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Bipolar Disorder Community
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1237757 tn?1323146719

I want to tell work I'm bipolar but don't know how.

Hi everyone,

I've only been diagnosed bipolar in the past year but now that I know want to tell employers about it.  I've had trouble my whole life with bosses mostly because I have periods of sheer brilliance (coming from periods of mania) which my employers love.  Then to have down days only to get beaten up by my boss pointing to my good periods saying I should be able to do that all the time, when in fact I feel like I've got a big black blob on top of me and don't really want to do anything, but in fact still manage to struggle through.

I'm currently unemployed now and won't tell any future employer I'm bipolar until I'm past my probation period as I'm really not that bad, just tend to work in waves.  But I do want to in effect come out to my future employer, so hopefully they won't be so hard on me, and take me for all that I am the good and bad times.  

I'm also looking at putting together a document or documents (may need to stage this out over a period) to hand over to a future manager as I come out or just in case I have a bad run, which will explain bipolar disorder in more detail, some of the great hypomanics of our day, how I'm affected by bipolar disorder, and how I am managing it, through mostly exercise seeing a psychologist regularly and medication on an as needed basis.   I'll also include a copy of my mood chart, exercise chart, sleep chart etc as a way of showing how I'm managing it.  I'll give them my charts at the start as an example of how I'm managing but will make a point of saying that I really want to only show these to them again if i have a bad run, i.e. period of mania or depression  but will be having it checked constantly by doctors and psychologists and my coach, or if any of the others feel they should know.

One of the other reasons why I'm trying to set this up is because when I do go into really bad periods of mania, I get such a flight of ideas I sometimes find it hard to communicate.  So it allows me to communicate as best I can at a time when I can't, and hopefully give some pointers to how others can help me during this time.

It's very much a work in progress and was hoping I could steal some ideas from anyone else that has tried this or simply may have some ideas or resources that may help.  I'm even thinking of maybe writing a book about it, if all goes well.  As I've tried a couple of times in the past telling different managers, some things, lots of things and nothing about times when I've been depressed or on medication  in the past and have never had it go really well completely.

Could really use any help or support anyone could give

Thanks in advance if you can.

21 Responses
1311328 tn?1273669292
Is it possible You can become enrolled in a Job service provide where You are from if You really want to explain to Your boss about Your disorder as the job service here is specialised in helping people with Disorders and disabilities find employment.
I am not sure how You would go due to the diffulty in finding employment here now I could not imagine it being of much help until you were actually working there and knew them well enough to discuss this with them
585414 tn?1288944902
You should only tell employers after you have been hired but once you are then you need to detail what reasonable accommodations you might need. Think of in advance what aspects of work are difficult for you and what reasonable accommodations you might need in order to be to not have those aspects impact on your ability to work. Google ADA.gov.
952564 tn?1268372247
When I told my employer I made sure to have a note from my doctor as well showing that I did have the diagnosis so that they wouldn't think I was lying about it.
585414 tn?1288944902
Actually that is the applicable law for the United States. This would be for Australia:

http://www.pwd.org.au/aboutpwd.html
1237757 tn?1323146719
Thanks for the link, I've sent an email of to them as well.

If anyone has some blurbs on great hypomanics it would really be appreciated.  The quicker I can put the guts of this thing together the better.

Also any good blurbs on the condition as well, preferably one that doesn't make me come of as a complete raving lunatic.

I'm also thinking of doing a bunch of aptitude tests as well to provide even more transparency as to be honest I'm still learning how I react with this condition myself.

It was only diagnosed last year after I had a bad reaction to anti depressants, launched me into mania which lasted for four months, complete pain in the arse.
Avatar universal
wouldn't say anything, never know how co-workers will react, they aren't family or close friends.
Avatar universal
I would just tell them straight up that you have trouble with them sometimes because you have bipolar disorder but you're trying to work it out but will have some bad days like everyone else does.  Would wait to tell them until after the probationary period like you said.
1237757 tn?1323146719
Hi Again,

I'm having a craic at the holy grail, mentioning being Bipolar at interview stage.  Reason being it is with a Temp agency and I figured if I can build a good relationship with the recruiter, possibly they might be able to put me in contact with a good company that could help, also if I am put in contact with a few different companies it will hopefully allow me to practice telling an employer about being Bipolar.  I've also written a 4 page document which I call a Bipolar Management Toolkit which I've already sent to the recruiter.  It is to help provide some further background information on Bipolar Disorder in particular Bipolar 2 (Hypomania).  I’ve also included some further information regarding my current management program, how hypomania affects me and information that may assist in placing me in a suitable role.  I’ve also included further practical insight to help management directly with things to look out for.

If anyone has any ideas or anything futher to add on this that would be great.  I know it's a long shot but I figured why not have a go.  Maybe I'm just hypomanic right now :0)

1134609 tn?1269275800
Honestly, I do my best not to tell my employers that I am BP. The only time I have is when things have gone REALLY bad and I needed to take medical leave. In that situation, I had a detailed doctor's note and that's all they needed. One (out of the two) wanted more documentation; stuff about my medications and how they affected me. I told them that they would not be receiving that documentation, that it wasn't necessary and that they'd better lay off.

Here's the way I view it; if you are stable enough to do your job, be a professional and get things done, then it doesn't matter if you're BP. I have a job description of what I am to do, I do it and I go from there. There are days when it is tougher to get things done and it doesn't go unnoticed but I am still doing my job. If my employer doesn't like it then I will ask them to pull out my job description and tell me where I am screwing up and how to fix it.

It's not that I want to hide my illness but, again, if I am doing my job, then leave me the h-ll alone and let me do it. I know a lot of people who don't have a mental illness, they don't do their jobs and they are just as 'moody' who don't take a hit. Right now, I am debating about suing the last company that I worked for because, when I came back from my medical leave, there were fellow co-workers who had found out I was BP. That is a breach of confidentiality, my supervisor was the only person that needed to know, and they may pay for it.
Avatar universal
I would maybe just tell them that I have had depression in the past.
Bipolar is so misunderstood,
1237757 tn?1323146719
Back from the recruiter today, couldn't believe my luck, truely wonderful experience, couldn't have asked to be treated with more professionalism, dignity and respect.  He said he read over my management toolkit several times over the weekend.  Looked at all of my skills, attributes and talents asked me what I enjoy and what I would love to do etc.

Is putting me forward for a bunch of temp and permanent roles.  Will only be discussing my Bipolar with people I have said it is ok to talk to them about i.e. namely one of my referee's who is already aware I have the condition more just to help get further background on me.

I can't believe my luck, I sent him a big thankyou email when I got back home.  Wonderful, I can't tell you how good this makes me feel, compared to some of the garbage I've had to put up with in the past.
1237757 tn?1323146719
Thought I'd give you an update on how I was going work wise.  Well my recruiter came through with the goods and ended up getting me out to work straight away.  I have just finished my first weeks work in over a month.  I've got some interviews next week for permanent roles, I won't be mentioning I'm bipolar with them think I just hit the lotto with my recruiter.  Hopefully if I get out to a few more temp jobs I might try mentioning it to them to practise it for when I eventually tell my permanent employer.

I'm also going to add a bit more information to my document as well.  So far so good :0)  
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