Wall Street and Mental Illness

BlackHat's picture
Rank: Almost Human | 7,839

"People with bipolar disorder can experience mood swings from overly happy and excited to overly irritable and angry. The highs may last from several days to a month or more, but the lows often last longer and can be harrowingly deep. Some experts say this psychiatric condition affects about one in every 25 Americans.

Miklowitz, who earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles, says people with bipolar disorder usually adopt one of four disclosure tactics:

--Tell everyone at work about the condition, including the boss and co-workers.

--Tell one or more trusted co-workers who don't hold positions of authority.

--Don't tell anyone, but admit to having bipolar disorder on work-sponsored health insurance claims, opening the possibility that the employer may find out.

--Don't tell anyone at work, and don't use employer-provided health insurance to cover the costs of treatment for the condition. "

http://www.forbes.com/2006/05/02/bipolar-disorder-...
Old article, but after reading the "1 in 10 Wall Streeters is a Psychopath" piece a few weeks ago it got me wondering. I have a few friends on Wall Street who have mild (but still significant/serious enough to require treatment) mental illnesses ranging from major depression to schizophrenia. Of course, they have been able to keep them under control and to my knowledge haven't told their employers or made it apparent at work that they have these issues. Was wondering if anyone else had any experiences with this, personal or just secondhand. And, of the four options this article gives, what would/did you do?

Wall Street is not the best place to be working with any form of mental illness, given the nature of the business and the fact that nobody's going to want to be hiring a bipolar schizophrenic with antisocial personality disorder to manage their money. I've always been a big supporter of people with mental illness and take it pretty seriously, but I think the general stigma is still around and probably is even stronger on WS.

Comments (24)

Mar 26, 2012

Anyone that wants to work 100 hours per week has to be at least a little bit crazy. I don't think much is going to change and if there are any changes, that just motivates people to keep it a secret.

Competition is a sin.

-John D. Rockefeller

Mar 27, 2012
Hooked on LEAPS:

Anyone that wants to work 100 hours per week has to be at least a little bit crazy.

Mar 27, 2012

"--Tell everyone at work about the condition, including the boss and co-workers.

--Tell one or more trusted co-workers who don't hold positions of authority.

--Don't tell anyone, but admit to having bipolar disorder on work-sponsored health insurance claims, opening the possibility that the employer may find out.

--Don't tell anyone at work, and don't use employer-provided health insurance to cover the costs of treatment for the condition. "

No shit?

I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

Mar 27, 2012

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Aug 3, 2013

This thread is a perfect illustration as to why the last 2 of the 4 disclosure tactics,

BlackHat:

"

--Don't tell anyone, but admit to having bipolar disorder on work-sponsored health insurance claims, opening the possibility that the employer may find out.

--Don't tell anyone at work, and don't use employer-provided health insurance to cover the costs of treatment for the condition. ".

are the best options for professionals with mental illnesses and/or personality disorders. As illustrated by AndyLouis and the link he posted to an even more ignorant post,

AndyLouis:

//www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/are-you-a-psyc...

most people don't know MS about mental health.

For example, psychopathy and psychosis are not interchangeable. One is a personality disorder meaning that the patient is completely sane, the other is a characteristic of several mental illnesses and involves a break from sanity. In addition, most ppl, including ws monkeys, have a vague and probably inaccurate idea of the differences between psychopathy, schizophrenia, bpd, depression, ADHD, and various other mental health conditions and disabilities- and that's assuming they know that there's a difference between some of the commonly confused aforementioned terms in the first place.

Most people aren't going to know enough to be trusted with this kind of personal and sensitive information (assuming you can trust them with anything to begin with). Health professionals, ppl who have a mental health condition or are close to someone who does, and individuals who have taken the time to educate themselves on the subject are the few occasional exceptions to the rule that most people do not have the proper background to digest and appreciate your personal information. In a world where most people still think that "psychopath" is a substitute for "psycho" and that psychopath means "crazy" and that bipolar disorder means that you randomly yell at people and have other regular abrupt emotional outbursts, it's pretty dangerous to share with even a buddy that you have a personality disorder, mental illness, or disability. There's a good chance it WILL be misconstrued, intentionally or unintentionally, somewhere down the line. Fact is, most ppl, your colleagues, and your friends, don't need to know your business, period.

I've had the recent misfortune of watching someone close to me get torn apart relentlessly because of this stigma and its not worth it.

As for the unassuming Mr. AndyLouis- I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're uneducated on this topic and just trying to help out by cutting down on the WSO threads as opposed to being some kind of weird twisted insensitive brute. Or perhaps your a genius and wanted to share a perfect example of how off-point and annoying the consensus is.

Anyways, I'm all for the last 2 options, especially in an industry and location with a relatively high concentration of unapologetic, self acclaimed know-it-alls. Besides, a staggering 1 in every 10 of your colleagues is a purported psychopath- lurking, watching, and waiting for the most opportune of moments to take a shit on your rep.... watch out!

Aug 3, 2013
BlackHat:

I have a few friends on Wall Street who have mild (but still significant/serious enough to require treatment) mental illnesses ranging from major depression to schizophrenia.

I fail to see how "major" depression or schizophrenia are only "mild" mental illnesses. Let me guess, they also have ADD?

Aug 4, 2013

Just trying to make the necessary distinction between being functional and not-so-functional. Neither are mild but they're mild along the spectrum of depression or schizophrenia if you can get up every morning, come into work, and make everyone around you think you're a completely average dude.

Aug 4, 2013

I was dealing with insomnia during my summer internship in IBD, and went to see a psychiatrist. No, insomnia is not a competitive advantage: if you have 3 hours to sleep, and can't sleep, it is a problem. A staggering number of this shrink's clients came from either finance (mostly IBD) and BigLaw.

