Bipolar with First Job and Having Difficulties


  • Specializes in Forensic Psychiatry. Has 2 years experience.

First off, I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder since I was 18. It was a bitter pill to swallow and it took awhile to adjust to the diagnosis and get my medications in order. However, I have been fairly euthymic for several years now except for a few instances and just graduated from nursing school, passed the NCLEX, and got my first job at a state psychiatric hospital. During training it was all day shift, but now that I am officially working the floor I am finding it difficult to work a rotating shift. I rotate from AM's to PM's with mostly PM shifts with the possibility of being forced to work the next shift. This was not exactly what I signed up for. I can't regulate my sleep schedule and my moods are all over the place. Even when I worked a straight week of PM's I fell into a deep depression complete with suicide ideation and a suicide attempt that thankfully did not end up with me in a locked unit but just the emergency room. I am still on probation for 6 months but it is becoming increasingly obvious that PM shifts just do not work for me. It just increases my anxiety and depression so much. I like my job and would like to keep it especially since the benefits and pay are great but i think I need a steady AM shift to function. Is this weird or unheard of? How would I go about this with HR? I am not sure I want to disclose my mental illness to them.


32 Posts

Definitely not disclose your mental illness. I think just apply somewhere else if they won't change ur shift


1 Article; 630 Posts

I would not disclose! I would quietly look for a new job where you can work majority dayshifts. You aren't acting like a "special snowflake" but this is truly a medical condition that is exacerbated/aggravated by working PM shifts to the extent that you attempted suicide. Another job is a must. Good luck to you.

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

142 Articles; 9,982 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 26 years experience.

Whatever you do, do NOT disclose your illness to your employer if you can avoid it. It will paint a huge target on your back and they will likely find a way to get rid of you. It happened to me last year, and believe me, these big employers always have offices full of lawyers who know the way to get around the Americans with Disabilities Act.

FWIW, I have bipolar 1, most recent episode depressed, and just got out of a psych ward. I stayed for a week and during that time, I met other patients who have experienced similar discrimination. I don't mean to go all doomsday on you, but just be aware that disclosing your MI is not a good idea, and your employer is not your friend.

In the meantime, you've got to get off those rotating shifts, which are bad for everyone but they are hell on bipolars. If you can't change to a consistent schedule, you've got to get out of there for the sake of your health and sanity. Don't wait.

Wishing you the very best of luck.