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I am Staying strong with Bipolar disorder

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by Tesfanurse Tesfanurse (Member)

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I want to start by saying I have bipolar disorder but I do not consider myself to be disabled. This disorder is the reason why it took me five years to finish my bachelor of nursing degree. After I was diagnosed during the nursing program life was very difficult as I was adjusting to medications. I worked just as any student would during college and graduated. After graduation, I had anxiety about the biggest test of my life NCLEX so I postponed it. I took NCLEX five months after graduating and I FAILED. I got back up again and studied for a few more months and I passed the second time.

I graduated in December 2012. It is going to be two years almost since I graduated and I must admit I am nervous that nobody will hire me. I see my old classmates they are already established in their careers and here I am struggling to even get a job interview. I am Thankful I passed NCLEX with 75 questions and graduated despite the setback of bipolar. Sometimes I wish I didn't have bipolar disorder. Will this career gap keep preventing me from getting a job interview? In the meantime should I volunteer to a clinic that is asking for a year commitment???? I am willing to do anything to have a career. I am feeling sorry for my self that a 2 year nursing program took me five years and struggling to find work is even harder than struggling to graduate. All this while most of my classmates are now working with few years experiences under their belts and a few I may add are in a PhD program. The most painful thing is when people tell me it is easy to find work as a nurse. I am literally crying as I type this... I hope I can find work soon... Any nurses willing to give me advice is appreciated. Thank you.

Edited by Tesfanurse

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

142 Articles; 9,640 Posts; 248,143 Profile Views

Hello there, I'm a fellow bipolar sufferer so I know a little bit about what you're going through. You are much tougher and braver than you give yourself credit for---kudos to you for sticking with it against the odds!

My question to you is, are you disclosing your diagnosis in interviews? The law says employers can't discriminate against applicants based on a disability, but they can (and do) find other ways not to hire a person. So if you are discussing your MI with potential employers, STOP---it will only cause you problems. The same goes for after you get a job.....it's really none of the employer's business, any more than your home life or the kinds of places you like to go on vacation.

As for the volunteer clinic position: Volunteering not only is good for the soul, it gives you something to put on your resume, and it could potentially lead to a job. I know the year commitment is kind of scary, but you'd kick yourself if you still happen to be without a job a year from now and you didn't have that experience under your belt. If you can afford to work for no pay, I say go for it!

I know how frustrating it is to look for jobs. I have a spotty work history---never lasted longer than 2 1/2 years at any job in my entire 21 years in health care---and now that I'm older, I'm having a terrible time finding work of any kind. I had to retire last year from clinical nursing because I'd become unsafe at any speed due to multiple medications and the cognitive deficits I've developed over the years from untreated BP. (I wasn't diagnosed till age 53.) I wish I'd known about it earlier in life, maybe some of the adverse effects could have been avoided. And like you, I'd rather not have the disease, but it also makes us creative and enables us to experience life in every possible dimension. We can't blame it for all of our difficulties. :)

Wishing you the very best!

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8 Posts; 879 Profile Views

Hey y'all,

I also have bipolar disorder, type 1 rapid cycling. I've always has "issues" and knew something was not right pretty much all my life, even as a small child. 3 years ago, at age 22, I finally received my diagnosis. Although, it was a bitter pill(s) to swallow...see what I did there? ;)...the diagnosis provided explanations of what I had been going thru over the years.

After trying a few different cocktails I have found one that works. I'm prone to mixed episodes and still struggle with organization and stress. Kudos to y'all for being able to work as nurses and still manage the disease.

I have just started nursing school and was hoping for advice, since y'all have made it through. I'm extremely med compliant, but need help with just managing my illness and nursing school in general. I moved from DFW to Houston, that's been a rough adjustment alone. So any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.

Once again, way to go y'all!

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

142 Articles; 9,640 Posts; 248,143 Profile Views

Hello, and welcome to Allnurses!

