Anyone Bipolar???

  1. I was wondering if anyone is, or knows of any successful bipolar nurses. I am non-medicated but cope with my symptoms via behavior modification and therapy. I do not want to rely on medication if I don't absolutely have to. Will I be forced to disclose my condition? If so, will I have to be medicated to be employable? I am not a severe case and don't have radical mood swings. Most people are not aware of my condition unless I tell them. This has really been on my mind so I appreciate your help.
    •  
  2. 120 Comments

  3. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from phoenix72
    I was wondering if anyone is, or knows of any successful bipolar nurses. I am non-medicated but cope with my symptoms via behavior modification and therapy. I do not want to rely on medication if I don't absolutely have to. Will I be forced to disclose my condition? If so, will I have to be medicated to be employable? I am not a severe case and don't have radical mood swings. Most people are not aware of my condition unless I tell them. This has really been on my mind so I appreciate your help.
    Hi Phoenix

    I'm on the bedtime end of my day but wanted to say hi. I am bipolar; I'm taking time away from nursing but have been stable on meds for almost a year (YAY!). As to disclosing, what I needed to do was disclose my MEDS to the employee health person, who told me that whatever I told her was confidential and not reported to the nurse managers etc.

    Anyway -will be back - take care!
  4. by   phoenix72
    Thank you so much for your reply. I worry because people hear bipolar and they automatically think "Crazy". I know that nurses have to be mentally and physically able to perform the tasks required and that we have to pass a physical/mental health screening. Did you disclose your condition? I just don't want it to come back and bite me in the end. I would and will be a fabulous nurse, regardless of my condition. Thank you again for your help.
  5. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from phoenix72
    Thank you so much for your reply. I worry because people hear bipolar and they automatically think "Crazy". I know that nurses have to be mentally and physically able to perform the tasks required and that we have to pass a physical/mental health screening. Did you disclose your condition? I just don't want it to come back and bite me in the end. I would and will be a fabulous nurse, regardless of my condition. Thank you again for your help.
    Hi Phoenix!

    I know re people hear bipolar and think "Crazy". As a rule if I disclose at all I tell people I have "depression" and I'm a lot more cautions with that info than I used to be. I will disclose "bipolar" if the other person does first, or if they are describing symptoms/family member and my telling them will be helpful. It's not that I'm ashamed - it's just that when the time comes to help, they will already know I'm reliable - versus knowing my condition and LOOKING for me to look crazy if that makes sense.

    Yes, nurses obviously need to be physically and emotionally stable in order to work. This means we have to have a good command of what our signs/symptoms are, especially when they increase due to self-neglect (not sleeping/eating, or from over- doing, especially with overtime!). Then, having this knowledge and awareness, we have to know how to take action BEFORE we endanger our patients or ourselves. Ya know? That's why people think "crazy" - because of the number of people who will wait til they are full blown symptomatic/in crisis, off meds (if they need them), etc.

    Before I went for that job, I called disability rights services regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and whether I had to say I had bipolar. They said I didn't have to offer the info, but if I was asked, and lied, then I could lose my job.

    I did disclose to the employee health nurse that I was on Lithium, because that question was on the form. So obviously from that she knew my diagnosis. She questioned me as to how I take care of my bipolar and that was it; she assured me that she was obligated to NOT tell my supervisor and that it wouldn't be a consideration for hire. And I DID get the job.

    I was/am a great nurse - when I am stable. I did not work when I was manic, I knew that was risky. When I'm depressed I'm not too happy with my performance (although my evaluations don't reflect that, I'm always "above average"). I do have high expectations of my performance.

    The reason I left the profession is when I started making too many mistakes and shortcuts due to the depression and anxiety. I couldn't concentrate or think, became so confused, and just couldn't justify continuing. So scary. I would love to go back to using my skills and knowledge but to risk hurting someone due to my illness - NOT cool.

    I hope that you continue to do well! If you want more info on behavior mod (vs. using meds) for bipolar check out Bipolar Happens
  6. by   mousern
    Hi Phoenix-

    To start with, funny enough I'm from Clovis, New Mexico!

    Anyway, I am also a bipolar (BPII). I'm not currently on meds and have learned to recognize my sxs fairly well after finally receiving my diagnosis in 1997. At the time I was in my MSN program and actually fell into a severe depression in the last semester of the program but managed to pull everything together enough to complete it.

    I have never made a secret of my illness once I was diagnosed. I allowed enough time and interaction with co-workers/supervisors and when I felt that they were ready I told them about my diagnosis. Everyone has been extremely supportive, especially when I was hospitalized in 1999 after a suicide attempt.

    I have found that high levels of stress aggravate my sxs and I also know that I am more likely to have severe depressions in the Spring. I go on meds in the Spring for about 4-6 months to help counteract these episodes. I've been on everything from TCA's to SSRI's to Lithium/Depakote/Topamax. Because of my cycling and sensitivity to high stress, I decided to take a job in 2005 that I enjoy very much and have wanted to do since I was in nursing school more that 16 years ago...I am a nursing instructor in an ADN program. I have self-admittedly excelled in all my previous jobs as a nurse, but recognized that I have to take care of myself first. My current job allows me breaks to recoup from any built up stress and is something I enjoy immensely...especially now that I've taken over the psych nursing classes. Who better that someone who has lived the experience to teach about it! For me, nursing was never a matter of how much I could earn. It was more of knowing that wherever my husband's job in the military took us, I could get a job. I did take a HUGE paycut from a GS federal nursing position to teach, but it's the best decision I could have ever made.

