\Living with bipolar disorder can present unique challenges, particularly when it comes to managing stress in the workplace. However, finding a healthy balance with the right strategies and support is possible. This blog post will explore practical tips to help individuals with bipolar disorder effectively handle stress at work and maintain overall wellbeing.
Bipolar Disorder – Work and Bipolar or Depression
Traveling for work can be exhausting but can be even more complicated when you have bipolar or depression. It is a time-consuming process to get ready for travel when you have one of these mental health conditions. There are so many items that need to be taken into consideration when traveling for work with bipolar or depression, including medications and your sleep schedule.
I wouldn't say it's always a gift to have bipolar disorder, but I do believe it's a gift to receive a bipolar disorder diagnosis. A diagnosis can help you come to terms with the mental health disorder that you have and receive the right kind of support, such as therapy and medication. I have seen the power of a diagnosis in other people and myself. I suffered for years, not knowing why I felt so depressed with frequent suicidal thoughts. Once I received a diagnosis, I could then set up a plan to receive the most suitable support for me.
Do you ever struggle to focus on work-related tasks because of bipolar disorder? A lack of focus and distractibility can occur in people who experience bipolar disorder and its episodes of mania and depression in bipolar disorder. These issues have affected my ability to learn and integrate new information and be efficient in executing important tasks. I have had to adapt new techniques to be successful at work and focus with bipolar disorder.
It is essential to my wellbeing to have supportive friends in the workplace. We all need a support network that we can rely on when feeling down. I have always had one supportive colleague I can trust and rely on for support when experiencing symptoms of bipolar or depression. I navigate my mental health in the workplace by finding one person I can confide in. I set up one hour per week where we can talk openly about workplace stressors and my mental health. A supportive friend at work can be an advocate and provide emotional support.
We've all been there -- professional setbacks happen to everyone from time to time. You're passed over for a promotion, you mess up on an important project, or you're hit with a poor performance review that you didn't see coming. Maybe you've even been put on probation or, worse, terminated from your position. Or perhaps you have a patchy work history and feel doomed to repeat a perpetual cycle of hopping from dead-end job to dead-end job, never finding fulfilling work or achieving your full potential. And professional setbacks can be a big hit to one's self-esteem. In some ways, the stakes are higher when you work with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar is a liar, and it's a liar that can't even keep its lies straight. Depression will tell you that you're worthless, while mania will lull you into distorted, grandiose thinking that can cause you to overestimate and over-extend yourself, which can have unpleasant professional and personal consequences. Because of the never-ending falsehoods that bipolar likes to trick us into accepting as truths, knowing our worth as workers and as people can feel like an impossible task. If you work with bipolar disorder, you are not alone in struggling to hold onto your sense of worthiness -- but it's easier to reclaim confidence than you might think.
Let's talk about self-care as it relates to working with bipolar. As you know, self-care is a trendy topic. On the one hand, it's encouraging that more people -- especially folks with marginalized identities -- are recognizing that all people deserve to have their physical and psychological needs met regardless of external expectations, including those of our employers. The downside is that the conversation around self-care is often focused more on treating ourselves than building sustainable long-term practices to carry us through life's trials. Building and maintaining a good self-care routine is essential for everyone and is non-negotiable for those of us who live and work with bipolar disorder.
It can be a struggle to say "no" on the job when you have bipolar. We live in a culture that prioritizes productivity and output over physical and mental wellbeing. Many people feel obligated to take on more work than they can handle at one time or to provide labor that they are unfairly compensated for. Learning to say "no" in the workplace is an act of self-preservation, and it's especially important for folks who work with bipolar disorder.
Let's be honest: job hunting is demoralizing if you're neurotypical. There are so many uncertainties that can wear you down when seeking a new position—and when you live with bipolar disorder, job hunting stressors can lead to changes in mood, which could result in a full-blown episode of depression or mania. It may be easier said than done, but a critical key to preventing mood episodes while you're on the prowl for a new job is learning ways to keep yourself motivated.