It's great that you're adhering to your medication regimen. Not everyone does. But if you're not doing therapy, you may want to start because you're going through a lot of changes, and you and I both know that change is hard on folks with bipolar. And nursing school is tough.....lots of stress there. Targeted therapy can help you not only with life skills, but with organization and prioritization skills.

As far as managing a nursing career with BP is concerned, yes, it's difficult but not impossible. Lots of nurses living with this condition have long and successful careers. You just have to make sure you have a good work/life balance (not an easy task for anyone, let alone us!), stick with your medication and therapy, and act quickly when you feel you might be getting sick. Don't pull all-nighters---keep regular hours and make sure you're getting adequate sleep. Eat healthfully and get some exercise on most days of the week. Keep all of your psychiatrist and therapist appointments, even when you're well. Listen if the people around you are expressing concern for you. In general, take good care of yourself!

Wishing you the best, in nursing school and beyond. :)

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26 Posts; 1,893 Profile Views

I have bipolar disorder and I would love to disclose it but I don't, I'm too nervous it will mark me for life. To all of you with BPD, you can do it! You can make it work. Oh, I've been a nurse for about 7 years.

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

142 Articles; 9,640 Posts; 248,143 Profile Views

I have bipolar disorder and I would love to disclose it but I don't, I'm too nervous it will mark me for life. To all of you with BPD, you can do it! You can make it work. Oh, I've been a nurse for about 7 years.

You are right not to disclose it in the workplace. Once it's out, you can't take it back and it will more than likely paint a target on your back. Mental illness shouldn't be something that people are ashamed of, but I have had bad experiences with sharing my bipolar 1 diagnosis at work so I tend to encourage people to keep MI to themselves when on the job. It sounds like you're managing yours well, so there's no need to discuss it with bosses or co-workers. Hope you continue to do well. :)

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249 Posts; 4,418 Profile Views

When youre going through nursing school, remember what is beast for YOU. I had to remind myself that going to that party after finals or pulling all nighters with my classmates to study was not best for my mental stability. As a previous poster said, regular sleep, work, eating schedules really helped me get through nursing school. However I found it was extremely hard to keep those up when there were so many external stressors including the pressure to "fit in" with the other students and hang out with them (at the most oddball hours!!).

You know when you are starting to feel off/down/up/whatever symptom you get. Take it seriously and find whatever helps you get through your symptoms. Realizing your mental stability is extremely important is crucial so that when you start to feel your symptoms coming on, you dont overwhelm yourself even more with school work and instead take a break or do whatever helps you to get you through your symptoms.

Be sure you take care of yourself first :)

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vintagemother specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC,.

2,691 Posts; 44,315 Profile Views

Working with a mental health challenge can be, well, challenging.

I do not have a dx of bipolar, mine is ptsd.

I have found that adhering to my meds, making sure I have a balance if rest and activity and finding the right job for me is very helpful in helping me to thrive at work in spite of the challenges my illness gives me.

To reiterate what the ops have said, I do not think u should disclose this info during interviews. I did not. However, I have had the opportunity to "come out" to other staff who first disclosed their dx to me. You are not unusual to have a psych dx. Psychiatric illnesses have an undeserved stigma, considering how common mental illness is.

Good luck and (((hugs))) to you!

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Thank you for the support and advice, I recently started weekly therapy sessions with a counselor at the school. It's been helping a lot. We are working on time management, one of my biggest problems of last semester. My other problem is not being able to sleep, I'll be seeing a psych dr soon in hopes of finding a way to shut my brain off and be able to get my cycle more consistent. I've also been encouraged to get a job as a peer support specialist to help mentor others who struggle. I realize that I must take care of myself before I can take care of others and my counselor is helping me set up a weekly plan so I may be able to accomplish this goal. My moods still sway a bit, but overall I'm the happiest I've been in a long time. My counselor and I agree that with which a structured schedule I'll be able to take the job (if I get it) and balance school. I have a tendency to isolate myself and landing this position will help over come my anxiety to leave my house as well as "feed my soul". Mental health is my passion and I feel I'm taking steps in the right direction towards my career, my stability, and of course work experience.

Thanks again for the kind words and advice!

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