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How to Be a Highly Functioning Employee with Bipolar Disorder

93699343Bipolar disorder’s radical shifts in mood take a toll on relationships and the workplace. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance surveyed people with bipolar about their work experiences, revealing that 90 percent of people with bipolar felt that their condition had negatively impacted their ability to work. 

A good portion of those surveyed said they felt like their illness meant fewer job promotions and responsibilities in the office. More than 50 percent reported feeling like they had to make career changes more often than people without bipolar.

Work can provide a lot of personal satisfaction, and for most people it’s a necessity. So what can the person with bipolar do to reduce the chances that their work will be negatively affected? Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Be Faithful to Your Treatment
One of the most important things patients can do is to be faithful with their medication and appointments with their therapist. Proper medication combined with regular therapy can help to minimize the number as well as the severity of episodes at work and elsewhere.

2. Be Open with Your Supervisor
You don’t have to tell everyone about your disorder, but letting at least one person in authority know can prove helpful. You can educate your boss about the illness by providing a brochure or article about bipolar, or it might be a personal letter from your doctor. Once the person understands your battle there will likely be less suspicion about missed work days and the need to manage stressors. Assure your employer that you want to be the best employee possible.

3. A Schedule is Your Friend
Since unexpected stresses at work can trigger episodes, some with bipolar try to work remotely or seek out careers that are project-oriented. But keeping a regular schedule is imperative to managing symptoms. Regular sleep times, regular habits – these help your body stay even-keel. So while working outside the office or working on short-term projects might seem less stressful, it can actually make it harder for you since it affects your ability to keep a daily routine.

Posted in Bipolar

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