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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone here had experience of whether or not to declare any health complications before taking employment in Dubai, especially BiPolar?

I spoke to a UK Mental Health therapist in Dubai and she told me best not to declare BiPolar with perspective employer as the Mental Health Act dosen't exist in UAE and the employer may see me in a different light.

I have rung Dubai City Hospital and managed to find out my prescription costs per month, plus registration with a local Psych so that my meds can be prescribed.

With regards to a care mechanism in place - obviously the therapist and the psych. I have factored in these costs per month from my income.

As it stands my condition is stable and has been for a long time. It dosen't effect my personal life nor work.

I am not ashamed of my illness but if it means an employer may view me diferently then I would rather not tell them. Because I have a care mechanism ready to go and in place once I need it / or if I need it. I have covered all the bases.

Does anyone have any thoughts please? :fingerscrossed:
 

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Hi Larry
I think the real issue that you need to consider is more about how Dubai living may affect your illness.
The various day to day issues that expats face here are enough to try a saint!!!

There are many times that I have had to refrain from doing things here that would be seen daily in UK - but could land you in prison here!
So, with the climate, environment, driving standards, unusual rules and regulations etc. - do you think any of these could actually make your currently stable condition worse?
It would be a shame if you came here and then faced a situation that caused you to be arrested - because the support network that exists in the UK certainly does not exist here.

Best of luck
Cheers
Steve
 

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In a word NO - don't declare it. Mental health issues are still pretty taboo here in the UAE, although the situation is getting better. There are many good therapists and psychiatrists. You can look at the Dubai Community Health Centre, also the Dubai Mall Clinic has a very good psychiatrist.

Sadly most insurances here will not pay for therapy sessions nor the relevant medications and all the practitioners are appalled by that.

As Steve says, life here can be very trying at times and it's certainly sent me over the edge a few times. It's crucial and necessary to have a few friends who know your situation here, so that they can be your support if and when you have a bad episode.

Considering so many people I know have been dignosed with bipolar or manic depression here, I'm surprised there isn't more support and understanding and it can be very VERY difficult. I honestly belief that the UAE and the stresses and strains of some many things cause people to crack.

You have to absolutely sure that you can keep any deviant behaviour under control as there is no sympathy for it here.

It's a tough one.
 

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Saying all that, don't lie about it if asked to declare any medical condition.
 

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Saying all that, don't lie about it if asked to declare any medical condition.
The trouble is, in this region things like Bipolar disorder carry a stigma and it's not fair, when actually about 1 in 5 people suffer with some sort of mental illness.

It really depends how severe it is and how reliant someone is on their meds. Many people happily cope without the medications.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It is massive food for thought. But my gut feeling based on how hard it is in the UK from experience, let alone in Dubai, I am seriously having a massive rethink.

I have Type 1 Bipolar and I am on between 7 - 12 tablets per night for life. I need my sleep every night, working a night shift once a week or more may cause myself an episode.

No alcohol, no stimulants, limit stress factors, regular exercise, diet change, correct dosage of meds and anyone even with BiPolar can lead a nomal life.

However, stress is a major factor and can have a massive impact. I can do my job at work hands down, but that is with the help of a massive support mechanism in place. That even though I don't need at the moment, it is nice to know that it is there.

I saw an earlier post just now about someone asking about settling in time. Jet lag has a massive impact on BiPolar. Even for such a short flight of 9 hours or more. I have to consider that if I was to land a 2am and then start work at 9am - my BiPolar body clock is now screwed up. Do I take my meds as soon as I get on the plane? What if I am still heavily sedated when I land at Dubai?

My illness is very severe but also very manageable. Do I risk upsetting this by moving somewhere new, with high stress loads, no immediate friends to offer support, a country that on paper dosen't have the same tolerance as the UK for mental health.

Worst case scenarios.

A, I don't tell the employer about my condition. 1 month into work I have a mini episode and I am flat based for a coulple of days unable to function. How any times would my employer allow this?
What if I get the sack? And now have rent to pay in a country where debt is jail time.

B, I walk down the street and have an episode. How much tolerance would the police have?

C, It all works out fine and I have beating the odds that are stacked up against me.

I apologise in advance but I have to look at my situation with serious consideration regarding my complex health issue. The ironic thing is that if you were to see me right now - you would have no idea I have BiPolar.

Unless someone who is in a similar position to myself or knows someone who is in the same situation and then tell me differently. For me I a going to have to say its a NO for myself moving to Dubai.

