Job Hunting with Bipolar

Well folks, I have been pretty busy as of late dealing with some issues on the home front. Because of that, I haven’t been blogging as much as I would like. One of those many issues I have been dealing with lately is searching for a job. This is the first time I have looked for a job since my bipolar diagnosis and I think it has made my job search a bit more difficult for me.

I do not hide the fact that I have bipolar online. There are references to it and this blog on my Facebook pages and Twitter and I do not feel that my bipolar disorder is something to hide or be ashamed of. However, I have been struggling to find work lately and I think a big part of that is the fact that I have this mental health condition.

I know that employers look at social media when checking out potential job candidates and I have a sinking feeling that the openness I have online may be causing me trouble. Of course, I have no proof of that or I would have a legal case on my hands, but I have to wonder.

I also never know when I apply for a job if I should check the box that says I have a disability or not. It says in plain letters that bipolar is one of the disabilities but at the same time, I do not feel disabled by my condition. I do feel that being undiagnosed in the past led me to have a poor job history and left me bouncing from job to job like a ping pong ball, but I don’t know about being officially disabled.

Perhaps my recent job seeking challenges lie in the fact that I have been a freelance writer for the last 4 + years? Maybe, that is not looked kindly upon? Whatever the reason, I have been struggling lately to find any meaningful gainful employment that can help me with some current issues I have been trying to deal with. So, for now its continuing to apply and interview as well as work my butt off freelancing in hopes that things will improve going forward.

Anyone else experience these job search issues? Any tips or advice or opinions? Leave a comment if you would like to share!

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When a Depressive Episode Hits Unexpectedly

Depressive episodes almost always hit me out of nowhere. I still have trouble identifying all of my triggers and it seems like when bad things happen in my life, I get down and depressed. And I don’t realize that I am sinking into a depression until all of my energy is sapped and I can barely function.

Then, the real trouble begins. I can barely get any work done, my limbs feel heavy, and all I can do is sit or lay and stare at the TV or at the wall. That is where I am now. Even as I write this, I am so tired it feels like I am struggling to pull the words out of my mind and place them here.

I sit and stare at the screen, trying to figure out what to say. And then, if I think of something, by the time I put my fingers to the keyboard, I lose it most of the time. I stop in the middle of sentences, in the middle of thoughts. And I just…can’t…function. But I keep trying. Which is more than I can say I’ve done in the past. I may not be writing my articles for work, but I am writing here, which is a step in the right direction, I guess.

Hopefully this depressive episode will not last as long as they usually do, and I will be able to get my work done soon. But I suppose only time will tell and I just have to keep fighting even though I’m exhausted.

My PCOS Diagnosis and My Mental Health

One of the things I do not talk about much is the year that I had in 2017 in terms of my health. 2017 was the year that I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, months before my bipolar diagnosis, I was also diagnosed with PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome.

PCOS was actually a tougher diagnosis for me than bipolar disorder. Why? Because PCOS affects just about every aspect of my life and health, including my moods. One of the toughest discoveries with PCOS was that I was likely infertile.

I already had trouble with fertility before, but this diagnosis was pretty much the nail in the coffin of me becoming a mother. With my medical history and the fact that I would need expensive treatments to give myself a chance at fertility, I pretty much had to resign myself to never being a mom.

What I did not realize was how much this was going to affect my moods. I got deeply depressed with my PCOS diagnosis. While I had always suspected that I might not be able to have children, having that fact confirmed was another story entirely.

Knowing that I won’t be having children (because I cannot afford fertility treatments and am not risking my life savings on a slim chance of success), made me not only sad, but it also made me question what my life means or should be. I began to have suicidal thoughts and to wonder if I should even exist anymore.

Luckily, I was in therapy and was able to deal with my depressive episode. However, what I have found now that I have been also diagnosed with bipolar is just how much these conditions affect one another. Some of the symptoms of PCOS include depression, fatigue and tiredness, anger and agitation, brain fog, anxiety, and mood swings. Basically, PCOS can cause a bunch of issues that I already have with bipolar disorder.

This makes managing my moods especially difficult. It is never certain whether my symptoms come from my bipolar disorder or my PCOS. And, of course, PCOS is only so manageable. The physical symptoms can be partially dealt with through medications, but not completely. And those treatments only do so much for the mood issues that come along with PCOS.

