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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Bipolar Disorder and Employment

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There have been a few instances in the past 10 years where I have been discriminated against or mistreated in the workplace.  There are at least a couple of times I could have sued them.  There's even an organisation in my city that offers legal help to people with mental illness for this very purpose.  I never did it because I feared bringing so much attention to myself, and to the disorder that caused me so much pain, humiliation and heartache.

The worse place was a very popular restaurant I had always loved, and always wanted to work at.  The managers were insane and would start yelling at you randomly for no good reason.  I was a great waitress, my customers loved me.  I barely ever made mistakes ordering, and I was responsible, so it would always come as a complete shock to me when they would start yelling at me out of the blue, and I would almost invariably burst into tears.  They would then remove me from my shift, not wanting the customers to see me crying because, at they put it: "the clients look at you with a tear streaked face, and right away they assume the manager did something to you".  Hmm... I wonder why they would assume that?

I sat down with one of them one day and tried to explain my situation, asking him to please wait until the end of my shift if he was going to reprimand me like that, because it would probably always make me cry.  Well, the jerk was offended by this, and made it his personal mission in life to make my life miserable from then on.

One day, after having been sent home the night before for crying, the GM (general manager) tried to make me sign a paper stating that I understood that if I ever cried again while at work I would be fired.  I was OUTRAGED.  I yelled at him that this was completely illegal, and discriminatory, and asked if they were looking to get sued.  They continued to make my life hell until I finally had to quit.

There's a law in Quebec that allows you to still claim employment insurance if you quit for valid reasons, and newly added at the time was psychological harassment, which is what I stated and clearly described in my application.  Not surprisingly, when the case worker visited the restaurant, they had other employees lie for them and probably bribed her with a free lunch.  She ended up ruling in their favour, denying my benefits, and to add insult to injury told me I could probably be approved if I submitted a sick claim instead.

I was infuriated, and defeated.  They had been allowed to treat me like dirt, and I was being told I was the problem.  Even as I type these words, seven years after I left that hell, my eyes are tearing up as I dredge up the feelings of hurt and anger these events caused.

I have been denied promotions because of my disorder "Oh no Felicia, you can't be assistant manager, it's going to be too much for you to handle with your disorder".

Who the F are you to tell me what I can and cannot handle?

I have been the star employee in several places... until I started to get depressed.  Then the people who professed to love me turned on me quicker than milk on a counter.

I have been on disability now for close to a year, trying to get over my last work fiasco.

I have lost all sense of my own self worth, and the thought of going back sends me into fits of tears and panic attacks.

I have never wanted to be a poster child for my disorder.  But that is starting to change.  I think it's exactly what I should be.  I have a voice, and I can use it to draw attention to these injustices.  I can use it to help others who struggle as I do, and I can use it to help the rest of the world to understand our differences.

In the past couple of months since starting this blog, I have found a multitude of online friends suffering from the same afflictions and always willing to listen, or to offer encouragement.

A new visitor left a comment on my "So the truth about me is I have Bipolar Disorder" post today.  He told me that he's a teenager, and that he fears he may be in the same boat.  How he felt very alone, but that my post really touched on his own feelings, and that I had helped to show him that he isn't.

I want to do more of that.  I want to become successful so that I can show others struggling from the same afflictions that they just need to adjust their lives to suit their own needs, not the needs of others.


PS: I've reached 40 Google connect followers this week... very exciting!  Thank you to all my readers, I appreciate your support more than words can say.  Yes, even for an awesome author such as myself ;)


  1. You want to be a poster child for bipolar, but by your own admission, you sit at home, blogging when you feel like it and collecting disability. Is that the greatness that you want other bipolars to aspire to? You talk a great game, and you're obviously very passionate about your beliefs, but where's your follow-through?
    Brittany Spears and Albert Einstein didn't get anywhere sitting on a couch writing bitch sessions about how mean everyone is to them and how they're going to get back at them. They had ideas and carried them out. They aren't famous for being bipolar, they are famous for the changes they made in the world.
    Instead of using your disorder as an excuse for every mistake you've made and everything wrong in your life, why don't you work at having an exceptional life and show people how you can beat the odds? You're not going to get famous hiding behind a computer in your living room.

  2. Wow. Jealous much?

    Hey F-Tard, big insurance companies aren't in the habit of giving out disability to people just because they feel like it. I'm on disability because I've been sick. DUH.

    As for making it from the internet... look around you, everyone's doing it nowadays.

    Don't rain on my parade just because you don't have the guts to follow your own dreams.

    just sayin'

  3. Yeah I'm really jealous of a giant loser like you who's going no where in life and just sits around waiting for the world to hand her things.

    And yes, other people make it on the internet, but it's because they have something to offer. Bitching about your shitty life and posting links to other blogs isn't going to make you a millionaire anywhere but in your deluded mind.

    You've got a lot more issues than can be explained away by bipolar disorder, fuckard.

  4. What a miserable person you must be to feel the need to pick on me this morning.

    In case you haven't noticed, this is Felicianation. I'm the Queen here. So get the hell out.


