Why Me? : The Bipolar Person's Lament
Bipolar disorder is associated with high rates of unemployment and job-related difficulties. A survey by the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association showed that approximately 60% of individuals with bipolar disorder were unemployed, even among patients with college degrees. Additionally, 88% of the respondents reported occupational difficulties. Data from a large registry of patients with bipolar disorder also demonstrated an unemployment rate of about 60%. Data from a US national sample showed that self-reported bipolar disorder was associated with a 40% reduction in the likelihood of paid employment.
Have you ever wondered “Why me? After all, I am a good person, I care for others, I am intelligent, I have a deep passion for my loved ones, I am hard working, and others may even call me devoutly religious. Then why me? Why can’t I hold down a good job that I love? Why do I let my feelings get in the way of my career? Why can’t I get out of bed in the morning in order to fulfill my job obligations?”
I’ve thought those words a million times in my head. I’ve been angry, scared, sad and even downright belligerent. I’ve felt unmotivated, disconnected and even alone. I didn’t ask for bipolar disorder to be in my life. My anger feeds into my anger, and a cycle would be born that would be very difficult to break. I would read into things that weren’t there, as my mind would wonder into the absurd. But why was I able to have such a successful career despite my condition? Simple. My career choice valued my mania.
And as such, the rest of the world (well, almost the rest) may never understand me or, my reactions to events that happen in my life. Besides, the rest of the world will probably have no sympathy anyways.
People tend to think that everyone else thinks exactly as they do. But as a person with bipolar disorder, you actually do not think like the rest of the world. If you are very upset about something, other people may think you are “overreacting”. Or people will feel that you are “too sensitive”. Or that you have a low “EQ” – emotional quotient (a term I hate).
Maybe you have a GED, a Bachelor’s Degree, or a Doctorate degree. Yet you find it hard to hold down a job. Why? You may be labeled a “troublemaker”, “too hard to manage”, “loose lips”, or perhaps “lazy”, “too introverted”, or “disconnected.“ She brings other people down”. “His mind is always running around so fast, and he thinks he has all the answers”.
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t care (and probably doesn’t know) that you are diagnosed as bipolar. It is up to us to change how we interact with the world, not the other way around.
So I decided to help others who share my same condition. A stable, rewarding career is within your grasp. I have worked for well over 20 companies during my 30-year career, so I know how you may feel. It is hard to live while thinking that each job you take may only last for a few short months or years s before it will come crashing down on you. If you are willing to take the steps necessary to achieve this goal., you can do it. Somehow I did, and ever since I have viewed my bipolar disorder as a blessing for me.
I am working to achieve complete career satisfaction. A career that provides for me the financial income I need to fulfill my obligations. A career that allows me to manage my condition in a non-threatening way, and a career that will allow me to never feel guilty again about losing another job.
There is no good answer to, “Why me?”. The only true answer is, “Because”. And the reality is only you can choose how to manage, not manage or accept your medical diagnosis. How the world views us is irrelevant; how we view ourselves truly is all that matters. And inside that perspective, we can find peace and career happiness.