Bipolar Disorder Community
Should you be labeled mentally disabled w/BPII?
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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Should you be labeled mentally disabled w/BPII?

The basis of my question is that my doc suggested that I consider filing to be mentally disabled even though i am high functioning BPII.  I have been out of work for almost a year and a half and running on financial fumes.  The last three places I worked ended as a result of BP manic behavior.

I've been diagnosed for the past five years and still have a hard time with the diagnosis.  being labeled mentally disabled scares me even more.  is there any reason to do this...any job benefit to get me working again?
Tags: BP
9 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm not saying to give up the good fight, but if you have trouble keeping a job because of your mental illness, it may be time to look into social security.
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Avatar_f_tn
It depends whether or not you are in denial. Are you really a high functioning bipolar 2? Because getting so high that you lose your job - 3 times - suggests that your function may not be that high. Maybe you are high functioning without the stress of working. Only you can really answer this.

There is very little benefit job wise to being labelled mentally ill. There are a few workplaces that hire disabilities but generally speaking they are more inclined to physical versus mental disabilities. The primary benefit to being labelled disabled is getting social security benefits.

I know for myself full-time would be a disaster but sometimes my pride gets the better of me and I consider it.

Since you have bipolar 2 you've already been labelled mentally ill, there is a diagnosic code on your file, you are already considered mentally disabled. Its already out there. All that would change is that this would mean you acknowledge you can't work because of your disability.

Labels are useful as to their purpose to get you stuff you need. Bipolar diagnosis gets you proper meds. Functional disability gets you supplimental income when you can't work. Then you drop the label because it has no meaning beyond that. Aka don't stigmatize yourself.

Short story. I almost didn't go to day hospital when I was ill. It ran from 9-3 each day. I thought it was an outpatient program. When I signing the forms it was considered an inpatient program. I thought to myself. "I am not crazy enough to be admitted to the psyc. ward" and "what will people think if they find out" and went through this crisis over simple terminology. The label of inpatient or outpatient doesn't mean anything but it meant something significant to me that day. Stigma is powerful and we each have our own assumptions.
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585414_tn?1288944902
  Yes I just tend to realize that I will have to live with my disability for life. And I do need to keep track of it as regards symptoms and treatment which I discuss with my psychiatrist. As for who else to disclose to it depends on how well you know the person but I agree one must be judicious at the workplace.
   The best thing to do is think if you could do the essential function of a job with a reasonable accomodation. If you could you could request an accommodation from your direct supervisor. However if you couldn't and would be applying for SSI/SSDI you would need to explain to them directly why you could no longer work with supporting evidence from your psychiatrist. There are also agencies that can assist people with disabilities with work skills so you could find out more about that. Social Security does have specific regulations that can assist a person in transitioning back to work so if you do apply and anything changes they can be of help as well.
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Avatar_f_tn
If your doctor is suggesting that you go on disability, along with your work history, you should consider it. Applying doesn't mean that you will get it.
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Avatar_f_tn
Oops, hit post before I was done. Prior to my bipolar getting out of control I would have considered myself high functioning. I was a professor at a university but I couldn't survive on the job any more. I had to go on disability.

You need to apply as soon as you can. It take a minimum of 5 months to get approved or denied for Social Security Disability - SSD  (you have to have worked 10 years to qualify). If you are denied, then appeal the decision. Many people are eventually approved but it takes time. Read about disability on socialsecurity.gov  

If you don't have enough work units for disability then apply for SSI. I am not sure but I think it could be a faster process than SSD but the amount of money you get will probably be less, however you will also qualify for medicaid and probably food assistance.

Be aware that with SSD you don't qualify for medicare for 24 months. Also you have to pay for additional insurance (medicare pays 80% of physical medical and 50% of mental health) to pay what medicare doesn't pay for. You also have to pay for Part D insurance for medicine.... then there is the donut hole, a time in which the insurance doesn't pay anything for your medicine. At first, you pay a deductible and copays (that cost me around $300 a month), then you hit the donut hole (that cost me $700 a month).. then you get to catastrophic level. I just reached it and a medicine that cost me $75 in the initial stage, $313 in the donut hole, now costs me $31. Every year the cycle starts over again.

With medicaid, which is state aid and not a federal program like medicare, they always pay for your meds and here the cost is $2 - $6 per med. There are no copays for doctors or hospital care.

