On this World Bipolar Day, we spoke to Caitlyn Fisher, one of our relatively new consultants, but already making a name for herself at Insignis and the STR Group having won her Training Academy’s competition day!
Read on to learn about Caitlyn’s experience of Bipolar Disorder and help us spread awareness and understanding on this international day of recognition.
Originally from Basildon, Essex, Caitlyn moved to Portsmouth to study International Relations at Portsmouth University. It was at the university in 2019 that Caitlyn was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. She made an appointment to speak with the Mental Health team, initially thinking she had depression. However, they referred her to a linked psychologist who suspected Bipolar Disorder and referred her on to the QA Hospital in Cosham. Bipolar Disorder and borderline Personality Disorder were subsequently diagnosed and, at first, Caitlyn was shocked.
“I’d been feeling very down for a while and I genuinely thought I had depression, which was why I made the appointment with the Mental Health team. I was shocked at first, but as my psychologist told me more about the condition, it all started to make sense. Bipolar means that you have ups as well as downs and looking back I could see that had been the case. For example, in the manic phase you make very impulsive decisions, like spending too much of my student loan on a night out without considering or caring how I would pay my rent that month!”
For Caitlyn, the manic periods of the Bipolar cycle can feel great, but then she crashes. It also makes her more sensitive to monthly hormone changes and Seasonal Affective Disorder, and just makes it generally harder to regulate her emotions. There are currently no drugs to help treat the disorder, other than mood stabilisers, but through therapy, Caitlyn has learned to understand and rationalise her feelings. She met with a therapist fortnightly whilst at university and took a managing emotions class. She also feels she’s grown as a person since she was first diagnosed and all this helps her to deal with the natural highs and lows of recruitment.
Working at Insignis
Caitlyn decided to give recruitment a go following the advice of her partner, Abbi. With her strong communication and natural people skills, coupled with her tenacity, Abbi could see her potential as a recruiter. They discussed at length the viability of working and living together (a tough test for any couple!), so Caitlyn applied to a few recruitment agencies and was interviewed by three of them. However, the vibe she got from Insignis, part of the STR Group, convinced her that it was the right company for her, plus, with a background in Computer Science, she could specialise in placing Data Scientists within Insignis’ IT and Cyber team, whilst the other companies were trying to push her towards areas she had no experience of or genuine interest in. Insignis also offered her a better salary and commission structure, and the benefit of the Group’s Graduate Training Academy.
“I was hugely focused on the academy but especially during competition day, as I knew how bad I would feel if I didn’t win. That’s what I’m like, things are black or white, and there’s no middle ground.”
At just over 6 weeks in, having completed the Training Academy with a Distinction, Caitlyn was thrilled to make her first placement, a 2nd Line Outsource Engineer with a well-known IT company. She definitely feels she’s learning to manage her emotions better all the time, and is conscious of the need to consider what will benefit her in the future as well as right now, when it comes to making decisions.
“It was fantastic to make my first placement; it was such a high, which I feel more than other people do, but of course the flip side is I feel the lows more intensely too. I’m definitely learning to manage my emotions more and more all the time and working in recruitment is helping. My manager is also incredibly nurturing and supportive; she always reinforces the positives in my work and tells me I’m doing amazing!
I really do put all my heart into this job, and have the drive and self-belief to be the best.”
Where can I find more information and support?
Did you know World Bipolar Day is celebrated on 30 March as it’s the birthday of one of the greatest artists of all time, Vincent Van Gogh, who was diagnosed (posthumously) with the condition? Many other famous names, including Frank Bruno, Carrie Fisher, Buzz Aldrin, Frank Sinatra and Demi Lovato, to name just a few, had or have Bipolar Disorder, but, like Caitlyn, didn’t let it stop them from doing what they loved and excelling at it!
If you’re an employer wanting to know more around Bipolar Disorder and how you can support employees with the condition, there’s a great article available via the link below:
If you’re an employer wanting to know more around Bipolar Disorder and how you can support employees with the condition, or if you’re an individual looking for more information or support for yourself or a loved one, try the websites below or speak to your GP. And of course, the team at STR is always here if you ever need a chat.
If you’re an individual looking for more information or support for yourself or a loved one, try the websites below or speak to your GP. And of course, the team at Insignis is always here if you ever need a chat.