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'I was stopped from working because of my bipolar'

'I was stopped from working because of my bipolar'
From BBC - October 9, 2017

Ross is 26 and has had bipolar II with rapid cycling for his entire working life.

And his experience of the support he gets has differed significantly, depending on where he's worked.

"I have seen examples of really, really good practice and things that have really helped me.

"And I have also experienced things which have really affected my mental health in a negative way and therefore they have really impacted my work."

The rapid cycle element of his condition means his mood can fluctuate a lot from "kind of low" to "really low" and "a little bit high" to "hypo manic" in very quick succession.

Ross' lows leave him feeling apathetic, unable to feel happy and very anxious.

His highs are the complete opposite - they "involve a lot of confidence, energy, impulsiveness and a want to go and do things and be around people".

But the lack of sleep and concentration that comes with the highs means he struggles to focus.

This creates a challenge for both him and his employer.

'I really enjoy working, it makes me feel valuable'

"I often feel really guilty when I have to take time off work, and there's a lot of anxiety around coming back to work as well."

Ross had a particularly hard time when signed off from one of his jobs.

"I was really low at that point, really, really low - suicidal in fact.

"And the first proper correspondence I got was a letter from HR to tell me that if I did not get in contact then they might have to cut my pay.

'Another time they stopped me doing my job'

'A supportive workplace makes all the difference'

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