Hi #TheMightyCommunity. First time sharing my struggle functioning with #BipolarDisorder daily and it may be a long read, for some. I’m hoping by sharing my story, some can relate and I won’t feel this is a battle I’m fighting alone.
I was diagnosed #Bipolar2Disorder within a year after divorcing in 2005. I have a strong family history of mental illness, #Anxiety and suicide. Looking back at my childhood and symptoms experienced, my diagnosis made sense. Even though I am compliant with meds the last five years, re-established with a counselor and psychiatrist, I never realized how much my bipolar diagnosis would be a struggle in my adult years and career.
I have worked in the healthcare field for many years, in various positions: physician scheduler, CNA and homecare. Within the last seven years, medical assisting. Earning my MA certification was a huge achievement, especially after dropping out of a nursing program while divorcing. I was too emotionally preoccupied to focus.
Fast forward. In the seven years I have been a MA, I have experienced six job losses. Most recently, last week. With those job losses, a sense of embarrassment and feeling of inadequacy and invalidation. I mulled over disclosing my mental illness to my employers. My most recent position was with a much smaller specialty private practice. After a meeting late last fall due to some difficulties and tendencies, I divulged my difficulties in hopes it would help management understand my personality and idiosyncrasies. We did not have an EAP program available but management did offer solutions, as well as an advance for my HSA. Christmas and New Years came and went. I felt I was doing “so much better,” as people with bipolar often feel with their fleeting symptoms. After New Years, we were told my provider I was paired was leaving the practice end of February. My heart sank. We were a good team. Anxiety came about working with a new provider. The COVID crisis, decreased hours and guilt having my academically struggling nine year old home trying to complete his schoolwork without my guidance. Working with my new provider was not all I envisioned, especially after working with an independent, self-sufficient doctor. I felt my frustration well-up, experienced more negative coping mechanisms: sighing, more animated when expressing/conveying frustration with some new office processes associated with the virus. I felt I needed to step lightly, grew more distant from my coworkers. Placed on a two week probation due to “poor coping skills.” Experienced a lapse in judgment, had a passing conversation with a coworker about my boyfriend’s coworker not feeling well that ultimately ended in my termination because of possible COVID exposure. After discussing the last two weeks with my boyfriend, we concluded I would have lost my job regardless. I also realized how toxic my work environment had become and why my doctor left the practice. Maybe my termination was a blessing.