IT Professional, Advocate
Living with bipolar disorder I

Ian began to struggle with Bipolar Disorder during his university years. After a few shaky years of on-and-off medication, he embraced the treatment plan that works for him. Happily married with two children, Ian has been successful for more than twenty years.

Ian’s Story

Briefly, how has your condition impacted your life?

I was first aware at age 19 after being depressed following a manic episode. I lost two years of school and it hijacked at least five years from my career.

What is your life like now?  What does success/living well look like for you?

I am married with two sons, 22 and 19. I stay on my medication. After graduating from University with a checkered employment record, I went back to school and took a course in Information Technology, secured a job with Lotus, which was purchased by IBM. I was with IBM Canada for 23 years, as a Manager for part of the time. I acted as a customer advocate for our large software customers.

What, specifically, helped you to get well and move to stability?

Once I married, everything changed; I was held to account regarding staying on my medication. My road to stability is anchored in my marriage, and more so now with two grown sons.  Work and friends provides structure and purpose.

How do you manage your condition and stay healthy on an ongoing basis?

I now am compliant with medication (only Lithium).  Sleep hygiene & aerobic exercise are important—no late nights. I walk and get to the gym at least weekly.

Are there positives that have come from having a mental health condition?

Those living with bipolar often say they feel things with more intensity than others; that applies to me as well.

How has your condition impacted your work and your career?

Mania and the fallout caused me to lose two years of school.  Lack of discipline in staying on my medication took its toll on my work life; for a while I was either unemployed, left jobs after a short stay, or was under-employed. Depression was a recurring theme.

What words of encouragement would you give to someone struggling with a condition similar to yours?

Learn about it, how it has affected others, follow the advice provided by your medical team—especially with respect to medication. Seek out all other supports available, including family and friends.