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Working with Bipolar/BPD

Mental_Illness_Innit
Community Member

Hi everyone,

This is my first time posting here so I hope I'm doing this right haha.

I recently got diagnosed with Bipolar (type 2) and have been diagnosed with BPD since 2020. For reference, I'm 22 years old. I really struggle with mood changes. They can be quite jarring and my depressed self tends to suffer as a result of all the things my hypomanic self has committed to.

I have struggled with maintaining a consistent work schedule since 2020. I think that covid really messed me around if I'm being honest. I mean I've always struggled but it's gotten to the point where I am constantly calling in sick. I lost a really great job in 2020 because I took on a full-time workload when I shouldn't have, and started calling in sick constantly. I think for my employers it's very confusing. Because when I'm in an 'up' period I'm a really great worker and often receive a lot of praise. But when I'm in a depressed period I all of a sudden lose all motivation to try.

I went for a period without work, and then ran out of savings so got a job as a tutor (I am studying teaching at the moment). I only work about 6 hours a week. These hours are spread out over several days so I end up only having an hour a day most days. This does work well for me but lately, I have found myself really struggling to have the motivation to go in and I have been rescheduling a lot of my student's appointments.

I feel really bad about myself because I'm struggling even to do this tiny workload. It's like there's this block in my head that's just like "you're going to be stuck there and you don't have the energy and it's gonna suck" ect ect. Even though when I get to the appointment it's never as bad as I think.

Does anyone have any tips for how I can get through these low periods where work seems such an effort? I really want to be able to have a career as a teacher in the future. So if anyone has been working with bipolar/depression for years - I'd love your advice.

I'm only 22 so I'm at the start of my mental illness journey. And I'm finding it really hard.

7 Replies 7

Guest_7403
Community Member

Structure, routine and boundaries are key for borderline sufferers.

Cleaning, cooking, showering, exercise, relaxation time are all good things to maintain regularly.

Find tasks that work for you, get up each morning and begin your tasks and im sure you will find that it helps get you moving forward on those low days.

There will always be low/down periods and that's okay.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

I do have plenty to say.

I'm 66yo, diagnosed with bp2 2009. Before then I'd had around 80 jobs and 15 professions many in security, warder, dog ranger RAAF, PI, etc.

Recent research I found that endurance suffers with bp2 sufferers. Like you I'd do the work of 2 people when hypo and take sickies when down, until I'd resign.

I'm creative and love variety, an invented and never a sheep, very individual. A poet.

With many med changes, dose changes (mood stabilisers) I realised that I could get a flatening of my moods but never eliminate them. I'd settle for mid range moods. Highly motivated and positive I'd embrace my talents as they are due to my bipolar. Punishing yourself won't help, acceptance does.

Some hints-

  • No shift work
  • Plenty of sleep
  • Better 2-3 part time jobs than one full time long daily stint.
  • If sensitive build your fortress
  • Avoid high stress jobs. My daughter was a teacher with bp2. Retired ill at 27yo.
  • Attend motivation speeches

A few threads I've written to google

Beyondblue topic fortress of survival

Beyondblue topic fortress of survival (workplace)

Beyondblue topic a good night's deep sleep

Beyondblue topic meditation- he helped me for 25 years (watch the links)

Beyondblue topic distraction and variety

Beyondblue topic worry worry worry

Beyondblue topic medication is a whirlpool

Beyondblue topic 30 minutes can change your life

Repost anytime. Eager to see you get through this.

TonyWK

Hi Tony, I'm a bp2. lot older than you and a female.I refuse to take medication,live with the changes ,do a lot of withdrawing. Very few hypermania's ,just experiencing one now about 4 years between the last one..This one bought on by stress ,family member sick. Don't realize I am hyper until I have a couple of very prominent symptons a day later. When the penny drops I usually withdraw, only lasts 4/5 days then drops into a bad depression,spend a lot of time in the sun then. Waiting for that drop to occure tomorrow or next day. My cats and my garden are my rocks. Can phone the shrink if need be ,but am a very determined person. Like to do things for myself,my way. I annoy the hell out of my shrink because I wont take medication.. Been there ,done that.Was a very bad out come for me. Regards Ruralite

Hi

Thankyou for replying. That's interesting information.

I don't think I'll give up my mood stabilisers though. 🙂

TonyWK

Lisa3030
Community Member

Hi, I am 47 and was diagnosed with bipolar 2, 10 years ago and was unmedicated for 7 years. I was a stay at home mum and then I tried to get back into a professional sales role but was unable to cope due to my unstable moods. I lost complete confidence in myself until I was hospitalised for a month and placed on mood stabilisers and anti phychotic medication. Within 6 months I landed a well paid job. These are the things that help me manage:

  • I work part time.
  • Don't over commit
  • Lights out at 9:30pm
  • I take a small dose of meds the night before work if I feel anxious.
  • Routine and structure.
  • When I procrastinate I plan in advance so I feel organised.
  • Reduce or no alcohol intake the day before a work day.
  • Self care.
  • Take it easy at home.
  • If I fe depressed I write and talk to a counsellor.
  • I don't welcome mania in my life because there always comes the swing of depression. I take more anti phychotic medication and go to sleep and usually when I wake up my mood has stabilised. My Phychiatrist approves of this.

I hope some of this might help.

Regards

Hi Lisa 3030

They are all great ideas and I agree with all of them. Thankyou for the list.

I've found that solid sleep is essential.

https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/COVID-normal/supporting-personal-wellbeing/tips-for-getting-a-good-night's-sleep

Part time employment. I've always believed even 2 or 3 part time jobs is better than one full time. We dont have the endurance to be in the same environment or communicate with the same people 8 hours+ a day.

Writing, yes, I write poetry (we have a poetry corner here. I does help a lot.

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/bb-social-zone/the-poetry-corner---post-your-poems-in-here

Cheers.

TonyWK

Thank you for the great ideas and feedback TonyWD