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Working with Bipolar Disorder: Choosing Your Profession

Working with Bipolar Disorder: Choosing Your Profession

Many years ago, I skipped the exit on the highway that led to my job and just kept going. I drove south, and while my inner monologue rose to a frenetic pitch, I decided that I would live as a jobless poet in the Alaskan countryside. After several hours of driving, and as reality set in, I turned around. The next day, when I finally showed up to work, I no longer had a job.

For me, and for anyone with bipolar disorder, simply showing up to work can be the greatest challenge. During the early days of my career, I was just too unstable to fit into the structure of an 8-to-5 job. My life was like a rollercoaster, and every day was unpredictable, so how could I fit the mold of a predictable schedule, with the predictable everyday requirements of a job?

Later, as time passed and I began to stabilize, I found that the structure of a daily, 8-to-5 job was just what I needed. I still need it. I go to bed at the same time every night and I wake up at the same time each morning. I pull myself up and out of bed at 5:00 a.m. every single day and, even if I am cycling through the mood swings of bipolar, I pull on a suit jacket and skirt out of the closet, and I go to work. 

I did not enjoy going to work every day at my previous job. Even though I made six figures a year and held a high-status position, I was bored and unchallenged. As time went on, I realized that it was not just structure that I needed. I needed something to be passionate about.

Why do I go to work every day? I go to work because I have a job that allows me to be creative. I go to work because I am passionate about what I create, and the changes that I can make in people’s lives. At work, I get to write. I get to create, and like so many individuals with bipolar disorder, being creative is a fundamental part of who I am. Even though we face great challenges in the workplace because of our passion and sensitivity, we can use those feelings to motivate us to get up every day and go to work—but only if we choose our careers carefully.

 

 

Love, Bipolar Disorder, and Being Worth It

Love, Bipolar Disorder, and Being Worth It

My husband could say I am “worth it” despite my bipolar illness, but he does not. Instead, we both say that is a question that should never be asked.

When it is below zero and I am ice fishing on a frozen Alaskan lake, I concentrate all my energy on catching fish. Each time I fish, my husband—who knows I love fishing more than almost anything—immediately goes into support mode.

Read the rest of this article about bipolar disorder and love at https://www.bphope.com/blog/love-bipolar-disorder-and-being-worth-it/.

 

Self-Tracking: Moving Forward After a Bipolar Episode

Self-Tracking: Moving Forward After a Bipolar Episode

Remorse after a bipolar episode can cause tremendous pain, but when everybody else says “don’t look back,” I say: “look.”

I once read a book about tracking animals, and when I lived for several months on the edge of the enormous Chugach State Park in Alaska, I tracked a snowshoe hare in the alder thickets along the side of a popular hiking trail.

Read more of my blog article at bphope.com https://www.bphope.com/blog/self-tracking-moving-forward-after-a-bipolar-episode/

Hope is the Thing with Feathers: Taking Wing Out of Bipolar Depression (bp Magazine)

Hope is the Thing with Feathers: Taking Wing Out of Bipolar Depression (bp Magazine)


Creativity can offer relief from bipolar depression, and it can help your hope soar as you realize your potential to help others through self-expression. Read and share my first article for bp Magazine:

https://www.bphope.com/hope-is-the-thing-with-feathers-taking-wing-out-of-bipolar-depression/

Parental Guilt and Bipolar Disorder: Learning Acceptance

Parental Guilt and Bipolar Disorder: Learning Acceptance

Parents cannot fix a bipolar disorder diagnosis. This leads to guilt and frustration, but once they accept it as a brain-based disorder, they can learn how to help.

“I never want to leave you,” I whispered from the air mattress on the floor of our family cabin. I tried not to look under the bed, a worried eight-year old listening to the coyotes yip in the darkness and the beaver’s tail slapping the river’s surface.

Continue reading my most recent article here: https://www.bphope.com/kids-children-teens/parental-guilt-and-bipolar-disorder-learning-acceptance/

 

Follow All of My Writings

I have started a Facebook page so that you can learn more about me, mental illness, and Alaska– as well as follow all of my writings and musings. You can also follow me on Twitter.

I’ll post my thoughts and more photos through these channels as I continue to make my transition from “anonymous” to being fully “out there”! Help me share the story of bipolar disorder and mental illness– we, together, can help spread the word so that we can disseminate hope, knowledge, and the common thread between all of us!

My Bipolar Fantasies of Disappearance, and Why I Always Return

My Bipolar Fantasies of Disappearance, and Why I Always Return

Disappearance is easy in Alaska, but after decades of wanting to escape into the wilderness, I know now why I always come home. 

He simply got up and walked into the wilderness. His name was Justin and he was teenager living with a mental health condition, an affliction that affects so many of us, so he walked into the Chugach Mountains, the vast front range that towers over Anchorage, Alaska. He was never seen again. I was 13, with my own budding manias and depressions, and thus began my first fantasies of disappearance.

Continue reading my article on bphope.com: https://www.bphope.com/blog/my-bipolar-fantasies-of-disappearance-and-why-i-always-return/