Are You the Only One that Struggles to Hold a Job with Mental Illness?

Curious if anyone really struggles to keep their job with mental illness?

I do!

I struggle to keep my job every day. I have lost so many jobs because of my mental illness, that I kind of expect it. I worked at one job for 3 months before they sat me down and explained that I was being fired.

Mr Supervisor said, “You started out strong and confident (sales job) but then it was like your dog died. You died. (numbers went to zero)”

I walked out of there dragging my tail.

He said it was like my dog died. How do I explain that it is my depression?

How do I explain that my confidence is mania?

I got the job when I was manic so naturally I was confident of my sales skills.

But after one month, the beginning of the crash of depression living on the bottom of the grave. I didn’t only not engage with the customer, I stayed in the backroom as much as I could get away with.

That was why I got fired. I got caught. And my numbers were at zero for the end of the month.

Mania got me the job. Depression lost me the job. Now no job.

I slept in bed for 20 hours at a time for 2 weeks. I binge watched Amazon Prime Video for hours that I was awake. Then I would shuffle off to bed again for a “nap”. I felt like a failure. It was dark outside.

After two months of desperation, I got another job albeit entry level stockroom associate. I hate it. I have anxiety every day and have to do breathing exercises under my mask. (covid19 mask policy)

Oh I am getting tired of hearing myself think. Let’s see if we can interview some other people and then get their take on:

Curious if anyone really struggles to keep their job with mental illness?

  • I do as well. My depression makes getting a job very difficult. I have to convince people that they should hire me when I can barely convince myself that life is worth living!
  • I struggle with working each week. It can be overwhelming and I take lots of breaks and pretend I’m working in the back warehouse
  • Oh yeah, for sure. Every day. I’ve got a managerial position and it’s really tough for me to deal with “my” employees on the one hand and my boss on the other. And then there are all the meetings I have to attend and act like I’m engaged.
  • I struggle everyday!!!! I have to force myself to get up and work and it’s doesn’t make it any better that I work from home
  • Depression and resume gaps make an awful cycle. If you have a resume gap due to depression, it is harder to get a job, while continuing to be unemployed contributes to depression. Hopefully we can somehow break this cycle
  • I’ve lost every job I ever had because of mental illness. I got my first job at 11 mowing grass and I’ve had hundreds of jobs since and lost them all. The work I do now is mostly odd jobs for friends and family and it’s really just a way for them to watch me more than anything.
  • Yes I do very much. But it’s mainly because of the people not the work or doing the work
  • Yes. To me biggest question how anyone with mental illness can. But then again, they do not have mine and each kind is different. I have little social skills and it is hard for those with severe ruptured social skills to have a job. For both applying and actually doing it. I don’t know how I can ever work! I will probably work in a candy factory for life :3
  • Wow. So many responses. I am sorry for all your struggles and understand completely. I too seem to fail steady employment. I currently have a job I like very much but am barely holding onto it. I feel like such a loser.
  • Companies would rather hire drug addicts than someone with mental problems. Thank you dad.
  • It depends on how much you can control the symptoms. Not everyone can control them to the same degree. It also depends on how well medication works with the issues. Just remain focused, and look to not letting the mental illness drag you down. My sister has struggled with mental health and she works as a hairdresser, and has been to college many times. She passed everything and life is good for her.
  • Funnily enough, I could charm and talk my way into any job, but then after a few months I find it boring or stressful and my mental illness kicks in. I can’t stay on an even keel for years like “normal” people can, so either I end up doing everything fast and wonderful or can’t do a thing. It is a huge struggle and I try and take it one day at a time, one step at a time to get through the moment.
  • In the 11-12 years I’ve been reading and writing on this forum, my experience has been that this is the number 1 struggle that people with bipolar disorder have – finding and keeping a job.  This has certainly been the case in my own life.  I’ve lost job after job.  It wasn’t due to lack of intelligence, or work ethic, it wasn’t really due to lack of social skills (though sometimes I get tired of putting on a happy face), or knowledge or ability.

I got quite a big response to my interview and I just listed the top 12 people’s responses.

You’re not a loser. You have a real illness. The good news is there is a lot you can do, and that others can do to help you. It’s hard to generalize or reduce to a list. Personally I think a good therapist is essential. Mostly, good self care, including sleeping, eating, exercise, and a good support network in and outside of work (I recommend not disclosing the illness to people at work though). Medication if it helps.

“I still struggle every day. I worry when I’m there that a manager is going to call me into the office and explain why I am being fired.” By BbqDad

You are not alone if you struggle with holding a job down with mental illness.

One take away as an aside.

I use cannabis to boost my mood and creativity when depressed. It also helps me sleep at night.

I am on a mission to help bipolar people find relief and I wanted my friends support financially and morally. I’m using a computer at the library to blog. I’m trying to raise $1500 so I can buy an iPad/pro and pay for internet access for a year.

Would you help? Could you buy me a coffee monthly or yearly or once? (I’m thankful for even a comment.)

If you do, I will write an answer for any question you choose and post it in an exclusive VIP website I have apart from my personal blog.

Buy me a coffee

Be yourself. Be courageous. Speak Up and Speak Out. #MentalHealthMatters

My name is BbqDad. I have bipolar and ptsd.

