Managing mental illness and career

Looking for a job under any circumstances is stressful, but add a mental illness to the mix and things can get even stickier. 

However, for Esther Jones,* having a GP who understands the grey areas has made managing her illness and employment easier.

Esther has bipolar II disorder. She is happiest when she is working at least part-time. But striking the right balance, and deciding when – and if – to disclose has been challenging.

“Most people don’t understand what bipolar disorder is, let alone know how to accommodate it,” she says. “Although in most situations I function very well, my bipolar disorder does cause me to use up all my sick days.

“At one time, I needed to take leave without pay. My specialist had decided to halve my mood stabiliser, with devastating effects. Within days I had gone into free-fall and become suicidal. 

“My GP advised me to speak with the human