Working vs Disability

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-24-2006
Working vs Disability
Thu, 07-29-2010 - 4:00pm

Prior to having my DD, Skylee, I worked full time. A lot of time I even worked a part time job in the evenings to help save up for our fertility treatments and the downpayment for our home. Working had always been a major challenge for me. I can't tell you how many jobs I've quit on the spot or been fired from due to my bipolar.

When I was 5 months along in my pregnancy, my Dr. urged me to stop working and I did. (At that job, I messed up so bad due to do my bipolar but they didn't have the grounds to fire me so they constantly transfered me to other departments). Thankfully, here in Canada, I received

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2006
Thu, 07-29-2010 - 10:02pm

I can so relate to your work history because mine has been on the order of the same. It was always hard for to work and be a single mom. My mom was ill a lot of times so it was hard for her to care for my dd, however, it was hard for me to hold down a job long because of my bipolar. Mostly what would happen to me is I would get major panic attacks. I was not very confident and had a hard time dealing with stress at work and stress in my personal life. I would have these panic attacks either at work or before I had to leave my house. I remember one time, about 12 years ago, I could not even leave my home to go to my job and I called in a panic state and quit on the spot. It took me 4 days to leave my home after that. I actually developed agoraphobia (fear of leaving your home or being in a certain place, like a mall). I had to work hard on facing my fears on that. I even had a hard time driving on a highway for almost a year and avoided it. After a 8 months to a year of working with a good tdoc, I got over all this and today I am fine with driving anywhere, even over bridges.

I want to return to work and I am now receiving disability. I am afraid to give up my disability and then not be able to handle working, yet I really want to go back to work. My dd is grown up now and has her own family. My mom, who I cared for, passed away in 2005. I have had a lot of time to focus on myself and a lot of my fears. I am still working on a few of my fears with my current tdoc.

Sometimes our past "failures" can make us freeze up and prevent us from moving forward. Meaning, we focus on how we felt the last time we worked and the emotions that came along with that time...panic, fear, depression, irritation, etc,. that we get locked into the past. We also can have fears of not succeeding again in a next attempt and having certain expectations of ourselves. You may want to define what success means to you. Is it a full time job or part time, such as 10-15 hours a week.

Working with a good tdoc about your past attempts at working and all your feelings (fears, anxieties, irritations, etc.,) about working may be the answer. However, some times this illness makes people not be able to work, so it is good that their is disability benefits for those who cannot work. Therapy is not easy and it is not a quick fix, so taking small steps is crucial so that you do not overwhelm yourself and set yourself up. On the other hand, some people have limitations and it is important to accept those limitations with kindness to ourselves. You are still a good person if you cannot work. Having a job does not make you better then anyone who holds down a job.

I have often wondered how others with bipolar work and cope with their illness at the same time. The answer I was told, and now believe, is that everyone is different and what they can handle, I may not be able to and vise versa. We cannot judge ourselves by what others do or do not do because everyone's upbringing, beliefs, experiences, and the way we handle things are different. The goal here is to work on ourselves with compassion and grow one step at a time.

It is important to talk with your pdoc and tdoc about working and what they think about you working too.

Hopefully others will chime in that do work with this illness and offer some of their coping strategies for you and for me. Sorry that I could not be of more assistance. I just wanted to let you know you are not a lone with this issue and these fears of working, but wanting to.


     ~ Tina ~

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2003
Thu, 08-12-2010 - 3:00pm

I haven't been fired from a job yet, but I have quit a lot of jobs.