    Just because we have this illness doesn't mean we can't be successful, but it will ultimately be up to you as to whether you want to disclose your disorder or not. For me, openess is the key...for others it may not be. The thing is that you need to be able to recognize when things are not under control and client safety becomes an issue. That's one reason I chose not to practice as an NP after I graduated from my MSN program...teaching is more my speed anyway!
  7. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from mousern
    I have found that high levels of stress aggravate my sxs and I also know that I am more likely to have severe depressions in the Spring... Because of my cycling and sensitivity to high stress, I ... recognized that I have to take care of myself first. My current job allows me breaks to recoup from any built up stress and is something I enjoy immensely...Just because we have this illness doesn't mean we can't be successful ... The thing is that you need to be able to recognize when things are not under control and client safety becomes an issue. That's one reason I chose not to practice as an NP after I graduated from my MSN program...teaching is more my speed anyway!
    Paraphrasing what you just said, yep, to all of the above. Especially the patient safety thing. That, and the fact that I am tired of my illness dictating my enjoyment of life! Sounds like you have a really good handle on it!
  8. by   RN BSN 2009
    I'd hope that people in the medical professions would understand that people with BPD arent crazy!
  9. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from iceyspots
    I'd hope that people in the medical professions would understand that people with BPD arent crazy!
    Well, when mine has been out of control, I HAVE been crazy ... But I suppose it depends on your definition of crazy. Mine is, "having no toehold on reality".

    Still, I think I know what you mean. I have been treated with the utmost respect and NOT as someone who should be shunned when I am receiving care. As a rule, anyway. Last year I had a bad experience where I was in the psych hospital and was complaining of chest pain. They refused to take me to the medical hospital and were very patronizing. I had to concentrate very hard to be able to advocate for myself and get transported. They did a CT and found a pulmonary embolus! (Which ended up being a mis-read, but still ... I had a right to be evaluated, right?)
  10. by   nurseangel44
    Hi I am bipolar and have told no one at my job and wont even use my insurance for my psychiatrist visits. I have yet to get my meds stablelized and recently have been through a break up with my boyfriend. That ,being bipolar and the stress of my job is really affecting all aspects of my life. I'm glad there are more bipolar nurses and hope that I am able to makes friends here or at least talk to some one that knows what I am feeling.
  11. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from nurseangel44
    Hi I am bipolar and have told no one at my job and wont even use my insurance for my psychiatrist visits. I have yet to get my meds stablelized and recently have been through a break up with my boyfriend. That ,being bipolar and the stress of my job is really affecting all aspects of my life. I'm glad there are more bipolar nurses and hope that I am able to makes friends here or at least talk to some one that knows what I am feeling.
    Hi, nice to "meet" you! Just make sure that you are safe to take care of patients, and also that you have a couple people who know you well enough - that you can be accountable to them.

    Have I mentioned "Bipolar Happens" by Julia Fast? It's good for people who can't take meds or have a hard time being stable with meds - what it looks like is a "nursing care plan" for yourself. Behavioral approach based on what you know about yourself when you are HEALTHY, and what your own red flags are. Go to Bipolar Happens

    Are you mostly depressed or hypomanic or both (right now)?

    Take care
  12. by   terms48
    Hi there folks - I'm soooo glad I found a nurses' bipolar board finally. I'll come back for more entry sonn & meantime I need to have my beauty rest.
  13. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from terms48
    Hi there folks - I'm soooo glad I found a nurses' bipolar board finally. I'll come back for more entry sonn & meantime I need to have my beauty rest.
    {{{{{{{{{{{Terms}}}}}}}}}}}] welcome!

    There are other threads on nurses with mental illness as well. I was surpised at how many there are! Hmmm ... lol




    Depression/Anxiety (there is a poll on this thread too if you want to add your statistics to the mix):

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f98/trea...mental+illness


    Bipolar/manic depression:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f98/bipo...ght=depression


    Major depression:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f98/majo...ght=depression


    Psych nurse recently diagnosed with bipolar illness:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f46/psyc...ght=depression


    Nurse "just had emotional breakdown at work":

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f8/just-...ght=depression


    Nurses with adult a.d.d. (ADD is not a mental health issue, however, I would think it aggravates depression or vice versa):

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f8/nurse...ght=depression


    Nursing - depression:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f8/nursi...ght=depression
  14. by   Berto1
    I am currently applying to nursing school, all the pre reqs are done and the disclosure issue is very touchy, in my mind. i was dx'd 15 years ago, and at the time it was none too pleasant. A shoplifitng arrest landed me in a psychiatric hospital after a seizue from benzdiazapine with draw. I had procured them from a girl i was dating, and i knew someting was wrong. the state police recod says nothing of the drug charge 15 years ago, but the county court arrest record does. I would expect any nursing school to look beyond a state police record, and can explain the drug charge as a part of being dx'd, and i'm still anxious. i have a very supportive psychiatrist. I';m also currently working to change my job from a high pressure call center to a long term psychiatric care facility's remediation department. they teach regualr school subject to young people who have been dx'd and dont do so well in regular school settings ( outbursts of violence ) ... any ideas are appreciated

close