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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Facing a Layoff When You Have Bipolar Disorder

by Cassandra L. Good


When your company is facing a layoff, everyone's stress levels go up.  People react to stress in different ways.  You have to be hyper vigilant during these times, and manage your stress well.  Do the basics first like taking your medication faithfully, getting enough rest, drinking lots of water.  Drinking water is good for you anyway, but it is critical for those of us that take medication because they can be dehydrating.  Talk to those that care about you and are safe to talk to about how you are really feeling about the prospect of losing your job or surviving the layoff and losing valuable coworkers.   I have written a blog about how to handle job related stress when you have bipolar disorder.  You can find it at this address  in the May 2010 archives.  You can also Google "Stress Reduction" and get a lot more ideas for how to handle stress in general.

Be sure to keep your emotions in check.  If you are having a major episode triggered by stress then do not go to work.  It is better to be absent rather than blow your chance at surviving the layoff because you blew up at someone or could not stop crying.  If you are just tired from depression, then make yourself work for at least part of a day.  It is very important to be present as much as possible during this time.  Remember the goal is to survive the layoff.

Although I am not big on "brown nosing", I am big on tooting your own horn.  You need to make sure your boss knows how you are contributing to the company.  He/she needs to understand your value.   Tell them or show them your work and ask if you can do anything else to improve your work or if there are other responsibilities that you can take on.  Do not badger them, but let them know frequently that you want to help the company be successful in this difficult time.  If you have a good relationship with your boss, you can even ask them straight out "How can I make sure that I am not one of the ones laid off"?  "What else can I do to contribute to the company?".  During this time it is critical to focus on what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you.  Those that survive layoffs are hard workers, contributing members to teams, typically do not make waves, but do offer helpful suggestions in brainstorming sessions.

However, despite your best efforts, if your whole section is let go that means you will be let go too.  Facing that challenge can be daunting, but you will survive it.  To lose a job can be devastating or it can be a motivator to rise to your best potential.

I wish you the best in all your pursuits.

About the Author:
Cassandra L. Good works and resides in Colorado, USA. She has been employed at the same company for nearly 18 years despite having been diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder.

Her new goals include helping other people with bipolar disorder to live a life that is rewarding and fulfilling. She wants to teach people how to move from surviving to thriving with bipolar disorder.

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