Cheers

Larry
 

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Hi Larry,

I think it would be quite a risky move.

The first months here can be quite stressful, even for people moving with their families, let alone someone moving by themselves. It can get quite lonely at times, work wise it all depends on the company you work for but generally speaking I'd say most people keep to themselves and is not easy to make friends at work. The first months of dealing with real estate agents, telecoms companies, red tape, etc can be infuriating. If you have an episode people will not hesitate on calling the police and you could easily land in jail. Having prescriptions filled would be a PIA, you'd need to see the doctor every month (you'll only get 28 days' supply on each visit), and then on top of that is the massive cost. If you travel often you'll need to have attested prescriptions with you in case someone asks at the airport about your meds either leaving or on arrival. Then there's the availability of medication, you may not find the exact brand/dosage you're taking, and only you know how damaging that could be to your health.

If I were you I'd stay where you are, specially if you have a good support network.
 

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The trouble is, in this region things like Bipolar disorder carry a stigma and it's not fair, when actually about 1 in 5 people suffer with some sort of mental illness.

It really depends how severe it is and how reliant someone is on their meds. Many people happily cope without the medications.
i don't disagree.
However, if you are reliant on meds, and a diagnosed condition, and you do not declare when specifically asked, you might get 20 minutes to clear your desk, depending on the employer..

If it isn't raised, then perhaps keep schtum.
Claiming you do not have a medical condition when asked is a different thing entirely, i think.
 

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Hey Larry,
I thought that I would just chip in and agree with some of the other posters- particularly chocoholic. Personally for me the process of moving here was stressful. It was meticulously planned and went incredibly smoothly.... but it was stressful. Tear jerkingly, stamp your feet and pull out your hair stressful! There were two of us to share up the tasks and support eachother but really cant express how disorienting the whole experience was.

All that being said, not sure that alone should put you off spreading your wings and exploring this part of the world. Given what you have written so far, you seem to have a good understanding of your strengths, limitations and most importantly what your trigger points are. Maybe with your existing therapist you could work through some possible scenarios and appropriate actions....so that when you get here your responses perhaps to perhaps known stressors (albeit in unfamiliar environments) are rehearsed? Just a thought..

Also, coming from the mental health and substance misuse field in the NHS myself, I know that there are therapists who now offer online sessions via skype. Maybe yours will too? In the beginning this may be a way to hang onto people that you know, trust and understand you until you are ready to make the full transition to Dubai based care.

I agree with the other posters regarding building up a support network. It is a little bit harder to meet people here but I would throw caution to the wind and make meeting people who share the same interests as you a priority-from there on you can choose to disclose (or not) depending on the depth of relationship.

Just my humble thoughts anyway. Best of luck with whatever you decide to do!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you everyone for making some really good points.

As it currently stands I was discharged from my Psych Team a few months ago. That means in the grand scheme of things I am self sufficient and self managing my condition. Thank you Coconut for recognising my understanding of my illness. Believe me it wasn't always this way I can tell you :)

The health team in the UK can do no more for me (until it goes wrong again lol ) - it is up to me to manage myself on my own.

With regards to a suitable care mechanism in Dubai:

My prescription for meds in Dubai will be £300 per month
Shrink to write out the prescription £50 - £60 (Has to be a shrink in Dubai not a doctor).
Backup therapy £100 per session

To someone the costs may look alot - but if I was to tell you that I pay £50 per month already for my prescriptions in the UK. Plus when I did have therapy it was mostly private as the waiting list on the NHS was too long!

I work in middle management around Human Resources and I have done my research Dubai wise and the wages are good enough to be able to live comfortably with having to pay out for my illness in Dubai.

I am on my own relationship wise. However, I am travelled extensively as a child and as an adult. Moving somewhere new I have done before.

Is life a gamble? Yep.
Knowing ones limitations is paramount.