In my case, he thought my insomnia was the product of low-grade depression. In any case, sleeping pills were enough to get me through the internship and get me a return offer.

I think finance can definitely create mental illnesses even when you are completely fine going in.

Spending 18+ hours per day focused on a single task is mind-numbing. I can give my employer about 10 hours of good, productive work per day. Beyond that, quality starts to degrade, or I start having to really push myself to keep focused. Doing that for weeks on end (e.g. a deal) is just miserable.

And I would imagine trading has given a fair number of people stress disorders and/or led to substance abuse as a way of coping with said stress. I'd guess working at a hedge fund is similarly taxing, depending on how much accountability you have and how patient the PM is.

Aug 4, 2013

no rights as far as your health goes and as far as i know...also, training is generally a breeze so if you cant even handle that then imagine if these problems come back when you are cranking out all nighter after all nighter...contact HR and see what they think, but I still think it might be tough to get a free pass for 2 months

Aug 4, 2013

Take the next 2 weeks, get your health together, pull up the bootsraps and get on with it.

Aug 4, 2013

ok. i don't know how much of the ibanking thing you can or cant handle in your current state, but, why not go in, and just decide not to takle the shit when it gets too much - this way, you know 9have convinced yourself) that you have an exit and dont be afraid of gettign fired etc (see below why).

Go to training, take it easy, dont stress. Dont give a damn about it.

Start work, and when it gets silly, just go to HR and explain to them that the whole ibanking stress and lifestyle is having a seriously detrimental impact on your mental health.

This is a serious situation they would do A LOT to avoid, so you will have them by the cojones. Any bank will want to avoid bad publicity of the kind "I-bank brings bright young man to verge of breakdown". I guess if you play it right, you can get them to either give you a sabattical / shift you into a less stressfur role once you are already in.

Good luck.

"living the dream 24/7 at http://theallnighter.blogspot.com"

"Living the dream 24/7 on http://theallnighter.blogspot.com"

"LIVING THE DREAM 24/7 ON http://THEALLNIGHTER.BLOGSPOT.COM"

Aug 4, 2013
AllNighter:

ok. i don't know how much of the ibanking thing you can or cant handle in your current state, but, why not go in, and just decide not to takle the shit when it gets too much - this way, you know 9have convinced yourself) that you have an exit and dont be afraid of gettign fired etc (see below why).

Go to training, take it easy, dont stress. Dont give a damn about it.

Start work, and when it gets silly, just go to HR and explain to them that the whole ibanking stress and lifestyle is having a seriously detrimental impact on your mental health.

This is a serious situation they would do A LOT to avoid, so you will have them by the cojones. Any bank will want to avoid bad publicity of the kind "I-bank brings bright young man to verge of breakdown". I guess if you play it right, you can get them to either give you a sabattical / shift you into a less stressfur role once you are already in.

Good luck.

"living the dream 24/7 at http://theallnighter.blogspot.com"

"Living the dream 24/7 on http://theallnighter.blogspot.com"

I can't tell if you are entirely serious or not, but isn't it kind of foolish to think that an investment bank would be worried about causing someone to come to the verge of a breakdown? Isn't this kind of, you know, common? Or am I too cynical?

Your scenario actually does sound like my best option. I guess I would have to decide if it is "ethical" for me to start working at a bank knowing that I have health problems that might impair my ability to work.

The other question this brings up for me is whether my "rights" change once I start working versus now, before I've started. Do I have any at all? Can I take extended medical leave once I'm in (not just sick days)? If I'm forced to quit and do not jump to another job, do I get any kind of compensation package (this sounds dumb, I know, but I know friends it has happened to).

Aug 4, 2013

Health comes before everything... The healthiest (athletes) that become analysts look like *APS^$ a few months in. Don't do anything that you'll be paying for long-term.

Now everyone on the board should be brainstorming about how to help you leverage an offer for next year, instead of 2 months time. Don't rush yourself into things.

Aug 4, 2013

Allnighter is a smart one...

Aug 4, 2013

bump?

Aug 4, 2013

If you really want to impress them, drop your psychological disease, tell them about it, and just say you don't want to take leave, that you will just work through it.

You will be known as a trooper from there on out, and trooper's are respected (obviously, they are fighting for Canada/USA... they are heroes. God bless them).

Get a doctor's note, and just say "[email protected]#$ it" to your Managing Director, not Medical Doctor, and just say that you will work no matter what, and this is what you signed on for.

You'll make MD in 6 months (obviously not, but you get the idea).

Put it all behind and just fight through it like a soldier... withstand the mental anguish and pain. You'll be a financial superman.

Why do you think i-banks like hiring Army people that go to a target? Because they know they can handle the lifestyle first and foremost, that they don't give a shit about any kind of pain because they've been through it, and because they chose to serve their country, whether it be Canada or the USA.

Aug 4, 2013

We don't even know what kind of mental illness he has. For all we know, it could be manic depression and if placed in a situation of high stress, it would be definitely worse than delaying a summer internship. Talk to your doctor and see what he says.

And if you go against a doctor's orders in order to be seen as a "trooper", you are a tool and will be seen as one.

Aug 4, 2013

Absolutely not.

Aug 4, 2013

hosey?

Aug 4, 2013
charmander:

hosey?

That's not an observation of insanity; I think he was trying to say "No way Jose."

To OP: I really wouldn't mention it - it can't help you unless the person who's interviewing you had the exact same issues. Did you really think you could see atoms? That's so cool!

Aug 4, 2013
Comment
Aug 4, 2013
Comment

Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?