Working While Bipolar

Having a mental illness sucks. Dealing with mental illness at work sucks even more.

Do you know what it's like to not know when an episode may occur? To not know what's going to trigger you? To not know if your meds are really going to do it's job? To not know if you can contain yourself if an episode does occur?

I think I do a pretty good job at hiding my disorders. It's to the point that if an episode occurs, no one would ever know. And I don't want them to know. My illness is my secret. My best kept secret. Or is it?

I can feel when an episode is about to happen. Well at least a bipolar depression. Slowly I can feel the sadness coming and my mood begins to take a turn. When I'm about to have a hypomanic episode, I slowly start having a good mood that starts to elevate rather quickly. But a BPD episode? God only knows when that's going to happen because I never know what's going to trigger me.

And that's the trouble with having a job that can be rather stressful more times than not. I never know if that stress is going to trigger me. If a patient is going to say the wrong thing that will set me off. If my supervisor will once again have another talk with me about not doing something correctly. That last part is the worst because being told I'm doing something wrong fucks with my self identity, self confidence, and my overall mood. Next thing you know, I either have a really bad attitude, irritable, hate everyone, in tears somewhere or all the above.

Bipolar I cannot control. It just happens when it wants to. But since I have inklings, I can at least try to minimize it. BPD, on the other hand, can be controlled but on a conditional basis. Basically, if I don't leave the house or in a happy place (usually somewhere or something that involves food and The Office), my BPD is under control. But at work? Oh how I wish I can control it. All I can do is mask it. I can't even count the amount of times I wish I had stronger medication so I won't be so over reactive. So I won't feel like I'm walking on eggshells for eight hours.

I wish this post would conclude with how I deal with my mental illness at work. But I haven't quite mastered that yet. What I can tell you is that I often go to my car and cry or hold in my episodes if possible until I get home. Sometimes my episodes just happen while interacting with others and there's nothing I can really do.

Maybe next time when I write a post about dealing with mental illness while on the job, I'll better advice for you all. But as for now, I'm barely treading water.

Photo credit: getty images


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