Bipolar Disorder is a Mental Illness affecting millions, and is medically described as a "Mood Disorder". It is a manic or depressive episode, mixed episodes, with sometime rapid cycles of mood swings occurring between each. A Bipolar Individual may experience a depressive crying episode followed by a wildly happy episode and a depressive episode again all within a time frame of less than 1 hour. In some extreme episodes, Bipolar disorder may lead to delusion and hallucinations. The exact cause of the disorder is unknown, however it is suggested that a chemical imbalance in the brain and genetics play a large role in it's presentation. There are varying degrees of severity of Bipolar Disorder, and most are treated with psychiatric drugs and counseling to address underlying issues.
Various psychiatric drugs have enabled Bipolar individuals to lead full and productive lives, remaining active in society. Many times the illness requires a combination of medications, as each case is different in scope and frequency of episodes.
Bipolar Disorder in the workplace can be a very difficult situation to address, whether from the standpoint of management or coworkers. Wild mood swings may cause conflict between otherwise amiable employees. A major decline in production may result from the feelings of hopelessness present in depression. Haphazard completion of tasks may occur due to the rush of mania. Paranoia, anger, and delusions of reality all may contribute in the decline of a pleasant workplace. Due to social stigma's attached to mental illness, many people with Bipolar Disorder keep their condition a secret. A lack of understanding of the disease and misunderstanding of mental illness in general can, to this day, ruin a professional career within an apathetic work environment.
Here are some things a Bipolar Individual may do to help themselves at work:
Keep a Consistent Work Schedule – The more simplified things are for a person exhibiting symptoms, the better.
Get Organized – It is best to keep all aspects of life reasonably organized at all times. This is not to say one need become phobic, but good organization reduces confusion on a bad day.
Let Someone Know – If a bipolar person has a great boss or close friend at work, they may want to let them know of their situation. If an empathetic person is present in the workplace, they may recognize a problem, or deflect a possibly disastrous happenstance.
Be Professional – Try to limit gossip, horseplay etc.,It is easy for a Bipolar person to go way over the top on these when experiencing a Manic episode.
Handle Problems As They Come – For anyone, a bad mental day can make problems multiply. Attempt to always stay a little ahead of your workload.
Structure – Many people with Bipolar Disorder are more at ease when living a structured lifestyle.
Call a Lifeline – Have someone a phone call away who talk you through a tough day.
Keep Appointments – Always keep Doctors and Counseling appointments, even if you feel great.
Take Medications – Always take your medication on schedule, don't skip doses or take less when you feel well. If experiencing side effects from medicines, talk to your Doctor – there are many drugs and combinations that may help. This is an area of trial and error, even for Doctors.
Many times people suffering from Bipolar Disorder can tell when they are "off", but occasionally they are certain they are fine, it's the other person's problem or difficult personality. At these times a "safety net" consisting of family or friends may step forward and assist an individual in seeking professional help. It is important that these people are intimately aware of the illness, and persistent in resolving concerns of the Bipolar person.