I know I wrote a book but I can't help but get carried away when I talk about medicare.
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202665_tn?1248810333
Thanks for the response.  I'm not in denial but you did give me something to think about.  I think the Doc is thinking high functioning because of the type of high level positions I've worked - all at a director level.  Truth is that it is the stress of these positions that eventually catch up with me until I lose control in a manic state.  So maybe I'm not handling the BP as well as I would like to tell myself I am.

As for the label.  I guess applying for disability just means I have to tell others that I'm mentally unstable where right now, only close family/friends know.  I'm afraid of other finding ut..of labeling me, of the stigma, of that adding more stress to me that is hard for me to handle.

I've not felt this loss since I was first diagnosed.  Feeling like a failure because I can't control myself and losing jobs affects the quality of life of my family.  All that just puts me into that spiral down that is hard t pull out of.  That spiral of fighting to pull out or just crash.

anyway..rambling..thanks for the response and the thought to consider.
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Avatar_n_tn
I empathize with what you are saying. I too have a "good" job and am making "good" money with "good" benefits... but recently diagnosed with BPD, I realize why I haven't been able to hold on to any of these jobs for any length of time. The longest I have ever gone in one position is 2 years and that was with thoughts of quitting every two months or so.

Now at least, I know why my feelings and behavior is so sporadic and inconsistent. I hate the idea of being labeled "unreliable" or "abrasive" or even at times "a downer". I have lost friendships because my husband's heart surgery put me in an emotional tail-spin and they didn't think I was any fun any more... which today tells me they really only liked me during my manic episodes.

Now my biggest over-riding emotion is fear. Fear that I am going to be unable to hold this job either, for very long. Fear that I am going to let down my family again. Fear that I am not going to be able to control myself or my emotions and do something truly destructive in a fit of anger or rage. Fear that once again I am going to over react and screw everything up.

I had thought that I was very high functioning. My Psychiatrist informed me in no uncertain terms I was either not aware of what high functioning truly was, or I was an outright liar. She said that if I have lost more than one job because of BPD swings, I am NOT high functioning. I am in a crisis situation. I hate feeling like every day is a crisis. I hate feeling that my really good days that I think are "improvements" are actually manic episodes.

It would be so easy to lose yourself to the disease.

Good luck. I try to remember what my Dr said. This is like diabetes. Sometimes treatment helps and sometimes it has to be adjusted but there are multiple elements involved, some medication, some therapy, some behavioral, and if any of those elements are imbalanced in any way, treatment needs to be reevaluated or augmented. Its a process.
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2010625_tn?1329375656
I am on disability. I too was scared and doubtful about it. I felt as though it was giving up. I had not been able to hold a job for two years. My therapist convinced me to apply when I was in a major depression before I knew I was bipolar. When my mood stabalized I started feeling like I made a mistake for applying for it and almost quit the whole process. Then I had my first major manic episode and had to be hospitalized. After that my eyes were opened as to how bad off I really was. In the end I was thankful for applying and getting approved. It can sometimes be a long road to acceptance. I say if you feel like you need it don't be ashamed be thankful that it is there. I don't know what I would do if it wasn't available. I would probably be homeless somewhere.
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Avatar_f_tn
Everything eveyone wrote about  is the story of my life the biggest pisser about it is most people  who; do not suffer from bipolar have no understanding nor compassion with those afflicted. Nobody wants to deal with umstable people today. In time the social system we have today will catagorize and place all who have mental and emotional problems in colonies to separate from the so called normal folks. Hitler did this with 6 million people. Including those with mental illness. The longer we remain in the state of this horrible condition of depression the worse it gets. There is no fixing it. We can mask it with drugs and therapy but our inner self battles and fights against ourselves sabotaging our lives ensuring our failure. That is what bp has done for me. I have been on disability now for past 3 1/2 yrs now. I previously been in the system 20 some odd yrs ago. I have been bounced out of  so many jobs  I lost count after 30 dead end placements. Yes thats right actually in my work life I had close to 45 jobs either temporary or been kicked out of them for personality conflicts. Not because I was not capable or intelligent enough but mostly due to mental attitude and lack of conformity. Today I am seriously paying for it having no friends no life no hope. Its like a living hell. Death has got to be better.
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