I know I said NO to this earlier. But I am still hanging onto the idea :)
 

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i think you are being very smart and honest with yourself about the entire process and options available to you.

no one can make this decision for you.

what i would add though [as others have said most of what i would have already] is that if you do decide to come, that you have a very good discussion with your current doctor/psych regarding the transition and the more practical things like exactly how/when to take your meds while flying over etc etc.

and, plan and know the exact steps you will need to take to get back on track asap should you start to falter at all.

and finally, if things do not work out for you, have a return plan. as GI Joe says, knowing is half the battle. and sometimes just having knowledge of your backup routes and plans can make all the difference in your level of stress and anxiety.

this may be a stupid analogy but it's like when you're on a plane, they go through the safety procedures before you even take off. so you are prepared and comforted by the knowledge that oxygen masks will drop down, which way to go, etc.

whatever you choose, best of luck! and if you come to Dubai we will be here to help guide you through it too :D
 

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Larry, only you know what you are capable of. It might be worth talking it through with a therapist to discuss your options. As I said before, there are very good healthcare providers here and they will give you their mobile number, so if there is an issue, you can contact them directly in an emergency.

I will put myself out there and say I know what this is all like. I was diagnosed Bipolar 2 many years ago now. Although I know it's no where near as bad as 1, I can still relate. I have been through stages where I have been reliant on meds, but thankfully at the moment I'm good without them. I have had major episodes though when life has thrown curve balls and I've just lost the plot completely, to the point of disrupting my work, turning to the booze and just doing things that could potentially put you at risk. BUT I've always had great people for support who've brought me back from the crazy. Luckily I always found one or two people to confide in at work and my bosses have been very understanding. Sadly though, it's not always the case and you really have to sound people out as to whether they can be trusted or not.

I can't possibly begin to imagine what it's like to be that reliant on the medications - I always hated them as they completely stopped me from functioning.

If you'd feel more comfortable discussing off forum, then by all means PM me. You're definitely not alone.
 

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I think it's amazing that you are now in a place where you can think about doing this, which surely must show how far you've come. I've known three people here with bipolar. One is still here and manages his life, how well I can't really say. The other two had to go home. One under very sad circumstances, because his first (huge) episode happened here, not long after he had finally found a job after a long period of unemployment and it happened at work and he had to be removed from the premises and ended up in an institution here, which I don't think was very pleasant. When he was finally right, he was released with his papers in hand and he had a terrible shock because that was how he found out what was wrong with him.

When I read your post this morning, it reminded me of a friend who left about a year ago who has a genetic/hereditary illness they didn't know they had. Finally, the family had to come and take them home, where they were diagnosed. Sadly, the illness is incurable and we could all see it (it's an illness that affects your mental and physical capacities). They are in the best place, at home, with their family, where they can be properly taken care of.

In my heart, I say good luck to you. I admire you for even thinking of this. But, in my head, I don't think that the UAE is yet geared up for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have spent the last 24hrs doing lots of thinking. I had to make sure deep down I would make the right decision.

It has been very hard decision to make and in my case, even though I am now normal, the BP can show its head again at some stage and this would cause me untold problems in a country with such low tolerance to mental health.

It could have been the start of a new life. I am truely gutted as I had my heart set on this move. But we can only work with what we have and not what we don't have.

Chocs I have sent you a PM again to say thank you

For everyone else thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me honest answers and experiences.

Looks like I am stuck in blighty

LOL
 

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Hi Larry,


I don't really have a lot to say that hasn't already been said, but having made up your mind I'd just like to point out that you don't have to stay in UK.

There are other countries that don't have the stigma behind mental health and you could relocate to those if you want to try living abroad.

There are always other options.

I wish you luck in the future.
 
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Hi Larry,


I don't really have a lot to say that hasn't already been said, but having made up your mind I'd just like to point out that you don't have to stay in UK.

There are other countries that don't have the stigma behind mental health and you could relocate to those if you want to try living abroad.

There are always other options.

I wish you luck in the future.
Izzy just said exactly what I was thinking. If you feel like you're "stuck" where you currently are, moving to Dubai isn't your only option for improving your life or circumstances.

I too, wish you all the best. And no matter your circumstances, don't settle if you are unhappy, continue to seek out other avenues!
 

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The girls beat me to it. I also think you should research the idea of working overseas in other, more understanding, parts of the world. Don't give up! Very best wishes to you for the future in all that you do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Just an update really: I'm still in London and happier then ever. Dubai was my dream, I came so close but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

The reason for posting again is to help fellow sufferers of BiPolar in case they have to make a decision like mine whether to stay or go. My base line was on my Bipolar to current date - I've launched my own BiPolar site to give an indication on how servere my illness and why in the end Dubai was not an option for me. It also allow myself to give something back, I survived and came out the other end. If I can help others with Bipolar than it has done its job.

Walking Paradox a Bipolar guide

If you think is appropiate and you use social media such as FB etc Then please share the link and spread the word.

Thank you

Toby
 
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