As such, even with bipolar meds, I can feel depressed, foggy, or any number of other symptoms. And I think that these issues from PCOS can trigger my bipolar depressive episodes for sure, maybe even my hypomanic episodes. After all, when my hormones are off-balance, it stands to reason that my brain chemistry could also be affected.

Anyway, I want to explore the relationship between my PCOS and my bipolar disorder further in coming posts, but for now this is a basic explanation of some of what goes on with me and my mental health. Anyone else dealing with these two issues together? Any thoughts? Share your thoughts and comments below. Thanks so much for reading!

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My Life…

My life has been a crazy series of ups and downs as of late. It all started with med changes forced by insurance and has just catapulted from there. I’ve been up, I’ve been down, and I’ve been really down.

I’ve moved. I’m trying to revamp my writing career, and I am trying to figure out what my priorities are. Everything is up in the air right now and chaotic. And as those of you with bipolar disorder know, being out of control and in chaos is never a good thing. I am just waiting for that other shoe to drop right now as everything is teetering on the edge.

I am going to be contributing to this blog at least once a week. And I also recently started a Patreon page so that readers here can contribute to my blog if they deem it worthy of continuing. I would appreciate any support people are willing to give. Even $2 a month can help to keep me writing here instead of focusing my efforts elsewhere.

Anyway, with everything being so tumultuous lately, I have a lot that I can talk about in the days to come. Look for another post within the next week and hopefully continued weekly or biweekly posts from then on. Thanks as always for reading. And feel free to leave any comments or suggestions for topics.

Is It the Holidays or Am I Just Blue?

When it comes to the holidays and how I feel emotionally from my various mental health disorders (chiefly my bipolar, but also my anxiety, PTSD, and other issues), sometimes it is hard to tell what is responsible for what. On the one hand, I have been down for several days now but on the other hand, it’s Christmas Eve today and I’m having a hard time telling if I have the holiday blues or the depression blues.

This morning, all I wanted to do was sleep. I had to drag myself out of bed to take care of the pets and then to get ready to go to the church I work at to perform a duet with my little cousin in the Christmas Program. This should have been a really fun event for me as I adore my cousin and I have always loved playing my flute. But instead I was trying not to look as tired as I was and I was really trying to fight off a panic attack that was threatening to rear its ugly head.

Now, I am back home and all I want to do is go to sleep. But I know that that will affect my ability to sleep tonight and that my sleeping to avoid life and to avoid being awake and dealing with my emotional state is not the best way to go about things. So, here I sit, watching a horror movie (my personal favorite genre), trying to stay awake and get some work done today. I guess we will see how it goes today as I am on my own until tomorrow. Hopefully, things will work out for the better and I can get some work done in spite of this depression.

I’d Rather Be Asleep

When I am depressed, and I mean really depressed, being awake is a constant struggle. Every movement that I make, even the slightest shift in position is like it takes all of the effort in the world. I have three dogs and taking them outside or feeding them makes me feel as if I am going to collapse from exhaustion. I feel like the worst person in the world because I am so exhausted and have so little energy to devote to them or to my cats, especially since they are the only things that keep me going some days.

When I am depressed, I would rather be asleep 99.9% of the time. When I sleep, I can be anyone and anything. I don’t have to deal with the exhaustion of my daily life. I can just be. I can live the life I have always though I should. A lot of times, my dreams are like I’m in a movie. They can be intensely dramatic or scary, or funny, or romantic, but no matter what, they are always so much better than my real life with depression.

It is a horrible feeling when the “life” in your dreams is better than the life you are living, when every breath you take can feel like more work than you can bear and all you want is some relief. I feel like this is what it means to truly be suicidal or might be the feeling that precipitates the feeling of being suicidal. Because if you can’t stand to even take your dogs out in your backyard because it physically exhausts you, what can you do?

Is this a real life that I’m living if the fantasy is preferable to the reality? Is life worth living if all I want is to be asleep. A part of me knows that this feeling, like all of my periods of depression will pass, but I have been through this so many times that I have to wonder when it will ever get better. Clearly my meds are only doing so much and it might be time to make a change again. I guess after Christmas I will be putting in a call to my doctor once again.

 

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