Hopeworks Community

The effect of bipolar on work


I have met many people over the last few months that have a common problem.  They have a bipolar disorder and have been unable to keep up with the technical demands of their job. 

For example I have one friend who is a respiratory therapist.  Every day for him is a struggle due to the bipolar.  What has hurt him the worse is finding out that he has not been able to keep up with the expanding knowledge and techniques in his field.  Now after 20 years of experience he finds himself unable to get a job in a field that has defined his personal identity for most of his adult life.  He simply doesn’t know where to turn or what to do.  For him the crippling aspects of bipolar are not just how it impacts his daily living.  It is in the tremendous crippling affects  that it has had on him.  It is kind of like someone who as he gets older finds out that he can no longer drive. 

His is not an isolated story.  I have seen it time after time in people particularly as they get into their 40’s, sometimes earlier.  All of a sudden they find out that they are “useless” in ways that are fundamental to their sense of identity and purpose in life.

Part of treatment and recovery I would think is to address this issue.  I do not know of many places that do that.  It seems to me to be a crucial missed step.

Bipolar is a stealer and a killer of people’s lives.  It’s  ultimate cruelty might be to tell us we can never be who we have always been ever again.