Bipolar Disorder – Work and Bipolar or Depression

Thinking traps, also known as cognitive distortions, are exaggerated or unbalanced thinking patterns that negatively impact mental and emotional health. While thinking traps are common and can affect anyone from time to time, people living with bipolar disorder, depression, or anxiety are especially susceptible. The following are three common thinking traps that I often find myself caught in, especially in relation to my job: all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, and labeling/mislabeling.
For those with bipolar disorder, episodes of mania/hypomania cause racing thoughts that make it difficult—if not, impossible—to work. For me, racing thoughts are a mix of bursting creative ideas and intrusive onslaughts of useless and unrelated mental chatter. As you can imagine, this makes it difficult to work. I'm either too busy trying to keep up with my ideas or too distracted and overwhelmed by the never-ending chatter. I get frustrated by my inability to focus, irritated by disruptions, and the chaos in my brain leaves me completely drained. For me to get any work done with racing thoughts, I need to carve out an environment that eliminates as many triggers as possible.
Fatigue at work often interferes with your job when you have depression. When you are constantly exhausted, it’s hard to focus on your job, and depending on what you do, this can be dangerous. If fatigue because of depression at work is a problem for you, it’s important to take steps to manage it. In this post, I will go over habits to establish to help you manage exhaustion, as well as some quick tips for dealing with fatigue at work.
Could your desk use some decluttering? If so, you may share a personality trait with most procrastinators--putting off decisions. Breaking that procrastination habit means you are going to have to do a bit of digging, literally, to declutter your desk. This can be more difficult for those with bipolar than those without, but it can be done. Planning, practice and more practice is what it takes to declutter your desk and regain space in your bipolar mind.
Resilience is a gradual learning process. It can be useful in both personal and work situations. These are only recommendations on building resilience, there are many more. Test a few out and try the ones that work for you.
One of the traits for success in business is resiliency. Resilience is the ability to adapt and rebound when plans or schedules don't go as they should. Part of resiliency is being able to quickly analyze a situation. If a mistake has been made, learn from it and move on. No need to dwell on the situation for a long period. A leading psychologist has researched resilience and found there are three factors that are necessary to have resilience:
It is that time of the season. Many individuals and families are putting their vacation plans together. For some, a vacation consists of running around at full speed with major anxiety and stress. Others may prefer to try a new activity, such as zip-line or scuba diving. Many with bipolar disorder and myself included, prefer the relaxed, slower than normal pace (warm climates help in the slowing down process). Doing the vacation thing with the least amount of anxiety or stress as possible with bipolar disorder does take a little advance planning (When Bipolar Ruins Your Vacation).
Sometimes, those with bipolar disorder can wake up in the middle of the night, their heart is racing, sweating profusely, maybe feeling very dizzy and they're sure they are going to die. They might be shaking all over and don't understand why.
I was on the radio recently as a guest of Dr. Stan Frager on WGTK, and he asked about depression or bipolar disorder disclosure to an employer. Although many people think they are familiar with bipolar disorder these days due to the attention it has received in the media, by and large they have the wrong idea about it. Mental health stigma on the news and in the media show mental illness to be something it usually is not. So my answer to whether you should disclose bipolar disorder to your employer has to be...
The better you listen, the more you will know. It may sound very simple and it is. Listening takes up more of your waking hours than any other activity. Of your waking hours, 70% of them are spent communicating. Writing takes up 9%, reading 16%, talking is 30% and listening is 45% of communicating hours. THE underrated business tool is good listening.