  5. What no snappy comeback? Either I hit the nail dead on or you don't have the mental capacity to form an adequate response. Clearly it's both.

    And don't worry - I have no intention of wasting any more of my valuable time reading your toxic garbage.

  6. Hey, Anonymous: Guess what? You have no idea what Felicia does outside of blogging. You have no idea how many people she has touched WITH her blogging. There is absolutely no reason for you to come on here and give Felicia shit just because you are bored this morning. Who cares if she is currently on disability? I, personally, am inspired by the amount of honesty I see in her blogs. This honesty has given me the courage to write about things I never thought I would on my own. Quit trolling and get a life.

  7. I have previously that arguing with an idiot is idiotic. I don't care to comment on your idiocy.

    Glad your leaving - please don't come back

    You have a nice day now, you hear? ;)

  8. Hey anon, why don't you back up your argument by being less not.

    Did you not read the part about disorder and employment, which is what this whole post is about?

    Why not be a poster child for others? What's so wrong in telling others about an illness so that they can see that they are not alone, that there are other people who are going through the same thing?

    It may be being sat at the computer one day but who knows what the future might hold. Writing a book perhaps, setting up a self help group, giving presentations, and the list goes on. Who knows what might been achieved through first posting on a blog.

    And how sad it is, that there is someone else sat behind a computer screen, who has nothing to do but to offer hate and scorn?

    Sorry Felicia, I know you're capable of handling this fool but really, what an arse!

  9. C'est sûrement quelqu'un que tu connais qui t'écrit ces choses désagréables...quelqu'un qui manifestement ne t'aime y a un pensée qu nous devrions tous avoir en tête, c'est celle-ci:


    Mononk pas tellement anonyme

    p.s. tu as une belle plume,un beau style soit dit en passant x0x0x0

  10. Anyone that posts as an anonymous poster obviously doesn't have the guts to say who they are and what they really do.

    It takes courage to achieve greatness. There isn't a shortage of people that have changed the world from their computer, whether blind, deaf or with some other type thing that isn't considered "normal."

    Anonymous, wherever this nastiness comes from it's unreal and based on your own issues. You lack guts. A person that puts themselves out in public, whether on the internet, tv, radio or other form of media and shares their background and their dreams takes for more courage and tenacity than anybody that comes onto a blog and posts anonymously. The fact that Felicia allowed your post to remain says a whole bunch about the strength of her character. It's easy is to shoot someone's ideas and dreams down though if you have nothing constructive to say it's best left unsaid since you aren't doing society or humanity any good by treating another person in such a rude and uncalled for manner.

    My guess is you don't do much with your life, that you sit on your couch and are frightened by the fact that others may change and improve not only themselves but the lives of others.

    Whomever you are, you certainly don't have guts and certainly will not change the world. That is especially given that most people who criticize are usually actually doing it to make themselves feel better and it has nothing to do with the person they are attacking.

    Since anonymous - you don't seem to dream.. perhaps you enjoy belittling other people who dream of greatness and helping others. Why are you so afraid that she is changing and going to achieve what she has set her mind on? Is it going to affect you in someway?

    Most people that achieved true greatness started off from positions of true hardship or where people like yourself believed that there was no way in hell that they would ever amount to anything. Yet they did exactly what naysayers like yourself said they could not do. Thus they achieved greatness because they did it despite the odds that negative people gave them.

  11. LOL!!! Thanks guys, I couldn't possibly have said it any better myself ;)

    It means the world to me, so again, thank you xxxx

  12. Man I wish there was a like button on comments, I want to like Antony, Lily and Kristen. Also Mononcle anonyme....

    Felicia, don't stop spreading the word. Maybe some day people will understand what being DISabled (bipolar in this case) does NOT mean UNable. You go girl....

  13. Felicia,

    Thank you for your raw openness. I’m new to this whole blogosphere. So to come to a site with such raw intense sharing is different for me.

    As I’ve surfed the web through the years, I’ve always been a bit troubled by those who remain in anonymity, but say the most hurtful and insensitive things.

    I’ve always had a policy in my work life that if someone has a complaint…I’ll listen when a name and face is attached. Otherwise, I disregard.

    It’s taken guts for you to do what you’ve done… allowing yourself to be on the target range. Even though you are being shot at, it is obvious you are doing some good.

    I know that your willingness to allow Anon’s comments to remain says much about you. That takes real strength.

    Mark Lemar

  14. Thank you so much Mark, it's so rewarding to know that I've helped even just a handful of people... but the hope is to help many many more.

    I'd love to pretend like I'm a big person, but I must admit I have taken some pleasure in reading all of your comments bashing Anon. I'm pretty sure I know who she is, and her comments seemed to mirror her own insecurities, and certainly showed off her pettiness.

    I am honest on this blog as much as I can be, therefore I don't believe in deleting negative comments... unless of course they were to vulgar to remain.

    Thanks again to all of you for your support, I can't tell you how you all lift my spirits xx

  15. I have gone through similar discrimination because of my bipolar disorder. The best thing that happened to me is find a workplace that is loving and supportive. One thing that has helped me deal with my highs and lows of my bipolar is I hope this is helpful for you.