenzied bursts required of a busy shift, ans well as the scattered tasks required of “side work” (tidying one’s station, preparing salads, wiping down the kitchen, etc.). Once I obtained my degree I found work in the corporate world very unforgiving. I couldn’t stick with one position for more than 2 years. I wish I knew a fix or a solution for this. Apart from remaining in the academic world and obtaining your PhD so that you can teach adults in a kinder more intelligent venue than what the mainstream has to offer, I just don’t know….

    • Tammy R says:

      Melissa have you thought about applying for disability? The last couple jobs I have had I got fired. I am bipolar without meds because they make me suicidal or unable to function. I kept having manic spells at work. I also have social anxiety as well as physical ailments. I had three doctors backing me and a good lawyer. It’s just food for thought. God bless

  27. janina says:

    i’ve held a variety of jobs for very long periods of time. i’ve been with my current job for almost 10 years. bipolar doesn’t affect my employment, it affects my life, thought patterns, feelings, etc… going to work is a great distraction. i can actually function while working. i have a hard time when i’m not focused on a task at hand.

  28. Teresa says:

    I have learned to notify employers ahead a time of my medical problems; being bipolar; having fibromyalgia. I have all the things wrong with me listed with the Dept of Rehab. That way if an employer has a problem with me Im covered.

    • Dorothy Neeley says:

      That sounds like a wonderful idea, thank you! I’m a stay at home mom and have wondered about getting back into the workforce with bipolar. Thanks!

    • Lorna says:

      Dept of rehab?? What is this? I would like to know more about this if you have any info to share?

    • Mary says:

      @ Teresa….and you actually get hired when you tell them about all your medical problems? I would think you would never get a job that way. Unless you have a degree in a certain job field or something where employers are actually understanding. Most don’t give a shit these days.

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