I have been on the bipolar roller coaster for 40 years. In the last three years, I have been medicated and stable. I stayed off of meds so long because I didn’t want to believe I was “crazy”.

So I kept it a secret. Now, I am reaching out to those that have bipolar and are feeling alone.

I recently posted a letter to friends on FB about being bipolar and a little about my mission. It was something I was anxious about, but was surprised by the positive support I got back.

I was speaking with a woman today that had read my letter. I asked, what do you most like about it or do you remember a quote?

She said, “Your honesty and authenticity. Your courage to share.”

Wow. I guess I made a good impression for a change. That feels good I thought.

That is just how I write. Simple. Concise. I liken myself to Hemingway for short brief concise sentences. Lol. Seriously, what is she saying?

Be yourself. Be courageous. Speak Up and Speak Out.

The stigmas still abound, it is time that people speak up about what bipolar is all about and to speak out against treating mental illness as a sign of being “crazy”. #MentalHealthMatters

You need to find your voice. I am hear to help you.

I have a mental illness, and I’m speaking up.

One take away as an aside.

I use cannabis to boost my mood and creativity when depressed. It also helps me sleep at night relieving me of PTSD nightmares.

I’m trying to help a lot of people with my blog, would you help too?

How does music help bipolar?

I have bipolar disorder and PTSD.

How does music help?

It really depends on the mood and whether I am listening or writing music.

When I am depressed

I will listen to jazz or the blues. Oddly listening to the blues cheers me up. Maybe hearing about all of BB King’s woman problems makes mine seem like nothing. Or maybe, it is the familiar cadence and 3 chord progression that cheers me.

When I am anxious

I listen to meditation tapes on my Insight app. There are different ones with gongs and chimes to stimulate deep breathing and clearing of the mind. This is relaxing and calming to me when I feel anxiety.

When I am manic

I listen to classic rock. I just want to be a rock star.

When manic, I gain creativity and energy.

I spend a lot of time writing music, poems and stories. Writing occupies my mind and that is a respite from the racing thoughts going through my brain.

When I’m writing music I am relaxed, focused, and happy. The same for writing poems and stories, it makes me happy.

A friend of mine once asked me “Why do you write music?”

I said, “I guess to be understood.”

I want others to relate and understand my music.

I published an album that tells my story:

Name of album: Bipolar420

Title song: How do I leave me? (lyrics here)

[bipolar, depression, ptsd, suicide are all touched on in this song about my journey and some of the mistakes I made along the way]

Other songs:

  • Kandy Crush [bipolar hypersexuality]

  • Every little thing [mania, psychosis]

  • Living on broken dreams [depression, addiction]

  • Papa’s soul food kitchen [addiction – out at 3am to get a fix from your dealer]

  • Smokin MaryJane [mania, hypersexuality, addiction]

The music can be played for free at

So Yes, music does help me with bipolar.

Mindful Meditation: How to center your mind when having anxiety

This is something that I learned while I was in the hospital recovering from a severe manic episode. The practice is using mindfulness and meditation and is used whenever I am anxious or having racing thoughts.

It can be practiced anywhere but is best if you can find a quiet spot.

The idea is to take a piece of candy in a wrapper and focus on it.

We are going to use all five senses.

  • Don’t unwrap the candy (I’m using a DOVE chocolate) yet. Instead, feel the texture and shape noticing if smooth or rough.
  • Slowly unwrap the chocolate and listen to the sound of the wrapper (in my case foil) as it opens and bends to reveal the item inside.
  • Smell the chocolate and feel the soft texture.
  • Now put the chocolate in your mouth but don’t chew it yet. Let it melt in your mouth. What does it feel like as it rolls over your tongue.
  • What does it taste like? Sweet.
  • Continue to notice all the details of the experience with all your senses that you can muster.

Keep focused on the chocolate and let every other thought drift away.

Doing this exercise has a calming effect on me and can center my mind.

Afterward You will feel grounded.

When you feel like a failure

I am bipolar and PTSD. (more like I have, rather than I am)

I was talking to a young lady today that was severely distraught. Happily she said that she had started writing a book. She spent countless hours working on the project and it made her really happy. She was happy when she wrote. Then came depression.

Rotting in bed, she said it hit her hard and knocked her down. She didn’t want to get up. That is what it is like to have bipolar depression.

You feel like this woman felt, a failure. She felt like a failure she said, because she had to stop writing her book and take care of her mental health. She felt guilty and a failure for taking time to take care of her mental health? What?

I listened as she went on about being a failure, not being able to write.

I must admit that as a writer, I am uncomfortable with the idea of being a failure.

When I’m not writing, I’m reading.

Even if it is just reading other people’s journey with bpd, it still can inspire.

You are not a failure.

Maybe just change things up when you feel better.

How about you?

Have you ever felt like a failure because of your mental illness?

That is the thing about bipolar depression,

  • it makes you feel worthless,
  • tired,
  • exhausted,
  • guilty,
  • regretful like a failure.

It’s not your fault. It is about brain chemistry and imbalance.

“My brain chemistry may be messed up, but my heart is still in the right place.” By BbqDad.

You are not a failure.

One take away as an aside.

I use cannabis to boost my mood and creativity when depressed. It also helps me sleep at night.

I’m trying to help a lot of people with my blog, would you help too? Could you buy me a coffee?

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