There’s a documentary out there that is an oldie but goodie where Stephen Fry (famous in the UK) explains his experience of diagnosis, feelings and behavior with bipolar I. What makes this 2 hour documentary wild is that he interviews a lot of people that are totally “normal,” but struggle with bipolar. There is some interesting empirical information around a the world’s largest research study in the world around bipolar. Stephen covers pregnancy, brain activity, young people, stress, treatments, etc. For example, it discusses how there’s a 60% risk of becoming extremely ill during pregnancy and childbirth if a woman already has bipolar. A doctor explains how bipolar related suicide is the leading cause of death around childbirth in England. No wonder I thought I was going to die during childbirth and pregnancy. I often wonder if I experienced PTSD from that whole experience. I was off any meds, only diagnosed with uni-polar depression at that point and had limited social supports. Anyway, this documentary is entertaining and ideal to share with non-bipolar folks so they get a more realistic and less-freaked-out understanding of the disease.
Another thing is that whole career thing where incredible things then earth-shattering things happen. I have been there a lot the past few years – promotions one day and unexplained job loss or my resignation the next. My resume looks like Swiss cheese there are so many gaps in it over the past few years. Workplaces have felt like powerful psychological abuse (and the toxicity of some of my former workplaces probably were), but I feel my illness certainly has a place somewhere in there. Unfortunately, when workplaces started shutting down on me they did not want to give feedback on my performance or behavior. I think some of that was bosses doing a Dr. Google diagnosis on me and potentially discrimination based, but I will never know. I felt as though I was going into work and doing consistently really well. I have been unemployed for about a month, and I think I have defined the criteria I need in a job to manage my illness. These things include part time hours, brain engaging work, quiet environment about 80% of the time, normal hours, commute with minimal traffic, limited large group work (triggers me), steady workflow (no major projects), supportive supervisors and helping society and/or people (but not necessarily dealing with people directly). Yeah, good luck to me finding all of that in one job.