Just wondering if the majority of people with bipolar 2 work full time? I was just recently diagnosed after years of being dxed with unipolar. Am now on mood stabilizers and have been feeling better. My maternal uncle and 2 aunts both have bipolar 1 and none could hold down a job, were divorced, etc. so don't really have any role models for well functioning bipolar people. What has been your experience? I realize there is a wide range of severity of symptoms, but overall can most people work if properly medicated?
I am diag bipolar 2 and have worked full time. I am presently unemployed, but not because of bipolar, but because the place where I worked folded due to lack of finances. I know someone who is the manager of the wellness and recovery program where i live who suffers a mental illness; there are folks here who are working full time, and I have come across many people with both bipolar 1 and 2 who are able to work full time. People diag with bipolar or any mental illness does not automatically mean a life sentence of inability to work and/or a meaningless life. People wtih bipolar are potentially just as capable of working as anyone else. I say, "potentially" because if a person chooses not to take care of him/herself, doesn't take thier meds, refuses therapy when it's needed, then the chances of that person being able to hold down a job are pretty slim. But if they are willing to do those things, they are on the road to recovery and can, if they choose, hold down a job just like anyone else. Some people have other factors to consider other than just bipolar that may prevent them from working, but if those things are there, then you can do and become anyone you want to!
Life is meaningless only if we allow it to be. Each of us has the power to give life meaning, to make our time and our bodies and our words into instruments of love and hope. -- Tom Head
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. What an encouragement you are to me! I am cutting and pasting your response into a Word document so I can re-read it when I need some encouragement. Thank you so much....it means more to me than I could ever express!
The potential for disability in bipolar II disorder comes from the depression, not the hypomania, by definition. People vary -- some can find it very difficult to maintain functioning, others less so. No general rule.
I was able to maintain a job for many years before I was diagnosed. In fact, there were times I had more than one job at a time. When my disease got out of hand and I had to leave work and started my string of hospitalizations and had to give up my independence (I live with family) was devasting to me.
That was 4 years ago. I'm still not able to maintain a "normal" life where I would be able to hold down even a part-time job. I tried last year with a part-time at a place where I had worked previously. They knew my condition and let me make my own hours and come and go as I needed. It still didn't work.
I hate not being a productive member of society and having to depend on disability. I have started volunteering at the local hospital and that has helped with the sense of worthlessness.
My oldest daughter also has bipolar II and she has a full-time job and does wonderful.
It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it. - Lena Horne
Hello Karlie, I worked for a company for 10 yrs but my Bipolar wasnt that bad. I started having problems with depression the last year that I worked at the company. At the time I was not on medication and eventually had to quit working. I am now on SSI.
Although my Bipolar is stable, I am still unable to work. I have developed other mental issues and also chronic back pain that keeps me from working. But I know of many many ppl who work full time. Good luck to you.
Its Better To Be Hated For What You Are, Than To Be Loved For What You Are Not.
Hi Karlie, welcome! I see you have already gotten some terrific advice, you will enjoy it here. That Debbie, she is amazing eh.
To me it sounds that since you were just dxed you are concerned and exploring the situation, which is great. But dont let yourself get bogged down with the 'what-ifs" and the 'bad' of bp2. Since you are getting meds and sounds like you are already better, you could do just fine and work just as well as ever. Maybe even better now as you will be more stable with the meds, work and life in general may become easier for you, which is the goal of the meds eh.
No offence to your relatives, but remember maybe they didnt have the proper help that you are getting. Depending on the decade when they started experiencing BP, maybe there wasnt as much knowlege and help as now or they didnt explore the assistance they needed. Also, we cant believe, for ourselves or others, that everything that happens is BP related. Personalities still have to be taken into account. Some people dont have a strong work ethic, a devotion to marriage etc etc. so dont let their past hender your future.
It sounds like you are on the right road, you just keep traveling straight and you may just do great!
Susan - I am so fearful that I will take a huge dip into depression (even while medicated and under the care of a psychiatrist) that I would never recover and be the same person I am. Were you medicated when you had your breakdown in '07? I don't know how to get over this fear? It paralyzes me at times, especially when my uncle, aunt and cousin all are also unable to work. Help!
Susan - I am so fearful that I will take a huge dip into depression (even while medicated and under the care of a psychiatrist) that I would never recover and be the same person I am. Were you medicated when you had your breakdown in '07? I don't know how to get over this fear? It paralyzes me at times, especially when my uncle, aunt and cousin all are also unable to work. Help! Thanks for your Reply!
KarlieB: I would maybe put a finer point on what Dr. Goldberg said about depression. That mood pole IS indeed frequently debilitating, but what can also be problematic (and in my experience maybe even more so) is when the hypomania and depression mix during the same time. Hypomania is extremely helpful in the work situation at first . . . until the depressive moods also creep in and cause rather disorganized thinking and action.
But having said that, it is certainly quite possible to hold fulfilling employment with Bipolar 2! The trick really is staying properly medicated and dealing with stress constructively.
Karlie - the only medication I was on was an anti-depressant and had been on anti-depressants off and on for many years before my diagnosis.
Please don't let my issues cause you to have any fear. There are lots and lots of people that are able to work successfully. For example, Patty Duke, Carrie Fisher, Mark Harmon and lots more actors are just a few well known people that are able to lead normal, happy lives.
It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it. - Lena Horne
I was diagnosed with BP1 in my early 30's but had been suffering from it as far back as I can remember. Dr. Goldberg's assessment is right on the mark. It is the depression aspect that is debilitating. (Much more so then the hypomania.)
You wanted a positive role model for holding down a full time job... try this.
I hold a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MBA both of which would have been much easier to accomplish had I been diagnosed at the time and been on medication.
I currently have a full-time job, which in this economy is a miracle in itself and make in excess of $100K per year.. I am responsible for managing projects with budgets in excess of $50 million. My work takes me (and my meds) to locations around the globe. That being said, I do have days when my mood swings low, and it is very hard to be motivated. I also have times when my mood swings high and I find it hard to focus on the tasks at hand. Personally I find that it is my boss's attitude that effects my performance more than my BP. Find someone who appreciates you and your talents and don't let BP stop you from pursuing employment. Earning your way is always a positive thing. Good luck.
I was diagnosed 3 years ago with BP 2. I have been working full time for the same company for 21 years. It has been a challenge at times, but it seems easier now that I am on medication. The depression can be very diasabling, and having alot of stress only makes things worse, but I think it is possible to be successful and also have BP.
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