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kealohaa kealohaa (New Member) New Member

CNA with Bipolar Disorder

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Hey guys. So I'm a CNA who has bipolar disorder. I got my license in 2016 but have gone to college full-time since graduating from high school which was also in 2016. I've attempted to work as a CNA but always find myself overwhelmed. I can't even go throught the training for the position because I come home and just cry + have severe anxiety attacks. I'm currently attending college doing my pre-reqs for the nursing program. I guess my questions are:

- if you're a CNA and have a disability, if you experienced what I've gone through with training, how have you handled it?

- did you tell your employer about your mental disorder? Should I tell future employers?

- any other advice :-)

I should also say that it's not that I don't like being a CNA, it's just been hard to adapt to it because of my disorder. Thanks in advance.

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Hello, kealohaa, and welcome to Allnurses! We're glad you're here.

I can empathize with you because I have bipolar disorder too. Being a healthcare provider isn't easy for anyone, but it's more complicated for us. We tend to get overwhelmed by too many people, sounds, and other stimuli. Our moods fluctuate, and we tend to have comorbidities like anxiety that make it even harder to do the job.

That said, there are things you can do to help yourself. I'm hoping you have a mental healthcare provider, such as a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner, with whom you are in regular contact. You need to tell him/her what's going on with you right now; don't wait for an appointment. You will need to get stabilized before you try to move forward with your career. For most bipolar people that requires medication and therapy. You didn't say whether you're on meds, but if you are, it's plain to see that they aren't doing the job for you at this time. Please contact your prescriber for advice.

I must caution you that telling an employer about your mental illness is NOT a good idea, unless you absolutely need accommodations to do your job. I have been burned twice by disclosing---my mania gave away my secret, actually---and the so-called protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act didn't do a single thing to protect *me*. And don't expect any sympathy if you share your diagnosis with your co-workers; doctors and nurses can be some of the most judgmental people in the working world, and are sometimes less than kind to their own.

I hope you'll find a good balance soon. While healthcare is challenging even for veterans like me with bipolar disorder, it's still a very rewarding occupation and I think you'll enjoy it once you are stable. Wishing you the very best. Viva

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