Bipolar Disorder

Holding Down a Job

“Finally, I decided I needed to reduce my stress and asked for a demotion…”

Keeping a job sounds like a simple task, yet my bipolar disorder wants to get in the way of that.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not spending time laying around the house unemployed. No, I just can’t stop myself from hopping from one job to the next.

Let’s start with my first job out of college. I was a loan salesman. Simple enough, right? Well, it was until I started thinking about killing myself every day. My thoughts became so painful, I decided I needed to reduce my stress load, and I asked for a demotion. Instead, I was fired.

The led me to my second job. I accepted the first thing to hit my door, which was a third shift security officer position. I spent time in the mental hospital, mostly a carryover from my last job. I started seeing a psychiatrist who, after several months, convinced me working third shift disrupted my circadian rhythm, making my disorder worse, so I quit that job.

My third through fifth jobs were uneventful, but they turned over rapidly.

My sixth job was at a chicken processing plant, but it was actually four jobs. The first two positions in the company I changed out of because of my anxiety. It was just too high to handle. The third one I was trying a new medication, and it had terrible side effects. I almost quit my job because my medication caused me pure agony. Instead, I switched positions (and medications).

After three or four months at that chicken processing plant, I packed my bags and moved to the city, full of hope about a new life as I began to job hunt. I didn’t find that new life, but I did decided to kill myself only to back out at the last second. My job hunting ended after that.

Jobs seven through nine were uneventful, but at the end of three years, I had gone through nine different jobs. I have the audacity to say normal people don’t do that.

In many ways, I’m actually fortunate compared to others with mood disorders. Some people become manic and lose their job because of it or become depressed and can’t get out of bed to go to their job. By and large, that’s not my problem.

I don’t know when this crazy train I am on is going to stop, but I feel it is getting better. I was at my last job a year and have been at my current one six months. That’s astoundingly better that it has been.

Just remember, holding down a job when you have a mood disorder is harder than normal. It doesn’t make us bad people

By Bryce R. Hostetler

An author and college graduate, Bryce didn't let his bipolar disorder keep him down. He enjoys lifting weights and running to stay active. He tries to read every day and at least a book a month. He's writing out of the United States in a small state called Arkansas.

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