Paying the Bills in This Bipolar Life

Mental illness and paying the Bills

I was asked to talk about something that I thought would be a perfect blog post subject, how do you pay the bills when your mental health affects your everyday life? I think that is a great question, and a complicated one.

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Paying bill no matter what is a major part of being an adult even with a mental illness. Mental health suffers can struggle to either maintain their current jobs or to find one that will fit your mental illness. In my own journey, I have spent a good part of the last ten years unable to hold down a job or even work.

For years, my mental health kept me from working. There were days, weeks, months, and yes, even years where I was doing nothing. At times in mental illness life, we have no control over ourselves, and it is not that we want to do nothing, it is that mental illness can be debilitating and in many ways, it can be impossible to work. It can be tough to work when depression is controlling you, or your anxiety keeps you from leaving the house.

Take my social anxiety. At times when it is at its worse, it is impossible to leave my house for days or weeks at a time. It can be so scary when I am inside for weeks. When depression and my social anxiety take over all at once it is even harder to function, it is why I chose to go to school and focus on creative writing, first with my bachelor’s degree and now with my master’s degree.

Writing has become my career (I have a publisher for my book, and together we are working towards publication) but I was asked what I have done throughout the last few years to pay bills. This is hard to answer because everyone is different. For me, the last four years of freelance writing, editing, and proofreading have been what pays my bills, but it has always been feast or famine.

I am always writing. It is my life, and I believe that I will make money in the next year with my writing, but this post comes at a good time because I am looking at ways to tutor and teach using my bachelor’s degree. I would like to eventually transition to online teaching, but I have gained some experience, and so there are online options to tutor or teach in California with certain certifications or options to teach online. Right now I am working through my school for help on figuring out other avenues of revenue until my writing takes off.

It is impossible for me to say that this is the right path for you, but if writing is what you love, then do the necessary research. You could go back to school like I do, or find work in a field that you can work online. There is no perfect path because there will always be a mental illness in your life, there is no cure. But it comes down to if you are willing to work on succeeding at something if your willing to work, and if you’re not ready–then give it time. Even The Bipolar Writer has struggled in their life. It is not forever.

Always Keep Fighting


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23 thoughts on “Paying the Bills in This Bipolar Life

  1. Excellent post! Over the years I have shared the exact same feeling that you describe. I am still not sure, however, if it is fortunately or unfortunately my way has been paid by family. Yes, the bills were always paid, but maybe if I had to pay them myself it would have motivated me to get further in life than I did. On the other hand, maybe a shortage of money would have caused more problems since I have gone through long periods of not being able to work. I like the writing that you do and quite possibly could have gone that route myself. Unfortunately, my choices are limited now at 58 years old


  2. Thanks, James, Actually, I am trying a new route. It’s not producing a lot of money, but some and it would be great if I could just get something to work out. It sure would help me feel better. This depression thing can snowball real bad if allowed to – I would like to reverse that. I keep fighting and guess that means that I am doing well. Because as long as we keep fighting it is better than surrendering to the emotion!


  3. Thanks for the inspiration. I also struggle with mental health and have found a work balance that allows me to grow. It does take time and testing to see what works for you. I would love to write more and some day include that in my career, so thanks for showing me what can be.


  4. I’m pursuing writing but without the university degrees in creative writing. Congratulations on signing with a publisher!


  5. I’ve lost two really good jobs and have been homeless twice because of my Major Depression. I live in abject fear of it happening again.

    After 30 years I’ve just received my Associates degree in Business Administration. The last month of my second semester I had yet another episode and wound up with an academic suspension. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that depression is my existence. I just have to work thru it. My dream of a 4.0 is a reality of a 2.88 pulled out of my ass. The trick is to just keep moving.

    My next step is to enroll in a Law program for my Bachelors. I’m still looking for a better medication and improved coping skills. My motto is, it’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how you get up.


  6. This is true for so many of us. It’s a constant struggle to work or just function from day to day. It’s hard to get others to understand the real difficulties we face. I have been told many times to “shake it off” and “move on” from it and just get back to whatever I was doing. I wish it was that easy! Thank you for being so honest about a real struggle, James. I find your blog inspirational and it deserves to be recognized for the work that you put into it. I have nominated you for The Blogger Recognition Award. The details for the award are here:


  7. I am so glad that you have addressed to the problem of having a mental illness but also hold on to a ‘proper’ job to pay the bills. I am in my early twenties and I am really having difficulties to keep up with my peers who don’t have a mental illness. I am trying to take it slowly. I hope I find my own pace. Really great article.


  8. I think this is one of the things I’ve not really had problems with. I’ve never had a problem holding a job and I suppose my ability to function highly is how I was able to go so long without being diagnosed. Now I’m 38 years old. Just diagnosed bipolar last week and am learning so much about this illness. Thanks for sharing your struggles and experience.


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