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Hire Me! Why Employers Shouldn't Overlook Me Because of Bipolar

As a person with bipolar disorder, it should come as no surprise that I feel employers shouldn't be overlooking those of us with the illness. In fact, I feel employers shouldn't be overlooking people with mental illness, in general, not just because it's illegal (thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act), but also because it just isn’t in their best interest.

People with mental illnesses may have a diagnosis attached to their name, but that doesn't mean they can't do and even excel at the job. I have had a couple of careers, and employers would have missed out if they hadn't hired me.

Bipolar and working

I don't want this piece to be my resume, but I'll say this: I have worked for one of the biggest software companies in the world as a program manager, have written a book and contributed to others, have been published in a scientific journal, and have received awards and accolades for my work as an advocate.

And I did it all while carrying bipolar disorder on my back. Many would suggest I am no slouch, regardless of the presence of an illness.

Every employee has potential, regardless of diagnosis

But even if none of that were true, even if I were starting from square one with zero experience, I still have the same potential as many other people.

We all have factors that impact who we are as an employee, for example, being a single parent of a young child or having to commute 3 hours to get to work. Both of those things might limit how much time a person can spend in the office or whether they need to leave early on occasion. Nonetheless, that doesn’t make them less of an employee. All that does is make them multifaceted humans.

We can work full-time with an illness

Moreover, let’s not forget that other employees may be facing illnesses or disabilities of their own. One may have lupus, while another may have a prosthetic limb. No one would dream of saying they couldn’t be good employees because of what they deal with every day. A brain illness doesn't put people with bipolar disorder in another category.

Additionally, people with serious illnesses and other challenges show grit every day they face those challenges. That is a quality and strength that employers should actually look for and not shy away from.

Working with bipolar: don't overlook us

Up to 6 million people in the United States have bipolar disorder at some point in their lives. That's a lot of people to overlook.

That's a lot of resources not to tap into. These people deserve to be judged based on their own experiences, skills, and merits and not be passed over simply because of an illness they didn't ask for and isn't their fault. We can shine, just like anyone else. Let us.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.