Research shows that people with high levels of depressive symptoms tend to perform poorly at work.
How’s that for stating the obvious? It’s hard to function well when you lack motivation, are exhausted and can’t concentrate.
If you’re worried about getting your work accomplished—and letting other people down in the process—know that you’re in good company. It’s extremely common for depression to interfere with projects and deadlines that need your attention.
Depression is estimated to cause 200 million lost workdays each year at a cost to employers of up to $44 billion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And for those living with bipolar, depression can be the main symptom, and dominates the course of the illness.
In fact, as bp Magazine writer Donna Jackel points out, one reason depression is more debilitating than mania is that it lasts longer; another is that it occurs more frequently: According to research by Lewis L. Judd and colleagues at the University of California at San Diego published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, people with bipolar I experience depression three times as often as mania. For bipolar II, the ratio of time spent in depression versus mania is a whopping 40:1.
“If you’re in this situation, you should feel free to approach your doctor for additional help,” says Sagar V. Parikh, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan. “No one should feel ashamed that they are struggling or be afraid of losing their livelihood.”
To reduce the impact on job performance, create to-do lists to rank priorities, focus on smaller tasks first, take breaks to keep stress in check, and consider confiding in your boss if the relationship is good enough. (On that last one, be sure to do it in person and keep the tone professional.)
But first: Accept where you are. You’re not incompetent; you’re just struggling at the moment.
Julie Fast, a bp Magazine columnist and bipolar management expert, has moved past thinking her lack of desire to finish projects is a personal failing.
“These days,” she says, “I know that I don’t have to feel like working in order to get started or to finish a project. The desire to keep working may not be very strong, but it does show up eventually.” Read more >>
Helpful advice on ways to get motivated to get up and get moving more in the morning when depression tries to keep you in bed.
By Rachel Hershenberg, PhD
Q. I’ve been depressed for some time and all I want to do is sleep. How can I motivate myself to get out of bed in the morning when I am feeling so low?
Please know that mornings are hard for many people with depression. I get that this is a struggle! See if any of these suggestions help, all the while being kind and patient with yourself:
First, make sure you are going to bed at a time that is consistent and sufficiently early. A consistent bedtime means you go to sleep at the same time every night. Eight hours of sleep isn’t necessarily a magical number though consider if your hunger for more shut-eye in the morning is your body’s way of telling you that you need more sleep. Read more >>
Myths about bipolar can perpetuate stigma and unhelpful treatment strategies—so it’s important to learn the facts about living with this brain-based disorder.
By Karl Shallowhorn
Myth #1: One of the myths associated with bipolar is that mania is fun. While mania can bring about such things as excessive energy, and creativity in some respects, there are also other aspects of mania that aren’t so fun. These include things like delusions, irritability and anger. And there’s many symptoms that go along with bipolar that really aren’t fun whatsoever.
Myth #2: Another myth about bipolar disorder is that people with bipolar are moody. And, while once again, mood is certainly one of the conditions associated with bipolar—those wide mood swings that we often have—there’s depression. And while you have depression, that is something that can really be, something that takes a person to a place where it’s not very fun, at all. Watch Karl’s Video >>
Whether you live with bipolar or love someone who does, you can find comfort, wisdom, and strategies (maybe even a good laugh!) in these inspirational books. We can lose ourselves in the power of the written word, compelled by the raw emotions, deep insights, and humorous takes offered by others like us—people who share our...
No matter how desperate it feels, there’s hope—and tools and support—for climbing out of bipolar depression. When Sara F. of Massachusetts has a hypomanic episode, she copes OK. Her hypomania tends to be dysphoric rather than euphoric, so she gets more angry or irritable than usual—but she’s still able to function throughoutthe day. The bigger...
This past year has been challenging, and the upcoming holiday season is likely to be no different—especially when we’re feeling isolated. To stay out of the holiday blues or bipolar depression, I am approaching this season proactively, tackling loneliness directly and finding ways to be festive and joyful. Feeling Lonely & Isolated During the Holidays...
With bipolar disorder, we’re more likely to become overdependent on our digital devices. Here’s how personal tech can affect our moods—plus tips for self-protection. Are we too attached to our digital devices? That question has been debated for almost as long as the iPhone has been around, giving rise to the first National Day of...